Culture Jam assignment

dg or2

dg or1


These ads for Dolce & Gabbana contain stereotypes of ethnic hierarchy. These stereotypes are explicitly portrayed to clearly communicate their intentions.

(Although the ideas I describe here are somewhat obvious, it may be received with different degrees of strength for different people. Here, I describe my personal interpretations.)

First, the images make it clear that  there is a distinction associated with skin color. Those who seem to be from an Asian ethnic background are grabbing their food with their hands implying the idea of ‘primitive’ or ‘uncultured’ behaviors while juxtaposed by the sense of modernity suggested by the use of smartphones in the images. Among the people who are standing up, only the people who seem to be of Hispanic background are holding their food and standing up, unable to sit at the table for their meal. This suggests the stereotype of them being servants or having occupations that serve the ‘White’ people.  The only woman who seem to be of an African-American background is positioned at a distance from the rest and even looks quite depressed. The segregation by groups seem obvious in both images by how people are positioned.

With this degree of explicitness, one could wonder why the company is using such an ad and for what purpose. It must be noted that ethnic hierarchy is in line with colonialism and colonialism has strong ties with capitalism as they share the idea of assigning value and hierarchy on people. Furthermore, fashion is rooted in capitalism as it promotes consumption of goods within rapidly changing markets or trends. Using this idea I argue that the the ads are specifically targeting consumers who gain satisfaction from elevating their positions in an imagined hierarchy based on ethnicity. People do not have to believe in racism to utilize the idea of ethnic hierarchy since the prevalence of the idea itself can be enough to please the people who can benefit from those ideas.



Because the original images were simply displays of discriminating ideas, I have simply removed those aspects of the images and ended up with the above image. Personally, I found it hilarious that you can create such a contrasting image in terms of the idea it conveys just by removing some parts of the original images. Again, this reinforces the idea that the ads were deliberately created to convey the idea of ethnic hierarchy.

It is my view that the stress stemming from globalization of the world economy has pushed many people to point fingers at others around them who look different for the causes of their troubles and subsequently embraced the old ideas of elitist exclusionary societies. With the above image, I wanted to have an atmosphere that is comforting and natural for people to be around different ethnic backgrounds while eliminating ideas of hierarchy.