Friday, April 4, 2014

This White Guys Thoughts On Suey Park and #CancelColbert

My gut reaction was to find #CancelColbert ridiculous.

Then, as I read more I moved on to, "Oh, it was a misunderstanding. The joke was heard out of context."

While many people of color defended Colbert, there were enough condemning the joke, even after the context was clear, that I had the choice to either consider the complaint further or assume that THAT large a number of people of color either didn't understand satire and/or were hysterical and knee jerk and completely irrational. This seemed a poor assumption to make.

And while I considered Colbert's joke, I don't mean that I considered whether or not he should be cancelled (never Park's real goal) or whether he was intentionally being racist (I have no doubt his intent was the opposite) but wether it was a good joke or not, whether this particular joke might have been a miss.

This discussion went on in my brain. I may have talked with a few friends about it, but I did so privately. What I didn't do, was to immediately publicly condemn Suey Park and everyone else supporting #CancelColbert.

It seems to me that if an Asian woman finds a joke about racism against Asians (and about racism against Native Americans once context is added) offensive, the white guy should probably listen to her carefully and give her argument a lot of thought. The white guy should maybe not be SO quick to assume he knows more about racism than she does and should not be so quick to assume that she doesn't comprehend or that she is hysterical and irrational. When many other people of color feel the same, this is magnified. I feel like a white guy navigating discussion of racism might want to be slower to respond, more eager to listen, less cocky.

I am still not sure exactly where I stand, but it has affected the way I'll move forward with comedy about race. I feel like it will affect the way Colbert will move forward as well. What I do know is that whether I fully agree with Suey Park or not, the interviews I've heard and read that have actually allowed her to speak show us a very intelligent and thoughtful person. I have no doubt she understands satire and I don't have to necessarily agree with her to be glad that she is willing to push this conversation even against a huge effort on the part of many who rather than enter the conversation immediately seek to end it, often doing so with insults, threats, and other bullying. I am still a fan of Steven Colbert. I am now also a fan of Suey Park.

I hope that this incident strengthens the push against racist sports mascots. Imagine if the amount of energy that went into condemning Suey Park went into condemning the Redskins name and mascot, something I think Colbert and Park would both like to see come out of this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your high contrast, white on black, small type, blog is ableist.

I suspect you are a shitlord.