Monday, July 30, 2007

What do you see?

OK I have got to know what you all think about this picture.

Are we talking about racism, or just a dumb and clueless advertising executive again?

This picture could be like one of those psychological tests. You know the one where they show you a jumbled picture which could show a different image depending on what you want to see.

Personally, I see a bunch of field Negroes bowing down to "Charlie". I see that the black male is good for athletics and playing sports, and the white male is holding the office thing down.

But you might see something different. You might see young, strong, and agile black men. Ready to perform at an optimum level in the office environment, just like the software product that Intel is trying to push.

I wonder what the f**k the creator of this ad. saw?

Thanks Dani over at Truth Seekers for sending me this picture.


-=Topper=- said...

Well Way,,, Uh Field. I may just be WAY WAY WAY too objective. But I think I see too much.

Ok I am the fan of the visual and the metaphor. Let me point out a few here.

One: First glance fast. Black men bowing. First glance.

Two: Second, the athletic uniform colors are washed out, the yellow looks like its floating, which makes it look like an add on for something, but it makes the men look shirtless, which reminds me Kunta Kinte ( for want of anything else ) and which in turn reminds me of what?

Three: The yellow streak. FOR CHRISTS SAKE did they not think ANY of this through AT ALL.



Got a fire extinguisher? Man oh man.


Dani said...

It was weird. When I first saw it over on, all I saw was black heads bowing down to the white guy in the middle.

Then it was pointed out to me that it was a sprinter, to mean the speed of the new processor. After that, I could see the bodies in their ready positions for a sprint. Multiplied by 6 to show "6 times the speed" apparently.

Then I figured I would take it to someone who definitely can give me the black perspective better than I can as a white girl. ;-)

Though I can see that my first perspective was probably pretty right on as to what a lot of blacks will probably see. I just found it unsettling. They have several ads, and it's all showing multiple people, and even some animals, but non are used in this particular fashion.

rikyrah said...

I see what you see, FN.

Um, is this a case of us being' too sensitive'?

field negro said...

"topper" I figured you would see it as racist; but then, you are not your typical white boy.

I told you man, I am going to have to have to put you in "whiteness protection" cause some of these other white folks out here are going to get you :)

dani, if YOU found the ad. unsettling, you can imagine my first thoughts. But hey, that's just me. I see this kind of shit in everything.

Bad field negro, bad field negro ;)

field negro said...

rikyrah, I don't know, maybe we are :)

LongdeShizi said...

As someone who has worked in Intel, and have known some of the collateral and marketing're damn right they know exactly the connotations of the racial imagery of this ad. I will forward this image to a few brothers and sisters in Intel to get their take.

Intel people don't live in a bubble. The marketing folks reside in Oregon and California. And the amount of ethnic and racial sensitivity training is considerable.

I'm quite sure there was at least one internal conversation about the effect of the ad before they released it.

I am not Star Jones said...

racist and stupid yet the creators of the ad know their target audience won't care.

Tom Autopref said...

You guys are NOT being too sensitive. I don't know how they got there, but the image is definitely wrong.

Mwangangi said...

You go to work and this is what you miss. Wow. Just wow.

Drew said...

First, quick take looks like black men bowing. If that were it, I'd be tempted to say that there's a chance it's not racist.

But when you consider the meaning of the add, and how it is conveyed... I mean, the whole picture is saying something right?
Besides the implicit idea of the black dudes being athletic, while the white guy is getting stuff done at the office, there's fairly obvious idea that the black men are there to work for the white dude. Am I reading into the picture when I come up with that? Yeah I sure am... And what I'm inferring from it is EXACTLY what it is implying. Obejectively, the black men are representing a potential work force at the disposal of the white guy. So intented or not, it's racist, and my money is on it being intentional. Like Longdeshizi said, these people don't live in a bubble.

Non-Compassionate Liberal said...

Hard to tell exactly what color one or all of them (the bowed) are. Looks like a bunch of bald guys who might be worshipping the standing guy's hair, or maybe the standing guy's judging scalp-shines.

djtyg said...

All I can say is: WTF?!

Is it racist? Shit yeah, it's racist! What the hell was that ad exec thinking? Maybe it was along the lines of "Hey, let's ask my buddy from the Klan what he thinks would make a good ad!"

field negro said...

"or maybe the standing guy's judging scalp-shines."

Or maybe the bowing guys are checking out the standing guys "Johnson".

non-compassionate liberal, you are killing me here...

Anonymous said...

Ok, i'm too lazy to look up the history of this ad and post a comment so i'm just going to post a comment for now.

Anyways, this is the first time i've ever seen this site. From a very quick scan, I do like that while your views tend to lean more towards "the black man's injustice" you also question yourself and wonder if it's just "dumb white guy" at it again.

From seeing this, i'm much more interested in the development of this ad. I'm guessing this originated from some idiot or team of idiots in creative in an ad agency. From there, i really would like to know if this actually made it through all the reviews and eventually was endorsed by intel.

Maybe i am really blind to the extent of racial injustices but i find it hard to believe this didn't get chopped. However, I am amazed that it made this far that studio was willing to print it out to see what it would look like. In my opinion, you don't need to be sensitive to racial injustice to know to cut this ad. Being aware should be enough to know not to develop it. My guess is that after seeing the ad, an executive axed it. Afterwards, someone at the agency thought it was so amusing that the team MORON actually allowed it to get this far so he decided to post it somewhere on the web.

Even if an intel executive was horribly racist, you don't reach a high level position in corporate america without having at least a decent amount of sensibility. Whatever his/her personal views are, I just find it hard to believe he would be dumb enough to be that person who allowed an obviously racially insensitive picture to be shown on a world wide level.

I believe you don't have to be a minority to be discriminated against based on race. I'm not sure how prevalent that idea is today but i know in the past, there has been debate against that. I do know that I can't truly feel what it is like to be a black person receiving racial indignities which is why my reactions are different. I have to admit, if i saw this picture with my friends, we would all easily see the racial implications and burst out laughing about how ridiculous the ad is. If i didn't read this blog, i probably wouldn't stop think how a black person might feel about seeing this.

After such a long post, i'm going to end it with a question that really had nothign to do with why i started writing in the first place. What do u think about my previous statement? Does it bother you that my typical reaction would be to laugh rather than one that would make me think about injustices of our society?

Anonymous said...

No, black people aren't being too sensitive on this one, I immediately saw the same thing; black slaves bowing to or cowing in front of white master. White guy's smug expression doesn't help.


Slight twist though; I don't think obviously it was intended to invoke these feelings... Advertising is all about money, the bottom line is hurt by invoking negative imagery... if it needs to be intentional to be racist, then it isn't racist, but the biggest question is have is were the internal company censors asleep when they ran this ad by them? I mean, c'mon.

Liz said...

This is really offensive. I see a bunch of muscular, faceless, bald-headed black men bowing down to a smug-looking white man with the most boring outfit on earth, presumably the boss...wait, is that my ex boss in that ad?

Woozie said...

Wow. That ad is pretty terrible. But I think the last anonymous is right, if Intel's trying to push their product they wouldn't knowingly put out an ad so obviously racist. Internal censors mess up all the time.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

07 31 07

Whoa FN:
That is truly one of the foulest ads I have EVER seen! They ought to be ASHAMED of themselves! Intel? I thought they had more sense than that!

LongdeShizi said...

As I implied above. The folks at Intel know better. My friends at Intel immediately got it also.

So, until I get a definitive answer from intel, I'll reserve judgement about who did it.

As I look closely at the ad (by clicking on it), it does appear that the white guy is photoshopped in, including the shadowing. His position is too contrived. I could see the ad making sense without a central figure.

I think if someone at intel was stupid, it could just be stupid enough to create an add with black sprinters that could easily be modified to create what we see here.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Personally, I see a bunch of field Negroes bowing down to "Charlie". I see that the black male is good for athletics and playing sports, and the white male is holding the office thing down.

Field, you are correct, but those guys bending down are not Field Negroes.

They are HOUSE NEGROES. Get it right, brotha.

And yeah, another not clueless, but racist prick masquerading as an advertising executive who thought we'd be so clueless and so happy to see "our people" in this ad, that we'd ignore the subliminal message it sent to an already polarized nation.

Sometimes, these fools need to be dropped off on a curb in Compton, Anacostia District here in DC, East Oakland, worst area of Flatbush, wherever the worst neighborhood is, and allow those street brothas to get in that ass. We would probably get more improved advertising that way.

They want our dollars, but not US. There's some sick shyt going on in someone's head when they want our dollars but don't want to respect us or treat us with the same degree of dignity they would a VP who shot a man in the face.

LaJane Galt said...

I guess their upgraded processor is like the "well-oiled" powerhouse of the computer. I see these guys depicted as a source of power for the machine.

This is the 21st century version of dozens of rowers sitting in the galley of a boat with a coxswain/master barking "STROKE" through a megaphone. They don't think they row...they don't think they run [the machine].

Villager said...

Field ... I agree with your assessment. The ad is not-so-subtle racist in nature. But, at the end of the day, methinks that Intel simply doesn't give a fu*k.


field negro said...

You know what; I am going to wait on longdeshizi on this one;because they seem to have some inside sccop on Intel. If the picture is photoshopped, well,I guess I owe Intel or their an apology.

Christian prog. you might have me on this one. I think you are right, they would not be FN but
HN. Although, sometimes "Charlie" would go out of his way to make the FN bow. Now it wasn't easy, but he would sety an example for the other slaves by gettiing in the FN's ass.

"What do u think about my previous statement? Does it bother you that my typical reaction would be to laugh rather than one that would make me think about injustices of our society?"

anon. (a few posts up) I am not sure which statement you are talking about, so I can't answer you right now. You will have top clarify your statement for me.

LongdeShizi said...

There are definitely racist people at all levels at Intel. However, they are not so stupid as to want the potential negative publicity this ad would bring, and the negative damage to their brand. And there are alot of well-placed black people at that company who have enough talent not to compromise their dignity. So, I don't think Intel cares so much about being racially sensitive for its own sake; it's just about preserving that return on marketing investment. And, I think they may want to avoid an internal revolt of sorts (like the NBC black employees did with respect to Imus).

My contacts tell me that the marketing execs have gotten on this issue just yesterday. I imagine that they are fleshing out a PR response and investigating the root cause as we speak.

Anonymous said...

ya understand computer geeks and ners are "hyper-whites", according the ny times...

Joan Kelly said...

Except for the yellow streak thing, I saw what topper described at first glance.

I want to say also that as far as the idea of being too-sensitive goes, I flatly reject its existence in the first place. And I say that not with forcefulness towards you, rikyrah, for bringing that up. I just don't understand the logic of ever presuming someone would IMAGINE seeing something racist, when a) that shit's painful and humans tend to recoil from that kind of pain, not mentally create it for their viewing satisfaction and b) anyone who had some kind of inexplicable positive attraction to seeing/experiencing racism would have his/her hands full with the volume of it that already does, indeed, exist.

I don't intend for that to come across as trying to tell anyone their business or how to feel, just wanting to express my irritation with the idea that the validity of your feelings around this stuff would ever be treated dismissively.

Zimbel said...

I see 6 sprinters that are pissed off at each other ready to bash into each other's heads, leaving a mess (you know, like their processors). The central figure isn't going to be happy about Intel in about 2 seconds :-)

Or perhaps they're bluffing, and ready to tackle the smirk off of the central figure's face (replacement of a single weak core by six stronger cores?). Again, the central figure isn't going to be happy about Intel in about 2 seconds :-)

It's kind of hard to tell. However, even if they were trying to go for the second interpretation, it's still re-enforcing skin-color based stereotypes (light colored skin = clueless whimp; dark-colored skin = violent athlete).

They should pull the ad. Assuming that they ran it, they should also apologize, at minimum.

Zimbel said...


Interesting. I always considered nerds to be more anti-social, and (at times) actively rejecting certain social norms rather than having anything to do with skin color. My perception is that Asperger's Disorder (or Asperger's-like symptoms) is relatively common among this group, and may cause some of the traits (examples: literalism, inattentiveness to personal hygiene, difficulty with sense of humor) that seem extremely odd to non-Nerds.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

This ad was obviously created by white people, because Black people would never consider using this symbolism. What I see in this ad, symbolically, is white male supremacists' preferred relationship to Black men. They are the leaders and we are the labor, bowed at the waste to implement their vision for their benefit.

They make eye contact with the world, while we make eye contact with the ground, just like in the Jim Crow South.

I've haven't got a very high regard for the intellect of anyone who can see this ad and not perceive a color-aroused ideational process in it.

But, I understand that color-arousal really does affect the ability of the intellect to function properly, because color-arousal affects our perception, ideation, emotion and behavior.

This means that people who cannot perceive the color-arousal in this ad are not inherently unintelligent people. Rather, their ability to USE their intelligence is compromised by color-aroused perception and ideation (or color-aroused lack of perception and ideation).

Cross-posted with the insulting and demeaning white male supremacist Intel advertisement at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

There are a lot of chips that have better performance than Intel's chips for less money. That's why Intel sucks.

Christopher Chambers said...

Takes a lot to push that button in me. This is one of those times.

By the way, is it un Christian to pray for a brain tumor in the Chief Justice's so called brain? I thought this through and Dubya would only nominate someone crazier...

the black sentinel said...

I totally agree with you, this is definitely a racist looking ad. This is just more of that subtle propaganda that supposedly doesn't exist. Bow down to the man, I say never.

Hathor said...

At first I thought they were metal robots, with their color a reflection from the rest of the ad. The robots looked naked. Then I saw them as sprinters. I saw no connection to the ad or the person standing in the ad. It made no sense.

I only saw the connection through your perceptions.

Anonymous said...

I actually posted anonymously a few posts up, when I said the imagery was blatant, but drew the distinction between intentional imagery and internal sensors being simply asleep on the job.

I continue to believe that no major business org in their right minds would do something like this intentionally, and I disagreed with those folks who think it was intentional.

Businesses want profit; that's the only constant there is. Racist imagery hurts the company brand, which Intel has poured money into cultivating. This ad was boneheaded beyond reasoning but can only be intentional if a company wants to sabotage itself, which they never do.


Anonymous said...

My first glance was wow how the heck could that get released!

These guys aren't even in position to blast out of the blocks where at least they're heads would be up and eyes on the prize.

It's an unneccessarily subservient photo and speaks volumes about the thought processes of the creators.

The Angry Independent said...

I think this was supposed to be a knockoff of the "Blue Man Group" theme. But it just doesn't work.

I agree with what Villager had to say above...about intel not caring.

Denise said...

Of course the imagery is racist!! What are the chances that we'd see (even during Black History Month) a brother (or any person of color for that matter) surrounded by a group of white "sprinters"?

Better yet, replace the white male authority figure with white female and black "sprinters" with white ones and the underlying message flips into one of empowerment.

This is simply a example of racist frat boy "humor" on the corporate dime.

The Angry Independent said...

Oh yeah... one other thing.

Can you please bring back the Cooney Awards? I have been waiting patiently. You also now have a backlog of nominees eagerly waiting to hear about their awards.

*Debra Lee
*Jam Donaldson
*Reginald Hudlin
*BET group award...for the whole organization.

*Thurbert Baker
*D.L. Hughley
*Flavor Flav
*Carolyn Kilpatrick
*Julian Bond
*Al Sharpton (happy with Imus returning to Radio...hmmm)

*John Street
etc etc

The list is long...

field negro said...

AI, the coonies are coming, and I am seriously taking nominees. The potential coons you menioned have been noted :)

LongdeShizi said...

Ward Connerly should be top of the list. Especially as he kicks his 2008 anti-affirmative action campaign in high gear. He wants to get several more initiatives on states' ballots this year.

field negro said...

Yeah Ward is a scary dude!

Malcolm: said...

After several viewings, I keep seeing the same thing: 6 black men bowing at the feet of the smug, white boss man. There are so many other ways that Intel could conveyed the message that their product is efficient besides the image chosen.

brotherpeacemaker said...

This is just more evidence of the subtle programming of people day in and day out. The message is clear, white men still dominate and rule over black men. And what's even sadder is the fact that if you were to go to this white small business man's office environment, chances are that you would not see a single brother working for him.


Kitty Glendower said...

How many people plan to write to Intel? Or leave it for someone else to do?

field negro said...

kitty, I want to make sure the image wasn't photo shopped. If not, I will be writing or e-mailing, or something!

dc_speaks said...

WTF were they thinking?

everyone else has said enough already.

thanks, Field...again.

LongdeShizi said...


I have now come across someone that has seen this in print; so it can't be a photoshop.

-Caged Lion

LongdeShizi said...

You guys can directly tell one of the directors of marketing how you feel:

"posted by Nancy Bhagat on July 31, 2007

"Sprinter Ad

Intel’s intent of our ad titled “Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees” was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through the visual metaphor of a sprinter. We have used the visual of sprinters in the past successfully.

Unfortunately, our execution did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be insensitive and insulting. Upon recognizing this, we attempted to pull the ad from all publications but, unfortunately, we failed on one last media placement.

We are sorry and are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Nancy Bhagat Vice President, Director of Integrated Marketing"]

-Caged Lion

field negro said...

Thanks for the updates Caged Lion. I know they apologized, but I think I will still drop them a line...or two ;)

Thanks again for staying on top of this for us.

This is why I love the www.

brotherpeacemaker said...

I hope you don't mind but I feel the need to write a little something about this racist shit. I'd like to use the image on a blog post of my own.


brotherpeacemaker said...

I almost forgot. The next time people are looking for a computer or are thinking about upgrading the processor for their computer they may want to check out AMD. Intel needs a good kick in the teeth right now.


Dani said...

I have to say, this is why I love the www too, Field. The fastest way to get information around- and INFORM.

As to those who have brought up whether we're being over sensitive or not, all I can say is this. When it comes to issues of race, I think it's better to be over-sensitive than under.

That's when apathy and being dispassionate about the issue sets in. And I think we all know that we have WAY too much apathy in the world, especially when it comes to racism.


field negro said...

brotherpeacemaker, take this as an open invitation to always post anything you see on this site. It's all love as far as I am concerned.

dani, I forgot to thank you too, because you were the person who hipped me to this pic.

And you are right about racism and apathy. Somehow I think they tend to go hand in hand.

Michael Fisher said...

"racist and stupid yet the creators of the ad know their target audience won't care."

Nope. Exactly the opposite. They know their target audience will love it.

Nothing in advertising happens by accident.

Angel Marie said...

Field, this is my first post and I've been reading this blog for a while now(which is wonderful by the way) and after seeing this I am pissed . I'm glad you posted this. If we don't nip this in the bud, we'll definately be seeing more ads like this to come.

Anonymous said...

I work at Intel and used to work in the marketing group. I can gaurantee you that the racism in the ad were completely by accident. That group is definitely filled with morons, but not racists.

My immediate reaction was that it was racism against African Americans as the black man was bowing to the whitey boss. Other blogs had white people upset that it showed white man as being slow and dependent on black people to run for them. We live in a crazy world.

LongdeShizi said...

Here is another apology by Don MacDonald, Intel's highest marketing officer:

Apologies from Intel

We made a bad mistake. I know why and how, but that simply doesn't make it better.

The intent behind our ad campaign "Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees" was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through a number of visual metaphors. Unfortunately, while we have used a visual of sprinters in the past appropriately, this ad of using African-American sprinters did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be culturally insensitive and insulting.

Upon recognizing this, I directed that the creative be destroyed and this be immediately pulled from hundreds of planned or potential publications worldwide. I am aware of four remaining instances which were in flight, but we believe they have been intercepted and destroyed; we were not able to intercept two instances that had already shipped or are in transit. In addition, we continue to search for any remaining placements that may still exist that we are unaware of.

We are sincerely sorry and have identified specific steps covering heightened cultural sensitivity, our review and approval process, and just using more common sense to ensure that this does not happen again.

—Don MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing and director of global marketing

-Caged Lion

PS-some interesting comments on the Nancy Bhagat post

fairlane said...

"Personally, I see a bunch of field Negroes bowing down to "Charlie". I see that the black male is good for athletics and playing sports, and the white male is holding the office thing down."

That's pretty much what I saw.

Hell, I don't know what's going on.

I guess if I did, I'd be "Charlie."

djtyg said...

I sent the pic into an urban legend website that checks the validity of stuff on the web and they confirmed that this is a real ad that was recalled after public outcry:

djtyg said...

Damn! The link didn't work. Anyway, go to and look it up.

Chris said...

my response is that it took me about 20 seconds to even figure out what the hell you were talking about. i didn't even notice

Hathor said...

I figured out why my first impression was different than everyone elses. The resolution and color was slightly different on my LCD screen. On a different computer with a different monitor, I immediately saw that they were racers, with a yellow and black suit on. I could tell more about their features too.

fairlane said...

After numerous complaints, Intel pulled the ad, and issued an apology.

Anonymous said...