Commercials. Usually, they’re just an annoying break in the middle of your favorite show. Sometimes, they’re funny – the new Pepsi commercial is one of my favorites – while some are just plain annoying (Education Connection, anyone?). This week, they were a source of controversy.

J.C. Penney started making over their ad campaign a couple of months ago with new spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres. While super-conservatives weren’t happy about it, the commercials were light-hearted and generally funny. This month, the company is running ads that feature a same-sex couple and their family on mothers day, much to the chagrin of conservative shoppers. On the whole though, consumers welcomed the commercial as an effort by J.C. Penney to expand their consumer base, and to be inclusive of all shoppers.

Then…there are the Popchips commercials, featuring Ashton Kutcher. In the commercial, Kutcher plays a wide array of characters that are participants on a dating site, including “Raj,” an Indian character for which Kutcher and Popchips are being accused of racism.

Are people over reacting to the Popchips commercial? Is this light-hearted humor, or racism?

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