Blatant Racism Strikes Again

October 7, 2005

hopkins.jpg Oh my gosh I am sick of talking about stereotypes and issues of representation. We "ethnic media" people are sometimes viewed as whiny and unrelenting and one-track minded, and it's kind of true. Here I am, complaining again about the way my peeps are being represented. But we can't stop, because society at large has clearly not gotten the message. Look at this image! Just look at it! What do you think they were thinking when they came up with this?!! I can see a person saying, "The concept of this is: 'one of these things is not like the other' (a la Sesame street). It's really not about skin color, it's about being different. Like, there's three cheeses and a baseball! One is different! Neutral! and I say to that argument: bull hockey!!!@#$%@! First of all, they never would have done that with say, downtrodden black people. I'm sorry to keep bringing up that analogy, but it's true. Obviously they're very insensitive, so they probably wouldn't refrain from some internal moral compass, but because they're afraid of pissing off the scary black people. Well, what about the scary Asians? Clearly we're not making enough noise, people. And I mean scary noise. Because until people get educated enough to know that this is offensive, they need to at least be aware that right or wrong, some people are going to be pissed and there will be consequences when you step across a line. Maybe we need to instill in people is hypersensitivity to Asian representation, so that people will at least think twice before saying, "Hey Chad! Here's a great idea! Have a pudgy smug-ass white dude in the midst of some miserable-looking oriental monks! He'll really stick out and illustrate our concept of "difference!" Because of course it's not that simple. I'll spell it out: depicting a rich, clean white guy in the midst of (praying? meditating? demonstrating?) Buddhist monks is reinforcing negative images of dirty, uncivilized Asians. Selling that white man as superior to his surroundings compounds that. And when it's as horrifying as this image, guess what! It's racism! (Or am I getting this all wrong? Is perhaps the ad really pro-Asian, and we're celebrating how the Asians are "different" from Smug-Ass? There IS a difference between people who've taken vows of poverty, have suffered persecution and exile (they look like Tibetan monks, perhaps) and are devoting their lives to spiritual enlightenment vs. a bald, old, white guy dedicated to profits, urban sprawl, smug superiority, creating 10x as much garbage and using up all the oil in the world. Oh yes, there is a difference.) This ad was created by the Hopkins Group, a real estate development company. Check them out at They operate in California and Nevada, places where there are lots of Asians who can stop renting space in their strip mall or stop visiting stores there, or where Asians can stop doing business with them. Until they learn, the best way is always to speak to their bottom line. Or you can contact them at Hopkins Real Estate Group 17461 Derian Avenue Suite 106 Irvine, CA 92614 Phone: (949) 270-2400 Fax: (949) 644-8631 And let them know how you feel about their ad. Many thanks to Hyphen staffer Benjamin Ng, for sharing this image with us.




I actually don't understand the message they're trying to get across. The main thing that stands out to me is that the white guy looks cheesy and smirky .. is that what Hopkins Real Estate is trying to say? That they're cheesy and smirky? They also have another ad in their "There is a Difference" campaign which has a fish bowl with a bunch of fishes on the bottom and one fish jumping out of a bowl into a bigger one.(Check it out at
i agree. message unclear. this fish ad is a lot better looking than the white guy one, though. the fish is leaving the crowded bowl. the white guy is standing in a crowd of asian monks. so are they saying "we stand out from the rest of the crowd"? what is the point of standing out from the rest of the crowd if you're a smirky white guy in a tie? you'd think they'd at least get someone attractive in there if that's the message. this ad just makes no sense. they should show a field of unattractive boring real estate agents in suits (much like their mr. different) instead of monks.
yeah, and if they're trying to say "we stand out from the rest of the crowd", how the hell are they doing that? Certainly not by their real estate developments, which are exactly the same as all the other huge-ass malls throughout suburbia. (Take a look at their development portfolio and you'll be completely underwhelmed.) I guess they're trying to differentiate themselves by saying, "hey, we run lousy ad compaigns and have a complete lack of judgement!".
I think the message is, "Unlike monks, we don't give a rat's ass about compassion or enlightenment." I like that the monk one row back and to the (camera) right has his eyes right at the guy and looks puzzled. Not surprisingly, a quick trip to the Hopkins Group website turned up a dearth melanin and a number of folks looking much like Mr. Hopkins (pictured in the ad).
Well, it is a pretty stupid ad and they could have done any number of 'comparisons' or contrasts without going into a religious situation. So call and e-mail your displeasure, but first find out what properties they manage or are currently lisitng so you can let them know that you and your associates won't be patronizing them.also, many of the rights or access to services that all minorities currently have came as a result of a (largely) black led struggle. sorry they 'scare' you so.
hi. i don't think Jennifer actually means that she finds black people scary. i'd vouch she's well aware of the history of the civil rights movement, etc. taken in context, it's clear she's imputing this fear of the ethnic other to the ad's creators -- and furthermore saying that it'd be useful if Asians also inspired this kind of fear, if it means that we're politically vocal and mobilized enough that people stop messing with us so casually.sorry, rude to speak for someone, Jennifer, but i thought it important to clarify.
If this ad wasn't on their website, I'd think it was fake. I mean, it's just so bad in execution and concept. But that seems to be a trend in their ads--none of them really make sense. They need a new ad agency fast!
thanks Erin. I kind of figured she wasn't like that, but phrasing is so important. do Asians really want to be 'scary' or is respected better? have African Americans fared well being 'scary'? Scary has it limits because a minority's power is always limited by numbers. I strongly suggest greater coalition building amongst minority groups. Individually you get 15%, 15%, 6% and 1% (nominally) - collectively you get over 1/3 of the country. More than enough to swing elections, economically influence a company or industry or what ever is necessary.
oriental = objectit is an insult to say oriental monks
Stand for something, or stand for nothing. To fight for something you believe in does not make you a whiner. I think it makes you a leader. As long as you are silent Society will look at you as passive and take advantage of you. Thats anyone. To the Person that wrote the intro do not be a hippicrite. Look at how you describe black people, because Asians are not being showed in that model minority image, You made an analogy that seems to put one race down to raise another. If I inerpretted the artice wrong forgive me
This ad really speaks to me. It says, "Hey, look at me. I'm a dumb, ugly hick who's learned the secret art of burying myself in the ground up to my waist in between the tiny gap between one monk's knees and another monk's back. Therefore, you should buy real estate from me."Assuming it's real, the creators of this, um, "advertisement" are clearly motivated by poor judgment, an absence of common sense, ignorance about other cultures and world history, extreme egotism, and really, really bad grasp of visual perspective. It's debatable whether this constitutes racism per se, but it is a truly sh*tty ad. People who choose this company after seeing this ad should be avoided at all cost, because they are very stupid and have no taste.
I agree with crap detector - this isn't an act of racism, just a really stupid ad.If you mean to use the term "blatant racism" to mean that the ad depicts two types of people based on categorical perceptions of "race" - then you are correct, the premise of this ad is based on our willingness to accept the idea that people are different according to these perceived categories of race, thus, racism. But do you sincerely feel that your civil or human rights are being violated by this ad, or that this is an act of hate speech?
oops. Sorry for the repeated post. The little man in my computer is acting up again.
Queer girl with game -- I believe that this is yet again another direct assault not just against Asians -- but that specifically demean, dehumanize, and emasculate Asian men.Queer girl with game -- do YOU sincerely feel that a "stupid ad" can excuse depictions that are anti- Asian men?Would you equally dismiss this if the target was another "minority" group?Sincerely?
Maybe they're comparing bad haircuts and his is the worst??? Or maybe his shirt was assembled in the US out of cloth produced in Egypt? Or, as a real estate agent, he finally found a spot to call his own?