Suey Park, a young Asian woman (trust me, the race thing is important here) has recently started her own little campaign to take down "the white man" after Steven Colbert, popular American political pundit made a tweet saying he would open the "Ching chong ding dong agency of sensitivity to Asians" as a parody of something said on a news network that he critiqued.
I think I have some idea from the video about how you might come to feel
this way... I also think Suey was not really receptive to the probably reasonable questions about the role of satire one way or another. I'm inclined to say there, she mistook a reasonable enough analytic question for a character attack. And she jumped from that into assuming that a character attack in this situation
, would likely be due to some unexplored racist assumptions.
Still, with all that being said? In the video, I don't believe I heard her say the movement
directed at Colbert or perhaps his channel was aimed to do that (by that, I mean: "take down the white man" in a general sense of removing all white men from the conversation anywhere). Before that mess erupted at the end, she said the movement was intended to encourage white liberals to help deal with racism in some ways beyond
joking about it, which they [we, as in me at least] do perhaps rather often -- and often enough, I think without much other obvious engagement.
She did say she thinks that the jokes are not the most helpful response from her point of view as one of the subjects, and that she feels there are more effective options available for people including Whites to participate in. She did not get around to discussing them. But in her defense, I have to say she also was not given a follow-up question regarding exactly what those other options might be. Some might even say that an ideally sympathetic interviewer, someone who was very interested in similar problems and positive solutions, would ask something about the positive solutions. Instead, the interviewer kept pressing her about whether maybe she should give Colbert/ Comedy something more of a break in this situation.
Suey did hint that this particular line of questioning struck her as rather confrontational. I doubt she got to thinking it through just then. But I wonder if she didn't think so partly because it had the effect of once again, making the talk more about reactions to Colbert
-- and not so much about possible reactions to racism
...I'm really doubting she was very conscious of it at the time. In such an interview where the issues are intense and you're not always sure who's on what side, you often do not have an ideal setting to consider things at this level and react with just the right words. You don't always think to change the question tossed at you, when maybe you really should. I've been in those situations and it's sometimes the most frustrating thing, even when you do realize later just what went wrong.
... But racism -- that is at least putatively, what Colbert was talking about (yes satirzing) when this all began. At this point toward the end, in a way Suey is also kind of
right, because the interview becomes all about evaluating his
good name. And the whatever to do
about racism, besides joke, gets lost. Instead we have the white guys left behind making understandably hurt, if dry (dare I say, they might be knowingly ironic?), comments at the end about how she's gone and silenced their opinions. Which she has -- I think you're right there. But, with the mess that erupted along the way, I suppose many people have missed just how, or why
obviously she did this by broadcasting her own barrages of racial taunts and racist accusations at any white man she came across, including in this video below where she is being interviewed by the Huffington Post where she states quite openly that she doesn't think white men have the right to have opinions on this matter unless they are in blind support of her (and that her feelings have an effect on her argument)
This is just one video. I don't have anything just now on whatever else she, or perhaps others if it is a group or movement, have said elsewhere. And you don't seem to have given proof it's "obviously" happened either. Unless you mean to imply that is the only way anyone can criticize someone like Colbert in that situation. I don't think it is. In fact, here,
is a critique of what Colbert/ Comedy did (and didn't do) that sounds more plausible to me. It's a sizable article with (imo) some uneven writing -- but picking the parts I think would convince me best:
The tweet is part of a bit on the Redskins reportedly making a charitable foundation to offset the uproar over the clear problems with its team name. In the context of the full segment, I believe the satire is appropriate — if incredibly uncomfortable for me. However, I also believe that absent of explicit reference to what it is satirizing — adding #Redskins, or something — the tweet itself loses it satirical context and becomes wholly racist.
There’s a way to poke fun at the pseudo-racial tolerance of conservatives towards racial minorities – a ploy frequently used by those at Fox News and clearly something that Dan Snyder is invoking over at the Washington Redskins with his announcement of his charitable foundation.
This — a tweet that uses similar racial slurs in the absence of reference to Dan Snyder or the Redskins – is not it...
... the tweet appears in the absence of the satirical context, and runs the danger of perpetuating the very stereotypical images — in this case against Asians — that Colbert is satirizing regarding Native Americans. Thus, this tweet violates my rules of proper satire, which is that each example of the satire must make clear what it is you are satirizing, lest the satire be mistaken for actual hatespeech. In the absence of this, it — the tweet – becomes indistinguishable from actual anti-Asian racism; particularly as it is re-tweeted and shared (again, in the absence of context), as tweets are wont to do.
So back on the level where Suey was saying she started (before blowing up a bit much at the endless focus on Colbert)... She was right. Here's some (white, monied, and celebrity with a following) guy picking on racism in a context where it may not be so clear to everyone where he
stands... And she may fairly wonder, what else is he doing to actually deal with the economic or social patterns of racism? In regard to that question, the author of this same page says, Colbert's own history of talking about race in the media is not
This isn’t the first time I’ve questioned the Colbert Report’s depiction of Asian Americans. Last year, I wrote about a segment that Colbert did on some anti-Asian statements made by Bill O’Reilly wherein Colbert, himself, basically spent several minutes making his own flurry of anti-Asian puns and jokes. And, in 2012, Colbert made this joke (as transcribed here)...