Does Reverse Racism Exist? Comedian Aamer Rahman Has The Answer

Reverse racism. It’s the infamous term that has people everywhere disagreeing with one another. Some believe reverse racism grants minorities an unfair “pass” for any racist acts/words simply because they are minorities. Other believe that under the circumstances, its hardly possible to be racist when they are simply pointing out the differences in privilege.

Comedian Aamer Rahman has his own stance. The Bangladeshi Australian stand-up comedian is normally paired with Nazeem Hussain to create the comedy duo, Fear of a Brown Planet. For this piece, however, he takes the stage on his own.

After being criticized for his jokes about white people and after being accused of reverse racism, Rahman decided to speak his mind about the topic.

“I could be a reverse racist if I wanted to.,” Rahman jokes. “All I’d need would be a time machine, and what I’d do is get in my time machine and go back in time to before Europe colonized the world and I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and occupy Europe, steal their land and resources… In that time I’d make sure I’d set up systems that privileged black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity…”

 

Rahman had just put the stand up act on Youtube a few days ago and it has already generated well over 155,000 views. Clearly, Rahman is catching all sorts of attention. Check out the full piece below.

 

Mistreatment at Airport For Filipina Mom: Netizens Weigh In, Shed Interesting Light on Issue

An incident earlier this week at Seattle’s international airport, which resulted in the deportation of 63-year old Filipina Carina Yonzon Grande (pictured above, center, with future son-in-law Ken Shaw and grandson Josh), has sparked another discussion on the complex matter of immigration.

In an emailed statement sent to Philippine news outlets, Grande states she was on her way to the US for her daughter’s wedding, a trip that would mark her 13th trip to the States.  Upon arrival, was questioned, held (Grande claims without food or water) and later sent back to the Philippines by immigration officials.

Thanks to netizens, the talks surrounding issue have shown a wide variety of opinions.

Some claim the immigration officials were simply doing their job and practicing precaution:

“Bakit alam ninyo na ba ang reason ng kabilang kampo kung bakit nila ginawa yon? Baka naman may valid reason din sila…” [“Why, do you all know the reason why the other side (US immigration officials) did what they did? Perhaps they have a valid reason.” (JosWallace Jao-Farmer, ABS CBN News Facebook)

 

“Sorry po sa na experience nyo dito sa USA pero sa tingin ko may nakita sila sa papers mo na hindi ka talaga nila papasukin very strict sila…if kulang talaga ang papers deport ka talaga……” [“I’m sorry for your experience here in ths US, but in my opinion, they saw something in your paperwork that wouldn’t have let you entered. (sic) They’re very strict...if you have something missing from your paperwork, you have no choice but to be deported.”] (Coppick Pauldel, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Others accuse them of discriminatory behavior, viewing Filipinos as potential TNTs (tago ng tago, a Tagalog phrase for someone who will enter the country and become an undocumented resident or worker), a phrase that Grande claimed they used during her questioning.

“Some US immigration officers think that majority of Filipinos are liars whose (sic) looking for green pasture when they sit put at the mainland with no intention to return to motherland. (Benajmin Escano, GMA News Facebook)

But most notably, there are those that remind us that Grande’s experience is not isolated and reflects a larger issue of mistreatment and basic human rights.

“I understand that the US needs to be vigilant, but there is no excuse for the rude behavior and lack of professionalism. When I see how curt and rude they can be with me, a US citizen, I shudder to think of what is in store for non-natives. (Perlkherst, Reddit)

“Uhm I don’t think the other side of the story is going to be acceptable. We understand the rationale behind their jobs, but however way you put it, maltreatment is not acceptable. Everyone deserves basic human rights. (Katrina Dela Cruz Cacal, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Such comments remind us that immigration issues are ones that affect the entire global community and have a particular bearing and importance for the Asian and Asian American community.  With Asian Americans becoming the fastest growing immigrant population in the United States, incidents such as these undoubtedly raise a red flag for our community.  But not only is this concerning for Asian Americans, it is something that should cause concern on a national and global scale.

Because, as Katrina Cacal mentions, beyond the immigration debate, it’s heartbreaking to think that people, immigrants or not, are being subjected to poor treatment, particularly in a country that has long prided itself in being a place that has opened its doors to visitors and immigrants from around the globe.  While we do not know the whole story concerning the Grande case, as the US Embassy has refused to release a statement and no word has come from immigration authorities in Seattle, that should not overshadow the improper, dehumanizing treatment that Grande experienced.

Notably, this incident comes on the heels of a looming visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines, scheduled for October 11 and 12.  The two countries view each other as reputable allies, a relationship that has held strong for years due to the two countries intertwining histories and continuing diplomatic and military ties.  Though Kerry is said to be on the trip to “reaffirm the strong economic, people-to-people, and security links between the two nations,” it will be interesting to see if immigration and tension-inducing issue will be brought up in discussion — US-Philippine immigration was a planned topic for discussion for Philippine President Ninoy Aquino.

But whatever happens, we’re sure the netizens will definitely have something to say.

[Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

 

Top Five Reasons Miss America Nina Davuluri is AWESOME

For the second year in a row, the Miss America tiara went to New York. This year, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri took the title.

Unfortunately, this celebratory moment quickly turned sour when Twitter exploded with racist comments about the newly-crowned Miss America. So we should probably clarify a few things to these terribly mistaken individuals. For starters, they seem to be missing the biggest point of all — Nina Davuluri is awesome.

1) She is making history for Asian Americans, and she knows it.
nina dance

Born in New York to Indian parents, Davuluri is the first contestant of Indian descent to become Miss America.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said in her first press conference after being crowned Miss America. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

In fact, as Davuluri and Miss California, Crystal Lee, embraced each other right before the winner was announced, Davuluri told the host, “We’re both so proud. We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian Americans.”

 

2) She proud of her roots: she performed Bollywood.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NkFryC7GMA

Although she missed her cue (sound was apparently poor for those on stage), Davuluri’s performance was one not to be missed. For her talent performance, Davuluri performed a classic Bollywood fusion with “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” as a platform. Although she has 15 years of training in Indian dance, Miss America traveled to Los Angeles to train with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan for the performance.

This is the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage.

 

3) She doesn’t bash other Asian Americans.
juliechen

Coincidentally, Davuluri was asked about another Asian American woman, Julie Chen. The television personality was recently criticized for undergoing surgery to boost her career.

Rather than criticize her fellow Asian American, Davuluri commented that although surgery wasn’t her personal choice, we should not criticize others for it. She commented on the importance of diversity and being confident in who you are.

 

4) She’s “going places” in the future.
nina close

Not only is this woman beautiful, she’s also quite intelligent. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, and landed a spot on the Dean’s List, a Michigan Merit Award, and a National Honor Society Award.

With the $50,000 she earned from this pageant, Davuluri will apply to medical school and eventually hopes to be a cardiologist.

 

5) She dismisses the haters.
nina tweets

Although racist haters tried to bring her down, Davuluri decided to rise above the ignorant comments. She did not allow them to ruin a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

“I have to rise above that,” she said at a press conference. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Read more here.

(source 1, 2, 3)

 

How NOT To Deal With Racism: Bobby Jindal Talks ‘Hyphenated Americans’

Bobby Jindal, the current Governor of Louisiana and the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, recently wrote a story on race for Politico, an American political journalism organization.

“Scan the news on any given day in America, and you will invariably find multiple stories about race, racism, ethnicity, and race relations,” Jindal writes,  “We can’t seem to get enough of this topic, and correspondingly, the media appetite for all things race-related is unquenchable.” I nodded my head to this. After all, when you write for  an Asian-American Women’s Magazine Publication, how can you not pay attention to race?

He then continued to point out that we ought to be judged by our character instead of the color of our skin. He notes that humans are shallow to think of others in terms of their skin color. Again, I found myself nodding in agreement. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve found ourselves angry at being associated with stereotypes simply because we’re Asian.

But then his opinion piece starts taking an abrupt turn. “Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc.” Jindal writes, “We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few. Here’s an idea: How about just “Americans?” That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our “separateness” is a step backward.”

Wait, what?

He ends his piece by stating, “We are all created in the image of God — skinny, fat, tall, short, dark, light, whatever. Who cares? What does it matter? It’s time to get over it. It’s time for the end of race in America. Now that would be progress.”

This is the point where we shake our heads in a very frustrated no. Our culture is a very very big part of our identity and its most definitely something we can’t ignore. Yes, I consider myself an Asian-American, or according to Jindal a “hyphenated American”, because I choose not to lose any more of my already blurry cultural identity. I choose to be a “hyphenated American” because even if we wanted to go along with the unrealistic belief that all Americans are treated equally, how can we possibly ignore all the racial slurs and all the racial stereotyping? How is ignoring a problem the solution to solving it?

While I agree that in an ideal world, judgement would be based on character as oppose to the color of one’s skin, the idea of being completely “color-blind” is not the solution. Is it not better to keep our eyes open, and accept all the colors none-the-less? We can’t pretend to be colorblind because ultimately many people are indeed treated a certain way because of the color of their skin. It is only by looking at the issue full-on and realizing that inequality is present that we can hope to address the problem.

 

FOX Denies Request to Reshoot “Racist” Scenes in New Sitcom “Dads”

There is no denying the fact that there is a lack of Asian American representation in the media today. There certainly have been those that have made it big in the industry, but often times they are portrayed in stereotypical ways. Similar to our recent feature story about Matthew Moy’s character Han Lee in the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, FOX’s new sitcom Dads has already stirred up controversy amongst some viewers.

Seth Macfarlane’s comedy Dads began to receive harsh feedback with the release of it’s promo pilot which presented actress Brenda Song in a sexy Asian schoolgirl outfit, along with other racial and sexual stereotypes. Martin Mull’s character refers to Asians as “Orientals,” right after he tells his son he did not trust Chinese people and “there’s a reason Shanghai is a verb.”  In response to this, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans have written a letter with the request of reshooting the scenes deemed racist. “Our community can’t continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes. FOX has an opportunity to fix fatal flaws in the pilot and to improve the show’s chances for success when it premieres next month,” MANAA’s founding president, Guy Aoki wrote in a letter to the network.

FOX has denied this request to reshoot scenes and instead has pleaded with the organization to give their show a chance and watch it develop. “You will see that Brenda Song’s character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand on the guys,” FOX entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly and Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley wrote.

Will the sitcom be a huge success or will it turn into a racial-insult comedy show? We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out once the show premieres in early September.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yDGUDeFR6Y

Flight 214 Crash Presents Opportunities for Racism

When the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 jet crashed into San Francisco airlines, you would think that people would understand the seriousness of the situation. You would think that a crash which injured 181 people (22 of which were in critical condition) and killed two individuals would receive feelings of sadness and understanding. You would think that people would send their condolences to the families of the two 16-year-old female Chinese students,Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, who died during the tragic accident.

And if you thought these things, as I had, you’re in for a rude awakening. This time of grievance was robbed by those who took this opportunity to instead show racism.

fright 214The Chicago Sun-Times  angered many for there insensitive word play mocking the Asian accent. Often times, people will mix up the “L” and “R” sound to mock the stereotypical Asian accent. We’ve all heard it before, we simply never expected to see it headlining The Chicago Times- especially for such an inappropriate event.

While some argue that it may have been an unintentional typo, AsAm News is quite certain of the intentions and writes, “First, its pretty sick to use a play on words in a headline for a tragedy. Secondly, this one’s pretty racist.”

Editor-in-chief and publisher of Sun-Times, Jim Kirk argued, “”There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. …If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry.We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing.”

 

With publications that show such insensitivity, its no surprise that the public follows in their footsteps. Many people voiced their reaction to the tragic accident in an atrocious manner on twitter. These tweets ranged from insults about Asians being unable to drive, small Asian eyes, and even insensitive remarks about North Korea being behind this.

planeracist 1 planeracist 2 planeracist 3 planeracist 4 planeracist 5 planeracist 6

 

 

 

 

And while we may be quick to point out the blatant racism towards Asians, we also cannot forget that we are just as capable of such insensitivity.

A Korean newscaster on Channel A, general broadcasting company in South Korea, allegedly reported, “The two deceased passengers were both Chinese. From our stance, it is fortunate.”

Poor choice of words during an insensitive time? Absolutely. The report angered Chinese and Koreans alike and the newscaster made a public apology explaining that he/she only meant that it was fortunate no Koreans were among the deceased.

With such a tragedy on our hands, you would think it wouldn’t be much to ask for some sensitivity with this issue, but more and more we find people using this opportunity to simply show racism and insensitivity.

Tell us what you think below.

(source 1, 2)

Reactions to Racism in an Asian Nail Salon


We’ve all seen the endless jokes about Asians who work in nail salons, massage parlors, and donut shops. This is often an easy target for stand-up comedians such as Anjelah Johnson and her popular skit mimicking the Vietnamese nail salon workers:

Why is it such as easy target? Primarily because such businesses are in fact heavily intertwined in the Asian American community. Its easy for people to make fun of this and yet they don’t take the time to understand that this is a deeply rooted issue for Asian Americans that stems from early immigration into the U.S.  These comedians don’t take the time to understand the hazardous effects that such an environment has on our community (such as chemical exposure from glues, polishes, etc. infecting the nail salon workers). To make matters worse, one of the more popular things to make fun of is the fact that Asians talk about their customers in their own language. Apparently, speaking in one’s native tongue automatically justifies suspicion of gossip.

Needless to say, over the years these places have often become correlated to the Asian American community. So when filming a hidden tv show to try and focus on racism towards Asians, where do they choose to film it? An Asian-owned nail salon, of course.

What Would You do? is an ABC hidden camera television show where actors perform scenarios of conflict in public. The show focuses on the bystanders to see how they react to such situations. Recently, they performed a skit in a nail salon with Asian actors performing as the workers. The Caucasian actress was told to be racially offensive and she performed her task with flying colors. She began to comment rudely on the worker’s quality of life (justifying herself with the fact that the worker didn’t understand English) and went on to make racial comments ranging from Asians being bad drivers, good at math, and all the other Asian stereotypes you can think of.

All this was performed in front of unknowing customers and sure enough, the customers reacted.  I was pleasantly surprised with just how riled up the bystanders were concerning this blatant show of racism. During each instance, the other customers spoke up about the actress’ rudeness. It was evident that her comments were not okay and it is a simple reminder to us that not all is lost. Its easy for us to point out the number of racist instances that our community has endured, but we must not forget that this is not always the case. While this certainly doesn’t fix the larger issue at hand, it is a reminder that there are people who understand what we continuously face.

Check out the What Would  You Do? skit here: