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.  Continue reading

And it runs deep, part ii

In which resistance perseverates about internalized crap.

I am still angry with Questlove’s casual racism.  And I am upset by the reactions and non-reactions of others, which serves to inform about the state of post-racial America.

Because in post-racial America, we are still talking about how Asians are being offended rather than how white supremacy is being supported.  The former puts the blame on those pesky Asians.  So thin-skinned.  No sense of humor.  Chip on the shoulder.

The latter puts the crap back where it belongs. Continue reading

Padma Lakshmi’s response

A few days ago I commented on a post by my friend Questlove, which angered and offended many. It was a thoughtless passing joke, but I know that things said without thinking can be harmful and hurtful. As a person who has experienced firsthand the effects of racism, as well as the sting of negative comments based on my skin or ethnicity, I should have known better. As an Asian, I have no right to add to stereotypes of other Asians. I am simply, sorry. No excuses. Nothing more.

Dawn Englehart’s response

Posts tagged “no endorsement here” are provided solely for the convenience of blog readers and do not represent the opinions of the blog owners.  Additionally, while this post appears to be from Dawn Englehart, no verification was made.  I will note there are a few details that suggest this is authentic.  This was posted on mediaite.

It’s recently been called to my attention by your blog-site that I am a racist (and I quote: Dawn Englehart, she herself of Asian decent) for participating in a couple of humorous Instagram photos in which we poked fun at the Japanese mispronunciation of the letters “R” and “L.” My colleague chose to issue a humble and sincere apology. I, on the other hand, will not say I’m sorry. I will not succumb to the lightening fast speed in which people feel they are entitled to judge and label. Continue reading

And it runs deep

Questlove is a six-foot-two black man.  So I can imagine he’s experienced his share of overt racism.  He talks and writes about it sometimes.  In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, he wrote the following:

I don’t know how to not internalize the overall message this whole Trayvon case has taught me:

You ain’t shit.

That’s the lesson I took from this case.

You ain’t shit.

These words are deep because these are words I’ve heard my whole life.

And yet this happens.

Here’s the TLDR summary:  Questlove tours in Japan and gets into the tired old L/R jokes.  Because they’re so funny and originalContinue reading

‘Burdened by bigotry …’

This is Cristy Austin with her 19-year-old daughter, Kylie.  Kylie’s original name was Keisha Lenee Austin.  Kylie’s mother, who is white, had a specific reason for selecting the name “Keisha”:

… to her, it represented a strong, feminine, beautiful black woman. As a white woman who would be raising a biracial daughter she wanted to instill that confidence and connectivity to the culture.

“I saw it as a source of pride,” Cristy says. “I wanted her to have that.”

 

Kylie had her reasons for changing her name: Continue reading

The diversity project

Go ahead, laugh at me if you want to.  Because this summer I watched almost every episode of The Gl** Project.   Even though I have opined at length about the show’s craptastic craptasticness.   Even though I said from day one that the winner was going to be one of the two white guys.  Not that country-singing one, but the one who actually won and that other one with the brown curly hair.

But it was presented like a Diversity Meritocracy.  Gather ’em all up.  Get a blind black guy, a woman in a wheelchair, a transgender male, a Muslim woman, a Korean American guy, a hapa ? Asian/white ? woman, a plus-size woman, etc.  Round it out with a couple of straight- and cis-appearing conventionally attractive white people.  Then tell everybody that it’s ultimately up to them.  May the best man win.  (And as a side rant, thrown in for free, I wonder how that particular gendered terminology subtly works on the psyche of women.)

Except.

Except that a lot of times it isn’t really up to them.  (Shit, why do I even bother to qualify with “a lot of times”?)

I’ve gone on interviews that looked like the diversity project, and I know other readers of color probably have too. We noticed that we were the onlies, and we tried to suppress that little voice that kept telling us that we were just somebody’s idea of show and tell and good intentions.  Because it is impossible to function in a racist society without engaging in active denial sometimes.

One interviewer, trying to “reassure” me:   Last year we had so many others in here, it looked like the third world!

Another interviewer, another location:  We really value diversity here.

Me (looking at all-white environment):  Where?

Once I went to one of those dreaded group interview things and to my great surprise I ran into The Other Asian.  You know how sometimes you run into TOA in an all-white setting and TOA pretends not to see you?  That’s what went down.  She was busy proving how well she could integrate with the majority.  I was busy sending fuck you death rays her way.  No, not really.  And since most of the majority was busy ignoring us, she was really working it.  Which meant very studiously avoiding me at all costs.

In most of those circumstances, you know it’s pretty much already a foregone conclusion that you’re not going to be favored.  But the absolutely most depressing thing is when somebody who is as dumb as a rock is selected instead of you.  Because even that meritocracy stuff doesn’t necessarily matter.  Or there’s that certain je ne sais quoi.  But we do actually know what, don’t we?

Anyway, back to my original rant.

So I had a pretty good idea that the woman in a wheelchair wasn’t going to win.  After all, they already have a guy in a wheelchair.  Not an actual person with a disability, mind you.  Because that would be all inconvenient and what.  But an able-bodied guy playing at disability.

Generally, the rules of the diversity project state quite clearly that you must only have One of Each.  They got rid of that black guy, even though he never did say or do anything anyway.  Yeah, I do know they have two Asians.  But you need a couple of Asians sometimes so you can prove diversity because we (well, not me) are such good model minorities and good sports.  We (again, not me) tend not to make white people squirm around as much.

People of the Muslim faith, on the other hand, do make white non-Muslim people squirm around a lot.  The squirming agency proves it.

But for the most part, just have one of any Other.  Like having a black friend.  Don’t have multiple black friends, and don’t live in a black neighborhood or anything.  One is good enough for credibility.

But wouldn’t it be totally radical if (getting back to employment for a second now) a company that talks about trying to increase diversity hired multiple Others?

Not going to happen on this show, though.  Although nobody ever bets me.  Mostly because none of my friends are as dumb as rocks.

I was actually shocked that two Others made it to the finale.  Although this is sometimes a good strategy to show your open-mindedness.  Similarly, don’t ever eliminate the black guy right away.  It looks bad, even if he is a terrible candidate.

Also, if you’re going to pick a white guy, make sure everybody knows he knows what it’s like for us people of color, too!  Because he’s the “whitest half-Cuban ever.”  Yeah.

But I kept watching.  Because for some reason I still keep hoping beyond hope.  Even though I curse myself and tell myself how stupid I am afterwards and then have to go take a long hot bath and use lots of soap.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to soap up the crevices in the grey matter enough.

Finally the boss man says that there is only one person who could fill the slot.  And you know who that person is.  But it makes you wonder why it took so long.

In the end, the diversity project is simply a show.  We watch it and it looks good sometimes and we root for our people and we thank well-meaning white people because we know they tried, they really tried.  But we just weren’t good enough.

Sorry, no.

Subtitled: So glad I haven’t yet been xangaed.

So it appears that everybody’s favorite NBA player used to xanga.  He can be forgiven for this since he was fifteen at the time.  His xanga name reportedly was  “Ch*nkBalla88.”

Asian Americans, you’re all on notice now:  You have no right to complain, bitch or whine about the word “ch*nk” since Jeremy Lin apparently used it himself. In fact, you can’t play the race card at all!  So just put away the deck.  It’s open season on racism.  I mean, good fun.

Yeah, we’ve heard it before (item 3C).  Continue reading

Dear white adoptive parents

Once upon a time, dear adoptive parents, I expected better of you.

And I kept hoping beyond hope.  Even as you walked past me.   Because I am invisible in your eyes.  As your grown children are invisible as well.  Those angry adoptees will never be your children, because your kids will not be oversensitive or have a chip on their shoulder.  They’ll be able to laugh it off.  They’ll have a thicker skin.  They’ll be able to roll with the punches.

Because you’ve already told them how to feel.  Continue reading

How do you respond to violence?

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. –Malcolm X

It has long been my belief that it is easiest to learn to drive when you are fifteen or sixteen and have no fear of death.  Often people who learn to drive late in life are nervous drivers.  Because they know what can happen.   They’re aware of five-car pileups when there’s a little bit of ice on the road.  DUIs that lead to head-on crashes.  The momentary lapse of attention that might prove fatal.

Sometimes I wonder if that is why I am more cautious in responding to violence.  Because I am aware of the Absolute Worst Thing.

Because I know what hate looks like.  And because I know what can happen. Continue reading