VW Super Bowl spot sparks debate over Jamaican accent

01/31/2013 | Washington Post, The

There's already a Super Bowl ad controversy -- and the game is still days away. An early-release Volkswagen ad features a white man from Minnesota who drives a VW and doles out cheerful advice to his co-workers in a Jamaican accent. Some critics have called the ad racist -- "blackface with voices," said Charles Blow of The New York Times -- while others have countered that it is not a racist supposition to see Jamaicans, some of whom are white and Asian, as happy and positive. "If you look at the whole intent of the commercial for us, it's about making people happy. The idea is to put a smile on your face. It's simple and human and humorous," says VW rep Scott Vazin.

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