ok. addressing the elephant in the room on christmas
unfortunately, i’ve offended my asian brothers & sisters with an IG post which i made during my recent tour of japan. in that post, i likened a japanese department store employee’s vocal intonation to that of a (church) deacon speaking in tongues. clearly, i didn’t intend to offend anyone (asian or otherwise), clearly, i *thought* that comparison was funny-cute
… and clearly i thought wrong.
in hindsight, it’s easy to see how my post was yet another example of the ugly, american flipping yet another ugly/racially/culturally insensitive script. so, let me make this abundantly clear….
THE ISH THAT I SAID WAS DUMB (PERIOD).
And no, it wasn’t Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson mean spirited-xenophobic dumb (but the last time i checked, sleep was still the cousin of death)
—look. i’m a human being and dumber yet, i’m a public figure. if you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned, then not only should one stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things, one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts. given that black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive “outsider” jokes, I should be way, way more sensitive (after all, who’s zooming who). I for one, should never allow my cultural bias to take precedence over my “examined life” (clunkers be damned). i know the whole kinder and gentler thing reeks of a self serving political correctness, but eff it, it’s “all me”.
so, here i am once again, publicly coming to terms with some more of my stupid “say, say, say” ish. allow me to ask for forgiveness and understanding from anyone that i’ve offended. I will be better in 2014 (i promise)
A pretty damn good apology from The Roots drummer, Questlove, who made some pretty racist comments on his IG this week along with Padma Lakshmi. Lakshmi added in, ““and I get a yellow pass anyway”. Interesting.
However, some commentary from community organizer and spoken word artist Bao Phi on this:
OK, ?uestlove and Padma made fun of “Asian” accents. While ?uestlove has apologized, there seems to be a lack of discussion and awareness about how that clowning is rooted in a xenophobic anti-Asian racist history that includes among many other things forced assimilation to whiteness and the naturalization of our “other"ness. I’m not trying to demonize either of them - rather than participate in the theatrical rhetoric of "calling people out” in the name of self-righteous exceptionalism, I’d love to see a constructive, honest dialogue about how even people of color can participate in a particular anti-Asian racism that is a fundamental logic of white supremacy. Not with the language of “we have it worse” or with the intention to guilt, but in the interest of cross-community solidarity and transformative change. Peace.
Ngọc Loan Trần also wrote a piece on “calling in” rather than “calling out” members of our community when they fuck up.
What are your thoughts?