Phoenix retiree Steve Guin complained to his local newspaper that there are too many African Americans  — women in particular — on the television channel he watches.

Guinn, 80, tunes into “WE TV,” which stands for ‘Women’s Entertainment TV,” to watch his favorite show, “Law and Order.” He said he is genuinely annoyed when he has to “endure” programs such as “Mary Mary,” or other programming depicting Black women with colorful weaves and whose English grammar is deficient.

I’m not casting criticism,” he adds, but “the commercials are the biggest offenders.”

Guinn wrote the letter to the editor of the Arizona Republic, which published it — and many are offended about its racist undertone. 

By my count, nearly 50 percent of the folks in the commercials are African Americans.” his letter began. “That is not the ratio of the general population. It is an attempt to be politically correct, but a feeble one. There are few Asians, Native Americans or Latinos. African Americans are way more sensitive and activist about their image. Does this diversity in advertising create more sales for the advertised product? I don’t think so, but that is only my opinion.

Mixing a social issue with product promotion may only dilute the product message.” 

Why are the thoughts of a single 80-year-old man important, you may be thinking? Number one, just like the middle-aged woman who recently criticized the voluptuous Black weather reporter for her large figure and form-fitting clothes, this man’s thoughts represent a section of the population who feel exactly the same way he does. Secondly, middle-age people and retirees represent the largest and most dependable voting blocks in the country. They decide local and national elections and they put Donald Trump into office. 

The Arizona Republic published the elderly man’s letter under the headline, “Letter: Why are there so many black people in TV ads?”

Asked about that “nearly 50 percent” figure, Guinn says, “I’ve not researched that number, but I believe it’s awfully close.”

We do fact check letters, but we do not vet them with the kind of rigor we would, for instance, a news story or editorial,” Phil Boas, editorial page director of the Arizona Republic, told Journal-isms Wednesday by email. “Letters to the editor are not considered authoritative. They reflect an opinion, the public pulse, if you will. Often those public opinions are highly controversial.

In the case of this letter, the reader cites numbers based on his own count, which of course are unverifiable. The next question becomes is the issue a real one, one that is discussed in legitimate forums. And a quick survey of the web shows us that the issue has been discussed in responsible places:

You’ll see the topic of minority overrepresentation in commercials and programming discussed on NBC, CNN, UCLA going back years… ”

Boas continued, “Our next question became, is the letter racist? As I went through the wording of the letter, I found that the reader is animated by his concerns about the politicalization of advertising, political correctness, social issues. In other words, he seemed to be barking against what he believes is Madison Avenue social engineering.

Two editors independently chose the letter for publication. I chose it for print. Another editor chose it for online. Interestingly, we both came to learn afterwards we disagree with the letter writer — that even if blacks were overrepresented in his own personal survey of ads, so what? Why is that a bad thing?”


Terry Shropshire

I'm a lover of words, pictures, people and The Ohio State Buckeyes. A true journalist from the soul.

9 Responses to “Man complains there are too many Blacks in TV ads”

  1. Jason

    Guinn also thinks there are too many of you negros in the following:

    1. Grocery store
    2. Bus stop
    3. Janitorial
    4. Maids
    5. Walking on the street
    6. Driving down the street
    7. At the hospital
    8. Breathing air
    9. Working at the car wash

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  2. Uniquely Created

    All of this confidence to be out right racist and blatant bigots with no consequence is because Trump is there president..They feel it is ok now to be bias and discriminatory to other people because he co signs it and doesnt condemn those who choose to say how they really feel about living in this world with others that we all must share together who are not white…

    • Jason

      They have always been this way. Trump is their God, so he gives them the balls to “say it like it is”. Blacks being on a unity movement is the only way to gird up against these attacks. If Blacks stay independent – many Blacks won’t make out here.

    • Jilian the Unbanned

      Sorry, when people complained about whites being over-represented, it’s no different than this. Just swap “white” for “black” and the liberal hypocrites change their tune.

  3. nosey rosy

    this man is from the civil right era he was ok with blacks being lynch and i bet his grandpa owned many slaves he is the last of the most foolish whites in america . behind him are the kkk, arian nation , and the babyboomer whites . racism is jealousy , he is jeallous that blacks are one of the hightest buyers now that mexicans cant spend freely no more , a lot of programs got pulled like the mexican bus that take them from dallas to mexico ,was cancelled wal mart is asking for ID to send money or pick up money and you have to have a real state ID . now , goverment has tighten up on the mexica trade and market , and the asians dont stand a chance cause they only market the black hair communty mostly , this old fool need to be schooled , he is sitting in a time glass capsel, about to burst …. there are blacks on law and order too/ so what is his dam point . ???
    shows like atlanta house wives ,,house of pain,,, and othere Empire , and STAR has made blacks watch more tv . and buy more stuff to be like the celebs , i quest he aint been in the new suburbs black are buyng up them nice new custom homes , with no down payments even .. so white aint trippin no more if a black move in next door give this old man a pass cause he is set back on , new technology like facebook twitter , etc, once face book entered everything changed for blacks , products are sold on face book … so we dont just need no law and order channel to make money , its all the channels featureing rappers ,black lawyer and more

  4. Jilian the Unbanned

    People complain when there are too many whites in any situation. Yet, this is somehow outrage worthy?

    Whites over-represented in television – outrage. Blacks over-represented on television, too bad, so sad. Hypocrisy.

  5. Tee Rex

    Why do we care? Because it’s inherently racist to have a disproportionate representation of any race when aimed at a general audience.

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