Few people pay much attention to European Union public information campaigns, except when they misfire. This seems to be happening with one particular set of ads designed to boost the public’s enthusiasm for EU enlargement.
The European Commission on Tuesday took down a video it released last week that critics claimed was veering on racism. In the clip, still visible here, the EU is cast as “The Bride”, the yellow tracksuit-donning martial artist played by Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.
The clip features the heroine being besieged by a group of assailants which – and this is where the problems lie – are grossly stereotyped versions of India, China and Brazil. The impending threat they pose is disarmed when the EU fighter multiplies into 12 fighters who can intimidate the savages into peaceful dialogue.
Is this really offensive? Arguably, the stereotypes are used for a reason: because we see them everywhere, including in films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and video games. Read more