Shortly after Colorado media outlets like Channel 4 caught on to GringoMask.com, the site went from being an amusing satire of Arizona's controversial immigration law to a much less funny protest against it.
The site, created by Miami's Zubi Advertising, originally featured very Caucasian masks that folks worried about police harassment could print out and put on over their presumably less white face. But now, those who click to the page won't see the images featured here. Instead, they'll get a lengthy explanation of the masks' goal -- "to promote dialogue between people of different opinions in the hopes of arriving at better solutions than SB 1070, and to show solidarity with Americans of every race and color across the country that found this law unfair in its targeting of a specific ethnic group even if only implicitly."
Which is all good and well. But the fact remains, explaining a joke is a damned good way to kill it, as the text on view below manages to do:
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Thanks to your involvement, the GringoMask has achieved its primary objective to raise awareness of the potential for racial profiling by enforcement of Arizona SB 1070. GringoMask was not a commercial product or intended to be a long term project, but a piece of satire to promote discussion and thought.
In addition to raising awareness, the mask was used to promote dialogue between people of different opinions in the hopes of arriving at better solutions than SB 1070, and to show solidarity with Americans of every race and color across the country that found this law unfair in its targeting of a specific ethnic group even if only implicitly. We chose this mask because of its light-hearted nature and tongue-in-cheek approach much in the same vein as Jeff Foxworthy's shtick "You Might be a Redneck" or Carlos Mencia's "beaner" jokes. However, we in no way meant to offend anyone.
We understand from your responses that some people might equate the word "Gringo" with an ethnic slur. We do not. It is simply a slang term used to describe Caucasians, and we don't assign any negative connotations to it. In fact, the mask communicates that looking this way will keep you above suspicion of being an illegal immigrant in Arizona, a positive thing not a derogatory one. We hope everyone will view the mask the way we do... a comical tool to convey a message and raise awareness about an issue that is important to all Americans. If the campaign has been taken in a different light by some, we sincerely regret the misunderstanding.
Thanks for voicing your opinions and helping to get the dialogue going. We look forward to a better solution to the illegal immigration problem.