#CancelColbert (2014) was a topic on Twitter about a racist joke that Stephen Colbert, a White American television comedian, made at the expense of Asian Americans.
On March 27th 2014, @ColbertReport tweeted this:
I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.
Sounds pretty racist. But those who had watched his television show knew it was part of a joke about Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, an American football team.
Snyder has been getting heat for not changing the name of his team, considered by many a racist slur against Native Americans. Not as bad as the N-word, but in that direction.
Snyder, instead of changing his team name, said he would start the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, repeating his mistake!
Colbert mocked this. Thus the tweet.
The worst of it was probably not the words but that Colbert felt comfortable making a joke at the expense of Asian Americans – something he would not have done to Blacks or Jews: had he made the same joke with the N-word or K-word, his show might well have been cancelled.
Asians are a “safe” target of White racist humour, just as Blacks were before the 1960s. “Ching chong” (Mock Chinese), like blackface, comes from the old minstrel shows.
Suey Park was not having it. The “ching chong” insult has been thrown in her face since childhood. She had tried the “quiet, well-spoken” thing with White people. It did not work.
After talking it over with her friends for several hours, she tweeted back with the #CancelColbert hashtag.
It brought the racist idiots out of the woodwork and the thing went viral. So much so that many big US outlets of news and opinion covered it. Most of them told Park, in so many patronizing polysyllables, that, “It was just a joke, lighten up.”
She received rape and death threats and tons of racist hate tweets. Many of Colbert’s supposedly “progressive” fans showed themselves to be sickeningly racist.
Park says Colbert’s joke was hate speech excused as “satire”. If you have to explain it or if only racists are laughing, then it is probably not satire.
She did not expect cancellation of the show, just an apology.
Colbert did not give an apology, not even a White one. Instead, the press rushed to his defence.
The whole thing made clear that the mainstream media in the US is run by White men and their hangers-on, that they do not understand racism, that they are unwilling to question their own racism. Meanwhile, these men, who wear the Emperor’s New Clothes, set and frame public discussion of racism – like determining what should offend Asians!
It also made clear that White liberals do not see themselves as racist, that they do the Racist Uncle thing (here, Dan Snyder plays the uncle) where they point to a “worse racism” to pat themselves on the back.
- Twitter: #CancelColbert
- YouTube: Colbert not apologizing (and giving his account of events)
- Commentary: Ask a Korean!, Init_
- Suey Park
- Stuff White People Probably Shouldn’t Say
- minstrel show
- Asian Americans
- How to not be a racist – in 7 easy steps! – the Racist Uncle thing falls under #5.