Thursday, January 05, 2006

Walmart Racial Controversey

Click on this screenshot from Walmart. It shows a listing for the complete "Planet of the Apes" TV series. Now look at the recommendations underneath. Coincidence or some kind of racist message? BoingBoing posted this story and invited reader comments and a couple of them attempted to shed light on what could have happened. I find the first comment, by Nate Heasley about the anti-racism theme of the movie/ show, especially interesting:

Reader comment: Nate Heasley says,
The Walmart references could be just a fluke or perhaps someone trying to be hurtful, but there is a third possibility: it's intentional and anti-racist. Planet of the Apes is widely considered to have anti-racism social commentary woven into the sci-fi storyline. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was even more blatantly about racism and classism. So it could be that rather than having some racist idiot (person or bot) inserting those links to black historic figures, it's actually someone who's got knowledge of the more subtle references in the the movies.

Reader comment: Jacob Rome says,
I recall seeing something like this before. In that case, inappropriate Amazon books were recommended, such as sex guides being shown for people browsing a Pat Robertson book. It was theorized that a large number of people caused this by visiting one page then the other, in order to game the system.

Perhaps the same thing is happening here. A group of racists could get together & view "Planet of the Apes" then immediately view movies about prominent African-Americans. This could lead to Wal*Mart providing the recommendations shown.


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