I just read Charlene Cheung’s account of deflecting the racism she deals with on a regular basis using comedy on XOJane.com. She said she’s not a great comic, but I think in future she might aim for something like this:
If you haven’t read my blog before I’m Eurasian, which the census poll does not count as Asian. I have to check the “two races of more” box if there is one and if there isn’t I have to check the “OTHER” box. Other. Ick.
Recently one of my lifelong friends told me that she didn’t know Eurasian was considered it’s own race. So, hmm I have two or more races but I don’t have a race? It’s not that she’s racist, it’s just that she doesn’t have to deal with racism on a daily basis and so she doesn’t even think about these things, the way I have throughout my life. And yes she’s 100% Irish to put her POV into context.
I’ve worked at some huge global brands and had several bosses and co-workers who thought it was okay to make jokes or call me rasict names to my face. Hmm….makes me think some of the follow-up comments to the above “What Kind of Asian Are You?” video might be from them:
Three weeks ago I went to a bar with two friends for a Slurry Bee (shots are taken before each round of spelling). Afterwards, we were talking to a group of guys who had come from playing soccer down the street. I play in a league on Wednesdays and they were looking for more women for their Tuesday night games so it seemed like a good idea to join their team. That’s when Mr. Kentucky sat down and told (it wasn’t a question) me and my friend Tina – “Let me just be racist for one second here.” I counted to one. That didn’t deter this drunkard.
He went on to let us know that he grew up as a ‘white priviledged guy’ and he’s an engineer. He has a Eurasian cousin who he never thought about being different…ok, until someone pointed it out to him. He also let us know that until the late 80’s the state song of Kentucky contained the word “darky” and it was a visit from a foreign Japanese diplomat that pointed it out and it was removed. Sorry buddy, you got that wrong- it was Carl Hines, the only African American of the House of Representatives who was present when visiting Japanese students singing the song pointed it out that it was removed several days later (what about the word ‘coon!?’ pretty awful crap!) , but whatever you were offended such things could still be around so recently.
The best was yet to come though. Now, clearly more than one second went by while this guy was telling us his lifestory and edu-ma-cating two clearly non-white women about racism. He told us until he moved to NY he never knew how much “white-on-white” racism existed- you know between Catholics & Jewish people. He also could not believe there was a divide between different Latin cultures when he lived in The Bronx. I told him to rent “West Side Story.” It also freaked him out that whenever anyone at work would ask him where he was from and he said Kentucky, elitest New Yorkers thought less of him, despite him being an engineer. He now works from home.
We all have our crosses to bare.
Well, Charlene, I use humor to deflect racism, it prevents things from escalating to a danger level. I don’t mock my Asian roots the way you do, I more ‘Asian up’ and embrace the special things about that part of my ethnicity. Humor helps to diffuse but I don’t use it as a way to make excuses for how I drive, that would be because I’m a WOMAN, not because I’m two races or more (it is more I am also a bit Welsch). Bwahahah! Ok, my driving is a result of a) being rear-ended 3 times while stopped at a stop light b) lead foot after watching “The Fast and The Furious Part Six”!
Here is my sister Erin’s speech that also uses a lot of humor to deflect the racism she deals with in casting and this speech left some actors in tears. It also left some younger actors telling her afterward no way am I going to go on this career path- some skin is tougher than others: