Friday, December 15, 2006

Society - Poriticarry Collect

Once there was a time when the Chinese weren’t a bunch of Politically Correct crybabies. They weren’t so insecure as to jump on any opportunity to scream and kick about some perceived slight. I used to think they were the only ones left who felt secure enough in their long history and incredibly massive unity that they were indifferent to harmless jokes and even outright racist slurs. In a word, the Chinese stood strong.

Sadly, that day appears to have passed and Rosie O’Donnell has caved in to pressure from a group of Asian American journalists for an apology. Certainly, the whole Chinese race –or agglomeration of races—hasn’t changed so much as all that; and probably not the whole of Chinese Americans, which makes this whining group of journalists something of a disgrace to their people.

In regards to the self-confidence historically displayed by the Chinese American community, could this be the beginning of the end?

The video of O’Donnell’s bit hardly seems that offensive to me. The humour of it is based on the comic concept of Surprise and Incongruity. Essentially, she improvised a Chinese news broadcast, using Chinese sounds, and speckled it with a few English words. I’ve lived in Korea and travelled around Asia, have worked and socialized with dozens of Chinese in The States, and I can attest that this actually happens in real life; and when it does, it’s only natural to laugh. For some reason, our brains are hardwired for such a reaction. Imagine Oscar Wilde speckling his speech with hip-hop slang. The effect would be similar.

And this is one of the reasons that the Politically Correct movement gets in my craw so much: It’s unnatural, the way they intend to manipulate and control human nature. They incorrectly imagine that they are going to change attitudes by attacking the language in the same way that totalitarian regimes believe that the suppression of speech controls the attitude of the population.

If Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. finds offense in O’Donnell’s use of “ching-chong” during her poor rendition of a Chinese language, perhaps they would be better served by teaching her Mandarin or Cantonese. But of course, what’s really at the heart of this is that this organization needs to find a cause to fight in order to justify their own existence. Now that Americans are somewhat more enlightened than a few decades ago, Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. has no choice but to find a racist under every bed. Otherwise, they would have to close up shop.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, you see it as "Standing Strong", I see it as "Bending Over."

While I appreciate your notion that Chinese people were "strong enough not to let PC things bother them," I think that more Chinese need to speak out, be active in community issues, and not let people steamroll over them. Literally.

Anonymous said...

THe more we ignored the racist slurs. the louder and more frequent they became. Enough was enough. Is that logical? I think the bigger problem was that Asians were intimidated and secluded by space. For example, a chinese person walks on the street and hears "ching chong" sing song slurs and what can he do? Usually people who say this are in a huge gang of people and a lone asian person is not going to confront a gang. But through the internet we are able to channel our forces against a public personality. I would say that the ignorace of old slurs stemmed more from cowardice but thanks to the net asian people have a bigger support system.

Anonymous said...

Imagine this scenario for a moment Matt: 5 year old boy asian boy goes to school and hears taunts of "ching chong" or bruce lee screams and kung fu parodies daily. continue that on and off for the rest of their natural lives. How the hell do you ignore that?

Matt Elmore said...

The way I've always seen it is: The Chinese American community has always had a sense of, well, community. They tend to stand together, to support each other socially, morally and economically. Compare that to, say, the black American community which suffers a lot of inner-racial conflict and violence. They can't even get a foot in amongst themselves.

Aside from the strong sense of a group identity, Chinese Americans also have carved a notable socio-economic niche for themselves. They are valued as highly educated and dedicated workers. Given such a secure base to stand on, the casual, benign jibe is like water off a duck's back. A Peking duck at that, if you don't mind my saying.

Anonymous said...

Hey asshole, while this may be a joke to you. I'd like to see you come up to me and say something along the same lines that Dyke Rosie did.

Maybe I'll relocate that jaw of yours and make you think twice.

Matt Elmore said...

... Well, like water off a duck's back for most of them. I forgot about the thick ones on steroids, the ones who make violent threats that would be brave if not from behind the veil of "Anonymous."

Anonymous said...

Your girlfriend is Asian, right?
What if someone says to your face or behind your back that your girlfriend's accent sounds "ching chong ching chong", wouldn't you or your Asian gf be offended?
What if some people make fun of some white guys' Asian girlfriends' accents with "ching chong" jokes, wouldn't their Asian gfs be offended?

Giving license to comedians & jokers to mock "ching chong" accents, will warrant the real racists to freely use that license to mock (as racial slurs) to Chinese people or people of Asian descents anytime they want. This is basically encouraging racism, this has nothing to do with being secured or insecured. People who are secured do not belittle or make jokes at the expense of other ethnicities/races, only insecured people do that. Yes, comedians are insecured.

Matt Elmore said...

Marketplace of ideas. Let them say what they will, then you've got a battleground to confront them on. Preferably with your own sense of humour.

Think of it this way: You've got a friend who's -let's say- sensitive about his age. You give him grief, but he's a secure individual and he bites back, or gives you grief about your issues. He teases you about your male breasts. What this does psychologically is it teaches both of you to minimize your peeves. This is how humans have always operated. If you're weak and sensitive, you go down. If you're strong and flexible, you survive.

Now imagine your friend is insecure. What do you do? You crack jokes behind his back. And even if you don't, someone will. And when they do, you are going to laugh your ass off. Forbidden fruit and all that.

All that I'm saying is that it's best to know what the opposition is thinking. Don't try to suppress them. Draw them out. Bite back, with your intelligence, not by relocating their jaw. Be above it, because what difference does it make? Really? Aren't you doing okay?

That's my sermon. Put your money in the plate, genuflect, and get the fuck out. Peace out, dawg.

Anonymous said...

Another thing that I don't think you grasp is the generation of Chinese that are the ones who are the most vehement. You see, ten to twenty years ago there was just 1st and 2nd generation chinese that really spoke very little english and couldn't really understand those Ching chong jokes but got the malice context. Now it's the children of those immigrants who've grown up in America watching The Stand up for your rights television specials who are the most vocal. It's the 3rd and 4th generation progeny who have grown up very American and have assimilated pretty well except for their faces. too them "ching chong" is a slap to the face of all their progress in society. If you called my grandfather "ching chong" he'd smile cause he wouldn't know the context or the malice you impose. so the whole "strong enough not to let PC things bother them," theory is out the window. It's more like they didn't know they were being victimized. It's like if I went to Africa and said "fuck all you niggers" in a tribe and they wouldn't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Matt Elmore said...

... Or it's like a bunch of colonialists who hear themselves referred to as bak gwei and don't give a rat's ass because they spend most of their time sitting around with all their cronies feeling that their lives are full.

I'd say your grandfather was a much happier man than you are. No disrespect intended. But, is it that ignorance is bliss? Or is it indifference?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that's your girlfriend in the picture and if she read this article she wouldn't be your girlfriend for much longer.

Anonymous said...

I find it weird that you contradict yourself. In the post entitled Kramer goes nuts you say "I personally don’t have any problem with a white guy saying “nigger,” as long as it’s said in a satirical or affectionate manner; and with that ephemeral and ineffable sense of cool. But on viewing this performance, painfully, it’s evident that this guy has some serious issues. If he were simply an unmitigated and unconscionable racist, he would at least find strength in his convictions" Clearly, Rosie Odonnell did not say ching chong in a affectionate manner it might be classified as satirical but definitely without a ephemeral and ineffable sense of cool. So regarding your equation rosie odonnell would be racist. as for being unmitigated and unconscionable, the jury is still out on that one.

Matt Elmore said...

Not my girlfriend, just some chick who gave me a handjob at The Temple of The Golden Sun. But I can tell you with confidence that she, and about 2 billion other Asians would be utterly indifferent to this article. Which is the way it should be. Whatever. I'm bored. Later.

Anonymous said...

Rosie could have selected "Blah blah blah Danny Devito blah blah blah Danny De Vito". She unwisely (but probably unmaliciously) chose the "Ching chong Danny Devito" route in her joke delivery. It was just an unfortunate moment of complacency for a comedian. "Ching chong" has a very speckled past as a term utilized to taunt, mock, and hurt those of Asian descent. Believe me, I have been at the receiving end of that term plenty of times. I can safely say that a good majority of the Asian-American community has had to live with such hurtful situations for MOST of their lives. Not just isolated incidents, but NUMEROUS occurences of taunts and slurs.

It's well and good to remain calm and let things roll off you. But to endure such painful disrespect so frequently and so complacently, it really is disappointing and makes you wonder what really is the point in remaining passive and "strong". It eats away at your self-esteem despite your accomplishments and honest and noble efforts to be part of the collective. And then one fucking lose it. And at that moment, you realize that you just didn't have enough strength left in you to maintain your composure....and justifiably so. You can only push people so far, Matt.

It's not the term itself that damages our souls. It's the ease with which it is spoken that hurts and disappoints us so much. I prefer to strike first and shake hands later. I'm not gonna stand around and let someone fucking degrade me or degrade my ancestry. I'm sorry if that sounds too militant. I surely don't blame myself for such a temperament. Most of my waking hours are spent being a "strong", quiet, compassionate human being. People deserve what they get, fisticuffs or flowers.

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Matt Elmore said...

Well, I thought it would be cool to let anybody post comments on this blog, not just registered users. But I guess the common wisdom prevails, because some psychotic has been advocating violence and ill-will on my children. And here I thought there were no Asian serial killers.

Al Spielman said...
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Al Spielman said...

So tell me, were the Jews oversensitive crybabies when they demanded apologizes from Mel Gibson for his anti-Jewish remarks?

Is the black community oversensitive in their reaction to Michael Richard's remarks?

Matt Elmore said...


However, it's correct in publicising what phenomenal assholes these two pricks are.

Rosie, on the other hand, is not in their league. She was neither virulent nor meant any offense.

CityMama said...

You've GOT to be kidding me. You have it wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. Comparing hip-hop slang to made-up words meant to mock? Please.

Can you even see the earth from the planet you are on?

Matt Elmore said...

Well, like, duhhh! If I couldn't see it, I wouldn't be sending messages, like, from my galaxy, now would I?

Sandra said...

Rosie is a hypocrite, so to her it's okay to make fun of Chinese/Asians, but it's not okay to make fun of gays.

Rosie was mad at Kelly Ripa and condemned Kelly for making a slight joke at Clay Aiken's hand gesture.

[quote from article]
"A clearly displeased Ripa told him his paw-to-lips interception was a no-no, then tried to diffuse the tension (sort of) by joking about his hand, "I don't know where that's been, honey!

Not according to O'Donnell. This morning on The View, she replayed Ripa's "I don't know where that's been, honey!" remark, and responded thusly: "Listen, to me, that's a homophobic remark. If that was a straight man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that she didn't question his sexuality, she would've said a different thing. I was offended by that." Guest host Sherri Shepherd, who holds her own against O'Donnell's steamroller technique with wit and class (and deserves a permanent spot in the seat), argued the rather logical point that no one likes a stranger's hand over one's mouth. (Unless, I dunno, maybe you're in a German brothel?)"

[end quote]

So Rosie, either you lighten up and take Ripa's joke as it is "a joke", or take your own advice to sensitize yourself and stop making fun of other groups.

Matt Elmore said...

That's a good point. Rosie most certainly is being a hypocrite there.

But, you know, I would still maintain that the Ripa comment is much ado about nothing. This time it's the Gay-Lesbo PC Mob going overboard.

Honestly, why do we have to be paranoid about every little thing that slips our lips? It's just so unnatural! ... Again, I'm not referring to hostile, racist attacks, but to inadvertent, spontaneous comments that have no bad intentions.

Now, food for thought. How offensive is this? (

As long as I'm getting an education, I'm curious to know what people think.

Robert said...

Please understand that the reason why we find this offensive is because we were brought up in an American society that mocked us using phrases like this while growing up.

The fact is, we didn't fight things like this because we were unrepresented in the community. Fighting back is the community "standing strong."

Jin tha MC says it best here. Notice how he said if he called her a cracker, he would've had her lawyers on his ass quicker than hell. Damn women shaped like middle linebackers.