1966 chip commercial racist, then terrifying

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/19/1966-chip-commercial-racist-t.html


Was that really Douglas?

After having his bag of chips stolen by Columbus, the Indian sinks down behind the rock laughing because the cholesterol and carbs are lethal?


Yeah, that does portray white people as invading thieves. How dare they!? /s


Racist?! Why it’s just a manifestation of its era! Standards were different back then, and you’re just applying today’s standards to suit your PC agenda! Bla bla bla etc etc


aside from what is now recognized as appalling racism, i just love bert lahr. he’s such a dandy lion.


Ask your kid (younger than 20) what they call someone who gives something away then takes it back. They’ll have no idea what an “Indian Giver” is and will call you a racist for telling them.

Edit: Googling “racist commercials” is a rat hole I’m not interested in going down this morning. Maybe when I’m off next week and bored at my in-laws’ place.


Well, Lahr is no Frito Bandito…


What makes the Hottentot so hot? Courage.
What puts the “ape” in ape-ricot? Courage.
Whatta they got that I ain’t got? Courage!
You can say that again.


I wonder if the person doing the commercial felt they were being clever by referencing potatoes as a New World food.


Whelp. Those were different times.
Still, kinda hard and cringey to watch today.


While outrageous and very insensitive it’s a commercial from the 60’s so definitely it should be treated as a case study of how much things have changed. I think the bit of the commercial that shows the American Indian/Native as naive and somewhat dim witted vs the European as inherently sophisticated is… really something.

But then again, commercials have never really been all that subtle for the most part.


Nine out of ten serial killers agree, monotonously consuming soulless products enables the economy.


Lest you think it was only the advertisers, the TV programs of the era were often just as awful. Ah, the good awful days!

But being able to recognize the awfulness (and the wonderful rare contemporaneous exceptions; Rod Serling and Gene Rodenberry come to mind) later in such media and in ourselves is a sign of hope.


Lay’s Potato Chips. So light, so thin, so crisp, you could kill 15 million of them.


See that’s what we need again…the simpler better times. When we were all happier.


No cholesterol in Lay’s chips. Unless maybe they were cooking them in animal fat back in the 60s?

Oh, this just popped into my head. So this commercial is from the 60’s, and one thinks… “Man that era sure was racist. Times have changed”. Well it seems like it sure lasted well beyond the 60’s.

Case in point. The Hollywood film Soul Man. Person to look out for: James Earl Jones is in there as Smart Black Man™ to lend some gravitas to this disgrace.


The expression “Indian Giver” makes sense if you think of white people signing treaties for land or food or money which they promised to Indians and took back, or never gave in the first place. Historically which group went back on their deals more, with bigger stakes – European invaders or Native Americans? Christ, now I’m thinking people will take this as a conservative defense of colonialism and genocide because Poe’s law. I mean if you think of Indians as the victims of the deal, not the ones making & breaking the deal, then the expression makes sense. Like Trump is an accused pussy grabber. That doesn’t mean the pussy did the grabbing. Well, you know what I mean.


There was a big shift sometime in the early 90s. Up through the 80s Hollywood was still trying to figure out exactly where the racism line was. Another example like “Soul Man” is the movie “Short Circuit” - which I remembered as a fun if stupid kids movie from when I was a kid. But they had no problem sticking Fisher Stevens in makeup to play an Indian guy with a horrible stereotyped accent and today it’s hard to watch (and really, not worth watching except as a cultural artifact of its time). Nobody in 1986 even blinked.