Monday, February 20, 2006

More Corolla Campaign

Someone has started an online petition to fire Adam Corolla for his racial slurs against Asian Americans on his 1/24/06 show (here and here). You can sign it here.

I sent this letter to CBS radio through this form (send one yourself!) and have yet to receive a response:

Dear CBS Radio,

I understand that individual performers will sometimes go beyond the pale of what is acceptable in their creative performance.

In the case of Adam Corolla's January 24, 2006 slurs against Asian Americans on his program, his performance was not only racist, but also devoid of any comedic value. The tired old joke, "Asians can't speak English" has been trotted out so many times, it was more of a admission of inability to perform his job--being entertaining--than anything else.

Furthermore, it is deeply damaging to Asian Americans who face perpetual discrimination even if English is their native language.

Worst of all was your insult, idiotic non-apology released by the station following protest. I respond to it here:

Anyway, due to your general lack of empathy for Asian Americans, I've decided to avoid all of your media outlets except for the purpose of viewing your prime-time commercials. I will then avoid all of the products promoted by these companies.

In my eyes and that of my community, you will become the "un-promotion company".

I know I'm just one person, so I don't expect you to respond. But if you do want to do right by me, you will fire Adam Corolla for his lack of talent and your spokesperson who composed the ridiculous "apology", as obviously they are incapable of performing their job.

Best of luck to you, I don't expect a response, but I would welcome one,
Xian Barrett

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Faster than the speed of white...

Yesterday, Chicago South Sider Shani Davis won the first individual gold medal by a black person of African descent in the history of the Winter Olympics.

I know very little about the sport of speedskating, but I do know that Shani Davis is a wonderful Chicagoan who has been a good role model for city kids of color who are in dire need of role models through his school visits and other community work.

From media coverage, I've learned that Davis is a very controversial character in the American speedskating world. Some of it is due to the actions of his mother, who is quite vocal on issues of race in sport, rather controlling of her son, and not usually remotely strategic about either of these roles. However, I'm pretty convinced a great deal of it is the normal "shoot the messenger" mentality that faces anyone who attempts to address realities of race in America.

Let's face it--if "The Emperor's New Clothes" was set in contemporary America, we'd lynch that little kid.

In terms of the perceived feud between Davis and Chad Hedrick, I'd like to look at their comments:

Hedrick has used Davis' victory in the 1000 meters as an opportunity to trash him to the media

Davis has responded mostly by complimenting Hedrick, but also questioned, "Maybe if the pursuit was organized better, or if they hadn't brought people over here just to skate it, or if I had been informed about it more than a week before ... If the shoe was on the other foot, would Chad have done the team pursuit if it was the day before the 5,000? We'll never know, but people will do whatever's best for you and that's OK."

The irony I see in their comments is that Hedrick is questioning Davis' commitment to the team because he didn't help Hedrick win an event. Furthermore, in doing so, he openly attacked a teammate in the media. Davis' choice may have been incorrect, but he certainly was trying his best to win. Hedrick's choice was simply to trash a teammate and rival with no possible benefit to his team.

Keith Boykin has some great commentary on his blog about Davis' odyssey and one of the commenters brought up a point that I've often discussed with my friends.

What is the deal with white people thinking that a person of color is "bad" simply because they don't do what people want them to do? Sure, it's fun when people listen to you, or you agree with them, but isn't disagreement a normal state of human existence. When folks in an ethnic majority question ethnic minorities more for not "doing what they are told" we can see an ugly underbelly of ethnic privilege. Basically, they don't like the fact that they don't have control over the people of color.

Fuck that Shani. You make them eat ice and take your gold home, and if part of "America" doesn't support you, there's plenty of us back here who admire you that much more for what you are doing.

Hedrick and five medals is not going to improve the quality of my life. Shani Davis' accomplishments just might in some minor, yet significant way.

Terrence Says with a blog entry on the Davis vs. White Privilege (and he does it quite a bit more eloquently).
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