Rickshaw Rally redux

Rickshaw Rally refers to a racist vacation bible school theme package published by an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, Lifeway. Rev. Soong-Chan Rah was instrumental in bringing this racist theme to the attention of the public.

Rev. Rah has a new blog post titled Rickshaw Rally Redux. He writes, “Unbelievable. Christian publishing companies just don’t get it.” He’s referring to Christian publisher Zondervan’s use of a racist stereotype of a Chinese delivery man in one of its published skits. “Herro, Dis is Wok’s Up Restaurant calling to confirm your order …”

The delivery man is used purely for comic effect (because everybody knows how funny it is to hear white people mock the way Chinese people allegedly talk). He adds nothing to the purported learning value of the skit. According to the published material, the themes for this skit are “identity in Christ, parents, rejection, disappointment.”

Given that Chinese delivery men seem to often be targeted for violence, perhaps encouraging their objectification is especially ethically unsound.

Rev. Rah has reported that Zondervan has apologized.

But I have to wonder what exactly the people at Zondervan and the skit writers were thinking. The skit was featured, downloadable content at the website to give potential purchasers a feel for the book. (And what a feel that was!) Additionally, a downloadable mp3 file of the racist skit was available for purchase. This suggests to me that not only did this material never raise any concerns for any of the many people involved in its production and publication, but that they actually felt it was some of the best content available in the book.

You can hear the audio of this skit here: Racist skitguys.com skit.

Thanks to angryasianman for the heads-up.

2 thoughts on “Rickshaw Rally redux

  1. If it makes you feel better, you can go rent half a dozen Jerry Lewis movies where he acts like an idiotic white man. America spent years laughing at him making an absolute fool of himself. How about where Hollywood constantly makes fun (and poor representation) of Christians?
    Sorry they offended you. I really don’t think Zondervan would intentionally try to slam any group of people. Would it have bothered you if the delivery boy would have been a slacker, zit-faced teenager (of any color)?

  2. Is it the same if a person uses himself as the vehicle for humor vs. using somebody else? Can an analogous situation be made simply by switching the people involved if the power dynamic remains the same? What is the difference between focusing on intent and focusing on effect? Should Asian Americans be given an equal voice within the ministry?

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