I have... thoughts about what has happened over the last few days. I'm pretty sick of discussing it to be honest, because the amount of mansplainy-whitesplainy, gaslighting bullshit I've seen online since Thursday night has frankly been a little sickening.
That said, this piece in The Nation "Who's Afraid of Suey Park?" pretty much says a lot of what I wanted to say, but couldn't because I was apoplectic with rage. I was disappointed by some of the things I saw said about Suey in the last few days here and elsewhere, but I thought this piece should be boosted.
I found this graf to be particularly salient:
We have been told that, even if Colbert's joke hurt the feelings of some Asian Americans, it was all in furtherance of a greater good—the education of people within his audience who did not realize that the name "Redskins" is an offensive slur until it was compared to anti-Asian slurs. This narrative strikes me as particularly specious. It rests on weighing the education of a group of people who have been hypothesized into existence as more important than the experience of a group of people who are actually speaking out to express their discomfort. If any journalist wants to present evidence of a single person who was moved to change their opinion of Dan Snyder by Colbert's routine, then perhaps we can assign it a social value. I've yet to see any such evidence, and while I would never deny that Colbert's performances are entertaining, there's a difference between entertainment and enlightenment.
As well as this:
Meanwhile, the idea that Colbert is more valuable to the fight against racism than people of color who are engaging in anti-racist activism on their own terms comes perilously close to a white savior argument that deserves serious scrutiny.
The number of "do you even understand satire" comments that I saw.... yeah. God forbid we acknowledge the possibility that a well-intentioned joke, from a man who has demonstrably been on the right side of the issue simply didn't work. It must be that the hysterical women of colour are too stupid to understand the super awesome, highly intelligent white man humor.
Not only that, but no one realized that the #CancelColbert hashtag itself was satire. Not a one. Even our beloved Erin felt the need to earnestly take the crazy WoC down a notch. Suey isn't stupid. Colbert isn't going to be cancelled over one off-colour tweet. But the willingness to assume that WoC were simply too irrational to understand the smart people? Not cool.
Because here's a question: Why do we even need racial satire from white people? All jokes like that do is allow white liberals to laugh at hipster racism, while separating themselves from "worse racists" by hiding behind "satire." Because here's the rub: the people who are enlightened enough to understand the satire in those kinds of jokes, don't need jokes to make the point for them. And for Deadsping to publish the piece they did? And hide behind two Korean identified authors as though that doesn't make it offensive that they directed a racial slur at a person of colour? In the fucking headline? This is clearly the darkest timeline.
I just... a lot of this has disheartened me to be honest. I think the only thing worse were the "she's just doing it for fame" comments. Because WoC just LOOOOOOVE being trolled online with rape and death threats. So much fun. Totally worth the millions they aren't getting.
If I'm snippy in the comments, I apologize pre-emptively. This whole thing has really pissed me off.
ETA: I mean, I like Colbert. I really do. But he's at his best when he's directly attacking the PEOPLE IN POWER. That is, OTHER WHITE GUYS. He didn't need to throw Asian people under the bus to make that point. Tell me that a fake charity for racially tone deaf rich white guys wouldn't have made the same point and NOT been racist. Fuck. He could even throw a "honky" in there if he was determined to use "slurs."