Friday, January 27, 2006

A racist trancemaster:

Xanga blogger Crazee Michi has been doing a lot of legwork on Adam Carolla's latest racist jackass antics.
On his radio show, Carolla ran a skit mocking the Asian Excellence Awards. Here is the transcript:

adam says:: the asians have an awards show now... can you believe it... we have some early tape of the show... here is the awardee's speech for best male TV performance..
(roll some award-show-ish music)

Voiceover: CHING CHONG CHING CHONG CHING CHONG CHING CHONG CHING CHONG

Then: the same thing, but in a female voice for "female tv performance"

You can listen to the clip here.

Cutting this apart, it's not hard to figure out what the "humor" is supposed to be here. Asian-looking people can't speak English and sound funny. The reason why I stress "looking" is because the two winners of those awards, as michi points out, are fluent English speakers. But I highly doubt that Carolla's people did that kind of research anyway. They just saw, "Asian" and thought "Ching Chong Ching Chong" and cracked themselves up.

There are two types of humor in the world. There is quirky, incongruous humor and there is conditioned, trance humor. The first is when someone says something completely unexpected and it elicits a laugh. The second is when someone says something that we have been taught to laugh to. There's deep artistry in the first type of humor and practically none in the second. It's really no different from pressing the "Laugh" button on the studio audience. Basically, over time, many people (not only whites) in society have been conditioned to laugh when the same racial stereotypes are raised again and again.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't laugh at these moments or they should be vilified. We should just recognize it for what it is: a complete lack of effort on the part of the "comedian", a conditioned response to a racist stimulus on the part of the audience, and most of all, a woeful lack of attention to the real damage that these stereotypes cause to other human beings (who happen to have the misfortune of being born the wrong color).

They have every right to make their money and laugh it up, but criticial thinking folks also have the right to say, "What a bunch of racist assholes!"

For those new to this topic, lets review a bit...What is this terrible hurt I'm referring to? Basically, Americans of Asian descent are viewed as permanent foreigners--eternal others, who can never be accepted as legitimate human beings like our white countrymates. That might seem abstract and not such a big deal to people who can take their sense of national belonging for granted, so let me put it more bluntly: Concentration Camps. Multi-generational Japanese Americans were thrown in concentration camps during WWII because of the perceptions of otherness that plagued them. In the present day, such "otherness" results in a problems in every area from education and employment to dating and socializing.

That's good and all, but what do we do to address this:
CBS radio has responded with the "generic white people offensive apology" (We didn't mean to offend anyone with our blantant racism. We think people should roll over and play dead whenever they experience racism.), but right now Asian American activists are organizing an action to encourage CBS to address the situation more concretely.

What should I do if someone says this to me on the street?
Let me start by saying, "Yes! It actually does happen quite frequently!"
I'm just a half-breed, but I get this crap relatively frequently, so I'd be super surprised if most Asian Americans don't fact it at one time or another.

The key is not to just cry, "Racist!!!" but to out the other person's racism in such a graphic display that nobody in their right mind would want to be complicit or aid them.

Here's one that I often use (and have written up before on The Fighting 44s web site)

I always find it useful to play it off like it wasn't meant to be a joke:
Racist Asshole: "Ching Chang Chong! Wing Wang Wong!"
Me: "Yeah, I agree, but I didn't know you spoke Chinese so well!"
Racist Asshole: "What?"
Me: "I was just surprised to hear you say, 'I'm a racist asshole' in perfect, accentless Chinese!"

If they protest, just say, "I'm not calling you a racist, you said it yourself!" and then ask other people in the crowd if they heard the same thing.

They'll probably quickly abandon their dreams of being the next Adam Carolla, racist trance humor master.

1 Comments:

Anonymous jk said...

On the spot, as always Xian.

8:31 PM  

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