Geico Caveman Commercials Irk Me

I’ve gone back and forth about writing this post several times. There’s one part of me that says, “This is such a minor thing, why even bother?” Another part of me says, “If you don’t get it out of your system you’ll end up stabbing an advertising executive somewhere.” So I shall blog.

Who amongst us hasn’t seen the Geico Caveman commercials? The basic template is:

“Using Geico.com is so easy, a caveman could do it!”
[caveman gets upset]

Here’s a compendium of them on YouTube.

The first time I saw these commercials I didn’t think much of them. I got the joke, found it to be only slightly funny, but it didn’t piss me off so much. It’s a send-up of how easy it is for some commercials to unwittingly offend and also a send-up of folks who get overly offended at small things like stupid and ill-conceived commercials.

I fully realize that by talking about this at all I am taking a first class seat on the irony train.

But I really felt, as the commercials went on and got more elaborate, that they were making light of an actual problem in our society. And, I have to say, I’m really starting to feel like they’re a little bit racist.

In the world of the commercials, the cavemen are mostly well-educated, cosmopolitan people–no, no, Men, because we have yet to see a female cave person–who hold jobs and have plenty of money and seem middle or upper class. When they hear the line about ‘so easy a caveman could do it’ (or see posters about it) they become offended because the commercial insinuates that they are nothing but stupid, bipedal animals only capable of the simplest of tasks. No matter how they try to address this issue – by talking directly to Geico, by appearing on Bill O’Reilly-type cable news channel shows, or even by going to therapy – the message they get from everyone is that the commercials are valid because, well, cavemen are just simple, stupid bipeds barely above animals. There’s even a commercial where one caveman is disappointed in another caveman for ‘selling out’ by getting insurance through Geico.

If this isn’t clear to everyone by now, I think the Cavemen are really thinly veiled pastiches of black people! Their skin is even dark (but not too dark or else someone might get offended). They’re seen as simple, stupid creatures. They have a hard time getting white people to understand their feelings about the issue. In the end, the prevailing opinion is that the slogan is fair because the cavemen really are what others think they are, despite the evidence. And, let’s not forget, that the cavemen are really just being oversensitive to begin with.

If anyone out there doesn’t get how this is exactly the struggle black folks have been having with the white-dominated media since… well, since minstrel shows, let me know. I will school you.

Looking at these commercials and how very (detailed? accurate? historically-minded?) they are, I have to wonder if the advertisers are being racist or if they’re making a point about how far we have and haven’t come in terms of race relations and the media. Are they sending out a veiled message that people should stop being so damn sensitive about racism (or sexism or queerism or whatever) in commercials and making fun of people that are? Are they being subversive? Or are they just a bunch of people who are too stupid to understand the message they’re sending and just think it’s a funny, funny joke?

I honestly can’t tell.

Which is why the commercials irk me. I don’t know whether to be full-out angry or just annoyed or ignore the whole thing. What do you think, faithful readers?

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274 Responses

  1. Man, that’s just stupid.

  2. Think you might be reading to much into this one. See your points, but I feel you answered your own question, “people should stop being so damn sensitive”.

  3. Why isn’t there a female caveman?… because its “So easy a caveMAN can do it”… not caveperson.

    I’m also writing this comment to let you know I’m actively trying to hold black people black, which is what you probably assume EVERYTHING in this country is doing.

    Stop complaining and prove the racists wrong. George Washington Carver did, but Ludacris set you farther back than you started.

  4. ABW: Damn, girl, it’s not even noon yet, and we’ve already got three people who need a lesson on privilege!

    Anyway, from the very first commercial I thought that the caveman could be substituted for a Black man. By the way, have you ever noticed that everyone who tells CM that it’s no big deal is White?

    Even though I like the CM concept better than the cockney gecko, it is getting tiresome because I honestly don’t think that the producers of these commercials realize how true to life these situations really are for people of color. I don’t think that they’re “making a point about how far we have and haven’t come in terms of race relations and the media”, I just think that maybe somebody brought up the issue of being “politically correct” and “too sensitive” and they thought it was a good idea to use in order to make a buck.

    By the way, the ads are created by The Martin Agency.

  5. ABW,
    I’ve had the same curiosities/thoughts. Sometimes I’ve tried to think the commercials are subversive, as I see the non-caveman people depicted as deeply insensitive. The news person and the therapist, for example, are asshats. On the other hand, that’s pretty subtle, and the mocking of discrimination and its effects on people couldn’t be more obvious.

  6. I suppose I can understand how you arrived at your conclusions, but (because of my background) view the world through a different prism.

    I think your argument would have more merit if the agency hadn’t gone to such great lengths to make the Cavemen mimic the stereotype of a neurotic white yuppie (I mean, come on — the restaurant scene where a caveman orders “roast duck with mango salsa,” or in the airport wearing his sweater over his shoulders, carrying a tennis racket, etc.)

    While I hope I’m not a stereotypical white yuppie, frankly, when I watch these commercials I identify with the caveman.

    To me, the cavemen are portrayed in a sympathetic way — frustrated at being misunderstood and stereotyped, etc., while the “O’Reilly host guy,” the therapist, etc. are portrayed as insensitive, shallow morons.

    So, perhaps the ad is saying that people are oversensitive. But at the same time, they’re poking fun at the ignorant “racists” that hold harmful stereotypes in the first place.

  7. Hork,

    I don’t necessarily see the traits you describe as being stereotypical of ‘white’ yuppies only. The restaurant scene in particular I saw as the cavemen proving they were high class by ordering food that marks them as such. Or by showing that they enjoy food that ‘white’ people enjoy as well.

    Same with the airport scene. I’ve seen some buppies (black yuppies) who dress that way.

    What I find very interesting about this is that both of our interpretations are valid. You see a send up of white yuppies and I see a send up of black yuppies. Either way, the majority of the cavemen we see are yuppie types.

  8. ABW.

    “In the world of the commercials, the cavemen are mostly well-educated, cosmopolitan people–no, no, Men, because we have yet to see a female cave person–who hold jobs and have plenty of money and seem middle or upper class.’

    I too felt the same way in the ads never showing cavewomen.

    I asked myself:

    “Where are all the cavewomen? Do these cavemen spontaneously burst upon the Earth without any help from women birthing them?

    All I could think of was the title of a book on the “invisible” history of black women in America:

    “All the Women are White, All the Blacks ARE MEN, But, Some of Us Are Brave.”

    Just as this commercial has only shown cavemen, so it is the same in the white-run media for years, as if only black men exist and represent the black race, and as if black women are none-existent and do not qualify as human enough to be even black.

    Quick!

    When I say the following words, what image comes to mind?

    Woman.

    Black.

    Yeah, I thought so.

  9. Personally, I always sympathized with the cavemen and felt their treatment at the hands of the ignorami was unjust, and I thought it was a rather clever play on a problem that all minorities receive from the white minority. The yuppie/lack of females angle is making me rethink that, though… so now I’m not sure.

    I do think the sympathetic characters are the cavemen, though, and I think that’s deliberate. What it indicates beyond that… I’m not sure anymore.

  10. I’ve never liked the commercials or found them funny. It felt almost like picking on the mentally retarded or some other traditionally belittled group. I hope they change their ads soon, they really give me a bad taste in my mouth.

  11. I felt the same way you did about the commercials. I thought to myself that the way the caveman was being treated seemed like the same way African Americans are treated. We have been and still are belittled in the same way. I don’t see how anyone could not see the similarities. Also, the earlier comments bring to light something that really irks me. You kidnap our people from Africa, commit genocide and enslave them, rape our women, destroy our families, promise reparations after slavery but never deliver, have scientists do fraudulent research to prove their racism is justified, enact government policies for the sole purpose of keeping us down, allow terrorist hate groups to murder us and when we are angry about it we are too sensitive??? You people are ignorant, insensitive, self-absorbed, and are not even worth my time. Do you know how ridiculous you sound.
    Now, when people state they have been a victim of racism or that something is racist it is common for White people to say ‘you are being too sensitive’, you don’t even know what it is like to be the victim or racism or to be devalued in society and you quickly jump to think the person must be wrong. You are disgusting!

  12. There’s an excellent article (at the link I’ve provided) that articulates your vague misgivings. The key insight of the article is this: What people are laughing at is the painstaking portrayal of an absurdly inflated sense of entitlement on the part of the cavemen — the suggestion is that it’s funny and strangely fitting that the cavemen are appropriating the language of cultural critics, because our criticism is inherently absurd and overblown in the first place.

    To me, the cavemen are very reminsicent of Frasier Crane — no one ever took his claims of entitlement seriously, and he always got his comic comeuppance at the end. The caveman trope is an attempt to take the audience response to an effete, wealthy, media-empowered Seattle WM, and elicit the same response with respect to every aggrieved group that’s out there. The intent and effect of the Geico campaign is to silence us.

  13. I doubt that Geico is being ironic or engaging in some attempt to challenge racist stereotypes.

    However, just as literature is open for interpretation(s) once it’s out of the author’s hands, I think that it is acceptable and sometimes /necessary/ to interpret media in radical and creative ways in order to combat oppression. The intent of the creators matters less than our own critical analysis, perception, and response (s).

  14. Looking at these commercials and how very (detailed? accurate? historically-minded?) they are, I have to wonder if the advertisers are being racist or if they’re making a point about how far we have and haven’t come in terms of race relations and the media. Are they sending out a veiled message that people should stop being so damn sensitive about racism (or sexism or queerism or whatever) in commercials and making fun of people that are? Are they being subversive? Or are they just a bunch of people who are too stupid to understand the message they’re sending and just think it’s a funny, funny joke?

    I have the same evaluative problems with that campaign. I laughed at them, but when I thought about it, I found myself laughing because I related to the frustrations of the caveman.

  15. I don’t think you’re reading anything into it. I took the darkish skin as a reference to ANY group other than whites, as opposed to specifically blacks.

    But I see it in a positive light because it’s the first thing I’ve ever seen that blatantly makes fun of privilege and how very happily ignorant privileged people can afford to be, and how hopeless it is for him trying to get them to see the proof right in front of their eyes that he’s considerably more than capable of signing up for insurance.

  16. Well, I really didn’t get “racism” from the commericals. I actually, thought it was a funny jab at sterotypes, and how we make a fool out of ourselves by assumptions. Perhaps you are reading a bit to much into it. Though this is a rather interesting point of view about how racism is ever so subtlety pushed through our cosumer culture.

  17. It’s a shame that white audiences can’t handle hearing about the perspectives of real people who experience racism, so the only way of communicating to them is through this counterfactual scenario.

    I think the commercials have effect of ridiculing complaints about racism as not being based in reality and therefore exaggerated and hypersensitive. Overall, the campaign comes off as an attack on the supposed overreactions of people with PC sensibilities who make it so difficult for well-meaning white men to navigate social discourse in this modern world.

    In addition to “Frasier” (see my comment #12 above), I think “South Park” is an accurate forerunner for the likely approach of the forthcoming “Geico Caveman” sitcom. The town of South Park is nearly all-white by design. In the handful of episodes where the African American character Token (and his family) appears, he is presented as an affluent model minority with right-wing libertarian sensibilities. The character Chef is a male Mammy, a clown who raises no racial issues during his oversexed musical interludes. To the extent racial grievances have ever been raised on the show, they’ve consistently been trivialized and ridiculed, and explained away at the end by one of the principals at the end — usually Stan, the right-wing libertarian voice of reason.

    Click on my name for another good article about this.

  18. This blogger has a major chip on their shoulder.

  19. Sue:

    NO WAI!!

    p.s. Way to be a part of an intelligent discourse there, sunny Jim.

  20. It’s always interesting to me how people who stumble upon this blog via reddit or digg or, haha, stumbleupon, choose to enter the discourse. In the case of the first three people, they chose to enter as raging assholes. Ah, white privilege.

    I don’t get if Former marine is saying that *I* said somewhere people should stop being so sensitive. Maybe he misread my ‘oversensitive’ comment an an opinion I have rather than the opinion the commercials seem to have.

    In any case, I would never tell a member of a minority group that they were being ‘too sensitive’ over something that offended them. Why? Because I don’t wallow in my privilege. It’s always been my experience that people with privilege and people with nothing at stake in a particular issue are always the ones who demand that others stop being ‘so sensitive’. So my answer to that is: No, I’m not being too sensitive about this, you’re being INsensitive, and that makes you a jerk.

    Runner’s comments managed to mix in sexism and racism.

    Why isn’t there a female caveman?… because its “So easy a caveMAN can do it”… not caveperson.

    *sigh* First, I never asked why there wasn’t a female caveperson shown, all I said was ‘we’ve yet to see one’. I wouldn’t even bother asking that question because I already know why there aren’t any – and it’s not the stupid-ass reason you mention.

    First, in our culture, MAN is seen as the default. So we have that going on. And many times when people engage in general racial stereotyping, the image they have in their head is of the male. Who are white folks really afraid of? The Black Male – he’s dangerous, yanno. There are a bunch of him in jail and a bunch more of him committing crime and he’s always out to get in the panties of white women. Whenever immigration issues come up, who white folks think of? The Latino Male. He’s crossing our borders and working in the orange groves and taking our jobs!

    Any time there is general stereotyping going on (as opposed to specific stereotyping that involves popping out ‘too many’ babies or walking around dressed in a slutty way enticing good clean white men to sexual deviance) it’s usually represented by the male.

    Even if the first word that rolls off the tongue was ‘caveperson’, we still wouldn’t see any cavewomen.

    I’m also writing this comment to let you know I’m actively trying to hold black people black, which is what you probably assume EVERYTHING in this country is doing.

    Ah, the first blush of white reactionary silliness. Because, yes, any time a black person discusses racism at all it totally means they are completely overboard and thinking that every white person is ‘keeping me down’.

    Why to be a credit to your race there, hon.

    Stop complaining and prove the racists wrong. George Washington Carver did, but Ludacris set you farther back than you started.

    Now this part of the comment is actually interesting and worthy of some deep attention.

    “Stop complaining and prove the racists wrong.”

    The implications of this statement are rampant! It implies that complaining never did anyone any good. Why, we achieved civil rights for black people by sitting at home and waiting for white people to wake up and realize that Jim Crow was kind of wrong.

    I’m called upon to prove the racists wrong. How, exactly? What is it about this post or this site that doesn’t prove racists wrong? Also, what are we proving them wrong about, exactly? There are so many beliefs people hold, how to pick just one? Maybe the racists think that black people complain too much. So by not complaining, I prove to racists that black people don’t complain and therefore we are okay. Is that it?

    Maybe the clue is in the next sentence: “George Washington Carver did” GWC proved racists wrong by finding 12,000 new uses for the sweet potato. So what this commenter is implying I do is go out and find new uses for the white potato? Or maybe what he’s saying is that GWC was really smart and articulate. But he didn’t do much in the way of directly challenging white people, he just did what he did and was good at it. Maybe I’m supposed to stop challenging white people and just go be smart in a corner somewhere.

    “but Ludacris set you farther back than you started.”

    I’m not aware of there being two separate bathrooms or water fountains anywhere in this country. I’m not aware of any rule that says I have to sit in the back of the bus, or ride in a special colored only car in a train. I’m not aware of any law that says I cannot vote because I have one drop of black blood in me. So please explain to me where exactly Ludacris set *me* back to.

    From my point of view, the only thing setting or holding me or any black person back from anything is ignorant people with small minds.

    p.s. hey Andrew, thanks for the links!

  21. When I first saw these commercials, I could see they were making fun of PC-types who “complain” at everything.

    They seemed to say that people didn’t have the right to expect the media or anyone else to listen to their complaints or take them seriously.

    It pissed me off, because the media is an unabashed display of stereotypes, and prejudices. Everyone should always have the right to complain about them.

    I definitely see these commericals taking away the voice of the “caveman”– he is constantly being put down, belittled, ignored.

    So what does this say about the possibility of social change? It doesn’t exist in the Geico world.

    But now that the commercials are more popular, (and turning into a TV show), it’s a bit more insidious. And what’s worse– they lure with a levity, humor and charm. I have to admit, I laugh at the caveman party where one guy is so excited about getting back with his (unseen! as others have noted) girlfriend.

    That’s how they get you– with an easy laugh.

    I would say that the commercials are not only racist against black people– but that the caveman is a stand-in for all disenfranchised/ disempowered groups– people of color, gays, women.

    And I don’t buy the argument that people can “sympathize” with the caveman. Sympathy just isn’t good enough.

  22. per the ludicrous Ludacris business: sounds like someone’s a fan of Bill O’Rly? i guess someone had to be…

    yeah, i dunno. being without cable, i’ve only caught one or two of these here and there. it’d be interesting to find out whose brainchild these were and what else they have on their resume, maybe?

  23. Whose has GEICO as their auto insurer? That’s the real point of the commercials: to get the public’s attention… the commercials are supposed to be funny, catch your attention and make you realize that its simple to just make a phone call or go on the internet and get a quote. They may not be funny to everyone, but they certainly grabbed your attention. Does it really matter what sex or what color a caveman is? If they have the cheapest quote and its simple to switch insurance, they will be the carrier of choice.

  24. KMD – so what? It doesn’t matter if the commercial’s main intent is to sell anything. That in no way invalidates this discussion (to which you’ve added nothing substantive. Go you!)

  25. Although I like you because you make some very valid points about racism, however on this one, you lost me. They’re being funny!!!!!! Caveman making fun of mainstreem society. Laugh girl! You need that break from all the true racist things that happens in our society that make you want to holler.

    peace!

  26. I have become very upset with these Geico commercials. They actually have found a way to BE racist without aiming their bigotry at anyone who is alive! Still, racism is racism. It’s like they wish they could have said: even a Jew, or even a Black, or even a Korean could do it—-but of course, that would be blatant. So, they were able to use the same approach, but more insidiously.

    I find these commercials UTTERLY racist, and the more I see them, and the more high-toned they become, the more angry I get.

  27. You are absolutely right.

    I just googled “geico caveman politically correct” to see if I could find anyone else who thought so, and that’s how I found you.

  28. Apparently they’re getting their own sitcom:

    http://www.esquire.com/the-side/geico032007

  29. cavemen are black people? your the one, and only one who made that connection.

    if commercials about cavemen being offended by commercials of stupid cavemen offends you then the shoe must fit. so wear it. which you have done very well.

  30. umm…”ten” that comment peeved me in so many ways…you seem very ignorant

    i did find a little humor in the commercials though but that is only because most jokes are hardly PC…(although at one point i did find myself wondering whether i should be offended or not; especially after watching the “interview” and the “counseling/shrink” ones)

    sometimes youve just got to laugh at yourself…comedians get most of their material from personal experiences and true life in general and for some odd reason we still find them funny

  31. Truly amazing that you can see ANYTHING beyond the sheer stupidity of these dumb F’ing commercials.

    In a hypothetical world where Cavemen live among us and hold jobs and speak English, WHY would they use the byline “So Easy A Caveman Can Do It”???

    It makes NO SENSE!

    Racist??? No.
    Mentally Retarded??? YES!!

  32. ok the first one was funny.but more than anything else they’ve just beat the whole concept into the ground.maybe if Geico wouldve just left it at one or two it wouldnt seem like such a big deal.Every week it seems there is a new one,but i doubt it is really meant to make us think,its only meant to get us to purchase car insurance,also has anyone else heard the rumor that there is to be a TV show made out of this ca ca!

  33. wow, Kenny. You are not in any way a science fiction fan, are you?

    Let me ask you something – in a world where black people live among us and speak English, why would a furniture company label their products as being “Nigger-brown” in color?

    In a world where black people live among us and speak English, why would a toy company make a device called the “Jolly Nigger Bank” ?

    You act as if the caveman situation doesn’t have real-world parallels. And yet, you are wrong.

  34. I’m not familiar with “nigger-brown” furniture. I’m also not familiar with the “Jolly Nigger Bank”. I’d find it extremely difficult to believe that either of these products is sold in the ultra-litigious and racially-sensitive USA…unless, of course, they were some sort of hip-hop paraphernalia.

    Let me ask you something, in a world where the word “nigger” is considered vile, and where black people live among us and speak English, why do they refer to each other as “niggers”?

    The silly Geico commercial does not have real-world parallels, except for those you have imagined. And if you see the Caveman as being a parallel to black people, then perhaps you should hold black people in higher regard.

    BTW, have you seen the commercial for Nair?? I’m quite certain you noticed that the word “Nair” starts with an N and ends with an R, just like the word “nigger”.
    Coincidence?????
    I THINK NOT!

  35. Kenny, you are now “On Notice”. That means I’m moderating your stupid ass until you stop being a reactionary wanker all over my blog and Read With Comprehension and Intelligence.

    On nigger-brown furniture, click here.

    For the Jolly Nigger Bank, use your Google-fu.

    Neither have anything to do with Hip-Hop.

    In answer to the question in your second paragraph, read the book I talk about in today’s top post. The answer is there.

    As far as the geico commercial not having real-world parallels, you’re just wrong. that’s the bottom line. Since you’re wallowing in your white male privilege, I’m sure it’s hard to see that. But I don’t really care if you do. If you cannot provide intelligent discourse, I’m not going to engage in adult conversation with you.

    The next post I see from you will be devoweled if you continue in this vien.

  36. And neither are sold OR LABELED in the USA, which was MY POINT that you somehow missed.

    Apparently, the Chinese are not familiar with racial protocol. But congratulations on exposing those darn Chinese racists for what they are.

    And for now on, whenever you give in to your obsession-compulsion to talk about my “white male privilege”, please start your post with “once upon a time”.
    Thank you.

    BTW, if you’re idea of intelligent discourse is “you’re just wrong”, then go ahead and delete my posts. That’s certainly a neat way to deal with dissenting opinions. :o)

  37. Actually, the Jolly Nigger Bank was and is sold and labeled as such in the USA. It was patented in the USA and designed by an American company.

    As to the nigger-brown couch, we do not actually know if any of them were or are sold here in America. They aren’t some kind of brand new product in Canada, so how many people just trashed the label without even noticing what was written on it? If they were sold in America is could be that no one has noticed yet. Therefore your argument falls flat.

    Also, you may have just been speaking of America (and you didn’t make it clear whether you meant America the continent or the USA – gotta be careful with those words) I was speaking of the world. Thus my use of the phrase ‘in a world’.

    If you do not believe you have white male privilege, then you are also wrong. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to say to you “You’re wrong” when you are wrong. I don’t dance around stuff here, as you may have noticed. I do not feel the need to couch your ignorance in pretty words. You’re wrong, ntohing you’ve said has convinced me that your opinion is based on anything but ignorance, and therefore I have no need to engage in a meaningful dialogue with you.

    Also, I don’t censor dissenting opinions as this page as every other post and comment page on this site shows. However, I will not allow you to rampage through my virtual house breaking lamps, peeing on my expensive carpets, and generally making a nuissance of yourself just because you feel you have a right to. I’m sorry, privilege boy, but no.

    Now, if you want to change your tone or attitude, I’d be pleased to debate with you. but so far most of your comments boil down to: OMG you are teh st00pid for thinking things I disagree with!!11!!eleventy!

  38. I am an African American female and to be the devil’s advocate, I did not get the same vibes you got-at least with the same emphasis. But I see where you are coming from. Still it is so much offensive stuff on T.V. nowadays so keep being “sensitive” and “PC”. White people are notorious for stereotypical drivel out there, but minorities also contribute their fair share. This does not get white folks off the hook or justify their sense of self-righteous entitlement to try to purposely say offensive things in the guise of free speech. It is just the facts. Anyway, I laughed at the commercials because they do mock people with power,money,etc. But now that I hear your side of the argument, the commercials seem a little patronizing because even though it shows the folly of stereotypes, very little will be done to get rid of them-more from the standpoint of guilt and temporary compassion.Lastly, like other posters, I saw the caveman as a stand in for all minorities, but the main target was blacks.

  39. I have long thought this about the caveman commercials. And while the caveman/buppie character is the hero, the gimic makes racist society into something cute.

    ten: nope! several people posting before you made the connection, so your statement is counterfactual

    kenny:once upon a time, there was a little boy. and his mom or dad or minister or teacher or maybe all of the above told him he was very very special and smart. When he hit the real world he became very angry and abusive. The end.

  40. Here by way of a comment you psoted on Making Light.
    Interesting observation on the Geico caveman commercials. Whenever I see them on tv, I am bothered also — I feel sympathy for the caveman. I think I will vote for “subversive”. I don’t find the ads very funny, but they are memorable.
    You make a good case for the caveman being a stand in for a black man and I do not think you are being too sensitive.
    (PS I’m not black but I’m not white either.)

  41. Are you kidding me?
    I cannot believe the childish sensitivity on display here. Geico went with an ad campaign which they thought would be funny. It is. If you have to be an ass and dissect it to it’s minutest details – you should only find that if it casts anybody in a poor light it’s the people who stereotype the cavemen, so why bother with all the fuss? Geico isn’t trying to make a statement, they’re trying to be funny and get people to buy their car insurance with a memorable commercial. Give me a break…..

  42. ABW: I have to google to find your post. I can’t believe so few people were irked by this. No matter which group of people the cavemen stand for, the whole funny business of these commercials are based on racial discrimination. Geico can argue that’s a fictional race, but it’s still racism. Their basic idea to make this look like funny is making it racial.

  43. Decadent, the reason so few people are irked by this is because you have to be a ridiculously sensitive, confrontational, childish crybaby who spends more energy looking for things to be mad about instead of just going on with life.
    I’m glad I’m in the other camp.

  44. ABW, it seems to me that you place yourself on the oposite side of the fence from white folks. Where does a native americans fit into all of this?

  45. I am probably the MOST hypersenisitive African-American woman on earth, and even I was not offended by this. I was offended, however, by the M&M’s (or some candy) commercial from the 90’s that sent elephants charging through a concession stand to steal peanuts (while African drums beat in the background). The voiceover said, “Hey, he didn’t pay for those.” The responding voiceover said, “They never do.”
    I am saying all this to say I honestly don’t think Geico meant what you believe they meant. Too many of their target market customers are African-American and their market researchers fully understand the power of the “Black” consumer and what losing that segment would mean.
    DISCLAIMER: I believe it was M&M.

  46. You’re right on.

    No black person or person who has felt the pain of discrimination in the USA would write such a commercial.

    Would a raped woman make a comedy about rape? It’s an extreme parallel, but there is a parallel.

    This commerical series has to have been made by a non-minority (white person).

    It may be making light of either the majority or the minority; it doesn’t matter. At the end of it all, it’s making light of a serious problem that’s not funny to someone whos been discriminated against.

  47. I completely agree! I was just googling to see if someone had written about it before. These ads are totally racist, they completely mirror the way white society has treated black people.

  48. You’re not imagining it; it is definitely a jab at minorities. I’m white, and even I could see that. It seems the white bois are mad because people of color/women wont let them openly spread hatred. Their assertion is that racist/sexist rhetoric qualifies as freedom of speech, and that they are somehow being deprived when they cannot spread hate.

    Aint it funny how so few use free speech for the good of society? They only care about “freedom” when it entails bringing someone else down. What a wonderful world, eh?

  49. Will – thanks for adding thoughtful and insightful commentary to this post! /sarcasm off

    Seriously, hon, if you disagree, disagree with grace and intelligence. (I don’t know why I bother asking this of wankers such as yourself, but I’m attempting to be zen, so…)

    Arrow – I’m in the process of working up a post that kind of addresses this, but I’ll give you a short answer now: Since I identify and experience life as a black woman, I often have blinders on when it comes to people of color who are not black. I am guilty of seeing the world in black/white terms though intellectually I know that this is not the case. Also, being that I am not Native American (though I am of Native descent), I really don’t know hwere NAs fit into all of this, myself. I have to rely on friends and aquaintences who are of color, but not black, to help me understand just where they respectively fit in.

    After writing this post, I realized that the Geico Cavemen could represent most minority experiences, not just black people’s. But, as I said, I was only thinking Black because I am Black :)

  50. Of course she’s right. Miss, I’d apologize to you for the conduct of your readers, but I’m sure that you’re aware that it makes the mass of people very uncomfortable to recognize tht they should be thinking more deeply about their media. So they’re acting out.

    What the rest of you don’t seem to get is that the point isn’t whether or not she’s overreacting, but that this MASSIVE media campaign is actually making the statement that “we” are overreacting. It’s making the statement that we all need to be less conscious of our marginalizing impulses, be less politically correct, and that either minorities are not routinely and daily marginalized in our society (which they are, and I don’t hear too many people claiming they’re not frankly), or they are and it’s FUNNY. Racism is funny? Do you agree with that? It is not possible to overreact to something like this unless you feel that we do not have a problem with racism in this country, that the wealth of this country isn’t overwhelmingly in the hands one specific ethnic group and the expense of a multitude of others. What you all seem to really be reacting to is your own desire for this situation to be true, so you can continue to enjoy your class privaledges and continue to feel as though you’ve come by them rightly. You watch the commercials and you think to yourselves, “Yes! Finally somebody sees it,” and you’re the target audience thinking exactly what the target audience is supposed to think. What you don’t understand is that the fact that your feeling this way prior to the commercial is itself a tacit agreement that this is a problem.

    In this way, how can we understand this campaign as anything other than a pretty dangerous step backwards, although certainly not the first of its kind. These commercials are certainly very cleverly composed, but I do think that the message is essentially a socially regressive one.

    Thank YOU for pointing this out. I too googled Political Correctness and the Geico Cavemen just to see how many other people felt as I do about this, hoping that there was some buzz of public outcry, and I must say I’m very proud to see that their is. Dissention is so very important in this case, because the subtext of this campaign is to tell us that we’re talking too much, and it is obviously working on A LOT OF PEOPLE. Please keep it up. Thanks.

    ~Erik

  51. You know what irks me? Black people playing the race card every chance they get and trying to find something racist in everything. I think this mindset is by far the largest contributer to racism in this country. Let it go.

  52. Well, I think a lot about words – and I am always writing and lecturing (I study languages for a living, teach, and practice law, too). When I first saw the commercial, I said to myself, “Wow, this is going to make some people very angry, and rightly so.” I thought that Geico was clearly mocking an imaginary group of people, and sending the message that if this group of people were real, it would be okay to mock them, just because of the way they look (and haven’t we been down that Ugly Road before? And how much Pain did it cause us all?). Because this imaginary group of people apparently has no political power – and that is the ONLY thing that stops a bigot – they are fair game for derision. People who write these ads get paid a lot of money, and anybody who writes for a living KNOWS exactly how things can be taken, and they certainly know they are poking at a very HUGE open American wound. To ignore the screaming subtleties or “era-ism” or “epoch-ism” or whatever we want to call it is naive. There is simply no way that a thoughtful writer could not know exactly what s/he was saying between the lines. The bottom line is this: the commercial mocks the idea that these “cavemen” should feel like they should be treated with the same respect as others who surround them, and even some of his friends have realized that resistance to this “ism” is futile, so they even buy Geico insurance. The caveman represents ALL of us who feel we are not getting the legitimate respect we deserve, just because of some irrelevant physical, social, religious, or national aspect that makes us different. I have seen many classes of people face the brunt of discrimination as a defense lawyer. Our Primary Goal should always be that Justice abound, and that everybody is respected, and the Geico commercials fly in the face of this. If messages matter, then the Geico message should hurt you. If it’s all about humor – and damned by the message – then the commercials are just fine. I know they are “just commercials”, but they are very POWERFUL commercials with BILLIONS of dollars behind them that are teaching millions and millions of people that mocking others – even if make-believe – is okay, just for the mere sake of mocking them, or making a buck off it. It is pitting tribe against imaginary tribe. If I ran Geico, I never would have approved the campaign because of the message it sends, and I predict that ads will ultimately get pulled because of public pressue – after all, those who love Justice find themselves cheering for the Cavepeople. The only way out is for Geico is company suicide: have the cavemen fight for Equal Rights. If they do this, they are conceding the the cavemen are tantamount to the African-Americans, and Geico will not go down that road – even though they have already parked their company at its adjoining intersection. Many of us feel that “smart people” write in code. This has been done throughout the ages. John Lennon talked about achieving one’s intended results by doing this. The problem is that these CavePeople are a distinct race of imaginary people. Geico is not poking fun of everybody who wears green, or everybody who likes pizza, etc. Those things cross racial lines. When you attack habits that we ALL share, we can laugh. When you attack one physically different group, you are going into a very hurtful area, even you are attacking a “cave man”.

  53. P.S. I am White. :-)

  54. That’s right, Stephen. It’s all black people’s fault. It’s always just the black people who perpetrate racism.

    Sometimes I wonder if these mentally challenged people even understand the words that they type? Really, truly understand. It’s attitudes liek this that make racism possible. I weep for the future of the human race.

  55. I majored in Communication and work in advertising so I never passively watch TV, especially commercials. I always look at what messages are being sent and the manner in which they are being sent. I am not one to overreact about imaginary slights but I’ve been bothered by these commercials for some time now. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    Greg is right. There is a lot of time spent brainstorming the concepts, developing the creative campaign, and going through rounds of approvals between the ad agency and client to have the correlations be a complete accident. I assume the ads are probably doing well for some reason (I don’t think they’re all that great) and that’s the reason they are continuing down this path. I guess on a certain level it’s working right now since we’re all discussing Geico – even if half of the people posting will probably actively avoid contributing business to them. But in the end I doubt Geico or it’s agency are racist, even if the messages they are sending have an underlining of racism. I do, however, think they are acting irresponsibly because there is no one that can (or cares to) hold them accountable for what they are really saying. Besides, when the dialogue begins with them making fun of those who complain of insensitive ads, how can any minority come out and complain about the Geico ad being insensitive without effectively becoming the caveman that Geico has already given permission to openly mock? It’s a nice position for Geico to be in.

  56. my view comes from media, from being trained and working in film/TV. and i think greg nails it very well a few comments above, regarding why these spots are wrong in general. the more of these you watch tho, i think the clearer it is that black folk are referenced. i’ve even seen one about how the “caveman” is reminding a pundit how the “cavepeople’s” struggle in the past years has made it possible for everyone to prosper or “walk upright” nowadays. and like greg said, writers who get paid this kind of money do NOT just “accidentally” write things or do so unaware of the image pool and collective history they reference.

    on another tip, i’m amazed by both how many people feel fit to come in here and castigate you, as well as that you give them room to talk. wow. even as confrontational i am, writing as “The Unapologetic Mexican,” while i get hate on the regular, people are very bold with you. they are a bit more hesitant with me. i’m guessing it has something to do with (not only the “black” thing because there are plenty of people nowadays who hate mexicans, believe that, but) the “woman” in your title. amazing. the rudeness and presumptuousness of people is f**king amazing. sometimes i leave haters’ comments up to show others what i get. but usually i don’t like them littering the discourse. and i just get too mad to see them over and over.

    i saw this before, but i came back because i’m posting about george lopez’s show getting cancelled and replaced with a pilot about….waIt…..here it comes….THE GEICO CAVEMEN! i wanted to link here.

  57. I’m as white as they come. And I think the caveman commercials have an obvious racial content.

  58. I agree with Hork, though, that I identify with the cavemen and the non-cavemen are portrayed as two-dimensional asshats. I’m a yuppy myself.

  59. Folks who have deployed the ‘too sensitive’ line here. Let’s back up and leave racism aside for a moment.

    I have a different question for you, not about racism but just about the history of entertainment. Would you argue the single point that Angry is wrong to call those mercials a bit of an updated, science-fiction, 21st century, minstrel show? Would that label be completely inaccurate? Simply from the history-of-entertainment perspective, not getting into racism.

    Or is there some truth in it?

  60. I’m a white girl who just stumbled upon your blog because I saw they are making a TV show of those Geico commercials and I have always thought they are racist…and stupid. I think they try to make light of racism send a subversive message that black people take racism too seriously. I hate these commercials.

    I also think that a lot of kid’s movies are racist too, such as Shark Tales and Happy Feet. It might sound crazy, but if you watch these movies with a careful eye, you’ll see that they really perpetuate stereotypes about races.

    People that don’t see this stuff just aren’t attuned to it.

  61. I was looking for a post I did on my journal about this, and can’t find it. Ahh, if only I remembered to tag more often.

    The first ad I saw – the airport one – I liked. Because it seemed like such a simple and elegant statement about privilege while also selling something. I thought to myself ‘Huh – Geico’.

    Then came the restaurant version and my hackles got raised for the first time. In all honesty at that point I read the cavemen as gay.

    Then the commercial that really hit me on the nose was the talking points version.

    “Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the rock this morning.”

    Smack – In my face. Because I could easily see it as:

    Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the watermelon…

    Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the sombrero….

    Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the bowl of rice…

    The casual dismissal and play for laughs made me furious. It was so true to life in the way that people’s concerns are just _ignored_.

    In fact I can read some of the comments here that dismiss your concerns _as_ “ABW got up on the wrong side of the rock this morning”

    They’re doing the very thing they claim isn’t happening in the commercials. They _are_ those offensive idiots in the commercials who don’t want to see the point.

    The thing that makes me flip the channel whenever I see the ads now are the therapist version and the sell out version.

    The therapist version could easily have him mouthing back ‘What if they said it was so easy a woman could do it’ instead of ‘Therapist’. It seemed to be that he’s made to say ‘therapist’ because if he said woman, then logically he’d have made an ally against the company. And the whole point is to keep them disenfranchised.

    And in the sell-out version, there’s this underlying sense of ‘I’m tired of -fighting- they don’t *mean* to be offensive / they aren’t beating us with hoses, get off my back.’ Maybe you have to be part of something and watch others give in because fighting is exhausting to be offended. So that’s why I was.

    I used to feel silly for being upset by them – though that didn’t stop me from talking about it and pointing it out.

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one going ‘WTF Gieco’ off a straight reading.

  62. They bother me as well, and that’s new for me.

    I’ve pretty much ignored the ads and wondered why they stretched the joke so long.

    With people fighting for their right to offend(so sad), it’s now clear why these commercials are so popular and why there will be a sitcom.

    Public and ad dollar response has been swift and extreme lately so the klansmen are finding alternative ways of getting their “jokes” to their brothers and sisters.

    No, you’re not crazy or sensitive if you don’t like being dehumanized or regarded as lesser than other people.

    I’d really appreciate it if these talentless morons would just come out of the closet and stop trying to hide behind freedom of speech or calling their garbage satire. Just admit you’re a neo-nazi or that you’re pandering to them because that’s the only way you can make money or make something of yourself.

  63. I don’t think that you are over reacting. I thought the same thing. I ran the idea past quite a few people and very few people see the correlation which confuses me because it is obvious. Especially since GEICO has been accused on a large scale to racially disciminate. Many have filed lawsuits even.

    http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/case/geico_race_classaction.html

  64. :o

    Whoa.

    Thanks for posting that link, Sean.

  65. I don’t think these commercials are racist, I think they are just casting a common, usually unfunny occurence in a humorous light.

    After all, the Cavemen ARE being unfairly and falsely portrayed, so their complaints are legitimate.

    I think the commercials are popular because most people can relate to some aspect of the situation.

    Just about everybody in America is a member of at least one group that sees themselves as receiving inaccurate and demeaning portrayal in the media. We are all familiar with racial stereotypes, but movies and television also engage in negative stereotypes in their portrayals of people based on: gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic group, religion, age, etc.

    These negative portrayals enable the potential customer to sympathize with the plight of the maligned caveman.

    So nearly everyone can relate to the caveman, but they can also identify with the ad exec as well.

    Very few people think of themselves as being racist or discriminatory, but we are all capable of being insensitive to some degree, often unintentionally. The ad exec thought he had a good ad, then was suprised that he had offended somebody.

    I think ABW and others are right to see the caveman as being representative of minorities; I just doubt that a company would insult potential customers with the malice that ABW infers.

  66. Im am a young black man(age 16) and I always seen these Geico as a way for the media to symbolize how black people are “to sensitive.” I havent said anyting about this observation to anyone because I didnt want to hear some crap like: “get over it,” “your taking it to far,” or the common “here we go again.”

    I am glad someone is discuusing this because it doesn’t make me feel alone. I wish that more black people (esp. youth) will discuss these problems and open their eyes to see what is happening in this society.

  67. Insensitivity is only insensitive if it offends black people or women. What bothers me more about t.v. commecials is that in the vast majority of them, men are portrayed as buffoons that need to be rescued by women. They have been feminized and reduced to objects of loathing that need all powereful, all wise women to save their ignorant selves from catastrophe. I still like to watch well produced commercials. A very rare few have anything but marketing to offer the viewer, (e.g. the pepsi spot of the dad being made up by his daughter) but a cleverly written funny commercial is much better to watch than a breaking news story of some iconic hollywood god trashing our nation, or adopting a baby for publicity , or another L.A. freeway chase.
    “So easy a caveman can do it” is funny because the ad people didn’t realise they had another sensitive minority to dance around with. I have a half-black 20 year old stepson who withdraws into the oppresed blak man mode to excuse his shortcommings and failure all the time. He speaks with a mouth full of filth to his peers, calls his contemporaries “nigga” and refers to all women as bitch and ho. He disowns his white side because he can’t use it as an excuse. He despises women just like his rap gods tell him to.”I ain’t ‘gonna be weak under no woman”.
    I don’t think picking stereotypes out of every little thing is going to make this a better world where all people live together in real love. I have tried to lead this young man into relationship with a several black men with integrity,family values, and devotion to God and community. He don’t want no part of it cause they aint no riches and bitches in it.
    The reality of stereotypes is that if we take an honest look at what makes a sterotype happen is what sosciety sees happening around them. It’s what different races,social classes and types of people exhibit to the rest of the world. “You just might be a redneck” wouldn’t have been successful if it were’nt backed by reality. It’s still funny,not to my wife who thinks being a redneck instantly means being a racist, (I know that’s not true, I have many redneck friends who are not) but I sure can laugh at my human frailty by not getting my nose out of joint over trivial matters that I would have to look for under a microscope of self worth. I’m human,very human, and in spite of that, I’m loveing life just as it comes.

  68. I have a problem with these commercials. Last night I seen a new one…the evolution will not be televised. Obviously, this is a take on Gil Scott Herons, “the Revolution Will Not be Televised.” I don’t know what Geico is trying to imply but i don’t think it is funny.

  69. The scary thing is that are probably just twiddling the knobs, watching the meter, trying to get it to attract as much attention as possible.

    The corporate world maybe makes way too much of whatever slight difference there is between amoral and immoral.

  70. Steve: So much idiocy…so little time. (I mean, literally. I’ve got to be out of here in 15 minutes!)

    Insensitivity is only insensitive if it offends black people or women. What bothers me more about t.v. commecials is that in the vast majority of them, men are portrayed as buffoons that need to be rescued by women. They have been feminized and reduced to objects of loathing that need all powereful….blah, blah, blah, fart…

    If it won’t burn too many braincells, Mr. MRA, I highly suggest reading ABW’s Required Reading, if not for yourself, then for the sake of your wife and your stepson.

    The reality of stereotypes is that if we take an honest look at what makes a sterotype happen is what sosciety sees happening around them. It’s what different races,social classes and types of people exhibit to the rest of the world.

    No, stereotypes exist because people are too ignorant or too damn lazy to get to get to know a person as a person. So, they create assumptions, which create stereotypes, which create prejudices, bigotry, and angry black women like myself and the blog author who are freakin’ sick of it all.

    Times up! Gotta blast!

  71. You have completely missed the point of these commercials.

    First of all, you completely contradict yourself, by admitting that the cavemen are “well-educated, cosmopolitan” men. Then you proceed to say that the “commercial insinuates that they are nothing but stupid, bipedal animals only capable of the simplest of tasks”. The commercial does nothing of the kind. The people in the commercial (who aren’t caveman) make these suggestions.

    There is an important difference here. If the commercial itself was suggesting that cavemen are indeed stupid and over-sensitive about their stupidity, your ideas would be valid, but in reality it is the people in the commercial who are making the suggestions. The result of the commercials (especially where they have headed recently) is that the caveman are the only intelligent ones around, always attempting to handle themselves with dignity and respect, while others attack them with stereotypes that are clearly untrue. (I could go into depth about this by breaking down the commercials, but I won’t for the sake of brevity. You may email me if you want to hear such a break down).

    What results is an attack on stereotypes in general and a mockery of anyone who is racist. Remember the cavemen are the protagonists of these commercials. We are meant to like them. They are intelligent, where the stereotype suggests they are dumb. The viewer is not meant to think they are being over-sensitive, they are very clearly supposed to see the humans in the commercial as the ones being stereotyping, blind morons.

  72. Dear JW,

    Critical reading skills are important. You obviously lack them. Please brush up before looking more foolish than you already do.

    (No) Love,
    ABW

    Dear anyone else coming to comment on this thread,

    Before doing so, read the other comments first. With 71 of them, any thought you might have on the subject has probably already been voiced. If you’ve come to argue against me, be sure you don’t just reiterate the same old tired arguments that have already been addressed. If you agree with me, engage with some of the other comments as well as the post. (I particularly appreciate constructive analysis of how the commercials make you feel.)

    Love,
    ABW

  73. Wow… That was all kinds of insulting. Actually, I realized that immediately after I posted and had no way to edit.

    Your response, however, does not make my point any less valid, nor do I believe anyone has articulated what I said in the same manner, and those who have made similar statements were not responded to by you. So maybe I should just re-post the last paragraph of my original post, and you can respond to it constructively. Here it is.

    “What results is an attack on stereotypes in general and a mockery of anyone who is racist. Remember the cavemen are the protagonists of these commercials. We are meant to like them. They are intelligent, where the stereotype suggests they are dumb. The viewer is not meant to think they are being over-sensitive, they are very clearly supposed to see the humans in the commercial as the ones being stereotyping, blind morons.”

  74. One more thought. It is easy to respond to the fools on this thread such as Kenny, Will, former marine, and myself (first post), but I have yet to see you really respond to someone who appears to have a legitimate dissenting opinion (besides Hork and even he mostly agreed with what you were saying).
    Then again, I do respect that you leave all posts up, despite what their views may be.

  75. JW,

    The viewer is also supposed to find the whole episode (whichever commercial it is) humorous. The reactions of the cavemen are played for laughs; their very real sorrow and hurt and anger is treated as cute. The one that sticks out most clearly in my mind is the one with the airport conveyor belt. At the end of the commercial the camera focuses on the face of the caveman, as he looks (overacting badly, though that’s possibly because of the makeup) shocked, then angry, then miserable. The commercial ends there. There’s no one else in the commercial, no one but the audience to engage with the character. And what is that audience supposed to feel? I get the impression most viewers would laugh at the caveman’s dismay. I don’t, because I know how it feels to see something stereotypical or offensive, and there’s nothing funny about that feeling. Though someone else viewing this — someone who considered the reaction to be a sign of oversensitivity — might think it was hilarious. Ha ha, isn’t it easy to rattle these supposedly intelligent, erudite, wordly characters? Isn’t it cute to see them humbled again and again? Aww, look, he’s about to cry. Funny, funny pain.

  76. The caveman commercials are to me personally repulsive. I have never liked them, so I merely change the channel when they come on. Because I do not like them, I would never buy Geico Ins.

  77. In the commercials, the caveman are portrayed as a minority so small that (“We had no idea you guys were still around”) they are hardly known to exist at all. The reason I believe the commercial is funny, is because it is so specific. To explain, it would be like if I walked through the airport and turned and saw an ad that say “So easy JW (insert real name) could do it.” Can you imagine anyone’s response? I sort of chuckle at how taken aback I would be at the prospect, but there is no way anyone could say I was being oversensitive about the issue. I laugh because the situation itself is so preposterous, not because the caveman is upset about something he clearly should be upset about. How could he possibly be seen as oversensitive, when what he is looking at is so obviously and brutally demeaning?

  78. In the commercials, the caveman are portrayed as a minority so small that (”We had no idea you guys were still around”) they are hardly known to exist at all.

    I have heard people refer to Native Americans in the past tense, as if they’re all extinct. I’ve seen the same in textbooks. There are millions of Native Americans still alive and kicking on this continent and people forget all the fucking time that they exist. Those same people think it’s hilarious to dress up sports mascots and kids at Halloween as NAs — and they have the nerve to get upset when the very real, living NAs dare to protest this kind of caricature. One of the phrases that gets tossed around when it happens is that the protesters are “oversensitive”.

    So it’s not all that preposterous. Or very damn funny.

  79. It is preposterous because cavemen are living amongst us as intelligent, fully evolved beings. Actual cavemen (whether it be Homo ergaster or Homo erectus) have been extinct for about 30,000 years. Are you actually suggesting that if Native Americans, who are simply people just like everyone else, could simply be inserted in their place in these commercials, and it would be the same thing…

    I know you are not, but throwing Native American struggles into the equation does not make things any less preposterous. After all, it is not the struggle for rights and against stereotypes that is preposterous. That isn’t preposterous at all, and I never suggested it was. It is the idea of cavemen and in my previous posts example, it was how absolutely ridiculous it would be if an ad specifically attacked a single, non-famous, random person.

    Finally, I don’t think that what Native Americans have gone through with mascots and stereotyping is funny at all, nor do I think that they are being oversensitive. I think that most people (I could be wrong) think that they have a very legitimate gripe, but are just terrified of any change at all.

    The main point of my previous post was to give one example of why I thought the commercials were funny, and it had nothing to do with a caveman or anyone being oversensitive.

  80. JW, you are missing the point. Let me reiterate: The cavemen are stand-ins for minorities. When seen through the eyes of someone who has to deal with this bullpucky every day, who often has his or her valid concerns dismissed with a wave of the hand and charges of oversensitivity, it is not funny or cute or ‘just a commercial’. You are engaging with the commercials on their own terms, as if they exist in a void. Of course cavemen do not exist now, that IS NOT THE POINT.

    And, yes, you could insert a NA person or a black person or a Latin@ person in those commercials and not be anything more than a hair off from an experience many people of color have. Like the commercial where the boom mike guy gets upset and the actor says “I didn’t know you were there!” I wonder how many times that’s happened to a First Nations person who has light enough skin to pass for white? Or the airport commercial — how do you think it made black people feel to walk/drive past billboards with a mammy-style Aunt Jemima on them? Or the talk show one. How do you think Latin@s feel during debates about immigration when not only the skills and integrity of ‘immigrants’ are called into question, but also their intelligence and worthiness as people?

    Are you starting to get it? All of these situations have real world parallels and it feels like Geico is mocking that. You come across as a white person, so it’s probably safe to say that no one has ever done anything like that to you. You’ve never encountered an ad campaign that calls into question your very human-ness. You’ve never been bombarded with media images that show people like you in an extremely negative light and then don’t show them in any other way. You’ve never been in a room full of people, maybe even people that have some power over you — an office party with upper management, perhaps — and had them tell a joke that was so offensive it was worse than a punch to the gut. You’ve probably never had to make the choice between speaking up and possibly losing your job or keeping silent and definitely losing your self esteem/respect.

    So therefore: shut the hell up. I’m serious. You need to just stop talking/typing/whatever and LISTEN. Go look at my post “things you need to understand #7″. Think about what it says. And, for god’s sake, quit acting like you can know the experiences of people you are nothing like without and careful thought and consideration!

    Now, as to specific things in your comments:

    First of all, you completely contradict yourself, by admitting that the cavemen are “well-educated, cosmopolitan” men. Then you proceed to say that the “commercial insinuates that they are nothing but stupid, bipedal animals only capable of the simplest of tasks”. The commercial does nothing of the kind. The people in the commercial (who aren’t caveman) make these suggestions.

    That’s not a contradiction. this is what I meant about reading skills. The commercial WITHIN the commercial insinuated that the cavemen are stupid. Whereas in the commercial proper (let’s say Layer 1) they are indeed not.

    What results is an attack on stereotypes in general and a mockery of anyone who is racist. Remember the cavemen are the protagonists of these commercials. We are meant to like them. They are intelligent, where the stereotype suggests they are dumb. The viewer is not meant to think they are being over-sensitive, they are very clearly supposed to see the humans in the commercial as the ones being stereotyping, blind morons.

    That may be your reading of it, but I don’t see it that way. Though the cavemen are the protagonists, they’re slapped down at every turn. Even by the therapist who is supposed to be an intelligent, learned person. How is she helping at all by being the way she is? What that says to me is that, in the world of the commercials (Layer 1), intelligent people think that the cavemen are indeed being too sensitive. The only people I see being mocked here are the cavemen, not the other people. Maybe in the first few commercials I might have agreed with you. But this later batch are much worse. The vague discomfort kicked up a notch. perhaps if someone in these commercials OTHER than the cavemen ever told them that they were right, I might not feel that way.

    The ads in the commercials (Layer 2) are not mocking some random, non-famous person. They’re mocking a whole race of people. How do you know that the caveman population is very, very small? What clues do the commercials give you to make that assumption? Just because the one dude says they didn’t know any were still around doesn’t mean that there aren’t. After all, there was one right in front of him and he didn’t notice. says a lot about his and his company’s powers of perception. So unless you can give me some more examples than that, your argument falls flat.

  81. ABW,

    First, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post and actually only have a few minor issues with it that I hope you will see as sensible.

    “That’s not a contradiction. this is what I meant about reading skills. The commercial WITHIN the commercial insinuated that the cavemen are stupid. Whereas in the commercial proper (let’s say Layer 1) they are indeed not.”

    I already admitted that my first response was a disaster for this exact reason, and I once again apologize for the mistake. As I said before, I did not catch it until after it was posted. I should have posted a revised statement immediately, but decided to wait. My mistake.

    “That may be your reading of it, but I don’t see it that way. Though the cavemen are the protagonists, they’re slapped down at every turn. Even by the therapist who is supposed to be an intelligent, learned person. How is she helping at all by being the way she is? What that says to me is that, in the world of the commercials (Layer 1), intelligent people think that the cavemen are indeed being too sensitive.”

    This is really where we have a difference of opinion. It is simple really. You asked, “how is she helping at all being the way she is?” The answer is, of course, she isn’t. I believe the point was to continue to create an upside down world where even their therapists aren’t trying to help them. For me, this further alienates the world they are living in and only makes the caveman look better. Every person who we would normally assume to be intelligent appears idiotic all because they don’t see a problem with this obvious race based attack. Honestly, when I put myself in the caveman’s position in the therapist commercial, I think I would want to strangle her. It is even worse on the news forum commercial. I can’t even put myself in the therapists shoes because her responses are so ridiculous. Not to mention the woman who says, “Looks like somebody woke up on the wrong side of the rock”. Are we supposed to see this character as intelligent? They were on a news show and her whole response was to issue a single, race-based personal attack. Would you have me believe that the commercial (layer 1) is mocking the caveman and not the woman?

    Ultimately, intelligent people in the commercial do not find the caveman to be oversensitive simply because there are no intelligent people. The only smart people that we have seen so far are, indeed, the cavemen.

    “After all, there was one right in front of him and he didn’t notice. says a lot about his and his company’s powers of perception. So unless you can give me some more examples than that, your argument falls flat.”

    This is a very good point, and my response, is actually that the rest of the commercials have felt very disconnected from this initial one. There are only two possible explanations. First, they wrote the first ad, and then later decided to create a wholes series based upon this. Or, second, they are purposely making their Geico representative out to be a liar.

    We know he knows they exist because in the very first ad he has a dialog with one, yet in the ad I referenced he says that Geico was unaware of their existence. I believe this is meant to be taken as a true statement, which would mean that the commercials are acting as if the first never happened. I am sure you will disagree, but that is my interpretation.

    Further, I would say that though they mock the company for not doing its research, when a company comes out and apologizes to a group of people, its usually in press conference form. I don’t see how the fact that the company spokesperson is personally having dinner with two of them so that Geico may apologize to the group as a whole does not suggest that they are a very, very small group of people. Now, of course, there could have been an unseen press conference, but the apology seems very personal and directed at these two men specifically.

    That said, just because one of the reasons I find the commercials funny is that the ads within them seem (at least to me) directed at a very small, very specific group, does not mean that they cannot also represent minorities at the same time. Of course, they represent minorities. They are a small(er) group being discriminated against by a larger because of untrue stereotypes, but I believe they are displayed in a positive light. This brings a larger questions to bare.

    What would these commercials have to do, to not be racist in your eyes? I don’t mean this as a challenge of any kind and am honestly just curious to see if you have given it any thought. I see that you have a South Park avatar, so I assume you are not oversensitive to the idea of race relations being commented on in a comical fashion as long as the context is correct. Am I wrong in saying this?

  82. “What would these commercials have to do, to not be racist in your eyes?”

    “Too sensitive,” is she?

  83. Tom,

    I don’t think she is too sensitive. If I agreed that the commercials were mocking the cavemen and not the world around them, than the ads would be racist. I don’t see it that way, but it still does not maker her oversensitive.

    Calling or considering someone too sensitive (at least to me) suggests that their claim is so outrageous its not even worth investigating. This and most issues brought up by minorities rarely, if ever, deserve that tag. I feel that the majority often throws it out there as if they can simply say “oversensitive”, and everyone will dumbly nod their heads. Some people do, but those people are clearly unwilling to think for themselves.

  84. Just checked out your link. As you can tell, I completely agree.

  85. “What would these commercials have to do, to not be racist in your eyes?”

    What a question!

    Translation: I feel you’re not being “oversensitive,” but you’re still not “getting it,” so, let’s, you know, talk about the feelings you say you’re having but that I’m not convinced you’re right about.

    Shorter (but only somewhat) translation: I don’t trust that you are able to critically examine your own experiences and responses to this commercial.

    This JW feel she deserves an answer, why?

    I’m tired of having to justify it to white people when I say that something is racist. The only way they ever understand is if you can “intellectualize” the experience for them, because they damn sure don’t have any empathy. I’m tired of those white people who say, “Well, I can see your point here and here, but just because it walks the line, does that mean it’s racist?”

    Yes. It means it’s racist.

    And–for everyone who doubts the connection between this caricature of a modern-day caveman and Native Americans needs to brush up on the whole concept of the reduction of NAs to “noble savages” and “urban indians.” I suggest you start with Vine Deloria, Jr.

    I hate the commercials because they’re insulting on so many levels. Racism is just part of the whole insult package.

  86. What would these commercials have to do, to not be racist in your eyes?

    Stop existing. Seriously. because the entire concept is just so messed up on so many levels. There’s no way to redeem the concept at all. They trade off common issues raised by race to sell insurance. They’re making a profit off of someone else’s meme. Not even a funny haha meme, but a meme that grew out of oppression. There is no redemption.

    That’s like someone making funny commercials that referenced elements of apartheid in South Africa. There’s no redemption for that.

  87. JW, ok. (The link belongs to Nezua, who has compiled a whole glossary of useful antiracist terminology.) It sounds like you’re trying to engage intellectually, but Virago’s comment weighs heavily on me here.

    How about this? I grew up in a place that was 95% white. College was a lot more diverse. I hurt a friend there when I ignorantly used the word “Oriental.” Luckily for me, whatever she was feeling, she just calmly said “that’s prejudiced. You say Asian.” Luckily again, I just turned beet red and stammered some kind of an apology. Did I do the wrong thing?? Should I have challenged her? Should I have explained at length that, to me, that wasn’t a bad word to say??? (To me, it wasn’t! What has that got to do with it??)

    Do I believe a friend when she tells me I hurt her? Or not?

    Am I here as a friend? Or as something else?

  88. Virago’s post was excellent. I do feel that ABW is missing out on the joke, but I now have to agree that it is for a good reason. She has no motive to look further into the depths of the commercial because they are so immediately offensive to her on a shallow level, and their merits when looked at in depth level are still clearly debatable.

    I have looked to break down the commercials because I believe they are an attack on racism, but it is obvious that many people don’t see it that way. I am not going to change my views on the ads and neither is anyone else. But Virago’s words are powerful, and he/she brings the subject to closure nicely. I will say (in specific response to Virago), that I assumed the subject was posted here for the purpose of discussion and to help all of us gain a better understanding about why we feel a certain way about these commercials.

    Tom,

    I have been in similar situations and handled them basically the same way with a simple and honest, “I am sorry. I had no idea.” In that scenario, however, you naturally don’t want to press your friend despite an innate curiosity to understand why the word “oriental” is prejudice. This, and ABW’s many responses seem to agree, was meant to be discussed here.

    I apologize if I have offended anyone here, as that was never my intention. I did my best to avoid personal attacks, as well as ignore them when they came my way.

    JW

  89. JW,

    Maybe I screwed up my last comment. I was trying to arouse sympathy for the person who had been hurt in my story. Instead perhaps I have drawn even more attention to the feelings of the person who did the hurting (me).

  90. I know I’m very late here and I have not read much of the previous comments. For what it’s worth, I agree and understand what you are saying. I thought about this too a while back.

    But you know what’s so ironic about this? Even though certain people disagree with your theory and laugh at the “over sensitivity” of the caveman (minorities), they’re still seeing how the bigot majority (supremacy) comically deny and dismiss the caveman’s (minority people’s) reasonable plight. Both the comical ignorance and blatant denial are almost reflective of our racist society today. Therefore, I’m laughing back at them, while they laugh at themselves and their own ignorance. LOL

    -Tributetoblackwomen.com

  91. Dear ABW:

    Others here have said this much much more eloquently than I can. But, it’s important to show that many people agree on this issue. So, here are my 2 cents:

    The caveman ads operate on several levels. On one level, they make fun of people who are too stupid to know when they’re being offensive to others. On another level, they try to make fun of political correctness. I am offended by the anti-PC aspect of the ads. It suggests that people objecting to being treated badly by the majority are just being silly. Were the Holocaust, Apartheid, slavery, or lynchings silly? Yet, the root cause of all those things was the majority’s insensitivity to the pain they were causing other human beings based on nothing more than superficial differences. We should not deaden our sensitivity to the pain we cause others. History shows that bad things happen when we do.

    I was very pleasantly surprised when I came across this blog. There are several blogs on the cavemen, but, sadly, none of the others express this point of view. My experience is that some of them even edit out responses like the ones expressed here.

    I think that some of you very articulate people should go express your opinions on those other blogs. We desperately need you there. Here, you’re kind of preaching to the choir.

  92. Just to go back to the comments of the folks who feel that marketers and advertisers conduct highly sophisticated consumer analysis and know what they’re doing… If that’s so, would someone please tell me why – in uber-Black Atlanta, Georgia – are the haircare products designed for blacks, Hispanics and other non-white groups still in a separate section labeled “ethnic”? I laugh because otherwise I couldn’t stop crying.

  93. Damn… I don’t even know how to comment on this.

  94. You’re a fucking moron.

  95. Ahem. Bul-whatever. This is your first warning. Stop being an asshole, or face banishment.

  96. im A YOUNG BLack femALE and i got EXactly the sAME MESSage from the commerciaLS BUT I FELT THEY WERE TArgetng minorities AS a whole. of course its funny to people like whIte people aLWays compaRNG NON-CacASION PEOPLE TO animaLS?HA!

  97. I did not read all the posts so forgive this if it is a repeat. In the Airport commercial, I “think” there is a small attempt at subliminal messaging. At the end we see a black man in the back ground slightly ahead of the CM in the fore ground. If one were to put the two in silloutte they would be very simular; long hair, jutting jaw*, even the bag drapped over the shoulder. The thing about this is, considering how the mind works, the first thing one notices with their sight is movement then shape then detail.
    This could be explained as coincidence, but consider asking any casting director if coincidence has any place in a multi-million ad campaign and the answer is becomes obvious.

    *Does it seem like the actor in the background is purposfully craning his neck?

  98. One more thing, do not be surprise if in an attempt to poo-poo off any racial parallel in this campaign they cast a black character as human to off-set the arguments that we find ourselves engaged in right now, right here. This, of course, would have to be done without the littlest hint of their acknowledgement of the parallel.

  99. A person who does not see it as such (racist) is in denial. The commercial shows a man with “light skin,” coarse hair, full lips, and expressing the problems that he goes through. The physical features are overly exaggerated much like how whites drew pictures/cartoons of blacks back in the day- extra large butts, lips and all. Some of the issues faced by blacks range (d) from being considered “part human” way back in the day, unattractive, uncivilized, and “not smart enough or as smart as whites.”

    The commercial might as well say “So easy even a black man could do it.”

    If this commercial was meant to target those who are so stupid/oblivious to the problems of others then a balancing act should have been taken into consideration the feelings of those it is so called defending too.

    What was the message in using the GEICO lizard, anyway? Was this a message against the abuse of animals?

    If this commercial was meant to do something positive IT DEFEATED ITS OWN PURPOSE. Luckily there are Progressive and ALLSTATE-who have blacks depicted in a civilized manner in their commercials not as a some caveman who can not cope who has to see a therapist.

    Besides GEICO should not try to examine or tackle racial issues, they need to leave that up to the EEOC, NAACP, & AL SHARPTON, etc. We gave Imus the boot, we don’t need an insurance company to help us with that-but what we do need-IS CAR INSURANCE!

  100. So, after reading the main post and the comments it is my understanding that some of you believe that a company, Geico, who is trying to sell a product to the public as a whole (im not sure what percent of thier customers are black but im sure its a pretty good percentage, we all need car insurance) hired a marketing agency, then a racist team from this agency sat around in a boardroom somewhere and decided to make a racist commercial and in a oh so sneaky, deceptive move, in place of black people put cavemen and then believed we wouldnt figure it out. you have to be kidding me..right…or are you saying that this creative team ended up making a racist commercial because on a subconcious level,they are racists….dont you think Geico would be cutting their own throats by doing such a thing….and now after these racist commercials were such a hit, some racist tv network is going to make a series out of it….interesting

  101. In response to TheImmortal (Post # 100): Most of us would not dare laugh in public at a black person’s objection to the use of the “N” word – the consequences of laughing probably would be immediate and harsh. But, we can laugh at the caveman’s pain without fear of consequences. So the commercials let us exercise our worst impulses without suffering the consequences that polite society usually imposes. Now, that’s worth something, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy toward Geico for providing us with that opportunity?

  102. Actually, Thel, you don’t seem to understand our thinking on this topic at all. In fact, you don’t seem to understand how racism works at all. Whether the marketing team who conceived and put together the caveman spots were conscious of the racial subtext or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that our culture has created a climate in which such a racist commercial can be aired, repeatedly, without challenge. Why? because people like you are everywhere. people who claim taht certainly NO company would EVER do something that is racist because they want to sell stuff to black people. Do you realize how ignorant that comment is? There are plenty of companies that have racist policies, be they overtly or subtly so, that people of color still give their business to for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s that they don’t know about these policies. Sometimes it’s because they don’t pay attention to what’s said about those companies in the news or they never hear the news because it’s not national, it’s local, or it’s reported in news outlets they don’t listen to (NPR, say). Sometimes they may know, but they don’t care. (I’m reminded of that oil company.. was it Mobil?) Sometimes they know and care but can’t do much about it because they don’t have a lot of choice in where they get certain goods or services. Poorer people, usually, in cases like that.

    There are dozens of ways in which companies can get away with being racist, and the main one may be that white folks have the majority of power and the majority of money in America. So what if a few or a hundred or a thousand black people notice what’s up with those cavemen? there are plenty of white and maybe even Latin@ and Asian folks who are laughing their asses off and think the whole thing is cute. Why should Geico care?

    What you don’t seem to understand is that racism is subtler now and ten times more insidious. it’s not just Jim Crow and the KKK anymore. And, because of this, people and companies and governments are able to slide past the radar. people like you blow off any claims of racism because no one is being lynched. Maybe you should take a step back and consider that other people see the commercials differently than you. I’m willing to bet you’re white, considering your reaction. If so, you definitely don’t understand how racism works because it’s never, ever affected you.

    Think about that before you decide you understand what’s going on at Geico or their advertising firm’s offices.

  103. Yeah, I think that these commercial are racist.. In one of the commercials a black yuppie even passes by in the background.. No wonder everyone hates the United States.

  104. I agree with you. The commercials are thinly veiled racist humor. In any case, nobody will be buying auto insurance after peak oil has its effect (the thing we’re trying to forestall by invading/occupying Iraq). Now THAT, I will find funny =)

  105. ABW, I’m Latino, and, contrary to what you imply above, I don’t think the commercials are cute. I know from personal experience that as recently as the 1960’s you could still find some restaurants in Texas with signs saying, “No Dogs, Mexicans, or N—-rs Allowed.” Prejudice against Latinos is still pervasive in our society, although a bit less socially acceptable in polite circles. The commercials are structured so that you may substitute any race, ethnicity, religion, gender preference, or other minority characteristic for the caveman. “It’s so easy, even a ____ can do it.” So, any Latino, Asian, or other minority who thinks the commercials are funny doesn’t understand what is really going on there.

  106. Geico’s caveman commercials are blatantly offensive, associating the intellect of prospective customers with that of a Neanderthal. No thanks ! I’ll go with Allstate.

  107. I’ve read nearly all of these comments and am trying to understand the concern. Is the Neanderthal the problem? If it were a cartoon animal would it be offensive? Please don’t think that I am trying to be funny. When my husband told me about the controversy, I called him a liar. That’s why I was looking on the Internet. Thank you for your time and help.

  108. [...] for example, at this thread deconstructing the GEICO caveman commercials: Geico Caveman Commercials Irk Me. And if you visit, please, for the love of Mike, read through all the comments. There are so many [...]

  109. B. Causey, the problem isn’t the Neanderthal specifically, but the portrayal of a group of people. So no, it wouldn’t be okay if it was a cartoon animal. Remember those crows from Disney’s Dumbo? Those were racist, too. And weren’t any less offensive becuse it was a cartoon.

  110. I really enjoyed the comments of all who responded. It is obvious that there is a great pool of critical and subtle thinkers ready to address the issues of society.

    Perhaps we may channel this thought to address the more pressing issues of humanity?

    Media is simply what you make it. Ignore it and it goes away.

  111. Media is simply what you make it. Ignore it and it goes away.

    Um… no, I don’t think so. perhaps if everyone in the country ignored media it would go away, but that will never happen. Not without some serious mitigating factors. Media saturates our culture. It’s PART of our culture. therefore, we have to becoming critical and analytical consumers of it in order to determine how we can change it.

    I get your subtle dig that by talking about this issue here we’re not *doing* anything about it, but how many people have come to this conversation completely oblivious to this view of the commercials and gone away wiser and perhaps with the tools to analyze other commercials and media in the same way?

    It’s because people do not think deeply about media that this bullshit continues to happen. And it’s going to take a mass waking up before things change. How will we bring about this mass waking up? By talking about the issue in public forums. Like this one.

    Also, the whole addressing more pressing issues of humanity thing? Also beneath you. The idea that talking about commercials somehow obliterates my ability to deal with anything else in life is both paternal and short-sighted. Why don’t you go out and cure AIDS instead of commenting here, doctor? Obviously by doing one you cannot possibly be doing the other.

  112. Regarding Post 111, way to go, ABW! You nailed it. I would just like to add that not only is media PART of our culture, but it tends to SHAPE our culture. Movies, television, and commercials are powerful educational tools that can be, and often are, misused to nudge us into adopting behaviors that are not good for us. The Geico commercials are a perfect example of this misuse. If left unchallenged, the success of the Geico commercials could encourage other companies to make their own commercials suggesting that minority complaints are trivial and should be ridiculed. Before you know it, we would have a society where it is OK to laugh out loud in public at a black person’s objection to the use of the “N” word. Few things are more important than resisting the media when it attempts to guide is in the wrong direction.

  113. The caveMEN are sort of off white. The caveWOMEN are not referenced. They are presumed stupid by foolish white people but the caveMEN seem to be well off. They have a fashion sense. They have a particular sensitivity, some would say excessive sensitivity. One orders Duck with the Mango Salsa and the other can’t seem to summon an appetite at all (this is a caveMAN trait is it?).

    It is clearly obvious that this has little to do with classic racism and everything to do with homosexual stereotypes. That no one has mentioned this obvious theme is stunning. I have found this whole Caveman thing offensive from the start.

  114. B Causey, I am not sure what to say. The issue is that the “caveman” is supposed to represent a minority. And the joke is that he is “overracting” to a stereotype that is at least partially based on “truth”.

    Cavemen were supposed to be “dumb”. They supposedly had an inability to adapt. And saying “that even a caveman could do it” is supposed to be accurate.

    Now we can look at the mythology of race and find almost the same exact bullcrap.

    Moving onward from that point, it doesn’t matter if it is a cartoon, a comic book, stick figures, or what have you. It mocks the struggle of getting folks to see past race and racial supremacy.

  115. “Cavemen” employs the tactic of silencing the complaints of a minority group by depicting it as successful beyond its legitimate expectations. That’s how the model minority myth works against Asian Americans, in a nutshell.

  116. What an interesting discussion. We all really do look at these types of things from our own perspective. I can completely see your point on this. I am white an I didn’ look at these commercials as having anything to do with race but that is becasue I was too busy being offended as the sister of mentally challenged young woman. After all, it isn’t unusual at all to actually hear people say “it’s so easy a retard could do it” or, “How could you not understnad that, what are you, retarded?”

    I am so used to being on the look out for that type of prejudice since it is what I experienced every single day growing up with my sister that I often miss references to other groups. But I have heard how oversensative I am so many times that I always give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is a real experience behind the fact they are sensative to something. I’m curious to watch one of the commercials again through a different lense.

  117. I told my brother the same thing when the commercials first came out and I had the time to really listen to them. My brother didn’t believe me, he still laughs at it. He now says the N word and I believe it is b/c he was influenced by his girlfriend. He doesn’t care when I tell him to stop saying it.

    Isaac says:
    “We are all familiar with racial stereotypes, but movies and television also engage in negative stereotypes in their portrayals of people based on: gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic group, religion, age, etc.”

    That’s why I rarely watch American movies. I hate stereotypical movies or movies based on books b/c they are not original.I feel most of the time that America stifles the real creative out of the box thinker and only sees money. This movie made a lot of money lets make a similar movie and make a lot of money. Yay!! It’s stupid.

    Isaac says:
    “Very few people think of themselves as being racist or discriminatory, but we are all capable of being insensitive to some degree, often unintentionally. The ad exec thought he had a good ad, then was suprised that he had offended somebody.”

    Actually I did think I had a problem with white people a very small problem mind you, but I nipped that in the bud. I guess at times I think I am an angry black woman even though I feel for other people, recently I realized there are really no Asians on t.v. then a few appeared (I just want everyone to be represented). I’m going to a predominately white college and at first I was like I’m not going to find any friends or I will feel so awkward but then when I went to orientation I forgot about it in the first 10-15 minutes.

  118. Why can’t a cave man be a cave man?
    You people are out there
    I fount the commercials to be a crack up.
    But unlike your selves I took them at face value.
    I actually found this blog looking to leave a suggestion for the next commercial.
    My white boy cracker thoughts were to have the cave man and the gecko appear in the same commercial and have the cave man try to eat the lizard but im just a shallow white boy who doesn’t see the truth in the irony, and am subconsciously participating with my ideas because of my deep down bigotry past down from my whit cracker heritage.

  119. P.S. how many stupid, fat, lazy sexest, whit guys do you see on TV every day?

  120. Too many to count, actually.

  121. Ok, so it’s not just me. I thought this was a thinly veiled attempt at racism from the beginnning. The “Sell Out” Comment topped it off. These guys think they’re slick, this was not a mistake.

    Out In the Open (CNN) is doing a segment on this tonight. 7PM Central/8PM Eastern. Check it out.

    Peace in The Middle East,
    Right On

  122. Thanks for being honest John (aka Ross Perot). We also love the “You People” comment.

  123. So the caveman is stupid, so what, they don’t even exist anymore, on the ads they seem to portray black people, I ask: is there no stupid black people? There are lots of stupid white ones, one is running the country. Stupidity has no color. The caveman does not exist, if you feel offended by the ads suit your self.

  124. Tisk tisk tisk…

    I cannot believe how ANYONE could waste that much time on something as minor as a CAVEMAN, not CAVEPERSON…

    -QOUTE “the angry black woman”

    I think the Cavemen are really thinly veiled pastiches of black people!

    -End QUOTE

    Are you implying that African Americans are “stupid bipeds barely above animals”? Is this why you think African Americans and that damn Caveman have such a huge similarity?

    I however do not think black people are any different than a white man. A black man and a white man are EQUAL requardless of whatever and the hell you are thinking. If you can compare a black person to a caveman… That must also reflect what you think about your own self.

    Woman get real, there is no damn race anymore, it’s almost 2008 and your treating this as if it were 1950…

    Don’t you have anything better to do?

  125. Waaaaaaaaaa I need reparations. I am a victim of the man.
    Grow up and get over it.

  126. Well, leafboy, you’ve gotten yourself banned! Use of the word Nigger is strictly controlled around here. Thanks for playing.

  127. I cannot believe how ANYONE could waste that much time on something as minor as a CAVEMAN, not CAVEPERSON…

    Don’t you have anything better to do?

    Says the asshole that took the time to comment here.

    Grow up and get over it.

    Says the dickwad who took the time to comment here.

    Must have had a new link from looneyland.

  128. Well, I’m terribly sorry that I’m an asshole for expressing my opinion on the matter, but if that makes me an asshole, this will make me a complete bitch. Get mad if you will, but I do believe that someone has to voice this and not be afraid to. I have you know, I am not a racsist against anyone; THERE IS NO RACE. I have nothing against you woman, because I have not met you, but take the time to understand what I have to say.

    -On another note, do not get offended by the words you are about to read, because I am not calling you or anyone else any of these words.

    You call me:

    “redneck”
    “Hillbilly”
    “Slaker”
    “Cracker”
    “Honkey”
    “Whitey”
    “Gringo”
    “Sage”
    and you think it’s OK.

    But if I call you:
    “jungle bunny”
    “spear chunker”
    “coon”
    “jiggaboo”
    “porch monkey”
    “Spook”
    or “Nigger”
    you call me a racist.

    –You have the United Negro College Fund.
    –You have Martin Luther King Day.
    –You have Black History Month.
    –You have the NAACP.
    –You have BET.

    –If we had WET(white entertainment television) …we’d be racist.
    –If we had a White Pride Day… you would call us racist.
    –If we had White History Month… we’d be racist.
    –If we had an organization for only whites to “advance” our lives… we’d be racist.
    –If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships…you know we’d be racist.
    –In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights…you would call us racist.

    –Did you know that some high school students decided to make a club for only the white students because the other ethnicities had them. They all got sent to court for being racist but the african-american, Latino, and Asia clubs were not even questioned.
    –You are proud to be black, brown, whatever and you’re not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

    I am white.
    and
    I am proud.
    But, you call me a racist.

    Why is it that only whites can be racists?

    I say that if you are going to call someone a racsist you must also be one yourself.

    Thank you for your time and blogging space “Angry Black Woman.”

  129. I remember going to see Spielberg’s AI at the movies. I remember the scene where the mother takes David to the park. Everyone knew what was coming next…nobody wanted to hear it…nobody wanted to believe Spielberg would go there…it came anyway…
    and People lost their minds.
    For weeks afterwards…people who had seen the movie were talking about how the aliens had spoiled the movie at the end…and how the movie was okay except for the aliens…and I began to ask myself what movie had these people seen.
    I went on movie forums and it was the same wherever I went. While I was discussing how powerful the movie was and how it affected me…with someone else who got it….I was struck by an epiphany…or something close to one. As I began to discuss this with others who saw the movie…and were brought to tears as I was…I realised the validity of what it was I was seeing and feeling.
    There were no aliens at the end of AI. But that was not the point. We in our arrogance thought we were the only ones who got it. Saw the power on the story…understood what it is to look into the eyes of the goddess(mother) and not see our own reflection…understood what abandonment feels like. We were not the only ones. Many…too many of the people who were very vocal about their dislike for the film…got it too. And I fear they felt it far deeper than they would ever let on.
    AS I read the comments from many of the whites on this and other posts…I know that they get exactly what you are saying about race in general…and this commercial in particular. They get it. They just want you to believe otherwise. And the less you fall for the trap…the more vocal they become.
    And despite the colorful words they use…all I see is pain on the page.
    There is no question that Geico played the race card in order to get Americans to pay attention…and hope discussions like the ones going on here…will translate to people buying into their manipulation. No question. And a great many of the people trying to deny it are just not convincing at all.
    Behaviour is truth. My grandma always used to say “Throw a stone into a pack of dogs…the one who yelps…is the one who git hit.”

  130. Didn’t look at the comments before writing my own, so hopefully I’m not repeating anything.

    I definitely think they’re written from an anti-“political correctness,” “why are people so easily offended?” comedian’s perspective, and in that sense are quite problematic insomuch as they do invalidate people speaking out against genuinely offensive representations.

    But at the same time, they are one of those weird sort of postmodern, multi-meaning-ed texts that invite different interpretations from different viewers. I definitely find myself at times identifying with the caveman in his quest to be heard (as well as the Geico-buying caveman’s struggles around complicity), and while the commercials don’t exactly authorize these identifications, they don’t exactly prevent/dismiss them either.

  131. Dear Jon,

    You’re not an asshole for expressing your opinion. You’re an asshole for being an asshole while expressing your opinion. The tone of your comment clearly conveyed that you weren’t interested in intelligent dialogue but merely in insulting me and those who agree with me. If you want to be treated better, you need to act better.

    As to your assertion that there is no race, I think you need to sit down and read a book sometime. It might help you. Technically, yes, all people on this planet are of one race, the human race. Race is a social construct based on really minor surface differences between people. Skin color, hair type, shape of the eyes, etc. Only a tiny fraction o the DNA we all share goes in to making up those differences. From a biological standpoint, race is irrelevant. I know this and you seem to know this and, gosh, even Hitler knew that. But what I and most other people know is that this business about race being a social construct does not matter in the real world of interpersonal relations.

    People see differences. People categorize. It seems to be in our nature. Therefore, we have to address what happens when people categorize and label those categories “Race”. You cannot get around this process of categorization by whining “There is no Race” because, for most people, THERE IS.

    Also, I have no desire to take the time to understand what you have to say because your tone continues to be condescending and assholeish. If you want to take the time to modify your attitude, then I’ll take the time to hear you out. But, as it stands, I’m giving you a warning that further posting in this vein will earn you a spot on my blacklist.

    In answer to the rest of your long and tired-ass comment, I’ll refer you to the “Required Reading” link at the top of this and every page on my blog. There you will find some of the answers you seek. If you’re still confused, why not drop by the “Ask ABW a question about racism” thread on the front page.

  132. prch n sl sst crcksss tryng t kp z dwn! =) bt srsl, cld dstr yr smplstc rgmnt s mn wys sffc t t s th cvmn n qstn r clr wht! rd dmn bk! bsds bng plyd b wht mls th r bvsl nndrthls ( rpn ‘cvmn’) fck th vn drss strght t f mm vc. fnll cvmn s dscrmntr bt nt gnst blcks, ts gnst mn sd b wmn. n smmtn : fck y’r dmb!

  133. Jon, I’m not sure if you’ll ever get to read this, but I figured I would go ahead and post it anyway. It’s definitely not as eloquent a reponse as some of the other folks here might have given you, but I think it conveys my point just the same. I’m going to break down some of your points and address them individually, as that’ll be easier for the both of us.

    “You call me:
    “redneck”
    “Hillbilly”
    “Slaker”
    “Cracker”
    “Honkey”
    “Whitey”
    “Gringo”
    “Sage”
    and you think it’s OK.”

    I haven’t read anything on this site where ABW condones using *any* of those terms. I’ve only seen her use “honkey” in one of her titles, and if you truly knew what the word meant, you most certainly would see that there is no comparison between its definition and those of the pejoratives used towards blacks.

    “But if I call you:
    “jungle bunny”
    “spear chunker”
    “coon”
    “jiggaboo”
    “porch monkey”
    “Spook”
    or “Nigger”
    you call me a racist.”

    Because it *is* racist to call blacks those things. Those slurs were the bastard children of a racist mentality. There’s a dark and ugly history behind each and every one of them unlike any of the slurs ever used towards whites. To compare the two lists is illogical, nonsensical, and down-right stupid.

    “-You have the United Negro College Fund.
    -You have Martin Luther King Day.
    -You have Black History Month.
    -You have the NAACP.
    -You have BET.”

    -Whites have almost every other college fund.
    -Whites have tons of holidays devoted to their leaders and so forth.
    -11 months of the year are devoted to White History, and blacks get the shortest.
    -Whites don’t need an activist group like the NAACP. They run everything in this country. Who the hell do they need protection (and I use that term very loosely) from?
    -BET is owned by white people, and about 98% of television is WET.

    “-If we had WET(white entertainment television) …we’d be racist.
    -If we had a White Pride Day… you would call us racist.
    -If we had White History Month… we’d be racist.
    -If we had an organization for only whites to “advance” our lives… we’d be racist.
    -If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships…you know we’d be racist.
    -In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights…you would call us racist.”

    -I reiterate, about 98% of television is WET.
    – I reiterate, 11 months out of the year are devoted to White History. Blacks get the shortest.
    – I reiterate, there are a ton of scholarships out there that cater to whites. They’re the ones that don’t have “black” or “negro” or “color” or “asian”, “hispanic”, et cetera in their titles.
    – See above point.
    – What rights are you, as a white man, being denied?

    “-Did you know that some high school students decided to make a club for only the white students because the other ethnicities had them. They all got sent to court for being racist but the african-american, Latino, and Asia clubs were not even questioned.
    -You are proud to be black, brown, whatever and you’re not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.”

    – I read about that. White is the default, and there’s no need to put an emphasis on the default.
    – No one’s saying you can’t be proud to be white. It’s when your “pride” becomes a superiority-complex that the problems arise (and you’re tagged with “racist”).

    “I am white.
    and
    I am proud.
    But, you call me a racist.”

    I reiterate, no one’s saying you can’t be proud to be white. It’s when your “pride” becomes a superiority-complex that the problems arise (and you’re tagged with “racist”).

    “Why is it that only whites can be racists?”

    I believe ABW wrote a very good post on this. It might be under the “Required Reading” section she guided you towards.

    “I say that if you are going to call someone a racsist you must also be one yourself.”

    Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

    Thank you for your time and blogging space “Angry Black Woman.”

    Don’t put her name in quotations. She’s not something for you to paraphrase.

  134. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT

    Offensive things today need to be coded to gain acceptance into the mainstream. They need to have plausible deniability, and a claim to innocence. This skit accomplishes this well.

    At a base level, this scenario depicts a big group lampooning a lesser group. There is a subversive and clever humor to this skit, but it takes a minority group that has assimilated, is visibly different, and at the same time, is comparatively invisible and belittles them.

    The idea that it’s ok to make fun of another group is what is offensive. In this case it only becomes sadistically funny when we see that this group still exists and takes offense.

    We also see the greater society tolerate their offense albeit with paternalistic tongue and cheek.

    That said, the only cure to this type of humor is to go the other way and laugh along.

    Seriously, it is empowering to show that such sadistic humor only has the power that you allow it to have. Just like the movie, “White Man Can’t Jump” seemed to diminish Caucasian athleticism, until it’s ability to do so was obliterated by dismissive laughter.

    More importantly, as long as we can have a dialog about such things without outrage and can be honest and reason together, we can have peace. Sincere desire to understand one another and and be able to laugh at our differences without malice, would be a nice goal.

    In the mean time, honest and open discussions like this serve to build bridges and inroads to peace.

    Thank you for having the courage to be brutally honest and I hope that you are able to gain some help and insight from my remarks as well.

  135. Michael,
    I guess it’s easy to “laugh along” when the joke is not on you. What if you lived in a society where white people were the minority and the commercial said, “It’s so easy even a clueless white boy can do it.” Would you find it easy to “laugh along” then, Michael? About the only “insight” I get from your remarks is that you have never experienced being on the receiving end of prejudice and so have no idea about what’s really at stake here. It offends me that you suggest I just “laugh along” when I am insulted. We can have peace when you get a clue about what it is like to live as a minority in this country. If I have guessed incorrectly and you are, in fact, a member of a minority group, then I feel very, very sorry for the way this society has warped your mind.

  136. Think you’re reading way too much into this. I agree that the commercials are really dumb and annoying – but that’s it. All that talk about racism etc. is your own projection. It’s just a really dumb commercial – that’s all.

  137. S y hv blck ppl ngr tht th mght b cmprng th cv mn t thm nd wmn pst tht th r NT cmprng th cvmn t thm. S ‘m ffndd tht th hvn’t hd sn cv mn r Hspnc cv mn. nd wh hvn’t n f thm bn g? ‘m ffndd tht th Gc hsn’t cvrd vr thnct nd gndr n th plnt yt wth th fv r s cmmrcls th’v prdcd. Cm n rtrds… Y r th ptm f wht th cmmrcls r mckng.

  138. Qstn: Whch f th thr cmmnts s rcst: . “Stpd Mxcns” . “Stpd Cndns” . “Stpd Wht Ppl” nswr: nl # s rcst cmmnt. Thnks fr lrnng! zmn

  139. Hr r sm xmpls f prf tht Gc s nt smpl rplcng blck ctr wth cv mn. Th cv mn dn’t sg thr pnts, rll n mplls, bst cps, brn nghbrhds n prtst, t grts, cllct wlfr, cptlz n gvrnmnt hnd-ts, s “y” r “sp”, crr bsktbll, st n th frnt prch, t frd chckn, gt bt p b th plc r g t jl. S pls tll m whr y gt th d th r sbsttts fr blcks?

  140. Th Gc cvmn s clrl tln, NT BLCK. Th physcl mkp f th cvmn mstl prtrys n tln ml n hs md thrts whn y cnsdr th fcl hr nd fshn sns f th chrctr. Th skn tns r ls mr lng th lns f tln r Hspnc, nt blck. Y wld xpct tlns vrywhr t b ffndd b th dn’t sm t b. M thr s tht th rcgnz tht t s nl cmmrcl nd s ntndd t pk fn t th pltcl crrctnss f r r rthr thn prtclr rc. zmn

  141. Bb, gr tht th ctns f th chrctr d nthng t dfn th Gc cvmn s blck. Whn h’s wlkng thrgh th rprt y s hm crryng tnns rckt. Tnns sn’t xctl sprt tht mst blcks wld wnt t pl. f h wr rnnng thrgh th rprt wth stln wtrmln thn tht wld b dffrnt str. Thnks fr yr cmmnts. zmn

  142. Dear zman and bob at IP address 67.108.235.66, I know that you’re the same person and, if you’re check the Rules of Engagement, you’ll notice that sockpuppetry and anonymous trolling are strictly forbidden here. You’ve been banned and disemvoweled. Thanks for playing!

  143. It’s subtly racist. Not because the cavemen are necessarily a 1:1 markup on black people, but that there is one significant detail that separates them and real minorities fighting a struggle:

    They’re actually different.

    As such, you could feasibly draw up an argument that the ad men are (un)consciously subversive by having their cavemen characters doing and saying things indicative of minorities dealing with racism and racist attitudes, burdened with the irony that, yes, they’re really less evolved than everyone else.

  144. thnk y nd t gt lf. r byfrnd. r myb rl bg vbrtr. Mk t wht n.

  145. ABW,

    I edited the Wikipedia page on the Geico Caveman to add a link to this discussion. Hope that’s OK with you?

  146. Yeah, that’s fine with me. If the comments start to get ridiculous again I’ll just shut them off :)

  147. Less time being angry, more time being compassionate and caring.
    Not everything is racist. Somethings are simply for entertainment and enjoyment.
    Settle down or you’ll have an early trip to the grave!
    Wasting too much of your energy!

  148. I’m a black man who has just recieved his Ph.D and it really angers me to see other black people respond in this way to something so silly. I think the commercials are funny, and are not intended to offend anyone. People really need to stop trying to pull “the race card” so fast. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson try to put a racial spin on every situation. They are NOT the spokespeople of black people even though many people still percieve them to be. As a fan of older rap music, when the lyrics actually had meaning, I can say that today’s music is doing nothing but trying to glorify the “gantster image.” I grew up in a rough neighborhood, but I knew I wanted to do better myself and did so. People like the author of this article need to realize that while there are certain people of ALL races that still hold racist ideals, the majority of people are not as ignorant. Today’s generation of white people are not trying to hold us back and yet we still bring up wrongs that they had nothing to do with. People need to quit trying to turn everything into examples of discrimination or we will never truly rise up.

  149. ABW,
    I’m white and male. I can’t be in your head, but I sense pain. I hope you’ll be able to work that out.

    Hey, the caveman is like a cliche. We never learned much about early humans in grade school, but I never once heard a reference to cavewoman. It just wasn’t part of the language. I guess it was like saying “mankind”. Isn’t it interesting how politically incorrect we were?

    Honestly, I never once thought of the caveman as black. I hadn’t thought about race until I read your blog. Now I’m thinking about it and I realize that I identify with the character as a white man. I guess you say tomato and I say tom-ah-to. I still have faith that we’ll work this one out.

  150. By the way, congratulations on receiving your PhD Dr. Stephon !!

  151. Stephon,
    I suspect that you are neither black nor have a Ph.D. You sound like a white person who is trying to be funny. But, just in case you’re who you say you are, I would like you to know that the creator of the commercials has admitted that his intent was, in part, to comment on what he views as the excessively sensitive Politically Correct attitude of many people. See http://www.esquire.com/the-side/geico032007. The ads use humor to try to trivialize people’s reactions to mistreatment at the hands of the majority. The ads may not be intended to offend, but that aspect of the ads certainly does offend me, as it should offend any person who has been on the receiving end of prejudice.

  152. I’m a black man who has just recieved his Ph.D…

    Welcome, Dr. Negro.

    …and it really angers me to see other black people respond in this way to something so silly.

    As for the rest of your post:

    You must really think we’re stupid don’t you? First of all, even if you really are a Black man it doesn’t your post any more credibility than anyone else’s. And if that wasn’t enough, you try to wave an “edjumacashun” – a doctorate, no less! – in our faces as if to validate your assholery.

    Wigga, please!

    CroMagnon’s right. I don’t believe a damn word you posted:

    1) A real Black man knows that there’s no such thing as a “race card”. How can we play something that we haven’t been dealt?

    2) You go off on some ridiculous tirade about rap music that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Vent your prejudices about the Black community somewhere else.

    3) This quote:

    Today’s generation of white people are not trying to hold us back and yet we still bring up wrongs that they had nothing to do with. People need to quit trying to turn everything into examples of discrimination or we will never truly rise up.

    What-the-fuck-ever.

  153. oh pooh. The pic didn’t post! =P

  154. Oh boy. It’ll be tough to get anywhere with those comments.

  155. yes its encouraging to see a black person like stephon to respond in this manner. unfrotunately true or not blacks are portayed as being angry at the white man and most people dont get the view stephon withholds. If you are a black who is sensitive, the caveman issue would seem racist, it can be read into. fortnately people like stephon can see through it by self reliance and the opportunities there are for black people. Blacks have more opportunity than they know, they are self destructive. Morality plays a large role in it and also listening to the likes of sharpton and jackson.

  156. You mean all this time it’s been black people’s fault that racism still exists and if we just lifted ourselves up by our bootstraps everything would be magically better? OMG why didn’t I see this before!?

  157. Just finished reading Jon’s comment. I think the thing Jon fails to get is that if a group calls itself “white-only” it IS being racist because there is no one particular country called “white.” The United States is made up of whites from many different cultures. There is nothing holding these white groups together except for their whiteness. “White” is a collective name for ALL the white cultures in the United States. What do Italians or Danes or Irish people have in common except their whiteness? So if a group says it is whites-only, it is basically saying that all ethnic groups which share the trait of white skin are allowed. On the other hand, “Blacks” fall into one ethnic group: African-Americans.

    -C

  158. racism exists, no one is that naive.I have experienced black people are more racist than whites and break the law more readily,because they can always shout racism . i have seen plenty of reverse racism .

  159. Yeah, it seems to be a human condition. Maybe we’re all inherently insecure and it makes us feel better to put down on the “other”? Interestingly, we’re probably more alike than different!

  160. Geez…and here i was thinking that it was just a commercial! who knew?

  161. In the commercials I see several intelligent, relatively sophisticated cavemen complaining about their treatment by the Geico commercials and subsequent news and therapy. I see them being dismissed because “historically, your people have struggled to adapt”, and then when they have an insightful rebuttal it is dismissed with a stereotype. The therapy session is even more telling; the therapist asserts that cavemen are stupid even though a very intelligent one is discussing the topic with her.

    This is ultimately the problem. Everybody should be treated exactly how they deserve, not based on their membership in a particular ethnic group. Nobody can reasonably deny that there are black people who fit the hip-hop, gangbangin’ gangster stereotype. They do exist, and they deserve to be treated the same way any person who behaved that way would be, regardless of their skin color. The problem is when we treat black people that way when they don’t deserve it, because there are way more people who do not fit that stereotype. The therapist telling the caveman that “cavemen are stupid” when he is clearly not so is the crux of the matter.

    When I see the commercials I tend to feel sympathy for the cavemen. All of the other characters are dismissive and condescending, while the cavemen are reasonable and trying earnestly but vainly to counter the negative stereotype that they are being painted with. Certainly the use of cavemen as an offended minority group is intended to be absurd, but I don’t see it as mocking minority groups. The portrayal of racism in the commercials is relatively nuanced and intelligent, and I think it contributes to public understanding.

    Ultimately the point of the whole thing is “trying to make a memorable commercial” which, given all this controversy, it has certainly succeeded in. But I don’t think they have done it at the expense of a minority group.

  162. Gordon,
    The commercials are supposed by funny. They’re memorable only to the extent that they make you laugh. But, if you feel sympathy for the cavemen, then where do you find the humor in the ads? What’s so funny about reasonable and earnest attempts to counter negative stereotypes being frustrated by the dismissive and condescending attitudes of the perpetrator? After having been an American “Caveman” for over 50 years, I, too, sympathize with the Geico cavemen. But, I don’t see anything funny about their frustrated attempts to counter social injustice. Seriously, Gordon. I’d really like to know. What’s so damn funny?

  163. Gordon never said they funny. Why attack him?

    I agree with him, they make fun of the “establishment” which I think IS funny, and needs to be made fun of. They are showing how ridiculous institutionalized racism is, and how those who feel that way should be ridiculed out of society. They are funny in the way that Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is funny.

    Satirically.

  164. And yet Corby is wrong, AGAIN, about the intent of the commercials. Corby is racking up the wrongness today.

  165. Gt yr rprtns, bld frggn brdg nd gt vr t. Dd m ncstrs nslv yrs? N. Th cm vr n bt frm rlnd r wr lrd hr s Ntv mrcns. Yt, shld fl bd bcs YR rc ws prsctd. Ds tht mn shld b xpctng n plg frm nglnd fr th xctns f nncnt rsh nd Cltc fmls? Ds tht mn tht th Rmn Cthlc Chrch shld p m fr m Pgn ncstrs wh wr slghtrd fr prctcng thr fth? Y knw wht? Nm sngl grp (rc, rlgn, crd) tht hs nt bn prsctd? Jws, Rssns, Jpns, Chrstns, Ntv mrcns, rsh(Clts), Mslm, rq, tc. Jn th frggn whnrs clb s yr jst lkng fr rsn t blm smn ls fr yr crpp lf

  166. *sigh* deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevowel!

  167. This is a very interesting blog.

    I haven’t seen the latest installments of the caveman commercials (no cable), but I have seen enough of them to get the underlying message.

    It’s just another tool racists/sexists/etc are using in their war against “political correctness” (because I guess for some people, not being a self-centered idiot is a chore). It appears we are now living in the postcivilrights/racismisgone/everyoneisequal days where the oppressor screams “oppressed” and acting out/laughing at stereotypes is now cool and edgy.

    People who don’t see this commericial and the myraid of other commercials, tv shows, movies, etc as offensive (or would rather see people stop “whining” or “being over-sensative” over it) usually fit one of these categories:

    – racists/sexists/over-all bigots who want validity for their moronic behavior
    – people in the majority who want to stay in the majority (same as above)
    – people in the minority who don’t want to “rock the boat” as to appease or attempt to assimilate into “majority” culture (enablers of the people mentioned above)
    – uncurably clueless people who live their life with blindfolds on.

    [quote]The United States is made up of whites from many different cultures. There is nothing holding these white groups together except for their whiteness. “White” is a collective name for ALL the white cultures in the United States. What do Italians or Danes or Irish people have in common except their whiteness? So if a group says it is whites-only, it is basically saying that all ethnic groups which share the trait of white skin are allowed. On the other hand, “Blacks” fall into one ethnic group: African-Americans.[/quote]

    I agree that there is nothing really holding whites together (except maybe for their desire for white supremacy) and that Blacks are united in a struggle for freedom from said oppression. But, I think it is a huge misconception that Blacks in the US are this hegemonious group with the same ethnic/cultural identity. The term “Black” (while unifying) can include as many (actually, more) ethnicities as the term “white” does. Blacks can be African American, Carribean (Jamaican, Haitian Trinidadian, etc.) or from one of the many countries (and even more tribes and cultures, since the “countries” borders where forced on them) of the continent of Africa. There are also Black cultures that have long ago settled in parts of Europe and would not identify themselves ethnically as African Americans.

  168. You people are really being too oversensitive.

    Real cavemen probably had darkish skin from their living conditions.

  169. Today’s prize for most clueless and absolutely un-useful comment goes to:

    The Guy!

  170. Since it’s obvious no actual discussion is g0ing to happen on this page, I’m shutting down comments. If you want to rant at me about my opinions, go to the front page and look for the latest open thread. Thanks!

  171. I hear the show on NBC got confirmed.. Guess we’ll get to see how racist that shit really is.

  172. When the ads were 30-second spots pretty much in sympathy with the caveman, I enjoyed them (and I am a person who hates hates hates tv advertising). The one where he’s walking on the moving walkway and stops, looking at the poster…I had almost that exact moment looking at the poster for a ooh-scary terrorists movie once!

    But the more they go on, the more the commercials mock (and thus dismiss) the entire issue of sensitivity in media campaigns — a very real one. When I heard they were making a TV show, I knew something supid was afoot…

  173. Err, that would be ‘stupid’ in the last sentence of the last post. As in not checking one’s typing.

  174. I actually think the commercials are more homophobic than anything. The cavemen are clearly gay based on their mannerisms & there’s a few double entendres in there that imply it too, (one caveman in the commercials is blackballed by the others because he was “outed” as switching to Geico – ironic considering that Geico doesn’t think they can do it!) Unless you see a lot of straight people walking around in powder blue & yellow outfits with a tennis racket sticking out of their backpacks, the ads suggest to gay-bash the cavemen. My wife thinks I’m reading too much into it so what do I know!

  175. Are you kidding me? You really have a problem. Quit complaining about everything under the sun and use your energy to look for the positive side of life. In the end you’ll be a better person.

  176. well……my thoughts. The commercials are based on the saying “So easy a child can do it”. But something tells me that children don’t get offended at that…ergo…it must be changed to “caveman”. I didnt really read anything racist or sexist into it. I highly doubt that’s what the ads are going for as some suggested. Maybe the slogan should be changed to…

    “so easy a pothead can do it….well…maybe not.”

  177. r myb..”s s rc hstlr cn d t” hmmm tht cld wrk

  178. I seriously think that relations of race cannot move forward if people like the “angry black woman” keep looking too deeply into finding little things like this commercial to accuse white people of oppressing black people. It is very ignorant. Just look as it as a commercial for geiko, and be done with it!

  179. I’m an advertising creative in the UK married to a New Yorker and spend a lot of time in the States over the course of the year. I therefore take a keen interest in this debate for several reasons.

    US advertising can often appear to be very basic and condescending to foreign eyes, and as such I viewed the caveman campaign as a breath of fresh air. Firstly it operates on more than one level. Furthermore it is proof positive that advertising in a product sector that is plagued by inane and jingle ridden, lowest common denominator commercials can be creative and entertaining.

    I have always believed that the commercials satirised a predominantly white male media, lampooning an industry repleat with stereotypes and patronising shorthand. The fictional media belittles their concerns, when the Cavemen are right. Their bitterness is natural and indicates multi-dimensional characterisation.

    Of course, there can be no definitive reading of television, as one’s interaction with it is dependent on personal experience. I see with white Irish liberal eyes, Angry Black Woman (sic) with what I assume to be angry, black ones and one has to suppose that the racist will probably get some form of reinforcment from it. This is unfortunate but not restricted to advertising

    It is perhaps a tribute to the campaign has sparked this debate. As for the sitcom however, the jury is still out.

  180. First of all, I think the creator’s of ALL of Geico’s commercials are rather talentless and simple-minded…their humor doesn’t elevate above the, “Pull my finger”, stage. That Gecko irks ME. I want it to STFU and go away forever. It’s like Chinese water torture watching those dull ass commercials with that rambling lizard.

    So, these same crackheads brainstormed the Caveman concept (and I sincerely wonder if the authors of these monstrosities aren’t all of 12 years old…in some mega-sized Manhattan ad agency penthouse, brainstorming these concepts (as they gnosh nachos and Dr, Pepper with Pop Rocks) in between their rollerblading and skateboarding.

    “The Geico Caveman is a thinly veiled pastiche of Black People”. I must admit that the thought had crossed my mind that Geico was making real-life racial aspersions to some ill-defined group….they look like Aboriginines, actually. Interesting….a Gecko with an Austrailian accent and Aboriginines. I really didn’t associate their campaign with any particular ethnic group at first, though… I mean, if you want to get real about it, IF they showed these Cavemen eating chicken and watermelon, playing basketball and getting “happy in their Caveman Church”, then I would be the first one to call Al Sharpton. Because, as you know, the vast majority of Black Americans DO love chicken and our males DO tend to dominate the sport of basketball… LOL… Black folks are more diverse than that, of course…but, it is my observation that we are cursed with the stereotype of the Slave Buck who liked his chicken, chitterlings, and watermelon and didn’t mind telling the Massa so. And when the Massa needed more field hands and asked Buck if he would help him out and knock up all the Negresses on the plantation that he could, Buck surely stated that he could bang with the best of them all night long… What else could he say? Hence, the stereotype of the Black Stud was born! So, when the Massa imperiously told the other slaves that he had figured them out and had decided that they ALL liked chicken and such and loved to have sex, just like Buck,of course they said, “Why yes indeed, Mr. Charlie!!!” (even though they may have been practicing vegans, or what not…and, unfortunately, they had no say over their bodies one way or the other ). Hence, racial bugaboos about sex,foods, and such where born. No one was going to tell the Massa, “No”, about any of his misconceptions…to stand apart from the stereotype was to stand alone and that surely illicited grave punishment.

    Anyway, I digress… Wanna know what irks me more than these Cavemen commercials?? It’s those Popeye’s commercials which will always provide a job to chicken loving, bug-eyed, out-of-work black actor! And there are other blatant media abuses of Black people out there which provoke my fury more than these Cavemen…. And, quite frankly, these Cavemen are more irritating than offensive. Irritating and annoying in the same dull, insipid way as the Gecko.

  181. Spelling correction:

    meant: “Aborigine”

  182. By the way, could someone explain the cryptic posts in this thread whereby folks are too lazy to spell out complete words?

  183. I cannot believe (& perhaps I’m in denial) that people in this day & age are so earger to assume a Green lizzard with an “English” accent, is supposed to to be representive of any race, creed, or color.

    It seems rather people are eager to find ANY simialarity they can imag & take personnal offense to it.
    The same thing is true about the “Caveman.” If people want to make a parallel with themselves & a “Caveman” because they are insecure or afraid of something within themselves how can that be anyone’s fault but their own?

    I guess people see what they want to see no matter what a silly TV commecial is, says, od portrays.

    Seen the commercials & pretty sure there was no mention of any race.
    Come on people, please relax & see it for what it is.

  184. I really think you’re looking too deeply into it, especially the female thing, which I will address first.

    When people think cavemen, they think caveMEN. I don’t think they need to diversify much, that would be pointless for a 30 second commercial.

    I like the Cavemen commercials. but I suppose when you don’t sympathise with the Cavemen, you would probably think they’re making fun,

    The commercials do sympathise with them, as they are done in their point of view. They have the most lines, are never shown as being stupid in any way, and are given just reasons to be offended.

    The sign, the insulting comments, and the fact that people are reprobate, even when the cavemen show greater intelligence. They usually outsmart the humans. The biggest thing is that they NEVER present what people claim them to be. If they did, then I could agree.

    It’s a satire, and a pretty good one, because who here ever thought about Cavemen “rights” before this. What this company has done was take something no one has ever sympathised with and probably has deemed lesser, and put them in a real life situation.

    I was not, nor will be offended by these commercials because I honestly don’t see any harm in them, mostly because the humans are the jerks in these commercials, and not the cavemen.

  185. I haven’t seen much of the Geico commercials, but this does bother me:

    “When people think cavemen, they think caveMEN. I don’t think they need to diversify much, that would be pointless for a 30 second commercial.”

    This is exactly the problem. Women are consistently written out of history. In every era, the dominant narrative is a male one. Male = universal, female = Other. Why should a caveman represent prehistory and not a cavewoman? (“cavewoman” by the way, is not even a real word according to spellcheck. Apparently the spellchecker also sees the masculine as universal, the female as Other and misspelled :P )

    Perhaps further exploration of commercial mascots will make the problem more apparent. Think of every cereal commercial, fast food commercial, insurance commercial, etc., that you’ve ever seen. Think of all those mascots. Dozens of them, probably. COUNT THEM. Now out of all of them… how many are female?

  186. Well, Yabba Dabba Doo!!

    First of all, how do you know that the Gecko has an English ; Cockney accent??

    Second, who said we were discussing the race of the GECKO????! These posts reminds me of that parlor game whereby you whisper in someone’s ear and they do the same and so on and so on and the message is completely muffed up by the time it gets to the end of the line!

    Third, perhaps you are right about the insecurity factor and our graphing our racial identities onto something as backward (LOL….) as a Caveman…but, then again, if the point is that the Caveman is NOT backward, I don’t get it!

    Fourth, ABW already stated that it’s not about male versus female CavePeople… or did you not read that??! That’s because this dumb ass society is stuck on slow and always assumes that the protagonists of any situation are male so she is not even going there in this thread! (Anyway, where the hell would Fred be without Wilma, that retard???)

    Fifth, you people are as pretentious as those Cavemen with your convuluted, self-satisfied takes on what is going on in this thread and in those dumb commercials. Roasted duck with Mango Salsa anyone??

  187. The “joke” in these commercials is:

    “Jeez, whatever you say these days offends *somebody*– isn’t that ridiculous? Aren’t we *past* all this PC-race-bullshit?”

    Well, no, actually, we’re not past that. Read the news.

    Trivializing racism doesn’t make it go away. I absolutely agree that these ads, while not, perhaps, racist, stand in a context of trivializing racism. So there :)

  188. Kudos to “a,” above for his or her elegantly concise summary of the “joke” and the failed strategy behind it. “So there,” indeed! On a slightly different topic, ABC is trying to avoid this issue in its new Caveman TV show by downplaying the “joke.” But, the joke is the main reason for the show’s existence, as you can see from the original pilot. So, if they downplay the joke, they end up with a really lame show. If they don’t downplay it, they end up with a controversy similar to that created by the ads on which the show is based. I almost feel sorry for ABC. But, that’s what they get for backing a show that attempts to trivialize a serious issue.

  189. To me this is silly. as an african american male i was not offended by any of these commercials and didnt identify with any of the cavemen. why would i try to find ways to identify with a caveman? i dont really understand your argument and i think you are reading into a silly commercail too much. I think there are a lot more serious issues in the world than worrying if a commercial about cavemen is racist. I dont identify with the caveman and actually see them more as a portrayal of white men than of black men. I think your efforts would be better utilized worrying about real racism today, not whether or not black folks identify with cavemen. The show is gonna be cancelled in a few weeks anyway so i dont see what the big uproar is about .

  190. In the very first paragraph, you threaten to stab someone.

  191. Jonathan

    Um, I don’t think the point is whether black people or any other race identifies with cave men. I think it’s the general philosophy that it’s OK to trivialize a group’s outcry of injustice via inferior/harmful stereotyping. It’s supposed to be ironic because it’s cavemen instead of another human, but unfortunately it could apply to othe people in RL as well, and possibly (probably) reflect majority sentiment.

    Now personally I haven’t given the commercials too much though beforhand either (though my family and I did go through a moment of “lol, that’s just like white people too”), but I still think ABW makes some valid points.

    But in any case, she disclaimed herself in the beginning of the post and I think it’s doing her a great disservice to simplify her into this one issue. I’m sure she gives a lot more of her time and energy into Jena Six and the like than this caveman show; I don’t like the vibe that she just sits on things like this and plays it up like it’s the biggest deal.

    For goodness sakes the titles says ‘irk’ not ‘righteous outrage of Injustice’.

  192. In the very first paragraph, you threaten to stab someone.

    actually, in the first paragraph I say to myself that I might stab someone if I don’t get this off my chest. Now that it’s off my chest, no one is in danger of being stabbed. Thus, not threatening.

    Not that this has anything to do with THE TOPIC.

    Also, the only reason I’m still even talking about this caveman business is because you people keep coming here and bringing it up. the comments on this post would be closed right now except closing them makes the entire thread disappear, and I think it’s important to keep the conversation up as well.

  193. I believe ABW would like to close this section, so I will be as brief as I can.

    I work for one of GEICO’s competitors. Our people saw through the veil and realized that this series of commericals could be interpreted in one of many negative ways. We believe they purposely left it open to create speculation. While it is slick ansd subtle, it is not necessarily the best route.

    Our marketing and advertising personnel is taking the approach that we are not going create any messages that leave people feeling ambiguous. When you see one of our commercials, it will be comical, but straight forward.

    -Adam

  194. Hi,
    I think you are reading way too much into this whole thing. The world is full of people dying to be offended by something. Every race in the world is crying that another is doing them wrong. It’s the way the world is, and has been since….well, since the caveman let’s say.
    Everyone knows that the earliest known record of mankind was from Africa. They were “cavemen”, as we’ve come to call them.
    I think it’s a very comical, and cute storyline. I remember the first time I saw the commercial, I cracked up, because I could relate to it. It was funny, and still think it is. I never thought oh wow, they are making fun of Black people.

    Sure you can read anything you want into it, but that, sad to say seems to be what Blacks do with everything.

    If you know anything about evolution you know that “ALL” of us came from Africa. http://www.africawithin.com/black_history/overview_chapter1.htm

    Lighten Up. Nobody is holding Blacks down, except Blacks. We are all masters of our own destiny.

    And No, Michael Vick is not a caveman.

  195. fnd t ntrstng tht yr wbst s clld th “ngryblckwmn”. f smn wht trd t crt sch st, : “thngrywhtmn” Rv. l Shrptn wld b tryng t hv t sht dwn.

  196. “Nobody holds blacks down, except blacks…”

    This type fo logic is so stunningly stupid I’m amazed every time it comes up. It flies in the face of ever fact known to man, yet people actually believe it. Wow.

  197. It’s a fun/upsetting little parlor game for me now to try to figure out what the disemvowelled posts originally said.

  198. Katie – More upsetting than fun for me. Kind of like trying to decipher a serial killer’s note.

    Steven M — unwittingly, I’m sure — disembowels his own point at the end of his post by talking about Michael Vick.

    JW believes “funny” trumps “racist”. I’m sure he also believes it trumps “sexist” and other types of prejudice visited on those that “deviate” from the societal norm of being a White. Western. Male.

    There are studies as to how an oversupply of testosterone and vasopressin act upon the XY brain — on a continuum of sorts, of course — to such an extent that the lack of empathy to others’ pain and suffering borders on demonstrative autism. (I’d love to see the extent to which those hormone levels are additionally modulated by phenotype and/or socialization.) Despite the jokes that could be made — particularly in this context — about the questionable adaptiveness of such traits given the “evolution” of modern society from its original hunter/gatherer mode, I won’t bore you all with them here.

    The ads ARE funny. They’re also racist.

    Additionally, they’re sexist. At the Caveman parties, the ONLY women pictured, over whom the Cavemen do appear to be drooling and slavering to varying degrees (I won’t even get into that subtext), have idealized Anglo Saxon Caucasian-American features — straight hair, little nose, light eyes, skinny bones, all of it. With the concomitant simpering body language to boot.

    No Cavewomen anywhere. So WoCs, if you’re feeling half-invisible watching the commercials — depending on how much of a patriarchal apologist you feel you have to be based on racial loyalist pressure (after all, it’s a survival skill) — you’re not imagining it. (Anyone notice how here in the comments the “SPOKESPEOPLE FOR THE RACE” are always men?? Awwww, yeahhh.)

    I can only imagine what the commercial-makers could come up with trying to put the gender counterparts’ images on screen. I guess it could be comforting to realize that in some contexts, you’re just not even seen.

    I am happy to report that I heard a rumor that the “Cavemen” series is going to be cancelled.

    I didn’t know they’d displaced George Lopez’s show to put it on the air in the first place, though.

    We’re not exactly a nation of intellectuals, are we?

    In the larger global sphere, is anyone else worried about that at all?

    Oh, wait … I guess Steven M and JW and their ilk think we shuddnt taek it awl so srsly LOL

    *heer is mah aprehenshun let me show you it*

  199. Bless you Littlem, you articulate so perfectly the problem I have with these commercials. :)

  200. Im sorry, but not everything nowadays is related to the further and deeper opression of black people! Ive read alot on your website and alot of it ive agreed with and it has sparked alot of interesting conversation between me and my friends! I am young and i understand that alot of people feel that we dont know anything but as an african american female ive only seen cavemen as just that cavemen! Dirty men that lived in caves inventing fire and the first form of hyrogleiphics that yelled “ooga ooga” as their form of laughter! Ive never sat during black history month and wondered hmm i wonder what my ancestrous cavemen/woman were doing! Id like to think a little more highly of blacks especially my ancestors! The caveman being a hit @ black people is kinda silly! If u dnt like the idea then turn the tv during the commercial or dnt watch the show! Its just a commercial! Im sure marketing directors and advertisers arent sitting in board meeting “well staff today we are gonna push more sales while degrading african american” im sure that wasnt their subliminal message their or money maker! And i dnt need education i pay enough for that now,i think some people just need a better sense of humor!

  201. SoTerasha, if I’m not laughing at what you think is funny, I’m the one with the problem and I should just shut up and deal with it? Gotcha loud and clear. Thanks for the instructions.

  202. This whole line of thinking is just fodder for racists. Personally, I just roll my eyes. I think you need to remove your tin foil hat on this one. Geico isn’t out to poke fun of minorities of any shade. Yes, there are people that hate you because of your skin color. Probably always will be. But cavemen aren’t a vehicle for spreading that hate. Not once in the years these commercials have been on TV have I ever thought, ‘wow, this is really racist!’ Not even close.

    You do realize it was a pretty common saying before the commericials, right? Thats what made the commericials funny. “So easy a Caveman can do it.” Oh look, a caveman! Hahaha.

    Seriously, move on.

  203. It’s so easy these days to get pissed off about everything out there. Instead, let’s try to have a sense of humor. America has lost it’s sense of humor and it’s been replaced with self-doubt and a lack of confidence. When you are confident, you could give a crap what anyone says about you.

    Develop a sense of confidence about who you are and regain your sense of humor.

  204. *lmao* Now that is comedy, thinking that The Geico Cavemen is America’s way of regaining a sense of humor. Really? It’s not. It fact, it’s been overdone.

    I’ve felt this way before I even came to this blog. I didn’t even pay much attention to the racial implications until I read this post. After the first two caveman commercials they put out, I wanted the gecko and the squirrels that purposefully wrecked cars to come back. Why?

    Because the first two times I saw it, granted, it was funny. But the next two billion times (an over-exaggeration that seems to fit) I saw these cavemen, it lost it. All. On. Its. Own. It’s played out. It’s a pop song on continuous loop. It’s what the US always does/has done with many comedies: let it go on for too long. (*cough cough* Friends*cough*Most sitcoms*cough again*) It’s yet another fad I hope will either change or go away.

    Figuring out that this campaign does indeed have other things wrong with it, like racism and sexism, just puts the final clump of dirt on its coffin for me. (And before anybody starts saying ‘oh but you didn’t think it was racist before’ let me be a bit clearer. I had a feeling that this was the case, but didn’t say anything because *gasp* I would be accused of seeing racism/sexism everywhere. Now that I see I’m not alone in my opinion, I admit I’m a lot less cowardly about it. Thank you for making this blog, ABW! It’s very enlightening.)

  205. Jonathan, Stephen M, Terasha, jsg, and Janet, most people here are not suggesting that the commercials are not intended as a direct hit on anybody based on color, ethnicity, gender, or whatever. Instead, the consensus appears to be that the commercials are intended to make fun of people who are supposedly “too sensitive” to racist, sexist, and other bigoted remarks. “A,” above, summarized the intended “joke” on his/her post on October 2: “Jeez, whatever you say these days offends *somebody*– isn’t that ridiculous? Aren’t we *past* all this PC-race-bullshit?” Except that racism and other forms of prejudice are still very much with us. So the joke isn’t funny. Other people here have also explained it very clearly. Don’t you guys bother to read and think about the other posts before adding your own? Jeez, people, get a clue!! I worry about America.

  206. Ooops. Typo. The first sentence above should read: “. . . most people here are not suggesting that the commercials are intended as a direct hit on anybody based on color . . .”

  207. okay, so i wasn’t going to comment because this conversation is pointless. people who don’t understand this never will, but “cavemen” is clearly allegory for racism in society. if you watch the tv show many stereotypes attached to black men are the subject of the “jokes” in every episode. its a lame tv show. it’s not funny primarily because of the fact that it is completely based on making light of racist attitudes and stereotypes. the fact that these people find humour in comparing the african struggle to some stupid made up cavemen is indicative of racism to me. whether people like it or not, it is the truth and i agree with your first post. you called it first!

  208. After reading this black woman’s tireless rant on how “everything in our society targets black people”, It only helps solidify (in my mind) the fact that 99% of Blacks living today in America feel like everything is “unfair”. Please people, I do not reject that black people suffered, and struggled, but the more you sit there and complain, Won’t change the past. GET OVER IT WOMAN!!! The Native Americans suffered, The Jewish community has suffered, stop feeling like you people are special. It’s only a commercial lady, let’s keep it that way.

  209. Dear A @ C,

    Thank you for submitting your marks for consideration at The Angry Black Woman Blog.

    Unfortunately, as a member of the commentariat here, I am saddened to inform you that we will not be able to use them as thought-provoking or meaningful fodder for discussion at this time. I felt that the ignorance and frothing, ridiculous hate you displayed were a bit cliche. If you are intending to present these as parody, I suggest that you impose a greater sense of narrative distance between yourself and the work; otherwise, it’s not clear that you the author don’t share the racist views espoused by your narrator.

    Thanks again for submitting your comments to the angry black woman blog. Best of luck with your incoherent ranting,

    Mandolin
    Commenter, The Angry Black Woman blog
    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com

  210. Are you kidding me? There is nothing linking these fictional cavemen to any racial group. Just chill, no one is trying to offend black people or anyone else (well, cavemen might take offense, but that’s it). There’s still plenty of racism in America but it’s certainly not coming from GIECO. Seriously, just chill. Why go looking for trouble where there is none? Just to stir up controversy over nothing? The article makes absolutely no connection between racism and the GIECO commercials, you really just talk about nothing. It sounds like you just love the sound of you’re own voice. Just calm down, lady, try to focus your energy on something productive, everything will be okay. Nobody is comparing black people to cavemen but you, and articles like these do not promote positive race relations, only confusion and needless controversy.

  211. Yeah!

    Joe is right! Pointing out racism only promotes racism! And get that chip off your shoulder while you’re at it. >:(

    *tries to keep a straight face*

    *grins*

    *falls over laughing*

    I love it how many who start posting here show up in this topic and like lemmings off a cliff they seem to do the same exact thing.

    I don’t even think they even bother to actually read the article half the time. Or even the following discussion of comments for that matter.

    You and others continually amaze me how you can weather this sort of crap.

  212. The commercials are poking fun at racial sensitivity, which through the eyes of the dominant white society seems ridiculous. A mistake commonly made and understandable when whites reverse the scenario on themselves and come to the conclusion that they wouldn’t be offended if the humor was targeted at them. The missing element is of course the pain of racism. Unless a Caucasian person has been hurt personally because of their race, being exposed to these things will not raise any meaningful emotion. This is a turning point in American society because we now see the dominant culture refusing to move forward any more. The new response is “It’s time for you guys to get over it!” The ads have a racist undertone. They are not mean spirited but they are arrogantly blowing off what anyone might feel. That’s the general zeitgeist of America today. “Get over it!” This is where American racial attitudes are right now. Dictating to people what they should feel. “Get over it.” Basically theres only one way to defeat racism and that’s power. Taking the stand of “I don’t really care what you think but you will respect me!” That’s where we need to be in Black America. I think we shouldn’t give any more energy towards changing the minds of others and instead focus on obtaining power. Jews understand this. They know that the only way to keep the gentile off his neck is to be powerful. They will hate us if were poor, hate us if we are rich, somewhere along the line they will find some reason to dislike us. I’d rather be rich and powerful than poor and defenseless. Power through advocacy, politics, and capitol.
    I really don’t want to see any more events where we get on TV and try to convince others why the act was wrong. We just declare it to be disrespectful and demand whatever we feel is needed to correct the situation. Why would I try to convince you that you are being disrespectful to me when you have been told time and time again? There comes a point where I stand and “demand” your respect or else!

    We don’t need the input of others regarding how we feel about a situation.

    Wesley Moore
    Omaha, NE

  213. I understand where you’re coming from. You have a legitimate gripe, because at one time just 30 years ago we were taught that African people came from cave men. However, don’t be offended, because the first Neanderthal/caveman was actually discovered in Europe! And yes, there is a such thing as being too sensitive, but try being apart of a race where you are mocked, treated as half a citizen and told to “just get a sense of humor about it”.

  214. Oh my goodness!! I understand racism is still alive and well but for crying out loud why do black ppl always have to make everything about us. It’s a caveman, that’s what they said and that’s what they meant! Why in the world does something as simple as a funny caveman commercial have to be a color issue. Black folks always complaining about what the white man is doing to shake race relations but what can you expect when black ppl can’t even try to move past the color thing. GET OVER IT, have a good laugh and continue watching your television program.

  215. ^^^^
    Heh. Seems ignorance does not take a holiday.

  216. I actually thought that these commercials were insightful.. The non-cavemen simply don’t grok how their actions are offensive (much like those in the majority sometimes deny racism, sexism and queerism don’t see their privilege either).. The ads are funny because of how stolidly ignorant the ad-campaigners are and how tragic the frustration of the cavemen is.

    BTW, Did anyone else notice that in the internal ad, there is a non-caveman pretending to be a caveman in really poor make-up and stereotypical clothes? What was y’alls take on that?

    (Bias: white, homosexual, Roma male.)

  217. I agree with the above poster. Though I had never seen these commercials before (non-US), the impression I got was that they were, at the worst, making a humorous comparison with ‘real’ white privilege. It seemed to me that the characters of the newscaster and therapist in particular emphasised this. Is this perhaps too thorny an issue to touch comedically? I suppose these adverts could be seen as triviliasing the issue, but I personally think they make a good meta-comment on the whole thing. Different interpretations though. I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be an african-american, so how can I comment? I really don’t see a racist intention, however.

    Also, on the ‘why are their no cave women’ point, I think there you probably are over-thinking things. I say this as someone who has studied commercial art at a degree level. From an advertisers point of view, having cave women would have made no sense. Positive reinforcement is the jargon. You’re basing your campaign around the characters of cave men. They are iconic of your campaign, and thus your product. You need to keep them as simple and identical as possible. What would a female caveperson look like? Could you reasonably give her a beard, as featured on the male cavemen? Ultimately, too much variation in the design of the face, the real identifying feature of the caveman, would dilute the campaign. After all, at the end of the day, this is a series of advertisments, not a fully fleshed out story of any sort. I would only worry about this if cave-women do not appear in this sitcom.

  218. I don’t recall ever asking why there aren’t any cave women in the commercials.

  219. I’ll ask it. Every commercial mascot I can think of, whether for a cereal box or car insurance or whatever, is male. Women are nonexistent. Why? Because the default gender in our society is male, and women are Othered. The fact that “caveman” is a word and “cavewoman” is not (according to my spellchecker) just goes to show how we human beings define ourselves. The species representative is always male (whether a caveman or an everyman).

    It shouldn’t be that hard to come up with an image of a cavewoman. Women were around then (or none of us would be here now). But culturally speaking, cavewomen are invisible.

  220. Ico,

    I assumed the lack of cavewomen was simply meant to be a dig at how men of color “all want white women” (since there were plenty of them at the cavemen’s party, in that particular commercial, and I gather they date white women in the TV show, though I’ve never watched it).

  221. I tell you, my people (black folks and latinos) can get their underwear in a knot over the most foolish nonsense on the planet.

    Nevermind that we cant even manage to stop having babies out of wedlock 75+% of the time. Nevermind that we murder 200 to 400 of our own people in most major cities. Nevermind that our children cant read at grade level in majority numbers. Nevermind that although we make up only 12% of the population, we make up almost half of the prison population (and its not all discrimination either…its committing too much crime thats the problem). Nevermind that we’re catching AIDS at a much higher rate than everyone else. Nevermind that most of our eligible voters wont even get off their behinds and vote. And nevermind that our most popular entertainers (hip hop&r’nb) fill our childrens heads with the most depraved garbage imaginable.

    No, its all about the Geico Cavemen! Please.

  222. …Because the Geico Cavemen commercials are the ONLY things ever discussed at this blog. Please.

    I’m sorry. I should be more polite. Please try clicking on the Required Reading and About tabs at the top of this page and read all of the links there. If you prefer not to, though I’d really advise it, scroll up to look at the left column where all of the links to- hey- different topics like politics and media. Ironically enough, the Geico Cavemen discussion doesn’t have a link of it own.

    Don’t take this only as me being a disgruntled reader of this blog, but as a person who doesn’t like it when people assume too much.

  223. desertdetroiter – This is probably the last post I’ll make on this. Contrary to your suggestion, it’s not a trivial issue. But, it is a dead issue, thanks in large part to blogs such as this one, which shone a light on what was really being said in the commercials and the TV show. The TV show has been cancelled and I haven’t seen any of the commercials recently. There is a cultural war going on, desertdetroiter, and the consequences of losing are not trivial. For example, it just so happens that I’m a lawyer, so I know about something called the “fighting words” defense. If you are a black person and you are called a “N—r” in public, and you are angered by that to the point that you respond with violence, and you are proscuted for the assault, you may may defend yourself in court by claiming that your reaction was justified because you were provoked by fighting words. That defense depends upon the fact that it is generally accepted that a black person is justified in becoming extremely angry if confronted with certain racial slurs. The commercials and the TV show tried to say that people should just grow a thicker skin – that they should “just get over it” when insulted based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, sexual preference, etc. I think that, if left unchallenged, the commercials and TV show would have been seen by the corporate world as successful and would have spawned imitators. Pretty soon you would have a culture in which it was OK to call a black person a “N—r.” A violent reaction would not be seen as justified. There would be no fighting words defense. So, desertdetroiter, the next time someone calls you a “N—r” and you kick his ass and you don’t have to go to jail for it, you can thank the ABW. Please.

  224. I think everyone here has overlooked the obvious! Geico is a business. There sole purpose for existing is to make money. They don’t care if the money comes from a black, white, or tan person- as long as it’s green when they get it. Geico is not a white supremacists group trying to deliver it’s message via selling car insurance!!

  225. “Caveman” is not a race. I *might* understand if people who were intellectually challenged or perhaps even people who are extra hairy were offended in some way by these commercials but I do not think it is fair to draw a racial conclusion.

    Do you also believe that the “For Dummies” line of Do-It-Yourself books are making fun of black people? It seems to me that if anyone is put down in any way, you draw a parallel to black people. Maybe you should consider the possibility that your own subconscious feelings of inferiority may be causing you to draw these comparisons.

    I do understand that black people have been mistreated in the past and in some cases still are due to racial prejudice. I also understand how this would bring about those feelings of inferiority. However, it is up to you and other persons of color, just as it is for any persecuted individual to say “Hang on a minute! I am not inferior to anyone and I am not going to allow myself to fall into the trap of believing that I am.”

    Then, and only then, will you be able to see a commercial such as the Geico Caveman commercials for what they are instead of personalizing it.

  226. ^^^^
    If only there was something in place that made certain a person actually read the article and every post following.

    Then fools wouldn’t have to post the same damn thing every couple of days.

  227. I don’t belivee in racist theories that one race is smarter than another , all people are equal regadless of their skin collor etc. However in America we are observing reversed racism. Black people were given freedom almost 50 yeras ago , its a pretty long time to catch up with the rest of the society. Some black people did and they are functioning quite normal. However disproportional part of black population prefer complain about their miserable lifes instead of proving to the rest of us that they are capable of sometning better than selling and using drugs

  228. right on averageamerican
    why do black people always try to get a credit fo their past, get over it, there is no past, only future
    study hard, work hard stop complaining

  229. Why is it that I can’t help thinking the last two commenters are the same person?

  230. I just read the most amazing book. “The Angry Black Mans Guide To Success” by George Farrell. Whhies and blacks will get a new understanding of race, but you have to have a strong will to read it. Whites will get thier feelings hurt and Blacks might get some pride back. On another note, Sugar Bear of Post Super Sugar Crisp is Black, Scooby Doo is Black and Tigger is Black

  231. Really,
    Thought they were making fun of gays.

  232. It sounds to me like you’re going out of your way to find something to be upset about. Life is too short to actively seek out things to get mad about. Relax.

  233. ^^^^ Another of these fools *sigh* Do they ever read the thread before commenting?

  234. I think it was nothing more than a joke to sell a product. They knew some people would take different meanings from it.

    Being too sensitive about race is part of it. For every legit case of racism the “black community” takes up or is vocal about, 20 other cases of race card abuse or black people “crying wolf” discredits the others. In my town, we had people ready to make Michael Vick case into a racial issue. Tookie Williams murdered someone. Then you have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who fight for black people like the KKK fights for white people. Didn’t MLK preach judgment by character and not skin color? There are a lot of black progressives who are just as bad as white nationalists by not trying to look at shades of grey, but seeing all as black and white. It just causes more division. Racism from both sides feeds the other and not recognizing your own side’s helps noone.

  235. For every legit case of racism…

    And who gets to decide which are “legit”?

  236. White people, of course! Because white people are SO good at spotting racism that happens to everyone else but them. *thumbs up!*

  237. *tease* Gosh Angel, don’t you know that white people were given by the Almightly the power of completely objective reasoning? Their Word Is Truth. And only that. : D

  238. Thanks for proving my point. No matter what we say to any black person, the race card is drawn out. Not every case is racial. Who decides which are “legit”? People with a brain, whether they be black, white or whatever. Not a lot of people using the race card.

  239. Like I said, “If only there was something in place that made certain a person actually read the article and every post following.

    Then fools wouldn’t have to post the same damn thing every couple of days.”

    Sometimes I can’t help but believe white people are the ones that actually have a race card, seeing as how some of them are so damn fast at pulling it out of their ass.

  240. I know plenty of black people who weren’t dumb enough to drag that out for Michael Vick’s sick ass. What he did was wrong. I wouldn’t defend Ted Bundy simply because i shared his skin color.

    Those that do, are oftentimes, (not saying always) hypocritically racist themselves looking to jump on us for everything. If you assume black = innocent and good and white = guilty and evil and you haven’t even bothered to hear enough objective facts yet, you are a victim of propaganda.

  241. I dunno, Scott, I don’t think we’re the ones making grand assumptions, here.

  242. What “grand assumptions”? That everything is made into a racial issue now by some?

    “Every black person that goes on trial is not a hero.”
    Huey, Boondocks

  243. *lol at ABW and TierList E

    “Silly Negroes! Human rights are for Whites!”

    Who decides which are “legit”? People with a brain, whether they be black, white or whatever. Not a lot of people using the race card.

    A wise person once said, “How can we use a card that’s never been dealt?”

    The Geico caveman may seem like a small issue, but think about it (It hurt’s, I know. Don’t worry; it’ll be over soon.): Blacks not being able to sit where they wanted to on the bus was, in itself, not a big deal. Blacks not being able to sit at the lunch counter was, in itself, not a big deal. Blacks having to use seperate bathrooms than Whites was, in itself, not a big deal. But they were all symptoms of the institution of racism that must be dismantled brick by brick.

    1 more thing: What the hell does Michael Vick and Ted Bundy have to do with anything? Other than perhaps making assumptions about a group of individuals (say it with me: IN-DI-VI-DU-ALS) about whom you don’t even know.

  244. “Sometimes I can’t help but believe white people are the ones that actually have a race card, seeing as how some of them are so damn fast at pulling it out of their ass.”

    Thank you!

  245. But Scott-

    You seem to have preconcieved notions about who “has a brain” and who’s “playing the race card”. Where is that coming from, if not yourself?

    I think in general it would be nice if more considered, just for a second even, that just because you don’t think something’s important, it shouldn’t be important to others either. It’s forcing you mindset on others and killing diversity of thought.

    Oh and just to even things out, I have a good amount white friends who would agree with me. Would you like to play them ‘different races who think I’m right’ stacking game?, because I can go get them. Lol.

    To say something kind of radical, I don’t think that a majority group should have next to no influence, or opinion really, on any goals and thoughts that a minority group (sex, race, religion, etc) may try to organize. It creates too many blocks. And from what I’ve seen, bringing way too much ignorance and hostility. Of course there would be exceptions, but to angle onto that path I think could be beneficial to everyone.

  246. Pulling it out their ass? Like I said, those “individuals” are constantly “pulling the race card”. And, as I said, it does make it sound like the “boy who cried wolf”, when too many do this too often.

    Pulling the “race card” means crying racism any time we dare to criticize any black person for anything at all.

    Also take the Don Imus thing, for example. DL Hughley said the same shit later and where was the same self-annointed “black leaders” outrage? I guess it doesn’t matter if a black comedian or rapper says it. Where do you think Imus heard it, in the first place? “Pulled it out of his ass” or heard it from other “white racists”? Those terms originated from rappers and “black television” and whatnot using it jokingly.

    Or things like when Jesse Jackson has taken cases where he took the side of the robbers/muggers and tried to make them out to be “victims of racism”. Hence: race card.

    Aside from trying to turn Michael Vick into a victim of racism, you have people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who jump on any case without even knowing all the facts. For example, Jena 6. From what I gather, both sides were in the wrong. Now, you have black and AND white supremacists fucking the town up. If you want to fight racism, you must do so with a certain amount of maturity and be able to look at things on a case by case basis. Too many just want to point fingers, immaturely.Does racism still exist? Yes, but black people are nowhere near the minority they once were. Even in terms of influence. Ad racism today is a double edged sword more now than in the past.

    There are double standards on both sides and i admit this. Like Columbine was a big deal because well-to-do white kids were involved but you never hear coverage of inner city shootings. That, and the drugs, and guns that fuck up many ghettoes, top profiteers are rich white people. And rich white people own most of the media that perpetuates a lot of the negative imagery crammed down black youths throats. I at least try to look at bullshit on my side. All I’m saying is there are PLENTY of black racists in progressive clothing. It really doesn’t help any cause.

  247. You seem to have preconcieved notions about who “has a brain” and who’s “playing the race card”. Where is that coming from, if not yourself?

    http://thecitizensjournalblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/naacp-self-defense-is-racist-if.html

  248. “What the hell does Michael Vick and Ted Bundy have to do with anything?”

    http://stalebread.wordpress.com/2007/08/24/the-michael-vick-case-is-about-our-love-for-dogs-not-racism/

  249. **In before the disemvoweling.

    Pulling it out their ass? Like I said, those “individuals” are constantly “pulling the race card”. And, as I said, it does make it sound like the “boy who cried wolf”, when too many do this too often.

    And who decides how often is “too often”?

    [Church Lady voice] Could it beeeee….

  250. **In before the disemvoweling.

    Pulling it out their ass? Like I said, those “individuals” are constantly “pulling the race card”. And, as I said, it does make it sound like the “boy who cried wolf”, when too many do this too often.

    And who decides how often is “too often”?

    [Church Lady voice] Could it beeeee….

    WHITE PEOPLE???

    Also take the Don Imus thing, for example. DL Hughley said the same shit later and where was the same self-annointed “black leaders” outrage? I guess it doesn’t matter if a black comedian or rapper says it. Where do you think Imus heard it, in the first place? “Pulled it out of his ass” or heard it from other “white racists”? Those terms originated from rappers and “black television” and whatnot using it jokingly.

    Lemme get this straight: You actually believe that Don Imus sits at home watching BET?

    …wow…you’re an idiot…

    Jesse Jackson….Michael Vick….Al Sharpton….blah. blah. blah. fart.

    Have you even met a Black person before? I mean actual “introduce yourself”, “shake their hands”, “hows the wife and kids”?

    Wait. Don’t tell me. We already know.

  251. Quit saying “white people”. I already said who. Anyone who can think objectively and not simplify everything to where every black person criticized or on trial is a victim. YOU are the one sounding like a bigot.

    I know plenty of black people. A number of my friends even agree that there are plenty of black racists, also. They’re not arrogant black nationalists so hopped up on “fighting the power” that they are froggy looking to jump first and ask questions later, though. READ the links I just posted.

    You don’t have to watch BET to know that terminology which is pretty mainstream now.

    This is like defending minorities on a KKK forum. lol. Black nationalist agogo.

  252. Quit saying “white people”.

    white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people…

    YOU are the one sounding like a bigot.

    One more time in slow motion please:

    Being too sensitive about race is part of it.

    No matter what we say to any black person, the race card is drawn out.

    If you want to fight racism, you must do so with a certain amount of maturity and be able to look at things on a case by case basis. Too many just want to point fingers, immaturely.

    This is like defending minorities on a KKK forum.

    And that is where is you majorly fuck up. (There are more, but I’m too busy to list them all.) You insist on treating all of us as a group with the same vices, the same lifestyle, the same childhood environment, etc., instead of as individual people with individual lives and invidual minds. No one here has been lumping together all White people into one mold. The original post doesn’t even do that.

    We haven’t been attacking your race, we’ve been attacking *YOU*.

    Also, I refuse to read any of those links, until you actually read our replies instead of simply repeating your tired racist garbage ad nauseum.

    white people

  253. I not ONCE lumped all black people together. lol. I said too many black individuals who make everything into a racial issue.

    When I said, “no matter what we say to any black person, the race card is drawn out”, I didn’t mean every black person is racist. I mean if any black person is scrutinized in the media, you will have a large number of black people somehow screaming racism. Which is not all, and I NEVER said that. But, most any time any black public figure is scrtutinized it never fails for certain individuals to try and scream racism.

  254. I not ONCE lumped all black people together. lol. I said too many black individuals who make everything into a racial issue.

    And I suppose “too many” equals anything over zero, right?

    When I said, “no matter what we say to any black person, the race card is drawn out”, I didn’t mean every black person is racist. I mean if any black person is scrutinized in the media, you will have a large number of black people somehow screaming racism. Which is not all, and I NEVER said that.

    So when you said “any” Black person, you meant “not everyone” instead of “anyone”.

    And you said a “large number” of Black people are racist. Just not “all” of us.

    Tell me: Do you like spending so much time with your head up your ass?

  255. Did you ever think why that may happen? Or do you think all those people are crazy/stupid/have some strange hatred against white people? That can account for some, but not all. I believe these instances and responses, whatever the original intent of the instances, need to be look into, other than just crying “Dude you guys suck. You reverse racists!”

    *chuckle* Can we talk about the reverse race card?

    On the flip side though, there are too many people that refuse to see race at all, period. I think if it were brought up as a real issue and not called silly to those who are hurt by it (outside of the blatant KKK/drug to death instances) it will help everyone involved.

  256. Angry Black Woman, thank you I just came over your site after reading white men and wimmen comments on the ads, which showed their moral blindspot, which you have not missed and addressed.
    THANK YOU.
    Do Not Stop and keep your thoughts not for now but as a barometer to what will be in the next 5-10. Those ads are funny and could only be showed NOW, not 10,20 years ago. They work as all funny things do by hitting a ‘ambivalent’ nerve is us all. That nerve is the Civil Rights and the forward steps for us ( equaling according to some a step back for white folks). In fact it’s just like gender, many men (black and white) are ambivalent about the way wimmen are now. As a man no matter if I am in the Caribbean, London or NY that is the topic the hush conversation I have with other men about ‘wimmen these days’

    Back to the Geico ads, I say they could only happen now and not 10-20 years ago. If anyone is too young to know what the social climate was then, not the political climate (available from any boring text book). Ask an elder or read up or check out ad campaigns from that day or even rent out 20+ year old comedy videos. You will see how privilege white folks were in using their sickening stereo types in ads, and in fact all the media.
    I was activist in Brixton, London in those days of 80’s-90’s and the Geico ads could be based on real events for us in the 80’s. I am serious we were talking and each episode was like a trip down to memory lane when it was not funny for those of us that lived it, being the ‘cavemen’ trying to talk to the power icons who had to play down our complaints coz of course they are liberal civilized people.

    For example: Walking past big bill boards with images of blacks folks in sickening stereo types (Selfridges comes to mind), Talking to white privilege reporters on radio and TV with their British/Racist tones (LKJ did tunes about this), and yes the sell out conversations just like the ad- where a brother would open a bank account with Barclays (South African investor which many of us were boycotting during apartheid era) and I’d say ‘some loyalty [to our Diaspora] would be nice’ and he would say ‘banking with Barclays makes me less of a Black man’ sounds just like the ad. The restaurant apology with the ad sec. Pleazzze, we once met with the Great Arts Council of London where they fed us in a place to make nice (being working class and never having eaten posh it worked on some of us).

    The fact that we can laugh NOW, may be the real barometer that white people can get over themselves. Many white men in particular especially in American have become aware of their sense of entitlement and the fact that it can be challenged, just like my male entitlement. The way for example I would try to dominate conversations with wimmen by talking louder and steer it to my ego was checked quick time upon moving to NY (yes it was painful so white people I understand your pain). During our discussion one of us said if the ad had come out 10 years earlier it would not have worked and not be funny because so much of the population were in pain and voicing our pain with letters, boycotts, graffiti and antidote campaigns (Leeds Postcards).
    The fact that we can laugh now as these ads run, is an indicator, and rather than go in to rights or wrongs like a pompous cultural commenter. I’ll log it as important media news item. White folks who don’t follow your line coz they daren’t face up to their past should note that the line while “power never concedes unless it faces power” can be appended to ‘ave a larf’. Geico has white folks cracking up as a comment on stereo types, the larf can continue by them laughing along to Red Fox, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Chappelle.

    Again thank you so much for saying what a lot of us in the diaspora feel but don’t say (apathy, fear etc). You are right on the button. The response to your comments show it! Sorry I went so long but I’m now in the Caribbean where much of the mentality is anything but conscious so dont chance to exchange like this.

  257. Zeech, I don’t see where things have changed that much from the time that you describe. To me, it’s still too much with us to be funny. All I have to do is look at Lou Dobbs on CNN, demonizing undocumented workers for ratings and political gain. Disgusting. Maybe if things ever truly change to the point where I can look back at the bad old days, I will have a “larf.” Not today.

  258. blck ppl rmnd m rbs n Frnc, bth mnrts ( nt ll f thm f crs:) bt %) r lz, th r nt n mnstrm f mdrn Wstrn cvlztn nd jst wnt t gt smthng fr nthng mssg t ll f y rvrs rcsts: g t schl, stp stlng , sllng drgs nd lv ff wlfr, gt jb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  259. normalperson,

    I wonder if the disemvoweler will get rid of all those exclamation points? ::tries it:: Damn. Oh, well.

    Angel H.,

    white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people white people…

    ::ROTFLMAO:: I think you’re having waaaay too much fun with this. =P

  260. Teehee, ‘normal people’ apparently can’t read. . .

    And curiously, cannot type with vowels. : D

  261. I am a white man and I agree with the angry black woman…I hate these stupid caveman commercials and turn channels when they come on. I have called geico, but not for insurance, and will NOT until the caveman dissappears. The rest of their commercials are lame and stupid too……

  262. A couple days ago i saw a new caveman commercial on the History Channel. One of the cavemen is a museum tour guide, and he’s talking to a tour group about Cro-Magnons. They start heckling him about being a cave man, and he points out all the things that cavemen invented, like clothing, art, and the and the wheel. this shuts up the tour group, and as they leave, a woman comes up to him and says she was impressed by his speach and the go off to have coffee or lunch or something. I was wondering what the board thinks of this “new” development?

  263. I think sites like these keep the raciest crap alive and well, if by chance the sites disappeared, race wouldn’t be the problem it is in this country.

  264. well of course, why didn’t I see that before? BLACK people keep racism alive!! Now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

  265. thank you i felt the same way about the adds and all my friends looked at me like i was soo off. it hurt me so deep inside to watch them. what hurt most were the endless buppies that thought the ads were cool

  266. ABW,
    I think in terms of the issues of racism, the GEiCO commericals offend all miniorites not just african americans. Racism is not a black and white issue, because there are more ethnic groups in this country than African Americans. As a native American (Navajo is my tribe), I found the commericals to ridicule the negative portrayals of Natives in the media. For you as a Black woman, you saw it as a direct insult to African Americans.

    The Native americans make up only 1% of the population in the US, opposed to the 13% of African Americans. Many people don’t even realize we “still exist” (as they say in the geico commericals). We are often portrayed as tom-a-hawk branishing, feather wearing, piece pipe smoking drunkin savages that live in teepees. Just like African Americans we share a painful past in US history, however we are rarely seen in the media as anything modern, intelligent, and “civilized”.

    So, I know that as a Black woman you identify with your ethnic group and racial discrimination, just as whites identify with their ethnic group and privilege. But if we are to be culturally aware we need to think of ALL people of “color” and not just black and white. The fight to end racism should not only be for African Americans but Asian, Arab, Indian, Native, Hawaiian, Hispanic Americans as well. So I challenge you to see the world not only in black but other colors as well.

  267. The commercials are funny because cavemen are extinct and the commercials humanize them. Geico is poking fun at itself for slighting “people” who are actually a normal part of society and do things that modern day people do: go to nice restaurants, go on flights, go to therapists. If anything, the cavemen are being humanized and are reacting like most people would in that situation. By the way, in one of the commercials, the caveman’s mother is calling. So I guess there must be cavewomen too?

  268. Wow, I can’t believe this discussion has gone on for a year. Coming from a well educated black man, most of these folks are reading way too much into a silly commercial. I would have to admit, this is a very memorable (and funny) commercial. I would be suprised if the advertisers had any “hidden” agenda, other than selling more insurance policies. Given our economy, it would be illogical for an insurance company to use advertising money for anything other than selling more policies. So – I challenge all of the paranoid responders to stop worrying about what other people might be thinking, and start using their valuable time to leave a positive legacy with the world before their days are gone. Enough said.

  269. You all are idiots. The joke of this commercial is a covert jab at minorities in America, THATS WHAT THEY ARE MAKING FUN OF! So yes, the commercial is completely racist, its just too bad there are so many idiots out there that can’t read between the lines (funny enough I always thought this was such an obvious case). Anyway, the white people on this site that are defending this commercial just have huge egos and don’t want to admit to their social (white) privilege in our society. THis commercial is particularly dangerous because (apparently based on the idiots on this site) the message is so covert and subliminal. Too bad there aren’t any educated, intelligent people that post here.

  270. i have always felt this way about this commercial as it shuns the feelings of many ‘minorities’ in america

  271. I’m a white guy. I thought it was discriminatory when I first saw it. Not necessarily against black people, but just minorities in general. Would I call it racist against minorities? Not really. Does it poke fun at them. It could be interpreted that way. Does it make me think that minorities are stupid. NOT AT ALL.

    Racism is a huge, complicated subject. And as a white guy, I have to apologize for the racism in our country. But one thing I’ve learned is that we are all have racist tendencies no matter who we are. And what’s special about the U.S. is that we, both white and black, have made huge strides to weeding out racism.

    What saddens me is that there is still a large contingency of black people that have written off the American dream as just a white person’s dream, and don’t want to take advantage of something that most people in the world would give their right arm for. Maybe the scars of the past are too deep for this group of black people. I can’t change the past. All I can do is try to understand and promote America as anyone’s dream, not just for white people.

  272. I didn’t get the commercials because they made GEICO’s advertisement agency seem ignorant and incompotent, not the type with whom I would do business. The cavemen obviously weren’t simpletons, they constantly proof their critics wrong, only their critics are to ignorant and arrogant to realize it. It would be different if the frustrated caveman smashed up a computer terminal with a femur bone or maybe even ate the GEICO lizard and they proofed the ad’s insinuation correct but instead the cavemen put forth a reasonable and ariticulate argument against their stereotype albeit to people to ignorant to even listen to their argument.

  273. Is it me, or are all the humans in these commercials middle/upper class Anglo-Americans? Or at least all the speaking roles? This is the smoking gun for me, which most clearly shows Geico’s attitude linking humanness with mainstream whiteness and simultaneously linking minorities to uplifted and educated brutes, who may be assimilated and converted to function in society but who will inevitably be viewed as different. These commercials seem to suggest that minorities’ differences in appearance are disfiguring a la caveman, though perhaps to a less accentuated degree. And these commercials (especially the motorcycle one) suggest that cavemen or minorities should embrace their difference and be unaffected by the general negative public perception regarding their kind, since there are those in the human or white race who aren’t affected by such stereotypes or prejudices. These commercials might have some positive function of inciting discussion on race relations or human prejudice in general if they weren’t so blatantly whitewashing the human race. Although this is prevalent all throughout advertising, it seems that commercials such of these where it is humans vs. non-humans where it is most important to prevent the mischaracterization of the human race.

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