Lacking material in every category, I finally decided to study commercials since they are easily accessible on YouTube. In this Bud Light commercial, there is an instructor who is teaching immigrants on how to speak proper English while ordering a Bud Light, because in America, English is the norm. However, if people want a Bud Light from them, they can revert back to their immigrant status and say “no speak English”. We can clearly see who is normal in these commercials. The instructor who knows how to speak proper English in America is normal compared to the immigrants who are considered deviant. According to Becker, if a group cannot obey the group rules, then their purpose will be hindered. It seems like if these immigrants knew how to order their beer in English, then they are finally accepted in the group and their purpose of speaking English properly will be achieved (Becker 1963). However, by saying “no speak English” to fight off people who wants to have their beer, they revert back to the immigrant stereotype that they are anti-social and unapproachable.
A black man sat beside an elderly white woman at a bus stop. Frightened, she decides to clutch onto her purse and puts her purse on the other side, out of his reach. The black man is amused because this old lady is associating his skin color (master status) to many misconceptions about black people, that they are deviants, dangerous, criminals, and robbers. In comparison, this old lady is normal, innocent, and needs protection. Feeling humorous, the black man decides to scare the old lady and she runs away. In some way, the message can be translated along the lines of “if you distance away from black people, you can be safe” because in the end, she ends up running away from him. We can understand more of this issue of racism in one of the clips we watched for class called What Would You Do? Racism in America (ABC 2008). People were more aware of Black people in general and frightened by them.
Snickers, a chocolate bar brand, made an ad that made fun of gayness. In this commercial, a white man is speed walking down the street. Suddenly, a black man pops out of a tank and shouts condescending words about speed walking and associating it to being gay. He says that the speed walker is a disgrace to the “man race” and he needs to run like a real man. Obviously, the man who’s speed walking is the deviant because he’s acting gay and he’s being mocked by pointing out that he’s not a man anymore, in terms of race and gender. This reminds me the reading from Scudera who writes that being gay can seem to have an effect on objects or actions (2011). The norm in this case is a man who’s muscular and holding a weapon. This image creates a difference in manliness between them. At the end of the commercial, the man in the tank proceeds to shoot the speed walker so he would start running like a man. By correcting the white man’s actions so that he wouldn’t act gay anymore, that expresses the media’s ideals of heterosexuality and manliness.
And lastly, we all wear clothing in our culture because it is the norm. If a person walks around only in underwear, people would react to his or her indecency negatively and he would probably be stopped by an officer. In this commercial, a man works in an office environment and he is exposed to something that is not the norm. All his deviant coworkers are wearing nothing but underwear on casual Fridays while he (looking uncomfortably) is only wearing normal clothing by our standards, looking as though it may seem he is actually the deviant one because he does not fit in the norm of his environment. The end of the commercial clearly shows that we can express ourselves without the need to strip down by building our career elsewhere. By doing this, our normal values are preserved and we will not need to blend in at an odd place.
Word Count: 691
ABC. 2008. “What Would You Do? Racism in America.” YouTube Web site. Retrieved January 21, 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNu-WZdHzaA&feature=player_embedded)
Becker, Howard. 1963. The Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York, NY: Free Press.
Scudera, Domenick. 2011. “My Gay Lifestyle.” Huffington Post, November 1, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/domenick-scudera/my-gay-lifestyle_b_1063570.html)