04-20-2018  5:43 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

April 24 is Voter Registration Deadline for May 15 Primary Election

Tuesday, April 24, is voter registration and party choice deadline for May 15 Primary Election ...

Portland Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

April poetry events and recommended reading from Multnomah County libraries ...

PCRI Launches the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan

Pathway 1000 a bold and ambitious 10-year displacement mitigation initiative ...

AG Rosenblum Launches New Resource on Oregon’s New Gun Safety Laws

One-page handout aims to educate Oregonians about the new law ...

Ethos Music Center Honors Portland Attorney Dave Baca with Annual Resonance Award

Founder Charles Lewis to receive first-ever Ethos Visionary Award at the May 2 event ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Will HUD Secretary Ben Carson Enforce the Fair Housing Act?

Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

Civil Rights Community Doesn’t Need to Look Farr for Racism in Trump Court Nominees

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, explains organization's opposition to Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr ...

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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