Friday, February 09, 2007
CHINKY CHINKY CHINAMAN?!! AGAIN??!!
pat roberston demonstrates "the oriental eyes"
WHY, LORD???!!! WHYYYY!!!???
anyhoo... on a related racist front... i hate to admit this but i watch that show, "real housewives of orange county". it's a reality show on bravo that follows the lives of five "housewives" living the high life in orange county.
last night, the thin man and i were sprawled out on the futon watching the latest episode. among the many "rhoc happennings", vicki, the housewife who is originally from the chicago area, accompanies her daughter on a drive to her (the daughter's) new condo. while her daughter drives, vicki conducts business on her cellphone. apparently, she's speaking to someone who's asian and after she hangs up, she goes on to say how all she hears is "chinky chinky chinamen".
i just couldn't believe i was hearing it again. i was curious to see if i could find a clip. i still haven't been able to find one but i did find that other viewers are calling her out on it on her blog. i posted my own comments but i'm sure they won't get published... here's what i wrote:
"...to all of you people who think asian americans should "just get over it" - just because you assume vicki didn't MEAN to be racist, offensive and hurtful - doesn't mean it WASN'T racist, offensive and hurtful to an asian person.
i'm asian. i was offended. i was hurt.
if you're not asian, you probably don't know what it's like to hear "chinky chinky chinaman" ALL THE TIME and what kind of pain or painful memories resurface.
a few years ago, my sister was walking down the street and some white men taunted her with ching chong. she ignored them and kept walking, assuming they would just quit. not only did they not quit, she was dragged into an alley and beaten. they screamed at her, "you chinks are taking away our jobs!" she's not even chinese.
i grew up in chicago and live here now but i've lived in nyc, asia and even (5 years) in california. i've experienced racism from every one - white and people of color, liberal, conservative, christian, non christian.
it's NEVER ok to be racist. that's what i teach my children anyway. this is not an isolated incident. shaquille o'neill did it. adam corolla did it. rosie o'donnell did it. pat robertson just did it.
everyone needs to own up to their own prejudices. everyone needs to reflect on why they think it's ok to be racist "in certain situations". it's not about being politically correct. it's about being respectful of people regardless of their color or culture. we all have to try to recognize subtle racism like this and stop it because if we don't, we're just enabling racism and ignorance to spread and thrive. "
UPDATE 2/10: i just googled and you can contact vicki gunvalson directly via email - vicki@coto/insurance.com - see here.
also, vicki posted a "rosiecarolla" apology:
Please accept my sincere apology for the comment about one of my Asian clients. It was no way meant to be racist in any way. I have a very large clientele that are Asian and I respect their communities and cultures. I would appreciate accepting my apology for anyone that was offended.
UPDATE 2/11: i emailed vicki directly with the comment i made above and i just got an email back from her. she writes:
"You are right and I apologize! The comment I made to my daughter was wrong,and I am sorry. I had no idea what I said was going to be publicized on the air. I have learned from this and thank you for letting me know your side of this.
did you all catch that? she had no idea that what she said was going to publicized on the air. so, it's like rosie all over again... she won't make any racist comments anymore- on tv. THANKS A WHOLE HECKUVA LOT, VICKI!
please note the comment by lisa (below) reporting that some complaint comments seem to be missing from vicki's blog now.
i was just telling one of my neighbors (who is african american, married to a caucasian & also new to the neighborhood) about how weird it is for me to live in the neighborhood we live in. it's pretty much split 50/50 - african american and caucasian - generation after generation after generation. i told my friend that i feel like the thin man and i are "race spies".
some of our caucasian neighbors seem to think it's ok to say "watch out for the black people". then, i turn around and some of our african american neighbors say things like "i didn't think you spoke english" to me. the thin man (who is irish and puerto rican) has often had to endure conversations where neighbors talk about the negatives of "black people". he was even privy to a conversation about another latino neighbor who was vying for a captain position for the local volleyball league and how other players were trying to get him thrown out because they didn't want a latino in the league. why do these people think it's ok to tell me - a woman of color - these things? why do these people think its ok to share these thoughts with anyone - caucasian or of color? my friend was really interested because he realized that he really wasn't a "minority" in the neighborhood. he could see that clearly we were - our whole family.
i don't LOVE this neighborhood. but, it's not all bad. we've managed to fashion a pretty good life for us here. we've made very good friends here. we're able to live well and within our means. in some ways, i feel like i'm here for the same reason i'm still catholic. i can't run away from somewhere or someone that needs my help - EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANT TO.
i guess what i'm trying to articulate (and not well) is does any one racist incident/statement make someone a KKK card carrying member? no. i don't think so. but it doesn't make that incident or statement any less racist. it doesn't mean we should just avoid talking about it or sweep it under the rug or excuse it as some isolated slip of the tongue. it came from somewhere and it doesn't disappear. it's just time for ALL of us to walk the walk and talk the talk.