Racist E-Mail Circulates About Dartmouth’s President-Elect

All good things don’t last long; there will always be someone to ruin it.

As the Dartmouth community was in the midst of celebrating the appointment of Jim Yong Kim, an e-mail was sent out to the entire school in “an attempt of satire”:

“Date: March 3, 2009 11:06:39 AM EST
To: [email protected]
Subject: Good Morning

This is the Generic Good Morning Message for March 3, 2009.

Yesterday came the announcement that President of the College James Wright will be replaced by Chinaman Kim Jim Yong. And a little bit of me died inside.

It was a complete supplies.

On July 1, yet another hard-working American’s job will be taken by an immigrant willing to work in substandard conditions at near-subsistent wage, saving half his money and sending the rest home to his village in the form of traveler’s checks. Unless “Jim Yong Kim” means “I love Freedom” in Chinese, I don’t want anything to do with him. Dartmouth is America, not Panda Garden Rice Village Restaurant.

Y’all get ready for an Asianification under the guise of diversity under the actual Malaysian-invasion leadership instituted under the guise of diversity. It’s a slippery slope we are on. I for one want Democracy and apple pie, not Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. I know I sure as shit won’t ever be eating my Hop dubs bubs with chopsticks. I like to use my own two American hands.”

I was not too surprised by this e-mail. It’s really just Dartmouth being Dartmouth, where insensitivity is the game. Dartmouth is still very much a bastion of white elitism, no matter what they want you to believe. Dartmouth, and much of America, has a habit of cloaking racially offensive material under the guise of satire and comedy — they blame those who are hurt and offended for not being able to take a joke or understand the humor.

While I may not classify this as truly racist, it’s still very offensive. The material here is still used with malicious and serious intent towards Asian Americans in this country today — I guarantee you that the race jokes you find in a comedy club are nowhere near the ‘satire’ you find in this e-mail.

I have been called Chinaman on many occasions. It is the equivalent of the N-word with a history just as abusive, ignorant, and dirty. American history seems to have forgotten about its treatment of Asians in this country -— the building of the railroads, the immigration bans, the internment camps, the inequality, the ignorance. The term Chinaman has been used to describe anyone of Asian descent, regardless of country or culture. It feeds into this idea that all Asians are the same, that all Asian cultures are the same. Chinaman is a manifestation of all the American xenophobia and racism faced by early Asian immigrants.

Furthermore, there is still a perception in America that people of Asian descent are still foreign. The Asian American community as a whole is still far from being fully embraced by America. Trying to joke along these lines is difficult, controversial, and will undoubtedly end badly. It’s too soon right now to make joking references to the foreignness of Asians because this perception is still strong, alive, assumed, and believed.

What irritates me is how mainstream media rarely picks up on racism and insensitivity towards Asian Americans. Racism towards Asians is one of the last socially acceptable forms of racism in America. If Dartmouth’s new president were black, Hispanic, gay, or even female, similar “satirical” comments directed at him/her would probably be deemed newsworthy. There would be collective outrage and little doubt as to exactly how inflammatory or offensive it was.

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About Yan

Born in the Middle Kingdom and grew up in the Emerald City. Currently a student at one of those overrated and annoying East Coast colleges that I absolutely hate (Dartmouth) but can't transfer out of because it's too late. Feel free to stalk. twitter
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