Is MetroPCS's New Commercial Racist? Many Say "Ranjit and Chad" Are Indian Tech-Help Stereotypes

Last Updated Feb 10, 2010 3:20 PM EST

MetroPCS's new TV commercial -- featuring "Ranjit and Chad," two Indian tech experts who deliver "hot, spicy news!" -- has been accused of being racist on a variety of web sites (video below).

The ad features two middle-aged Indian men with dib-dib-dub-dub accents dispensing advice on cell phone usage. The joke relies on the notion that Indians are disproportionately employed as tech-help jockeys or in tech-help call centers. Here's a selection of backlash from around the blogosphere:
Adriane: With bellydancers backing two dorky, fast-talking Indian American computer wizards, it's veritably stuffed with flat, racist stereotypes. Counseling a customer stuck in a cell phone contract, the tecchies use the lop-sided language of the third world: "You are now like my uncle's cow, Godi -- tied to a post and milked at regular intervals."

And we're supposed to laugh? See for yourself. Or, protest and refuse to watch.

Brian "I don't care what you're driving" B.: I'm surprised that I haven't heard more backlash against the racist Metro PCS Tech & Talk commercials. Am I the only one who finds them deplorable? If they were Black or Asian or Latino rather than Indian, I think there would be riots in front of the Metro PCS headquarters.

Charmaine Ng: How in any way is this appropriate? It makes Indians appear stuck in the 80s, in love with distasteful patterns and crappy techno.
The problem here is that MetroPCS is getting ahead of its audience. You could argue that the ad is funny because it's actually an ironic satire about Indian sterotypes, and is thus critiquing the racism within itself. But for viewers without sociology degrees, it looks a lot more like "look at the funny Indians!"

One suspects this campaign will not be long-lived ...

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