Embracing Cultures for Profits


This can of tabacco made me think about the article we read in class that described a blogger who was very offended by many of the Native American costumes during Halloween. However, it seems to me, like the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans is everywhere, yet only receives media attention during Halloween.

While Natural American Spirits, does say that a no-additive tobacco is not healthier, the fact that they embrace the culture of Native Americans makes one feel like it is a more natural and safer alternative to cigarettes like Marlboro. They have certainly used the images and culture of Native Americans to enhance their product and sell more tobacco. This is a corporation that is doing this everyday as opposed to young adults that may dress up for one day yet there is much more backlash around Halloween season.  What I find interesting is that while Dirks writes that many people engage in Halloween as a “ritual of rebellion” I don’t think Natural Americans Spirits is rebelling but rather embracing the cultural identity. 

Questions:

Is it okay for corporations to profit off these racial stereotypes?

 

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2 thoughts on “Embracing Cultures for Profits

  1. I agree that this brand is embracing the cultural identity of Native Americans, but as your title mentions, only to make a profit. I am absolutely against the use of ethnicity as a means of marketing or making profit. I believe corporations should be more sensitive and decide to market in a way that does not offend any racial group or perpetuate existing stereotypes. There are other ways to market products without having to affiliate a particular minority group that may not even have anything to do with the product. In this case By using this image, American Spirit is making the generalization that all Native Americans engage or are associated with the consumption of tobacco which is completely false.
    I like the point you brought up about stereotypes only receiving media attention during Halloween when in reality they can be found everywhere and all the time. We have grown to normalize certain stereotypes and bring our attention to others when a lot of focus has been placed on them. For example, this can of tobacco is seen by many customers who pass through the store aisles but suddenly seeing a person in a Native American costume is appalling. I think we have to learn to catch all stereotypes within our society, whether big of small, and stop normalizing them because they all have a negative effect on the minority group that is being stereotyped.

  2. i totally agree with the last part of your statement emerald518. I was just in the mall when they were using the image of Black people to help emphasis the Black Friday sales. These images devalue these cultures. These images also are used to uphold racial oppression because we begin to be normalize and eventually trivialize the lives of others. I find myself wondering when this issue will be over.

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