A Dialog about Ongoing Racism Against Asians

Back in 2013, as I sat working away with my TV on, I was following all the latest online coverage on the George Zimmerman trial in Florida, while the Paula Deen debacle was also unfolding online. And what was on my TV that suddenly caught my ear? I had recently gotten off cable addiction and had been relying on my HD antenna to bring in some really interesting channels, with AntennaTV being among my favorites. AntennaTV has round-the-clock re-runs of all the oldies like All in the Family, Married with Children and Leave It to Beaver among hundreds of old programs that they acquired the rights to broadcast. They even ran a Father Knows Best marathon during Father’s Day weekend!

So as I was working away, Sanford and Son was playing in the background and out of nowhere I have George Sanford (played by Redd Foxx) going off on his son in a Chinese restaurant about how much he hates “Chink food!” Caught my attention. And on more levels than one. First of all, I looked this series up online and realized that this show ran from ’72 to ’78, years after much of the civil rights battles of the 60’s. Certainly well into the era of new voting rights and the beginning of political correctness. But yet, here we were with this idiot ranting racist remarks about another race in the guise of comedy. Comedy? WTF?!! The Archie Bunker of the hood.

I’ve edited this down to just the actual clip in this early episode from their first season; you can skip to the 0:45 mark to see this open racism that’s been seen by millions since the 70’s and is still easily viewable everywhere.

And it’s always been this hypocritical, politically-correct mentality that continues to perpetuate this kind of racism today. So then I watched Paula Deen apologize ad nauseum for her long-past racist remarks even as she continued to lose sponsors and publishers for her new cook books. At what point will Paula Deen find redemption and enough forgiveness to get on with her life? For some people, the answer is ‘Never.’ Even as most of them harbor their own seething prejudices while happily attacking others in the public eye. While I believe Rachel Rey is probably very Southern in her mentality and attitudes, I also believe that she is certainly more enlightened than she’s ever been at any other point in her life on racism. And I believe she’s already received more than enough punishment at all levels and she needs to be allowed to move on with her life just as all the haters are told to move on with theirs. But for some, nothing short of Paula Deen’s execution would be enough.

Then there’s the George Zimmerman trial. I’m not going to bother getting into an endless debate about the right or wrong of that case. But I fumed after watching prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel being questioned by Zimmerman’s defense attorney over two days. Her general attitude and her answers were offensive, disrespectful and ignorant. Not just to the lawyer asking the questions but to the court in general. The worst parts were her attempts to be condescending in her answers to the defense. And then the term ‘Cracker’ came up. She also used the term ‘retarded’ in a very nasty context. I have no doubt whatsoever about what this woman meant those terms to mean. They were racist remarks made in an open court of law. We still have no idea why the presiding judge did not so much as issue a single rebuke or even a warning to this witness. Had it been a white witness on the stand making an ‘N’ word comment, he/she probably would have been the brunt of a full-press assault and more than likely been tossed into jail for a racist remark in a courtroom. But this idiot who is clearly enjoying her 3 minutes of fame? She’ll probably never understand what she said in this lifetime.

But I digress; let’s get back to Redd Foxx’s uncensored and unapologetic racism. To me, it wasn’t even the racist rants of one black “comedian” but a general representation of racism and slurs coming from the mouth of one more racist in a crowd of millions who still haven’t disappeared from this so-called modern society. Yes, I know, I know. Redd Foxx died years ago. But his legacy lives on…

As an Asian who has endured the racist remarks from all too many black and white people alike over the years, I can certainly claim to be in a very unique position to talk about this openly.

Keep in mind that when The Green Hornet first came on the scene over the radio waves, his sidekick, Kato, was Japanese. But then World War II broke out and mysteriously, Kato became Chinese. And then those damn commies came along in China so Kato simply became an “Oriental” (keep in mind, the politically-correct term “Asian” hadn’t yet become popular!). Eventually, in the 70’s Bruce Lee came along and transformed Kato into the real hero in the episode, with the buildup to that big Kung Fu fight scene becoming an integral part of each episode. But even with Bruce Lee’s role, Kato never quite got acknowledged as being Chinese ever again.

When it comes to racism in the West, Asians continue to be the outliers. Even as white people continue their rapid decline into minority status today.

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