author – activist – faculty – mom
The TV streaming site Hulu has been repeatedly playing a Jack in the Box commercial. The cartoon headed Jack says: “In 1803 a man bought the territory of Louisiana for 42 cents an acre. That was the greatest deal ever. Until I made this one.” The commercial is for Jack’s Jumbo Breakfast Platter, which he calls, “the greatest deal since the Louisiana Purchase.” Then a cartoon version of Jack winks, like ha ha I know I’m joking about colonization, but I’m being ironic, right? Isn’t that funny?
No, it’s not funny. During the very same historical moment where Indigenous people have been fighting fiercely to protect indigenous land from the Dakota Access Pipe Line. Dakota was part of the very land that was stolen and traded between one colonizer to another in the so-called Louisiana Purchase. Our current corporate-driven economy supports the rights of the heirs to those colonization fortunes, and their right to continue to exploit the land and the people, worldwide.
When I look at the commercial, I think of the dozens of people that had to approve it, write it, animate it, produce it. Didn’t one single person notice how offensive it was? Were there no people of color in the room? Were there one or two who were afraid to speak? Or were they numb to the outrage? Because this ad is profoundly insulting and outrageous and just another bitter reminder that the brutal tragedies in the history of people of color are treated as fodder for ironic ad campaigns for various corporations. As the struggle continues to protect Indigenous lands from DAPL, we see how, in our post-colonial US, the legal “personhood” of corporations matters much more than the lives of actual indigenous people.