Friday, January 8, 2010

Fighting a losing battle on ignorance & Asian ethnic slurs

"WELCOME TO THE GREATEST JAPANESE GAME SHOW! CHING CHONG BEAUTIFUL!!!", a Flash animation website that was created by Tom Fulps and started ion.  July 6, 1995. It was a website that I looked forward to for finding flash animations that are beautiful works of art and highly entertaining.

But everything changed when I found "Ching Chong Beautiful" featured on their front page.

Ching Chong gameplay

More slanty face

Even more slanty face

Featuring a white guy obsessed with Asian culture! Japanese game show parody! Hilarious Asian accents! Yellowface!

**Insert canned laughter**

In my protest against this game, I'm once again reminded that I need to get a "sense of humor", "stop bitching", and stop being a "drama queen". Non-Asians and Asians alike who immediately jump on me for standing up to my beliefs. One Indian commentator who tried to separate the Asian connection between the two of us by saying that I was an overreacting asshole overreacting and made sure to say that he was Indian and had nothing to do with me. Another guy who stated that he was Asian and told me I needed to shut up because I was making the Asians look bad.

While this game has been featured on AngryAsianMan and Racialicious, they washed their hands of this and are dealing with other more pressing events that they get information from. For me, I'm stubbornly fighting a battle that I know can't be won. About a flash game. On a Flash animations website. Yet I wanted to test and see what would happen when I state my opinion that the title of the game was derived from an American ethnic slur. What would be the responses that I would get? Would there be anyone to support me or would more people claim that I was causing unnecessary trouble? Would Non-Asians and Asians alike jump at me and accuse me of being too whiny or that I'm making Asians look bad? From the responses that I got down below, it seems that I got the whole schenanigan. I'm reminded how incredibly lonely it is to voice an opinion that is immediately shunned and yet it presses me to press forward. The question that I now have is, are there some battles that are worth fighting and keeping fighting for, or are there times when we need to quit and live to fight another day?

With that said, I leave you with the letter I wrote to the Newgrounds company:

First off, I think I may be alone in the Newgrounds community for expressing this belief.

I find the name of "Ching Chong Beautiful", the game created by The-Swain and JohnnyUtah to be extremely problematic. I've had hostile e-mails written to me by JohnnyUtah and I know for sure I can't get a civil discussion out of him.

IF YOU ARE READING THIS, I am not looking for people to jump on me and think that I'm being ignorant and need to "get over it", "stop being a drama queen", or "get a sense of humor", or God forbid, I'm being a "racist" as well. I'm looking for people who agree with what I say. I'm also looking for people who if they don't agree with me, they will have an open mind and at least understand where I'm coming from.

With that said, this is my main beef with CCB:

First off, the name was something I could not get JohnnyUtah and The-Swain to understand as the former told me that: "i think you're completely overreacting, id already had plenty of asian people tell me they thought it was funny. if that makes me a dick then so be it." The latter gave me a more long-winded explanation to why it was appropriate.

Arguments that other Asian people find this hilarious or acceptable DOES not mean that racist slurs & imagery are okay. While it obviously complicates the matter and makes people like me be put on the spotlight for not having any humor, it only avoids the simple issue that once again, racism (whether subtle or overt) is still very much real.

A racist slur is STILL a racist slur. And on top of that, the game is loaded with incredibly demeaning stereotypical images that makes the Asian person and culture look like a less-than-desired foreign object.

There is an incredibly large fanbase around the world, and a good part of the fanbase are people of Asian descent. Imagine what it's like for them to check out their favorite flash website, and only to have a game featured on the front page that blatantly mocks their identity and their culture. If they protest or question about it, they are immediately dismissed and ridiculed for not having a sense of humor or that they didn't "get it". Incidents like these are repeated over and over and while the mainstream media isn't aware of this, these people of Asian descent become conflicted whether or not it's appropriate to stand up for their beliefs when everybody tells them making fun of Asian people is okay.

I don't want to do a comparison test but if the game was called "Negro Paradise" or "Wetback Wonders", I do not believe that would fly so well with the general public. However, the name of "Ching Chong Beautiful" comes in and nobody breaks a sweat. Newgrounds, like the mainstream media, has allowed the idea that it is acceptable to mock Asian culture and identity, as part of a punch line.

I do want to argue that I am not one of those guys who think it's totally okay to make fun of white people for their racial identity as well. But unfortunately, any racial slurs for white people do not carry the same negative weight in comparison to racial slurs against people of color.

I understand that Japanese game shows are indeed ridiculous and over the top. JohnnyUtah responds: "Why don't you go spend your time boycotting those japanese gameshows that are making their culture more of a fucking joke than swain or I ever could."

But understand that these game shows IS their culture and just because people happen to find it stupid does not mean their standards or culture compared to another one are any better or worse.

If there's anything I want, a goal, I hope that if there are people who express my same beliefs, that they are not afraid to speak out. I hope there are people out there who at least see where I'm coming from, even if they don't agree with me. I can only hope.

Here are some of the more memorable responses that I got:

The only person that agreed with me or saw where I was coming from:
"First off, I agree that the flash title is racist to some extent. If you find it offensive, I caution you to avoid large sections of this site, as there are many more offensive things to uncover.

And you're correct that the community as a whole would become more upset if the name was a different sort of racial slur (I believe you used the words "Negro" and "Wetback"). However, this double standard of racism extends further than Newgrounds - into society as a whole - as "Asian American Racism" seems to frequently fall by the wayside when compared to "African American Racism" and "Hispanic/Latino American Racism".

I don't know whether this passivity regarding Asian American Racism is the result of the fact that the TYPE of stereotypes used for Asian Americans (smart, short, etc) are not as harsh as the stereotypes used in racist comments regarding Hispanic Americans and African Americans. Needless to say, you're fighting an uphill battle regarding Asian American Racism within the American society as a whole, let alone within the Newgrounds community.

So, again, I can understand where you are coming from - but just know that this indifference towards Asian American Racism did not originate on Newgrounds but is a (regrettable) theme throughout American society, so you can't put all of the blame on Newgrounds or the creators of Ching Chong Beautiful."

The rest did not:

"Overreacting asshole is overreacting. I'm Indian and when ever anyone brings up a racial stereotype, I counter it with another racial stereotype about my race."

"People like the OP are why there are so many problems in the world. So many things have been destroyed by political correctness gone mad, and I would hate to see bastions like Newgrounds falling to the forces of lameness. Look up 'context' in the dictionary, and start applying it to situations where you apparently see racism and prejuduce, rather than just assuming that every single person who makes any kind of comment against a race which can be deemed offensive also wants to go out on the streets and lynch members of said race. Being offended by things is nothing but self-indulgent nonsense. EVERYBODY has free will. If you don't like something you can choose to turn it off. There is nothing I hate more than self-righteous pricks who launch crusades against things because apparently THEY didn't like it. I mean, to think that something should be changed or removed just because it offended your sensibilities, how much more self-centered can you get? People who are offended by things, you are not special. Your opinion isn't more valid because you had some bullshit experience in the past where someone was mean to you. Everyone has actually experienced these things. I mean, to be honest, the OP offends me because he actually took the time to complain about something on a site like Newgrounds, so should he be deleted? I mean, thats the rationale behind these people isn't it? I was offended by something so make it go away, NOW! Anyway, to quote the immortal words of Dylan Moran: "There is nothing wrong with prejudice. It reminds us of who we are".

"I'm Asian and i don't think that game is offensive. IF you think the game is offensive then you must have slanted eyes , a moustache and the body of a goldfish. You're giving us Asians a bad name, not all Asians are Chinese pricks like you"

"This kid's messing with words and trying to make it seem like he's being specifically targeted by the game. All I can really say to you, immigrantsong, is, ching chong wonton honorable general."

"You're mistaken, racism is when a certain ethnic group is discriminated because of their race. The terms "Ching chong" Aren't racist, Asians aren't being discriminated in any way, shape or form when it's being used, it's considered ignorant more than racist, and even that is eliminated because this was used as a form of comedy."

"Well, I'm American of Asian decent, and I find it hilarious. When people actually whine about racial insensitivity, it just shows how much you lack a sense of humor. Racism is the belief that one race is superior, and Ching Chong Beautiful is not racist, it just pokes fun with stereotypes. Wars are started because people can't laugh. Do you know what that means?

You're Hitler."

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