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Reflections on Race posted by bichen

links::informative | Thursday, Apr 8th 2004, 12:42:55 PM

One thing I noticed about racism that really bothers me is how there seems to be a double standard. And I don't mean reverse racism (which is a problem too, but I think it's relatively minor). The problem I have with racism is it's treated differently when it targets a group with a strong political influence versus a group with a weak one.

African Americans and Jews have political power. That's why you don't see much public racism against them. There would be a huge amount of backlash and most media would refrain from that. Unfortunately, this doesn't hold true for racism against Asians/Asian-Americans. The American media/public feels free to negatively portray Asians; They receieve a little backlash, but little else.

Continued below...

Why do I think this? Well, first take this Details magazine article. I wasn't sure it was real, but it is. It's meant to be satire, but c'mon. Do you believe that Details would have the guts to pull something like this out on African Americans? Can you imagine them saying stuff like "Look at his ho' slapping ass eating his fried chickin'"? No. Would they say "Look at his penny pinching ways as he wears his Yamika and shakes his Driedil butt" about Jews? I doubt it. But Asians? Sure, why not.

How about Mr. Wong? It's an internet cartoon about an Asian man in servitude to a rich white woman. I'll tell you right now that if they replaced the Asian man with a black man, people would be up in arms. What's racist about it? First, Mr. Wong has absurdly racist features. Super slanted eyes, buck teeth. Second, they gave him a very thick accent. Third the "rich white woman" said things like "don't your kind do that?" and orders him about mercilessly. But not only does Icebox not take it down, they refuse to saying it's one of their more viewed cartoons. And there's plenty of fans of it that claim that if you're offended by it, you lack a sense of humor and are too sensitive. Oh yeah, those who claim that happen to be 99.9% white it seems. And obviously it's still up today. Why? Because Asian Americans don't have the political power to stop it.

This double standard is annoying as hell. Racial humor? I think it's hilarious... when it's not mean spirited. How do you make it not mean spirited or not seem mean spirited?
1) Bag on your own race.
2) Be equal opportunity. That means if you want to do a "Gay or Asian" type thing, you better to a "Gay or Black", "Gay or Jewish", etc.
3) Make it obviously good humored satire ala Black People Love Us.
People follow those rules when mocking African American, Jews, Hispanics, etc. Not Asians it seems.

I remember reading an article about Jay Mohr, a comedian (and actor), who said he thought racial humor was great and that he would use it even though it's risky. I saw one of his routines soon after and I was expecting to find it hilarious. Was it? No, not really. The routine involved calling up a Chinese restaurant. The person on the other end didn't speak English and during these parts Jay would just do some mock Chinese "ching chong wa aiieee wong" and what not. In poor taste but you know what? it's cool. But he kept on doing it for a long time like he REALLY stretched that bit. Anyways, the punch line was when Jay asked for rice the response was in perfect english "That'll be $2.50 extra." Ok, so the humor wasn't in the mocking the language. It was lead up for the punch line so it makes the language mocking somewhat ok. But what's disturbing is watching the audience. I saw a few white people DYING with laughter when Jay was faking Chinese. DYING. Like having to lean over shaking, slapping their knees. My god.

But anyways, I digress. Asian Week has a good article titled Reflections on Race about the whole racism double standard that's an interesting read. But a very very long read.

Comment Style: Threaded  Ordered  

maybe if we actually voted
Wednesday, Sep 15th 2004, 04:40:54 PM

Chemical Superfreak
Posts: 1503
Maybe if we actually voted or became involved in things like this, people would take us more seriously. But as a race, we are truly apathetic.

Take for instance, my biggest pet peeve, Abercrombie and Fitch. They totally don't target Asians for their clothes. They don't hire them to be salespeople. They've even spoken publicly about targeting only Caucasians. Yet at every single mall with one, I always see Asians shopping in there. For some reason, Asians always seem willing to overlook things like that in order to fit in.

We're just so apathetic.

Oh, and apparently, young Asians are the most politically apathetic because we are now the group that is least likely to vote. So that probably says a lot right there.
yeah that's true BUT
Wednesday, Sep 15th 2004, 05:01:30 PM

head dork
Posts: 4964
it also won't make that much of a difference. asian americans have to do more than just vote, they have to be able to sway other people.

the population of asian-americans is pretty small. if it's just us voting, it's not going to do much. we need to be like the jews with a hugely strong lobby even though they don't number that many people.


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8 comments | links::funny