Cultural Identity

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There is a recent Reebok shoe commercial featuring basketball star Allen Iverson playing pool. The commercial is targeted to African Americans by the use of shared values and norms to the African American community. In the commercial, Iverson is wearing a hat sideways, jewelry, and baggy pants, all images that mean something to the black community. This type of clothing is a collective identity and behavior of other African Americans, a shared value. Furthermore, in the script, Iverson says, "I ain't no thug. I am who I am…" This type of assertive language was an attempt to draw attention to Iversons' individual power in a bold and un-self-conscience manner. The grammatical usage also shared that of which is most common to African Americans. When viewing the commercial, one can clearly see the visual appeal Iverson might have on African Americans, but probably less-so on white Americans. These values Iverson portrayed contribute to the cultural identity of African Americans by the strong language Iverson used. The "power" language was a straightforward defense of his image and the image of others who dress and may think as he does. There is a strong sense of "oneness" or community in Iversons speech and dress. It was as if Iverson was saying, ‘just because I and other African Americans dress like this, we share no more responsibility than anyone else in black or white communities.' There was a strong sense of African American culture in this commercial, targeted to fellow African Americans who would appreciate and notice these values and norms known to this community.
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