Bring back some good or bad memories


September 11, 2022

Rice Council of America Ad on LIFE Magazine, 1967

Obesity is one of the most common diseases among Americans since burgers were invented. Americans go on diets high in carbohydrates because they mainly include potatoes. Back in the 1960s, the Rice Council of America made commercials to raise awareness and switch potatoes for rice.

This public service ad by the Rice Council of America, published on LIFE magazine in 1967, is another prime example of racism in advertising. In this print ad, consumers are being encouraged to switch from their usual breakfast staple of pancake, bacon, and eggs to rice. For those who are concerned about gaining weight, they ask the readers if they have ever seen a fat Chinese, with the assumption that they will say no or never, thus giving the board the opening to convince customers to buy rice.

While some people who would love to stay thin might not understand how this ad is offensive, this is racist and insensitive for the ethnic Chinese who moved to the US in the early 1900s. They strived as mining workers and suffered racial discrimination at all levels of society. They were maltreated by their industrial employers who hired them as “cheap Chinese labor.”

During that period, Americans rarely, if ever, saw a fat Chinese not because they were voluntarily on a diet to maintain their figure but because they weren’t treated well or paid enough to have enough food on the table.

1 comment:

  1. Kindly spare your readers lectures about racism. This is an insensitive advertisement, but people need to see it for what it is; tasteless marketing. We laughed at stereotypes back then, but that didn't make us cruel, vicious, or racist. Just jerks. 1967 wasn't perfect, but Chinese were not openly assaulted in the streets of San Francisco and New York City then as they are in these modern days of 'diversity' and 'equity'.

    By the way, my Chinese wife isn't fat. Does that make me a racist?




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