KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — The predominantly black country of Jamaica is embracing a controversial Super Bowl commercial that depicts a white office worker from the U.S. Midwest feigning the Caribbean island's lilting patois accent to display a cheerful, upbeat outlook.
Some U.S. critics have described the pregame Super Bowl ad from Volkswagen of America as offensive and culturally insensitive. But the charged reaction has met with puzzlement in Jamaica, which has very visible white, Asian, Middle Eastern and mixed-race minorities that also often speak with the local accent.
The island's government has endorsed the commercial. Opposition lawmaker Edmund Bartlett said Wednesday the television ad "is a perfect illustration of Jamaican culture's global reach and our uncharacteristic penchant to be happy even in challenging situations."