I am convinced those people got into that white house state dinner because they are white. I attended a state dinner during the Clinton administration and they did such a thorough background check before I was even allowed to RSVP that I was coming I thought they were going to ask me for a stool sample – we are talking DEEP BACKGROUND – and I am fucking famous. And I was fucking famous then. White people always look more INVITED than non white people.
Posts Tagged ‘Race’
I am very concerned about Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the American journalists for Current TV who just got sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor camp. It’s alarming and terrible. I could easily see myself in their position. You are trying to do your job and then you get caught up in something huge and unstoppable.
Whatâ€™s so messed up about this particular situation is that because they are Asian American, I worry that North Korea feels less guilty about punishing them. They wouldn’t ever have the courage to do this to white journalists, especially white male journalists. Since Lee and Ling look like their own, they feel they can treat them like their own – and in North Korea, this is not a good thing. And since Asian Americans are not as easily defined as “American” I’m afraid that these two will get lost in the shuffle. It’s the strange rootless consequence of Asian American identity played out to the worst possible conclusion. Could you imagine the same thing happening to Anthony Bourdain? He could have negotiated his way out with a bottle of Crown Royal and some Marlboro reds. If Andrew Zimmern went there to eat live octopus and was nabbed by Kim Jong Il, he’d be free before the tentacles stopped wiggling in his mouth.
But this is a serious situation. I am not sure if people see Euna Lee and Laura Ling as American, but they are just as American as the notion of freedom of speech. Let my people go!
I am never surprised when Hollywood takes a story with Asian characters and casts white people instead of Asians. This is so typical and happens with such frequency! I always thought that in order to make our presence known in entertainment, we should be writing, bringing our dreams and realities to the cinema, but now even telling our own stories isn’t even enough.
Why is it better to have white actors play the roles of Asians? I don’t understand. Because it sells more tickets? I am not white and I have had no trouble selling tickets. Maybe the powers that be should ask me what to do. I would tell them. “The Last Airbender” is the last straw to a lot of people:
—— Forwarded Message
From: Boone Adkins
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 13:51:36 -0400
Subject: Racism Against Asians in the casting of The Last Airbender: Would you help us?
I love your standup! Your comedy is as deep as it is hilarious, and touches on a lot of issues I feel strongly about. I’m a college student who is Asian American (I’m half-Thai) and who is involved with the LGBT community as an ally, so I feel I can relate to you from two angles. I’m emailing you to inform you of a controversy that you may not be aware of, and to get your support.
It boils down to this: The hugely popular Asian-themed (as opposed to European-themed) fantasy Avatar: the Last Airbender is being adapted from animated TV to a live action movie by Paramount Pictures. The fantasy world of the original series is very well researched and very ASIAN – kung fu throws fireballs, people wear kimonos and hanboks, the art style is influenced by traditional Chinese painting and anime, and everybody eats with chopsticks and writes in Chinese. There is also a heavy Inuit influence in the design and culture of the Water Tribe.
And yet the producers of this movie thought it would be best to forgo talented Asian kids and cast three WHITE actors in the leading roles! Even with Asian actors in supporting roles and as extras, it sends the message that ‘Only white people can be heroes. Asian people can’t save themselves – they need white heroes to save them.’ There are stories about Asian kids who auditioned who now think their race isn’t okay, that they have to be white to get a role. Possibly to try to soothe angry fans, Paramount recast the main villain with an Indian actor and several supporting villains with other dark-skinned actors. So the message is still that ‘Only white people can be heroes,’ but it adds another message that ‘The evil Fire Nation are dark skinned, so dark skinned people are obviously evil.’ It’s offensive to Asian Americans like myself, damaging to our children, and hurtful to fans of the original series.
I beg you to lend a hand. There’s a small grassroots movement protesting Paramount’s casting decisions. Just a few words would do so much! But don’t take my word for it – more information can be found at www.racebending.com (especially http://racebending.com/youcanhelp.php) and http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com/.
Boone Jaisard Adkins
From: Crystal Knoll
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 02:02:20 -0700
Subject: the last airbender
I’m a big admirer of yours and a longtime fan.
I was wondering if you had heard about the new M Night Shyamalan film, The Last Airbender. It’s based on a recent Nickelodeon children’s cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was an amazing series set in a feudal fantasy world of magic – but unlike most fantasies that are based on European legends and culture, it was based on a variety of Asian cultures and ideas. All the characters in the series were Asian or Northwestern Aboriginal/Inuit inspired, as well as all the architecture, clothing, a lot of the plot structure, etc.
The movie adaptation has started filming, and originally cast all four lead characters (three heroes and one villain) with white actors. The white actor playing the villain (Jesse McCartney!) dropped out and was replaced by Dev Patel, so now we have three white heroes and one brown villain. Did I mention the villain came from a nation of genocidal tyrants? Yeah.
Anyways, you blogged once about 21, and how that was white-washed. Maybe that was worse because it was based on real events, but since this movie is aimed at kids there’s a lot of us that think this is pretty egregious too.
If you want to know more there is a great website set up at http://www.racebending.com/
http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com also has great posts about it,
and is the home of a letter-writing campaign. I understand you’re on tour just now and probably very busy, but we’d love to hear what you have to say about it!
Lots of love,
From: Min Yang
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 23:10:43 -0800
Subject: We Need Your Help! The Last Airbender Racist Casting
Hi Margaret, First of all I would like to say I am a big fan of you. I think you are a great role model for Asian-Americans and I am so impressed by what you have accomplished. I am not sure if you have heard about this controversy over the casting of the Avatar: Last Airbender movie.
I am not sure if you have ever seen this Nickelodean cartoon, but it is mega popular cartoon that features a world that is heavenly inspired by Asian cultures. The main characters practice martial arts that give them the ability to control four different elements: air, water, fire and earth.
M Night Shyamalan is directing the live action movie and they recently cast the four main characters of the show. In the cartoon, the four main character are clearly Asian and Intuit/Native American, but for the movie… they cast 3 White actors to play the parts.
I am part of a large and dedicated group of fans who are trying to raise awareness for this clear case of discrimination. We are wondering if there is anyway you can mention this issue in your next video and please help us spread the word on this injustice!
You can read about all the issues and the letter writing campaign and demonstrations at the following sites:
1) Letter Writing Campaign
2) Blog by award winning Asian-American graphic novelist who is rallying industry professionals and other blogs
3) San Francisco Chronicle Column on the subject
4) Heated debates on the IMDB.com column… the amount of ignorant and racist comments you see here are shocking
5) Facebook group
I appreciate anything you can do!
Thank you so much,
OK, this is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. The name she had a problem with was Ko. What part of “KO” do you not understand? - Is it the “k” or the “o”? It’s Ko, dummy. You do not need to learn Chinese to say it. Just open your dumb mouth and with your dumb voice say “Ko.” See? It’s easy dumbass! This is ridiculous. And she is a politician!!! I don’t understand when people have trouble with my name! Like they say “Chow? Chow? Margaret Chow? Chow?” There’s no “w”! And why is it so hard? It’s just one syllable. Many Asian names are just one syllable!!! This shithead needs to resign for reasons of inexcusable ignorance, racism and straight up stupidity!!!
I am thinking about how straight white men have it so easy. They really do! When watching the Billy Bob crazy interview I was struck by how much entitlement he had! He felt he could be a complete asshole to the interviewer because he didn’t think he was being treated fairly. I have endured countless radio interviews where DJs have been completely racist towards me – mispronouncing my name, which should be totally easy (and also I have been in the public eye for coming up on two decades so they should have at least heard someone say my name at least one time, or they could venture a guess….hmmm, CHO…..now that wasn’t that hard was it?!) and haven’t lost it completely because I didn’t want people to get the impression that I was a loose cannon or overly defensive – because I wanted people to come to my shows and no one likes an angry comic – unless they are straight and white and male!!
I have had interviews where I have been told to my face that I was “ugly” and “fat” and asked, in real seriousness, how I dealt with that! I have been introduced with chinky music playing in the background I don’t know how many times! People think it is ok to be racist and ignorant toward me because it is generally perceived that I am ‘cool with it.’ I am not cool with it but we live in a society where racism isn’t viewed as such when it is directed at Asian Americans. How do you deal with this kind of stupidity when it’s so rampant?
This latest incident with Betty Brown, the lawmaker from Texas, is such a prime example of the duhduhdumbness that flourishes in our culture and I am completely sick of it. She needs to resign out of sheer inability to accept that Asian Americans are valid human beings with the right to have names that she cannot pronounce because she’s such an idiot.
I am so upset by Miley Cyrus, I think it warrants a song!
Miley Cyrus made some chinky eyes
Standing behind an Asian guy
I don’t know if this should fly
As if there wasn’t enough to despise
I wasn’t necessarily a fan of
Her, her dad, or Hannah Montana
I tend to prefer the songs of Rihanna
Racism against Asians is simply bananas!
Chinky eyes make you look wily
prejudice isn’t thought of so highly
it doesn’t make us all smiley
Why is there nothing that Asians can do?
To make fun of other races as easily as you
Why isn’t racism against Asians taboo?
Why are we always so racially screwed!
All you have to do is pull at your face
To make your eyelids resemble our race
This kind of joke has no proper place
Miley Cyrus is a disgrace!
I am amazed at the level of racism and ignorance there is in this country, and when I see videos like this, which are crazily common nowadays, I am totally shocked. But then I am also not. People are just fucking dumb. They think that politics is some kind of playground battle. They have no idea how bad their lives will become if they actually got what they wanted. Why do they even imagine that someone like John McCain or Sarah Palin would care about them?
Republicans only care about the super-rich, except when there’s votin’ to be done, because after elections are bought and sold, these people will get thrown away like the garbage they are spewing forth. What I see are mostly poor, frustrated, ignorant, misguided people who have been lied to so much by the government that they are just spouting off the lies in order to somehow make sense of the world. It is unbearably sad because they don’t see that it is actually Bush who was the “terrorist” – who is sending their kids to die for totally made up reasons. They actually trust in a government that is killing them and wants to take away their freedom – and they don’t even know. These people should be pitied.
I haven’t seen the new film “21″ but I don’t plan to, which hurts a little, because I am a big Kevin Spacey fan. I liked him since he came to my 23rd birthday party with Jason Gould. The story of “21″ is based on a true one, about a group of Asian American kids who take card counting to another level and beat the house at their own game. It is a cool story about Asian Americans, and even though there are a couple of great young Asian actors in the cast of the film, they are only in minor supporting roles. Hollywood for some reason didn’t think that the film would be “marketable” enough with people who looked like the people who the story is actually fucking about! So because of this – the leads in the film are white!!!
That is right – the story, which was one about Asian American kids sticking it to the man has been stolen right from under us and given to white people. This makes me so fucking furious I can’t believe it. It makes me “railroad” mad. No fuck that – it makes me fucking “internment camp” mad. It is like they made a film about building the railroad or being in an internment camp and cast white people in it. It is up there with the casting of David Carradine instead of Bruce Lee in “Kung Fu” but it is actually worse because there was at least a slight attempt to make David Carradine seem chinky, well actually – I don’t know, what is worse? Yellowface or outright non-inclusion? Is it better to be made into a caricature or just plain invisible?
Hollywood is still racist, and even though there are a few more Asians out there making great television and movies and music and art – it just isn’t enough. I am a huge “Grey’s Anatomy” fan, and even though I think Katherine Heigl is totally hot and beautiful and a killer actress and Patrick Dempsey is truly McDreamy – to me, the real star of that show is Sandra Oh. She absolutely lights up the screen. I want to cry with pride and elation and excitement every time I see her. Here is someone who is so talented that she was able to transcend racial barriers – these weird ideas that Hollywood still hangs onto that Asian Americans can’t tell stories that aren’t directly related to their asian-ness, but Sandra, she is so good no one and nothing could stop her. I just keep thinking about that one scene when Burke leaves her at the altar and she is crying and pulling off her wedding dress. Don’t even act like you didn’t cry. I am crying just thinking about it. Omg – she rules. She is gorgeous and sexy and such a gifted amazing actress and I want to see her in some big blockbuster movie about a wedding sometime too!
Until that movie comes out I am going to make myself happy with Harold and Kumar 2…