So in an e-mail that we all got from our fearless leader, Ernie, we got this rather interesting synopsis of an upcoming cartoon on Cartoon Network, Chop Socky Chooks:
Lets analyze why this show is freaking racist to Asians. First the offensive caricatures featuring stereotypical slanted eyes, bun hair, fu manchu whiskers, and dumb martial arts outfits. Second the name of the show, what do you get when you combine chinks and gooks? You guessed it, the name of the show, Chooks. Please help spread this around, and write emails to Cartoon Network protesting this very offensive cartoon show!
I took a look at it, and am actually amused that this person actually paid attention to this particular show as well as the mental gymnastics done to prove this conspiracy (chinks and gooks = chooks! RACIST!).
Cartoon Network has done other caricatures of Asians that could be seen as offensive, or funny, depending on how much humor you actually have, like Raj, the elephant with a badly done Indian accent in Camp Lazlo, or the Chinese engineering kid genius (who the boyfriend says is done pretty well given that he always wears flower-decorated flip flops) and Dr. Vindaloo, the Asian Indian physician in Courage the Cowardly Dog. There are also Cartoon Network shows with Asian characters that aren’t necessarily offensive (though if your head is stuck in your ass, you probably could find something wrong with them), like the Asian kids in Class of 3000. Or you can bitch about how there are very few Asian American voice actors dubbing all the anime you see in Cartoon Network (at least they’re pronouncing the Japanese names somewhat correctly…), or wonder why all the Asian animators who are actually producing these shows aren’t in a tizzy either.
Looking at the Chop Socky website, it seemed to be more of a send-up of ’70s kung fu and blaxploitation movies, and honestly, wasn’t that offensive to me. I’ve seen worse.
It also calls to mind how we need to come up with new strategies that get companies to actually change things that we find offensive, rather than just doing “feel-good boycotts” or ineffective e-mail campaigns, where people get worked up over an offensive T-shirt or TV show or random idiotic comment and scream at a multinational corporation, like A&F or Urban Outfitters. Said corporation becomes contrite (of course, after seeing a spike in sales and ratings because the boycotts give free publicity to their companies), surface changes are made, and the protestors leave, only to get worked up again when these corporations need free public advertising since their sales are dropping.
How about actually trying to get a job into these companies and start changing the culture from the inside? Or supporting companies, shows, etc. that are run by Asian Americans?