‘American Sniper’ Triggers Racist Arab and Muslim Tweets

 

American Sniper is currently the #1 movie in America and managed to make an impressive 89 million on MLK weekend. Despite the box office success, American Sniper received a huge amount of backlash from the usage of fake babies to fabricated stories about the real-life American Sniper Chris Kyle, whose memoir served as the source material for this movie. The most troubling response to the film is the amount of racist Arab/Muslim sentiment.

To give you an idea of why the content is so controversial, here’s just a few excerpts from the aforementioned memoir:

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Image courtesy of Rania Khalek

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Image courtesy of Rania Khalek

From these excerpts alone, it seems Chris Kyle viewed Muslims and Iraqis more like enemies to shoot in a video game. That is indeed racist. The American Sniper film had the option to show this side of Chris Kyle, but when Kyle’s father personally told director Clint Eastwood and actor Bradley Cooper “disrespect my son and I’ll unleash hell on you,” the filmmakers decided to make the movie more of a character study.

Anticipating a possible backlash, Bradley Cooper urged viewers not to use the film to answer deeper questions such as the “political conversation about whether we should or should not have been in Iraq, whether the war is worth fighting, whether we won, whether we didn’t, why are we still there.” However, audiences could not simply take the film lightly, especially with the negative political stance towards the Iraqi people:

 

As we feared, the movie evoked countless racist tweets that were similar to the ones following Olympus Has Fallen and Red Dawn:

 

That’s not even the worst of it. Check out even more racist tweets here.

There is even backlash against the backlash. There are some who think the criticism of American Sniper is unpatriotic. As Sarah Palin puts it, criticizing this film is “spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do.”

Sorry Sarah, but this may be a film I’ll skip.

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Lawsuit Against Brooklyn Chef For Serving “Worst Cuts” to Asians

 

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare has made quite a name for itself over the years. It is a New York Magazine’s Critics’ Top Pick, books reservations six weeks in advance, has three Michelin stars and was called “one of the more extraordinary restaurants” by The New York Times. It’s undeniable that the food is extraordinary, but this ritzy eatery, which charges a flat $255 per person plus a $50 ‘service charge’ for each patron, has been facing some less than top-rated press lately.

A lawsuit has been filed stating that head chef César Ramirez insisted that the worst pieces of meat be served to Asian customers.

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images 

And there’s more. In claims of blatant biases, some of his former sous chefs and servers have started making statements about his behavior behind kitchen doors.

Former server Emi Howard, who is of Asian descent, has alleged that Ramirez doesn’t just stop at “worst cuts.” Howard states that Ramirez ordered the staff not to put Asian customers too close to his section of the restaurant (the chichi counter), and made a habit of referring to them and Upper West Siders as “s- -t people.” When Howard “violated” these rules, the suit says, Ramirez would “subject Ms. Howard to a wild verbal tirade,” before more strictly enforcing the “no Asians near me” rule.

 

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Photo courtesy of http://ny.eater.com

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And when it came time to distribute cuts of meat during the fusion French-Asian meal service, Asians — along with suspected Upper West Siders — were given inferior scraps, while preferred diners were given choice chunks, the suit says.

The filed complaint about the difference in meat scraps versus prime meat chunks, seating arrangement and name-calling can be found in PDF form here. As a result, the restaurant has also been receiving some heated comments on its Facebook page:

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As a response, Brooklyn Fare owner Moe Issa has said in an email statement to The Daily Meal: “At Brooklyn Fare, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our staff who hail from around the globe, and we welcome everyone who comes through our doors with open arms, be it a guest, vendor, or employee, regardless of their creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or nationality.”

 

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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Is Your Halloween Costume Racist? Use This Handy Chart To Find Out!

 

There are endless possibilities when it comes to Halloween costumes. You can be a cat, a superhero, even a banana! We personally don’t care how silly, scary or sexy your costume is, but we will care if your costume is racist.

Many people don’t even seem to recognize when they’re wearing a controversial costume. They simply see Halloween as an opportunity to be someone else for a night. But that’s the problem, you can’t be someone else for a night. As Huffington Post explains:

“Borrowing from another culture is most problematic when it plucks from a minority group (especially one that has been exploited or otherwise oppressed). Using aspects of another culture from a position of privilege is a means of additional exploitation in that it disregards the shared experiences that led to the development of the culture in question and uses ideas and traditions for their benefit.”

 

And trust us, we’ve seen some pretty insensitive ones over the years. Just check out these three guys who decided to be the Asiana Airlines flight attendants after crashing the plane.

 

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So if you’re confused about whether or not you’re wearing something insensitive tonight, we’re here to help. College humor created this handy flowchart for anyone that can’t figure out if their costume is racist. Check it out below:

 

“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.”

 

 

 

 

Controversy Over Miranda Kerr’s Vogue Japan Photoshoot: Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation

 

Miranda Kerr is certainly no stranger to Japan. This time last year, the 31-year-old Australian model attracted quite a bit of attention for her odd, Japanese detergent commercials. Well it looks like she’s back and this time, she’s on the cover of the special 15th anniversary November issue of Vogue Japan.

While this excited many Kerr fans, much of that excitement was replaced with confusion when shots from the photo shoot were released. It was immediately clear that the actress was dressed to look like a geisha, a samurai and even an anime character. Of course, this begs the question: Where is the line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, and what does this categorize as?

Most seem to be leaning towards cultural appropriation. Angry netizens question why a Japanese model wasn’t used for the 15th anniversary issue of  Vogue Japan. After all, the magazine is a Japanese-language magazine. Despite Kerr’s undeniable popularity in Japan, Japanese readers have been shaking their heads in disapproval of the choice to have a foreigner in “Japanese-inspired” outfits.

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However, others have come to Kerr’s defense including the photographer of the photo shoot, Mario Testino. In response to the controversy he explained, “I wanted to represent ancient and modern Japan with these three characters. Japan has geisha and samurai, as well as manga, and I hoped to express these themes through Miranda to the Japanese people.”

Some Kerr fans have even used cosplay as an example of cultural appreciation and note that race does not matter when avid fans dress up as their favorite anime or comicbook character. They argue that this photo shoot does the same. To others, the rebuttal for this argument is simple: this is not cosplay. This is a magazine which creates influence and for some, shapes beauty standards.

Kerr has not released her opinion on the matter, but she has been putting up photos on her Instagram since earlier this month.

Check them out below and give us your verdict. Is this cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation?

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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?

 

 

Why People Hate “Hello Kitty” by Avril Lavigne

Yesterday, Avril Lavigne released the music video to her new single “Hello Kitty” on YouTube, but in a blink of an eye it was removed. Billboard called the video an “embarrassment in any language”  and Entertainment Weekly claimed that there “are serious questions about whether it’s offensive.”

Why?

Well it may have a thing or two to do with all the cultural appropriation. Lavigne’s video includes all things stereotypically Japanese — sushi, Japanese schoolgirls, bright pink colors and even expressionless Asian back up dancers. Throughout the video, Lavigne throws out Japanese words like “arigato” and “kawaii.” That’s right. Her lyrics are actually “Thank you! Cute! Cute!”  Apparently, there’s no need to have lyrics that make sense as long as you blurt out the most stereotypical Asian words you know.

As you can expect, audiences are torn. Loyal Avril fans have stood by her side and see nothing wrong with the video. Fans on her official website are claiming that “Hello Kitty” is far from offensive. In fact, they believe that the video should be praised for “doing something different.”

Of course, even more people are arguing that Lavigne’s cultural appropriation is far from new and different. We saw this with Gwen Stafani’s “Harajuku Girls,” with Katy Perry’s Geisha performance and especially in Alison Gold’s infamous “Chinese Food” video.

For loyal fans who are confused, the reason people hate Avril’s “Hello Kitty” 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.

As Huffington Post explains, “Borrowing from another culture is most problematic when it plucks from a minority group (especially one that has been exploited or otherwise oppressed). Using aspects of another culture from a position of privilege is a means of additional exploitation in that it disregards the shared experiences that led to the development of the culture in question and uses ideas and traditions for their benefit.”

The video was removed from YouTube, but check it out here and tell us what you think. 

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)

Coca-Cola’s Multilingual SuperBowl Ad Produces Racist Criticism

I know what you’re all thinking right now: Not again. Not another instance of Americans showing their true –– and ignorant –– colors over social media for everyone to see. But yes, just as with the number of people who expressed their anger over the crowning of our first Indian American Miss America, Nina Davuluri, with tweets calling her a “terrorist,” so have SuperBowl viewers flocked to Twitter and Facebook to defend everything they believe to be “American.”

During the NFL SuperBowl, Coca-Cola aired a one-minute advertisement titled “It’s Beautiful,” which featured people of different cultures engaged in activities like dancing and watching movies, while “America the Beautiful” was sung in seven different languages. Coca-Cola posted a link to its Twitter with the caption “The only thing more beautiful than this country are the people who live here.”

Many people have praised the commercial for highlighting America’s diversity, but countless others have criticized it for not patriotic enough, because “in America, we speak English.”

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Miss Kansas had a few things to say herself.

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Watch the originally-aired SuperBowl commercial below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8iM73E6JP8

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