It strikes me that...
...the message I got from this advert was that intel can provide you with *power* - raw power and computing abilities. Make your business work well, harder, better.
I interpreted it as them representing this strength, power, skill etc. of the intel product by showing the black sprinter. He's a sleek athlete, strong, fit, ready to explode into action. He's a sprinter, he has this ability that "normal" people don't have. He can run faster. (he's also multiplied, which is why there are many copies)
They also decided to show the "normal" manager. He's a soft white guy, wearing smart casual clothes. He's not special. He's not large or strong like the "powerful" black guy working for him.
So yeah, it has the black guy "serving" the white guy. Possibly racist. But it also has the black guy representing the strength, power, all the *cool* things that intel are offering. And the white guy representing the soft geek, all the lame things that you are. Except he's smug. He has intel/this black dude on his side.
Strikes me as just as racist. Why is the soft geek chosen to be white? Why is the strong guy chosen to be black? Why is intel implying that black people are sleeker, sexier, stronger, fitter than white people?
Wow, re-reading this comment it really sounds like I'm planning to bat for the other team, doesn't it?
p.s. thanks for the discussion of "black" vs "african american" - I'm Australian but my parents came from South Africa. We are *highly* aware of racism, and I was raised to judge people by their actions not their skin. Even so, I'm never really sure how to refer to black people since the South Africans call them "blacks" and - well - it just seems wrong to take my cue from that. There aren't that many african-australians of black skin tone that I interact with, since we're so multicultural that when you include the greeks, italians, lebanese, indians etc. your chances of running into an african are proportionately reduced. So I've never had someone to take my cue from, considering the other races seem to refer to themselves based on their country of origin. My "indian" friend was born here. Ironically, I did grow up with a black friend. I still didn't know what term to use since I referred to him by name and, in the years I was friends with him, I never had need to refer specifically to his race. Strangely enough, years after we stopped seeing each other, and I'd moved house, I started running into him again, as he started hanging out somewhere that I'd pass through. He would always be with a group of black friends. I never said anything, or asked anything about it, but I did always wonder why. Is it racism? Probably not, he was raised by white parents and never displayed any racism towards me or anyone that I observed. Was he just more comfortable with them? Was it coincidence? Was it that they had something in common, a shared history and culture and pride (despite growing up in Australia)? Was it that he was searching for his cultural heritage? Was it that he suffered racism, and so he sought out a group where he didn't have to worry about that? - so many possible reasons for *his* behavior, there's no need for me to assume that he was racist. And most people wouldn't think twice about his choice of friends. Just seems like I *could* have seen racism in his actions if I was *looking* for it. Same with the intel advert.