12-13-2017  1:19 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

Special Call for Stories about the Spanish Flu

Genealogical Forum of Oregon seeks stories from the public about one of history's most lethal outbreaks ...

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org. Neighbors needed to volunteer, donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update: Dec. 4

Environmental Services continues to repair more than 3 miles of public sewer pipes ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

The Skanner Editorial: Alabama Voters Must Reject Moore

Allegations of predatory behavior are troubling – and so is his resume ...

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

Top 10 Holiday Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Dr. Jasmine Streeter explains why pampering pets with holiday treats can be dangerous (and pricey) ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

By Madison Park CNN



The names, which some liken to slurs, spread everywhere -- triggering anger in the United States as well as South Korea.

Last week, KTVU, a TV station based in the San Francisco area, aired what it believed were the names of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 pilots. A National Transportation Safety Board intern confirmed the bogus names -- phrases which sounded like "Something Wrong" and "We Too Low."

And hello, perfect storm. Or as one blogger put it -- "an epic mind-blowing fail."

The crash of the South Korean carrier had already hit racial notes -- with jokes mocking Asian driving or piloting skills and questions whether the crash had to do with the Korean culture.

U.S. comedian Bill Maher quipped on his show, "Now that we know the cause of that Asiana Airlines crash was the pilots flying too slowly, I don't want to hear another word about me doing Asian driver jokes." His comment followed an array of similar jokes on social media.

Phil Yu of the "Angry Asian Man" blog, said he was bracing himself for jokes after the crash.

"It's completely inappropriate especially because we're talking about a tragedy. People died, people were seriously injured," he said.

The crash prompted speculation as to whether the Korean cultural deference to authority played a role in bringing the Boeing 777 down on the San Francisco runway on July 6. This is a hypothesis made about Korean airlines long before the Asiana crash.

A blogger at Ask a Korean sarcastically asked: "What is it about American culture that contributed a local station with heavily Asian population to blindly buy the obviously false representation from the NTSB? Is there an inherent deference to authority in American culture that contributed to this gaffe?"

The bogus names prompted the South Korean carrier to say it would take legal action against KTVU, because "it was their report that resulted in damaging the company's image."

Several legal and PR experts questioned the wisdom of the lawsuit -- which the airline later said it would not pursue, while others on CNN's discussion board questioned whether the joke was even racist.

"Ah yes, the "r" word: racism. And the "o" word: offensive," wrote one commenter. "Get over it. A mildly clever person pulled a reasonably funny (if insensitive - to the victims of the crash) prank."

"I honestly believe nobody has a sense of humor anymore, and when someone does, they have to apologize for it. Get over it. It was hilarious!" another wrote.

Asian-American advocates say that creating vaguely Asian sounding names to crack jokes about a deadly plane accident that killed three Chinese girls is completely insensitive.

"Making up Asian names or mimicking foreign accents are not innocent forms of satire," wrote Paul Cheung and Bobby Calvan, of the Asian American Journalists Association. "Doing so demeans and hurts."

Racial jokes around the fatal air crash "are not benign," said Claire Jean Kim, an associate professor of political science and Asian American Studies at the University of California Irvine.

"Those kinds of jokes reflect a deeper view of Asian Americans as culturally different and inferior," she said. "That's not a joke, that has material effects. It leads to a general sense, even those who are born here in the U.S., they simply don't belong."

Kim says denying that something is racist is a sign of the times.

"People are minimizing it as a joke," she said. "In this particular period, many people claim that racism is a thing of the past, we live in a colorblind society, we should brush these things off."

The mocking of Asian names dates back to when immigrants arrived to the United States, said Gary Okihiro, founding director of the Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

"In the 19th century, many immigration officials who first greeted Asian migrants demeaned them, by first of all, making fun of their names because they couldn't pronounce them properly, or assigning them names like John Chinaman or China Mary," he said.

"Anything foreign seems to be open season or free game," Okihiro said.

CNN's Kyung Lah, Wilfred Chan and Jinjoo Lee contributed to this report.

 

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