I Didn't Want to Write a Rant About That Racist O'Reilly Factor Segment, But I Couldn't Help It

This sort of garbage angers and saddens your fellow (Asian) Americans because it's clear how much of a joke our existence is on this side of the world.
Publish date:
October 6, 2016
racism, asian american, fox news

Less than a few seconds into a Fox "News" segment from The O'Reilly Factor called "Watters World," pretty much right after I heard that stereotypical “Chinese” chord progression you hear in that "Kung Fu Fighting" song, I was like “Oh, this is not gonna be good…”

I was expecting it to be not OK mostly just from the angry Facebook commentary of my Asian friends. Basically: shared link, here is a racist thing, how could they, a million “angry face” reactions.

I didn't click through immediately because honestly I have a lot of productive things I should be doing on any given day that don't include consuming blatant racism in cringingly ignorant schoolyard-bully packaging. I grew up in white suburban America. I have been thoroughly indoctrinated in that brand of racist ignorance and I'm good on seconds, thanks.

Just in case you need your fill:

Should you be unwilling or unable to watch that, here's a spoiler: an old (OK, not that old — like maybe late 30s/early 40s?) white dude goes to Chinatown to talk to Asian folk about politics because China was mentioned so many times in the presidential debate. He mostly ends up asking dopey-ass questions like if an herbalist has anything to “enhance performance” or how do Asian people dance in clubs. All intercut with unrelated movie footage to really lay on the yuks.

Most of his interview subjects are polite yet visibly befuddled because WHO THE FUCK CARES ABOUT YOUR QUESTIONS, DUDE? They are dumb questions. I can imagine these people going about their day, stopped on the street by a dude in a suit with a Fox News microphone and a very official-looking cameraman, expecting to be asked a relevant thing about actual news or local events and fucko over here is like, “Do you know karate?”

Hilariously, this segment was probably intended to be a light off-the-cuff culture piece, but it mostly served to show how ignorantly racist, unaware and dumb the folks at Fox News are. Look, you're Fox News. You've got money, you've got resources. You've got PEOPLE. I can't imagine how many eyes and hands had a part in this segment’s creation from filming, editing and all that and no one was like “HEY THIS IS NOT A GREAT LOOK FOR US GUYS, JUST SAYING.”

Or maybe it was an inside job of some editing guy who really wanted to just make this Jesse Watters guy look as deplorably repugnant as possible because he slept with his wife or something. In that case, well done, editing guy! You really got him!

I cannot allot too much emotional and mental energy to this because feeling shitty about ignorant racist attitudes in a public sphere is so common that it is exhausting. It's not my job to educate anyone on racism, and I wouldn't want that job anyway. Also, from what I've seen, people of color teaching white people about racism or microaggressions and the like don't quite resonate like hearing it from other white people. Hate to say it, but POC have been complaining about/enduring racism since forever and only relatively recently has it been that white attitudes are agreeing with the notion that they've collectively been super-unchill about respecting non-whites as equal, deserving humans.

Yeah, that probably sounds pretty glib, but the constant needling reminders of how Asian I am in the eyes of non-Asian Americans is a huge fucking eye roll to me.

Anytime someone compliments my exotic beauty, when a stranger randomly asked me if I prefer kimchee to dim sum, when a doctor told me that she heard that anesthetics take to Asians quicker than other races so let's just start cutting (that happened when I was 16), when every goddamn person asks “no but where are you really from?” or “but where are your parents from?” Oh, and how can I forget the menacingly confident “Ni hao mas” and “konichiwas” that get hurled at me entirely too regularly?



Eye roll.

Have you met me and I came off like a huge bitch to you? There's a 90 percent chance you probably opened with something ignorant about my racial appearance to me.

See, now I'm ranting. I never meant to do a rant! But this is what happens when there is this sort of garbage material that angers and saddens your fellow (Asian) Americans because it's clear how much of a fucking joke our existence is on this side of the world. Notice how the jabbing is so lighthearted and stupidly unaware that its lack of menace is deemed acceptable to air? That the attitude is unaggressive and aloofly dismissive, so how could this be hurtful?

No one needs to become an expert on Asian culture, but I feel like not being a total insensitive weirdo about it is a fair ask. Baiting Asian people with Asian stereotypes is not clever. It's not edgy. I mean, just witness this fool. He looks dim as shit.

I feel like this should be a pretty simple concept to understand so everyone can, like, live? Then again, trying to argue any rationale with someone who doesn't seem to have any — at least when it comes to this issue — is like trying to teach a camel to swim. Not technically outside the realm of possibility, but it doesn't need to, so why would it?