Is Norfolk Southern Ad Racist?


keepingthelightson

If you read this blog with any regularity you will be familiar with my advertising hobbyhorse that I like to take out of the stable and ride from time to time. My gripe today is with the Norfolk Southern railway ad that plays on many main and cable networks. I am as pasty white complected as they come, but this ad strikes me as racist. Let me explain.

So the white guy did all the important things while the black guy just maintains things as they are until, one assumes, the white guy gets back to work the next day.

In the ad, titled Just another day, two NS employees are chatting as they change shifts at the end of the day. A white guy who is going off duty, and a black guy who is about to start his shift have a friendly talk. The black guy asks the white guy how his day was. The white guy then tells him the important things he contributed to by seeing that the train ran smoothly including delivering cars and electronics, stocking grocery shelves, and providing food for the nation. The white guy then asks his black colleague what he will be doing during his shift and he replies “Nothing much, just keeping the lights on”.

So the white guy did all the important things while the black guy just maintains things as they are until, one assumes, the white guy gets back to work the next day. Couldn’t the black guy have done the important stuff? He gets to have a nice easy shift, maybe he’ll have a nap or two, then the white guy can do all those meaningful things again. Maybe I’m just too sensitive.  

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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