It is time to put Yoplait in check
Call to Action by Devin Love-Andrews, December 2004

Surely those who did not cross this webpage by accident are able to catch the offensive comment made on this commercial being played. Regardless, the comment of concern is "being-put-with-an-usher-who-isnít-shorter-than-you good," furthered by the statement, "Did you see him?" Needless to say, this comment has brought so much attention over the last few months.

It does not take a man who is 5í2" (my height) to realize the offense of such comments; even someone 6í4" with sensitivity can understand that such a commercial is a blatant and direct attack on short men. Letters were sent to General Mills (the company that controls Yoplait) by several people expressing their dissent to this commercial. Those who submitted letters to General Mills through the comment form on their Web site received the following response:

Thank you for contacting Yoplait. We are sorry you were disappointed with our advertising for Yoplait yogurt. Our intent is to encourage both potential and existing customers to buy our products. Your comments are important to us and will be carefully reviewed with our marketing and advertising staff.

We appreciate your interest and hope you continue to enjoy our products.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Rogand
General Mills
Consumer Services

This response makes it clear that no one at Yoplait paid any attention to the complaints made. This commercial was first viewed in the middle of August and was continually on the air through December.

It is disrespectful enough when people in real life or even on television shows do not find short men worthy of respect, but it is outrageous when such treatment comes from companies who want people to use their products. What does height have to do with selling yoghurt? What makes the executives in Yoplaitís marketing department think that negative portrayals will boost sales? The answer to such questions is simple: the aforementioned marketing executives are bullies. The common bully has a particular mode of operation to obtain and consolidate power, in which he chooses to chastise someone weak and unpopular. This is exactly what Yoplait is doing to short men.

Most Americans do not even know (or care) that such a thing as height discrimination exists. There are many short men (and women) who have been embarrassed and intimidated all of their livesÖand they have just accepted it. Because of this, short people of all types do not have a united front, and this makes them more vulnerable to attacks. It also allows for such attacks to become less and less subtle. Those who disagree with this theory should ask themselves this question: What if both of the women in the commercial were White, and the comment in question was "being-put-with-an-usher-who-isnít-Black good." Yes, assume this was actually put on the air. Would this comment be tolerated? Absolutely not! The NAACP and several other organizations would file lawsuits, every single news station would broadcast reports, and editorialists and news talk personalities would make Yoplait a focus of discussion for over a month. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would lead rallies and demonstrations all over the country, and Yoplait sales would plummet.

This is because even Americans who live in Small Town, Montana know that this country has a race problem. Not only are minorities (like myself) acknowledged for the discrimination they face, but they are also more organized to defend themselves. Thus, no company wanting to make a profit (unless the product is Aryan Pride apparel) would dare market their products in any way that would deliberately offend a certain minority.

Therefore, the only way we can resist height discrimination from Yoplait and any company is by presenting a united defense. Height discrimination is a serious social problem that happens daily, but it goes ignored by the public and even by those who experience it. It is extremely important to bring this issue to the social sphere, and also for short individuals to stop tolerating offensive treatment by those who are supposed to be convincing people to buy their products. The best way to start is by boycotting Yoplait products. Because they have broadcasted that offensive commercial of theirs for more than four months, ignoring complaints made by others, it is clear that this company does not respect us. We must boycott Yoplait, and convince all of our relatives and friends to do the same. Any short person who would continue to buy their yoghurt, knowing about their commercial, has a deplorable lack of self-esteem. It is the equivalent of a Jewish person buying a product endorsed by Louis Farrakhan.

If this is not reason enough to boycott Yoplait, one should also keep in mind that nearly half of Yoplaitís stock is owned by Sodiaal, a French company. France is guilty of not only having direct business relations with Saddam Hussein, but also of limiting religious freedom in public schools by passing a law forbidding students from wearing conspicuous religious symbols. Regardless, we must show corporate and popular America that we are not afraid to defend ourselves when they come after us. If we do not, height discrimination will not go away, but will become more and more oppressive to us and accepted by others.