Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Asian American Newspaper Takes Heat For Racist Column

Asian Newspaper Article Attacks African Americans

Even Asian Americans are upset about the printing of a column last Friday entitled "Why I Hate Blacks". The column was printed in the weekly West Coast newspaper, Asian Week, and was written by staff writer Kenneth Eng. In the column, Eng (An Asian American) attacks Black Americans, and goes on a rant that seems to feed off of long standing stereotypes. See report here.

Note: See a full copy of "Why I Hate Blacks" below.

Now some (especially those in the Asian-American Community) have tried to write this guy off as a crackpot, which is probably true. However, the question is not whether the guy is a racist crackpot....that much is clear. The question is how and why did the newspaper, which is a regional staple in California, allow this edition of the newspaper to go to print, without the issue being raised? The paper can't simply come out now and say "we didn't know" or "we don't support the comments". Someone had to edit and approve the comments before the paper went to print and distribution. Someone gave their implicit o.k. for it.

This also raises another question. Was Eng simply expressing some of the things that other Asians feel but have been afraid to say publicly? I would say that this is more probable than not. Although many Asians are not as outspoken about their prejudices, they do tend to show it in other ways. My experiences with some Asian Americans, particularly Asian women, have left me wondering. Although most of them have not been blatently racist, they seemed to show it in a more implicit & passive way. Most Asian Americans (who I have come across) typically want to associate themselves with Middle Class white Americans, and they try very hard to do so, as if it is some great goal. They don't seem to be too eager to socialize with African Americans. It is no coincidence that Asian American women tend to prefer White men. These particular women that I am referring to, tend to come from very strict traditional families where the parents expect their daughters to find "a good man". Well, you are probably thinking... ALL parents want that for their daughters. But, a "good man" for many (not all) Asian families does not include a Black male. A "good man" often seems to be code for a "White male"....as if they are the only men who are stable, successful, decent men, etc.

I have actually been told a few times by Asians, that it is unacceptable to Asian Families for Asian women to bring home a Black man. To many, this is seen as Taboo....an abomination of sorts. Part of the blame for this probably lies with Black culture.... just look at the negative images of Black men that are often perpetuated by Blacks themselves.... we see this with the rap community for example. But I obviously still find this kind of racism as troubling.

Then there are the other conflicts between Black Americans and Asian Americans in urban areas across the country. I find these conflicts to be silly. But do they signal a deeper divide? How long has this divide been lingering (and festering)? We have been stuck in the White/Black vacuum for so long that other race and cultural issues have been ignored.

Some of the same issues are cropping up again in Los Angeles between Black Americans and Latinos, although that situation seems to be different IMO. That situation involves gangs, the urban poor, poor public schools, etc. That divide does not seem to be consistently bad across all classes.... it seems to be a problem mostly for the urban poor-lower middle class. On the contrary, what I see with the Asian/Black divide seems travel a little more across class...although the reasons for the divide might be different for different class levels.

This article was really not surprising. In fact, it seemed to be more confirming than surprising in many ways.

I also found it interesting that in the article he mentions white controlled/directed movies as an example of Black racism towards Asians. The two movies that he mentioned, Rush Hour and Exit Wounds, were directed by Brett Ratner, and Andrzej Bartkowiak- two white directors. But I guess the directors, producers, etc, and the studios should be let off the hook. Interesting. So he's mad about the role of Chris Tucker?

But I guess this is one of the reasons why Black actors/actresses should be more in control of how their images are used on film. Because as the actors, Blacks get the backlash....whether it is how those images are internalized by other Blacks, or how people of other races & cultures see Black people as a result. The directors, the screenwriters and the movie studios don't have to deal with the backlash quite as much because they are always in the background counting the money. It's a similar situation with Rap music, although in that case Blacks are more to blame IMO.

See other blogs and articles on this story

Blog from the Guardian Newspaper

PR Newswire report

See Petition Here

See A Copy of the Actual Article, "Why I Hate Blacks"

See a jpeg copy of the article here

pdf file copy here

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