For Some, Ignorance > Compassion

Some of this stuff is tough to stomach, especially when taken in rapid-fire, so please don’t read if you don’t want to be deeply offended.  While most people have expressed compassion toward the victims of the tsunami and earthquake, there are some who thought it would make great material for jokes. For instance Gilbert Gottfried. And 50-Cent. (via A.V. Club)

Tasteless, sure, but par-for-the-course for those two. (Fiddy, in particular, has built a whole persona around being an irredeemable jerk, and gets a lot of mileage out of it, so I almost feel like engaging it just encourages it.)

By far the most viral inappropriate reaction to the quake and tsunami is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoLLEZlpUxk&feature=related.

To be honest, I’m not as troubled/outraged by this as most people seem to be. Not to say this acceptable (’cause it isn’t) or that it’s not racist (’cause it is), but I actually found myself laughing while watching it, just because of the sheer ridiculousness.  I think that’s why it’s gone viral the way it has—the girl is just on a whole other wave length. She seems to think she is saying something incredibly smart and important. She describes herself as being “considerate” and “well-mannered,” and proceeds to say, essentially, “I know like, tens of thousands of people who, like, might be your relatives (cause I can’t distinguish between Asians), like, might be dead, but really, keep it down in the library, guys, I wasn’t gonna say anything, but you know, I just really care about being sensitive and well-mannered” and then then to reinforce how sophisticated she is, she throws in a string of “ching-chang-chongs.”  I don’t feel like there is any malice there, just astounding levels of ignorance and a comical dearth of self-awareness.

Plus, there is way worse stuff floating around out there.

“Family Guy” writer Alec Sulkin, for instance, took it to a whole different level,tweeting “If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google ‘Pearl Harbor death toll.” Yahoo News strangely characterized his comment as a “joke.”

He later retracted his comments—explaining that he didn’t know the death toll was so high, which would have made it okay?—but didn’t seem terribly apologetic.

Boing Boing points the way to a tumblr site that is currently collecting for posterity all the insensitive, uninformed and often just plain racist comments that everyday twitter and facebook users are making. Check it out here. Enter at your own risk…

About Ben Hamamoto

Ben Hamamoto is a writer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's been published in the Oakland Tribune and has written for New American Media's YO! Youth Outlook and the Nichi Bei Times. He is a research manager for the Health Horizons Program at the Institute for the Future. He also edits Nikkei Heritage, the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine and contributes to Nichi Bei Weekly.

Comments

  1. I hate eating in a restaurant next to asian families. They chew their food with mouths open smacking their lips burping and farting. I was raised not to eat like a pig at a trough, burp or fart at the table so this behaviour is offensive to me. Did I make a racist statement just now or did I describe my reaction to a clash of customs from two dissimilar cultures? Am I a racist because I now order take out instead of eating at the restaurant or am I taking responsibility for an unacceptable situation where I am grossed out and sickened by behaviour that is repulsive to me and my culture?

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