Political ads tend to be about one thing: pushing people’s buttons. Get a voter in the gut, and you’ve got him at the polls.
tough economic times, a popular way to grab the white working class is
by stirring up the us vs. them antagonism that simmers in the shadowy
recesses of our lizard brains.
Resentment toward African-Americans
has long been a focus of such appeals. Think Sen. Jesse Helms’s famous
“white hands” ad from 1990, in which a Caucasian man’s hands are shown
crumpling up a job-rejection notice as the narrator decries the quotas
ostensibly championed by Helms’s (black) foe. More recently, Latinos have become the hot bogeyman.
ethnic group largely exempt from such race baiting in recent years has
been Asians. Widely regarded in the U.S. as a “model minority”—itself a
bit of stereotyping—Asian caricatures have not generally been used to
fan popular outrage. Until now.