Why Are Racist Asian Comments Still Okay?
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Politics and Activism

The Miss USA Impersonation of Miss Vietnam Bothered Me, An Asian American, So Much

Dear Miss USA, and in fact to anyone else who thinks that making fun of Asians is hilarious, you aren't funny.

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The Miss USA Impersonation of Miss Vietnam Bothered Me, An Asian American, So Much

About a week ago, Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers decided that it was okay to make fun of the fact that Miss Vietnam H'Hen Nie isn't fluent in English. When asked in a video with Miss Colombia Valeria Morales and Miss Australia Francesca Hung about her opinions on Nie, Summers goes, "She's so cute and she pretends to know so much English and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation with her and she goes [nods and smiles]. She's adorable." When Morales asks her, "how?", Summers does the same ridiculous imitation again.

It's both sad and disappointing that it's still commonplace when one of non-Asian descent mimics the way an Asian talks or acts just for comedic purposes, or makes racist jokes about Asian stereotypes that fly under the radar. There are numerous examples of when this happens in television and movies, like when Chris Rock introduced PWC, an accounting firm that tallies the votes, at the Oscars in 2016 by bringing out three Asian children, each perpetuating different stereotypes others have placed on us, and claiming that these innocent children were the ones who were doing all the hard work. In that short skit, Rock managed to enforce the stereotypes that all Asian children are one of these three options: model students with high grades, foreign child laborers that assemble pieces of technology, or obedient and quiet children that don't talk unless specifically spoken to.

Another example of racist stereotypes about Asians being enforced is the abominable "news segment" put out by the "O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News. In 2016, one of their reporters Jesse Watters decided it was okay to go to Chinatown and talk to pedestrians about their political opinions. However, throughout the segment, he chose to ask them demeaning questions like "Am I supposed to bow to say hello?", "Can you guys take care of North Korea for us?". And "Do you know karate?". What bothers me the most about this is not the fact that someone thought it was hilarious to make fun of innocent Asians, because let's face it—there are so many Americans like that out there. The most maddening part of this whole story is the fact that the segment went through pre-production, production, and post-production, and it somehow still got approved to be aired on national television. Not a single person stopped to think, "Hm, this is pretty racist!", and that just proves how some people don't bother to take Asian American issues seriously.

I'm not implying that we Asian Americans have a harder life than other minority groups in America today, because we don't. I just think it's time to acknowledge the fact that these demeaning comments about Asian Americans are prevalent, and they're not going anywhere unless we Asian Americans stand up for ourselves.

Going back to the Miss USA issue, Summers' innocent imitation really angered Asians across the world. Although she apologized, it's going to take a lot more than that to make it up to us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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