Margaret Cho Responds to Accusations of Racism For Her Golden Globes Sketch

 

With all the controversy surrounding The Interview and the cyberattack on Sony, we can’t say we didn’t expect at least a few North Korea jokes from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the hosts of last night’s Golden Globes. However, no one seems to have been prepared for the skit from Margaret Cho– one which has been a topic of controversy since it aired.

It goes without saying that Margaret Cho was a prominent figure at the Golden Globes this year. While this would normally call for a celebration (there’s hardly ever any Asian American representation at this event at all), this actually left some viewers uncomfortable. After all, Cho did not appear on stage as herself. Instead, she was “Cho Young Ja,” a North Korean army general and journalist.

With an over-powdered face and an exaggerated accent, Cho Young Ja commented on the Golden Globes by saying, “You no have thousand baby playing guitar at the same time. You no have people holding up many card to make one big picture. You no have Dennis Rodman.”

Of course that wasn’t all. The general also commented on Netflix’s Orange in the New Black (“It’s funny, but not ha-ha funny… Also, Piper and Alex’s relationship is very toxic”) and even demanded a picture with Meryl Streep.

 


As you can imagine, this appearance was met with a storm of mixed reviews. On one hand, there were more than a few viewers who believed her skit was blatantly racist.

“First of all, let’s just call Margaret Cho’s long, dwindling joke at the Golden Globes last night what it was: yellowface,” writes  on Vulture. “Hollywood needed a punching bag after the Sony hack and ensuing debacle with The Interview, and Cho willingly suited up.”

Others took to twitter to share their dislike.

 

 

However, as the aftermath continued, there seemed to be a change of course. More and more viewers stood up to defend Cho and her skit.

 

 

It was only a matter of time before Margaret Cho chimed in on the controversy by speaking to Buzzfeed:

I’m of North and South Korean descent, and I do impressions of my family and my work all the time, and this is just another example of that. I am from this culture. I am from this tribe. And so I’m able to comment on it.

When we have British people playing American icons, there’s no backlash. But for Asian-Americans, it’s a very particular set of expectations that we are set to maintain, and that in itself is racist.

I think that we’re being held down by that incredible tide of invisibility that we’re constantly fighting. Whenever there is visibility, it’s shocking. Whenever there is visibility on our terms, it’s shocking. That’s why any visibility is so highly scrutinized. I’m so used to it that it doesn’t alarm me, it doesn’t bother me.

 

I welcome the controversy. And I don’t care.

 


 

Feature Photo Courtesy of latimes.com

Sephora Accused of Being Racist Against Asians

 

Recently, Sephora held a big 20% off sale for their “VIB” customers who spent over $350 during the year. Unfortunately, many of those top-tier customers faced technical difficulties — their accounts were shut down or their ability to place orders were restricted with absolutely no reason given. This certainly caused quite the alarm for loyal customers who wanted to partake in the sale, but this was nothing compared to the shocking theory behind these blocked customers: Sephora is being accused of blocking their Asian customers.

Allegedly, the customers banned from the sale were those who have e-mail addresses based in China, or those who have Chinese/Asian surnames. Styleite caught just a few of the thousands of Chinese Americans waiting for an explanation from Sephora.

 

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If these allegations are true, you may be wondering why Sephora would use geographic and ethnic profiling. Many have theorized that such a move was done to prevent international bulk buyers and re-sellers. However, we can all agree that it’s impossible to actually tell which customers want to re-sell their products and which ones simply enjoy Sephora products. As expected, many Sephora users are outraged.

“Long-time Sephora customer here,” one reddit user wrote. “I moved to Taiwan a few years ago, but really wanted some Sephora goodness. I sent an order to my (western last name) friend and had her re-ship the package to me, I had no issues with the order. Recently tried to make another order and send it to my brother (Chinese last name) who lives in Miami to bring back to me on his next trip home. My order was canceled and when I asked, they gave me the same TOS bullshit. When I asked which part of the TOS they were talking about, I was ignored.”

Sephora eventually released a statement admitting their concern over reselling products.

Message for Clients

Sephora is dedicated to providing an exciting and reliable shopping experience and we sincerely apologize to our loyal clients who were impacted by the website crash that occurred yesterday.

Our website is incredibly robust and designed to withstand a tremendous amount of volume. What caused the disruption yesterday was a high level of bulk buys and automated accounts for reselling purposes from North America and multiple countries outside the US. The technical difficulties that impacted the site are actively being addressed and our desktop US website is now functioning normally. We are actively working to restore our Canadian, mobile website, and international shipping where applicable. There has been no impact on the security and privacy of our clients’ data.

The reality is that in taking steps to restore website functionality, some of our loyal North American and international clients got temporarily blocked. We understand how frustrating it is and are deeply sorry for the disruption to your shopping experience.

However, in some instances we have, indeed, de-activated accounts due to reselling — a pervasive issue throughout the industry and the world. As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting our clients and our brands, we have identified certain entities who take advantage of promotional opportunities to purchase products in large volume on our website and re-sell them through other channels. After careful consideration, we have deactivated these accounts in order to optimize product availability for the majority of our clients, as well as ensure that consumers are not subject to increased prices or products that are not being handled or stored properly.

As expected, many outraged customers are pledging never to shop there again. What do you think?

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“Here in America, We Don’t Eat Turtles and Frogs”: Chinatown Tour Guide Apologizes For Racist Rant

 

You may have seen the viral video which shows a tour guide giving a description of San Francisco’s Chinatown to a number of individuals aboard a tour bus. Doesn’t sound like footage that would go viral? Well that’s because when I say she gave “a description” of Chinatown, I actually mean she gave a drunken, angry rant full of racism and profanity.

The video, which was shot by a German tourist on the double decker bus, shows the tour guide explaining that it is her last day on the job. Apparently, she thought the perfect way to celebrate this occasion was to drop the F-bomb all over the city. After watching her controversial performance, we’re going to go ahead and say she’s not a fan Chinatown.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, it’s a two way street — Chinatown is not a fan of the racist tour guide either. A rally was held at the Portsmouth Square which allowed citizens to voice their opinion on the racist rant. Sue Lee of the Chinese Historical Society of America spoke out about her disappointment in the tour guide for turning to racism to entertain the bus riders, her disappointment in the applause the tour guide received at the end of her rant and (most importantly) her disappointment that no one stood up to say something.

 

 

In response, the tour guide, who remains anonymous, spoke out to say she was not drunk and was simply doing a “satirical comedic portion of the tour.” She contacted San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu and said “I thought that I could bend the rules. I thought that I could be a little outrageous, and it was something that went way too far.”

Many do not believe she was simply trying to be comedic. However, Chiu recognizes the importance of the tour guide taking responsibility for her inappropriate actions. In a Facebook post, he wrote:

“She also apologized and seemed to be coming to an understanding that her comments were not “satirical” or “comedic” but were instead incredibly harmful and offensive. I don’t know the woman’s name or her phone number but she said she was going to call me back today to talk about what she can start to do to make amends to the Chinatown community and all of San Francisco. I’m glad she’s starting to come forward and realize she needs to take responsibility for her actions.”

 

 

 

 

Asian American Woman Verbally and Physically Abused by Police

A lawsuit was filed in Chicago in 2013. Chicago police are accused of committing a hate crime for physically and verbally abusing an Asian American woman, Jianqing “Jessica” Klyzek, during a raid of her tanning salon/massage parlor.

According to the lawsuit, police came into the salon on suspicion that it was a site for prostitution. According to Huffington Post, the  5’2″ and 110-pound manager was not being very cooperative with police, however, Chicago police responded in an extreme and physical manner.

The officer can be heard asking to use his taser on the 32-year-old manager. According to the lawsuit, Klyzek was handcuffed and kneeling on the ground, but police still struck her and put their hands over her nose and mouth. Klyzek suffered from a number of scratches, bruises and abrasions.

When Klyzek tried to scream, the police began yelling racial and ethnic slurs at her. “I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from,” the officer said, although Klyzek pointed out that she was a citizen of the United States.

“No you’re not! No, you’re not a citizen,” the officer yelled back. “You’re here on our borrowed time. So mind your f–king business before I shut this whole f–king place down. And I’ll take this place and then whoever owns it will f–king kill you because they don’t care about you, OK? I’ll take this building. You’ll be dead and your family will be dead.”

The exchange was caught on a surveillance camera. Allegedly, the officers tried looking for the footage once they realized they were being filmed.

“The alleged comments, if true, are reprehensible and completely intolerable in our police department,” Police spokesman Adam Collins told the Chicago Sun Times. “We have codes of conduct that apply to officers, and if the allegations are proven accurate appropriate action will be taken.”

CBS news recently reported that the officer in question has been stripped of police powers, pending the outcome of an investigation.

The video of the interaction can be seen below.

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ATTACK ON 4-YEAR-OLD ASIAN GIRL AT WALMART DEEMED A HATE CRIME

Story by Julie Ha. 

In an episode authorities described as “every parent’s worst nightmare”—and now, also a hate crime—a 4-year-old Asian girl was attacked by a tire-iron wielding woman at a San Jose Wal-Mart earlier this week.

The girl and her father were shopping at a Wal-Mart in the Little Saigon district of East San Jose on Tuesday morning, when Maria Garate walked up to the girl and struck her on the head with a tire iron, authorities said. The girl’s father then tried to cover his daughter with his body and was also struck with the tire iron. On-site security personnel detained the woman until police arrived and arrested her.

On Thursday Garate, a San Jose woman described by authorities as a transient, was in court facing attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges, as well as hate crime enhancements. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

“Based on evidence we do have, the victims were targeted because they are Asian,” said Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Kalila Spain. “This is a premeditated, willful and deliberate act on her part.”

Spain said that the injured girl was taken to the hospital after the incident, but is now recovering at home.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that one source told the newspaper that Garate had expressed disappointment to authorities that she had not injured the girl more seriously.

Garate is being held without bail at Santa Clara County jail. Her next court date is May 23.

Photo via ABC 30 Action News.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com

Avril Levigne Responds To Criticism About Offensive “Hello Kitty” Music Video

You may have missed the recent controversy surrounding Avril Lavigne’s new music video “Hello Kitty.” After all, the video was taken down the same day it was uploaded onto YouTube.

The video to Lavigne’s single “Hello Kitty” has received criticism left and right for its cultural appropriation. Simply put, it’s 3 minutes and 19 seconds of sushi, bright colors, expressionless Asian back up dancers and random Japanese words. All of this prompted Billboard to call the video an “embarrassment in any language.”

Even some of Lavigne’s most loyal fans (who wouldn’t even necessarily call the video intentionally racist) definitely saw why it was problematic to use a culture as a prop. They were certain that Lavigne would release an apology. Were they right?

Well, 21 hours ago, Avril responded to all the criticisms and allegations of racism.

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Now we can all let out a collective sigh and eye roll. Is this an apology for a lapse in judgement? Absolutely not. In fact, it sounds like the cop-out excuse: “I have an Asian friend so I can’t be racist against Asians!” Yup, we’ve all heard that one before. If she had noticed that she offended people and sent an apology because that was not her intention, our feelings would be different. Despite an overwhelming amount of people shaking their head at the video, Lavigne, as well as a number of fans, still don’t see the problem.

To reiterate what we said early, the reason people are upset over this video is because “it uses Asian culture as a prop. Even the expressionless back up dancers are simply a backdrop. There is a very big difference between embracing a culture and using it as an accessory. It is not appreciation to trivialize an entire way of life.”

Avril, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?

 

 

Wong Fu Shines Light on “Accidental Racism”

Last year in May, a video called “What kind of Asian are you?” made its way into viral fame. With over 6 million views, this video portrayed something that many of us have had to experience.

In the video, an Asian woman is approached by a White male who comments on her perfect English and asks where she’s from. After telling him that she’s from San Diego, he responds, “Oh no. Where are you from?”

Truth be told, we’ve all probably gone through this. Admittedly, many of us aren’t actually bothered when someone inquires about our culture, but there’s definitely reason to be peeved with statements about English being “so good” even if English is a person’s first language. Let’s not even get into some of the obviously insulting statements that many of us have received such as “It’s great that you’re not like other Asians. You’re so American.” Right. Because that doesn’t sound like an insult at all.

 

While it’s easy for us to roll our eyes at some of the insensitive statements thrown at Asians, we have to remember that Asians and other people of color are certainly capable of making ignorant statements as well.

Wong Fu Productions has decided to highlight this with their new short “Accidental Racism.” The short is able to remind us of two things: everyone can work on being more culturally aware and sometimes, though they may need to work on the way they phrase their statements, some people are just genuinely curious about a culture.

 

Cruel & Racist Statements Told To Asian Adoptee Children

Kim Kelley-Wagner never married, but she always knew she wanted children. So when she saw a story in Time Magazine about Chinese adoptees, she suddenly found herself looking into adoption.

After taking some time to be sure of her decision, she made the leap. In 2001, Kelley-Wagner adopted 10-month-old Liliana. Later, in 2008, she adopted 2-year-old Meika.

Adopting two daughters didn’t make Kelley-Wagner feel any less of a mother than the women who gave birth to their children. Being adopted didn’t make Liliana or Meika feel less like daughters. Unfortunately, many others didn’t seem to share their sentiments.

“The comments began right from the start,” Kelley-Wagner says. “We would be shopping, and cashiers or store clerks would say things like, ‘How much did she cost?’ or ‘You could have bought a car for what it probably cost to adopt her.'”

Some were so insensitive that they began attacking the younger daughter Meika who had a bilateral cleft lip and palate when she was born. People openly questioned why Kelley-Wagner didn’t choose a “perfect” child.


Rather than allow these comments to anger her and her daughters, Kelly-Wagner decided to turn this into a project. Hoping to teach other people about their hurtful comments while simultaneously providing an outlet for her daughters to express themselves, she came up with a photo project where her daughters hold up the comments that were thrown at their family.

Both of her daughters agreed to the project and agreed that it could help bring awareness to how hurtful  statements can be.

Rather than respond with anger, Kelley-Wagner encourages her daughter to instead make people realize what they’re saying. “My advice to them is, leave your offenders speechless,” she says. “I think people are curious and don’t know any better.”

The daughters seem to be following their mothers footsteps. Kelley-Wagner recalls a woman who said she could not truly love someone she didn’t give birth too. Liliana then responded, “Oh, did you give birth to your husband?”

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(Source 1, 2)

RACISM ALERT: University of Illinois Chancellor Gets Cyberbullied For Not Giving Students A Snow Day

People are now starting to call the University of Illinois one of the world’s most racist, sexist and spoiled universities. How did something like this happen? It all began this past Sunday evening when the university chancellor Phyllis Wise sent an email to the students saying that Monday, January 27th, would not be a snow day.

snow day email

With temperatures reaching 30-below, we can understand why some students may have felt a bit grumpy about their missed snow day, but we certainly didn’t expect students to begin cyber-attacking chancellor Phyllis Wise.

The hashtag #fuckphyllis quickly began trending as the students poured all the blame on their chancellor. Because blaming your chancellor for the cold weather is logical right?

Although mean-hearted, the tweets began rather innocently. The students simply seemed aggravated that they had to attend class in such conditions. This quickly escalated to cyber-bullying.

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Much to our annoyance, the tweets began targeting her race and gender. Here are just a few.

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A number of fake twitter accounts were made for Chancellor Wise in an effort to further her cyber-bullying attack. Luckily, as the #fuckphyllis tag got more and more intense, the amount of people sighing in disappointment increased as well. Many people pointed out that if the students were so upset about the lack of a snow day, why not just skip class? Why do they have to publicly insult an individual using racist and sexist words? Others have pointed out that the students are privileged to attend and afford a college education. The uproar simply seems childish.

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The student body president Damani R. Bolden has released an apology on behalf of his fellow students. Unfortunately, the university has not been able to avoid the public backlash towards their insensitive comments.

Racist frat parties, blackface music videos, racist youtube rants and now this? Can anyone really say racism is only something of the past?

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Did HIMYM Go Too Far OR Have Asians Become Hypersensitive?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversial episode of How I Met Your Mother. If not, lets get you caught up.

The newest episode “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra,”  continued an on-going joke throughout the show where Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) humorously slaps Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Segel’s character explains that he went through training in Shanghai, China to perfect his slapping skills. The show then reveals his three “masters” who turn out to be the other main characters sporting Asian attire, hair accessories, and even a  Fu Manchu mustache.

As you can expect, most of the Asian American community felt that all the “yellowface” used was a personal slap to our face. The episode angered so many viewers that  the hashtag  #HowIMetYourRacism blew up on twitter.

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In response to the massive backlash,  How I Met Your Mother co-creator Carter Bays tweeted his apology.

Hey guys, sorry this took so long. @himymcraig and I want to say a few words about #HowIMetYourRacism. With Monday’s episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved. But along the way we offended people. We’re deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it. We try to make a show that’s universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that this week, and feel terrible about it. To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill. Thanks. @CarterBays@HimymCraig

— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014

This is the point where opinions begin to divide. Some of the Asian community pointed out that while the apology is appreciated, something so obviously offensive never should have been aired. They have pointed out that we have had to hear this apology too many times and you would think that people would know to not use a culture as a costume. Angry Asian Man spilled out his sentiments by writing:

I appreciate apologies that acknowledge wrongdoing and avoid placing blame on the offended. People make mistakes. But this apology sounds a lot like the really really nice guy who hates it when people are mad at him. We get it, you feel terrible that we were offended. You feel terrible that you messed up. So how about actually addressing what you did to mess up? Aw, hell. I’m nitpicking at lackluster apologies.

Really, you just wish they’d had the sense to avoid this bullshit altogether. Obviously, as usual, that was asking too much. Now we all have that image of fu manchu’d Ted Moseby seared into our souls.

But then others in the Asian American community are disagreeing with the backlash all together. They claim that the apology is sincere, they acknowledged their mistake, and as a community, we are slowly opening the eyes of others. They point out that it’s a process and we need to allow people to see, acknowledge, and change their mistakes. This opinion can be seen with CNN host Don Lemon interviewing the popular Vietnamese comedian Dat Phan on his thoughts towards the controversy. Watch it below.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGU4BGBzpqw&feature=youtu.be

 

So now we turn towards the real question. Did How I Met Your Mother go too far? Are we tired of hearing all the excuses given to us when all we’re asking for is respect for our culture? OR is Dat Phan correct in saying that we have become hypersensitive and not everything concerning Asians should cause offense?

Watch the How I Met Your Mother clip below and tell us what you think.