Backstory summary

Because my English teacher told me I’m “telegraphic” and tend to assume everybody knows what the fuck I’m talking about.

Stephen Colbert has a television show in which he plays a right-wing conservative.  He was trying to skewer R*dskins owner Daniel Snyder, who set up a charitable foundation called “The Washington R*dskins Original Americans Foundation.”  So Colbert said he was going to set up a foundation called “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

Many people thought it was failed satire and writer Suey Park started the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert.  Twitter is a mini-blogging and connection forum that limits posts (called “tweets”) to 140 characters.  #CancelColbert received a flood of tweets, many of which were push back from racists and other non-critical-thinking people.  Suey Park and others started getting threats of violence.  (As a side note, wonder if she’s gotten any notice from the FB1.)

Suey Park then changed her avatar and her name to “Stewy.”  Which, not surprisingly, lessened the attack tweets.  Others followed.

(Eventually I am going to write a post about the very specific gendered ways in which Asian American women are punished for speaking out, by larger society and by Asian American men in particular.  And it will include threats that make it clear that rape is not about sex, it’s about violence.  That a woman’s worth is about her looks and her compliance.  That many Asian American men don’t have any understanding of what Asian American women face.  About how we talked about racism at a family reunion and the size of family members was inversely related to the number of racist assaults.  It’s going to be a long motherfucker, as evidenced by the length of this parenthetical.)

People who argue against #CancelColbert don’t seem to be able to say much beyond “But it’s satire!”  Also that Colbert is a leader in anti-racism.  You can see what a good job he is doing by the racism directed at Park by his supporters.  And although he did mention they should knock it off on his show, he has yet to tweet.  Which is telling, because Twitter is the platform where she is receiving the majority of abuse.

Additionally, did any of the show’s watchers actually throw any support towards Indian issues?  I’d hazard a guess no.  Because “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong” is thought of as funny, and R*dskins is thought of as just another NFL team name.  No big deal here.  (Another reason the satire failed.)

Because watching television and feeling smugly superior towards “people who are racist” and then putting “racist Asians” in their place is about all the anti-racism many white people can handle.  Because privilege means not having to care except for about privilege.

And don’t forget about people who long to be in the white club as well.  To my great dismay and disappointment (which shows you that despite claims to the contrary, I am a fucking optimist), some fairly well-known Asian Americans piled upon.  By voicing their opinions about how “dumb” this was.  Because they get satire, I guess.

So here we’ve got folks who have been outraged in the past that others minimized their concerns.  So what do they do?  Use their platforms to minimize the concerns of others.

Not only that, but the shit on facebook was like a time machine trip back to high school.

Also, yes, I know we hate Michelle M@lkin (and I’ve actually read the book).  Ever consider M@lkin’s general agenda?  And if you think that M@lkin’s support means an entire cause is wrong, I’d suggest you look into why white racists are supporting you.

So then these guys (mostly guys, anyway) decided to trend their own hashtag, #buildnotburn.  Which was a pretty obvious slam.  But burn! Because the hashtag got co-opted.

Stay tuned for updates.


Brief synopsis of the show below, which depends on my memory.

View of the the Colbert Report banner being taken down and people leaving a building carrying boxes.  Only one guy was black, the others were white.  Voiceover talks about the call for cancellation.  A flower withers and dies.  Scenes of destruction.  The crying “Indian” from a ’70s commercial (Iron Eyes Cody, who was actually of Italian descent but made a living pretending to be Native American).

Scene cut to Colbert, wearing a R*dskins cap, jolting awake.  B.D. Fucking Wong is sitting next to him, and tells him that he’s dreaming.

The bit starts with “Who’s attacking me now?” and brief soundbites from television are played.  #CancelColbert tag is used as a graphic.  Talks about the Washington R*dskins.  Says he has a long-running disagreement with Asian Americans because of a “beloved” character on his show.  Explains how the character is not him.  Then tells the fucking joke again, to much laughter.

Jokes about the internet, the “twit” hitting the fan, etc., while explaining what happened on Twitter.  Says he can understand how people could be offended, just like he was offended by Swift suggesting people eat Irish babies.

Goes on to say how this was started by a hashtag activist who has been “viciously attacked on Twitter.”  Says that “if anyone is doing that for me, I want you to stop right now.”  Says that the #CancelColbert people think he is a racist, talks about not seeing race.

Talks about news coverage again.

Talks about Michelle Malkin, mentions “In Defense of Internment.”

Recaps what happened, shows a picture of Suey but never mentions her by name.

Ends with Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Backstory summary

  1. You know? I started off thinking that maybe cancelling Colbert was a little harsh, but the more I think about it, this business is just unacceptable. I have always hated his treatment of Asians/Asian-Americans and this attempt at levity was beyond poor-taste.

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