Sorry to tell you, Toto

But you’re not in Kansas anymore.

So Time magazine published a “humor” piece by Joel Stein lamenting the changes that have befallen his hometown of Edison, N.J.  Specifically, too many Asian Indians have moved in.  Guess they must be changing the complexion a little bit too much.

Basically, what Stein did was vomit up every stereotype he could think of.  The sheer number is testament to the racism in our society.  And it’s not like we haven’t seen it before.

Anna of Sepia Mutiny covers it here.

Time magazine gave Stein a huge, national (international?) audience upon which to spew.  And in so doing, it chose to inform its audience just what Asian Indians are like.  Additionally, it provided license for people to laugh at a group of people.  Because when people don’t get out much, these kinds of images and derogatory speech fill in the space where real knowledge is supposed to be.

But that actually isn’t what struck me the most about Stein’s piece.  Continue reading

The non-apology apology

So a chain called “RA Sushi” had a recent promotion featuring free edamame.  How did a diner qualify?  By saying “Me Luv You Longtime” to the server.

Here’s the “apology”:

RA Sushi Chicagoland RA Sushi would like to apologize to anyone offended by the recent “Me Luv You Long Time” promotion. It was not meant to promote or perpetuate stereotypes and it does not reflect our views as a company. We sincerely apologize for not taking into consideration the many interpretations of this phrase and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Got that? We took an insulting stereotype and used it to promote our business, encouraging people to repeat the phrase, but we didn’t mean to promote or perpetuate stereotype by doing so. We chose it despite the fact that it doesn’t represent our views as a company. Next promotion: Free sushi when you say “You are a racist fuckhead!” to your server. And obviously there are many interpretations of this phrase and we took the one made by the stupidest people on the planet.

That is all.

‘A [redacted] on a corporate plantation’

Yes, that’s really what a Towson adjunct professor said.  He was referring to himself.  Just so you know, he has a good reason for using the term:

Zaruba, who is white, told The Sun that his black stepfather used racial terms freely, and that, “I never quite got the horror of the word.”

Black stepfather? Not quite as good as a black friend, but close.

But wait!  There’s more! Continue reading

Twenty grand a year

And what do they have to show?

So some UCSD students decide to “honor” Black History Month by holding a “Compton Cookout” party.  How do other UCSD students respond?

The campus television station belittles those protesting the racism of the party.  One broadcaster uses the term “ungrateful n*ggers.”

A Facebook group is started to protest the protest. It is adorned with a red circle and a slash over the words “bigdeal” [sic]. Undoubtedly protesting “bigdeals.” Yeah, we never said UCSD students were all that bright.

Another student publicizes “Compton Cookout Part Deux:  First Ammendment Pride.” (Mike Randazzo, your parents must be very proud.)

I haven’t seen the campus broadcast yet, so no in-depth analysis will be offered.  Hopefully, the use of the racial slur speaks for itself.  As for “ungrateful,” regular readers probably already have an idea of what I think about the term.  So I won’t rehash other than to say that expecting me to be grateful for something that should be available to all (whether it be the chance to earn a living, an education, a roof over my head or whatever) is inherently racist and implies that I owe somebody.  You know, a superior somebody.  Thank you for your kindness!  I surely do appreciate it!

And reading Facebook gives me facepalm and lowers my IQ, so I had to close my browser quickly before I could risk the mensa membership or something.

As for the “Compton Cookout Part Deux:  First Ammendment Pride,” the whole text follows at the end of this post.  It’s a masterful piece and I will try my best to provide a thorough and complete translation.  Here goes:
Continue reading

Georgetown students say racist article is satire

Nope, that’s not what the article is titled.  The article is actually titled “Georgetown students say campus satire is racist.”  At least the title isn’t “Georgetown students say campus satire is ‘racist.'”  But what if racism were widely acknowledged?  It would be the racist writers who would be forced to defend their position.

You can see the original “humor” piece here.  It invokes cross-burning, “human-shaped pinatas” hanging from trees, blackface, the racist imagination about how black people speak and firehoses turned on black students.

Yeah, it’s a laugh riot.  Continue reading

Because they just don’t die

Chief Illiniwek keeps being resurrected from the dead. Why? Because he’s a tradition.

Similarly, the Tribune used to run a cartoon called “Injun Summer” every year until 1992.  Here’s a section of an 1991 editorial written about it:

This year the objections about matched the praise from those in whom it stirs warm memories.

As sure as one writer would declare that the cartoon “never misses touching the heart with its nostalgic message of the ‘spirits’ of the season,”  another would condemn it as “an embarrassing relic of a time when it was acceptable to use words and phrases like ‘heaps of Injuns’ and ‘redskins’ and ‘happy huntin’  ground.'”

That’s sort of how it’s been going these years. And it’s understandable.

“Injun Summer” is out of joint with its times. It is literally a museum piece, a relic of another age. The farther we get from 1907, the less meaning it has for the current generation.

The editorial does hasten to add that “current inappropriateness” is not enough in itself to stop running the cartoon. And that there is an “innocence of context.” (WTF?)

But it doesn’t matter anyway, because the cartoon is on the website right now, without any mention of the concerns. Roger Ebert recently tweeted how he “treasured it.” And you can buy copies of it from the Tribune store.

Racismese translation: Words are mightier than actions. We are not racists! We already said it was not acceptable to do these things! But we do them anyway. Hope you don’t mind. And that you’re just not paying attention.


So Sunday an American won the New York City Marathon for the first time since 1982:

Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he’s not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.


Keflezighi was born in Eritrea. So apparently he isn’t a “real American”: Continue reading

There’s always one

Remember the Miley Cyrus picture where she and her friends are making the racist “slant-eye” gesture?  Poor old Chuck is the lone Asian in the photograph.  But that made it okay, because Hey!  An Asian guy is doing it too!  Miley can’t be racist–she has an Asian friend!  He obviously has a sense of humor.

There’s always one.

From Tufts comes a college freshman who created a poster playing off one made by an Asian American running for the Tufts senate.  His poster reads “squinty eyes.  BIG VISION,” “Kimchi!” and “Prease vote me! I work rearry hard!”  (Both posters shown here.)

The creator of the poster is In-Goo Kwak.  Here’s what he has to say: Continue reading