Monday, March 15, 2010

Asian Activism Banned By Major Corporations

On March 14th, 2010, YouTube/Google banned my spoken poetry piece "To Seung-Hui Cho" because it violated their guidelines for inciting violence and hate speech. I will not be quiet, I will stand up and fight.

But today, another major corporation shuts down another Asian American voice. I got word from a fellow activist that Facebook shut down a facebook group called: People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie. The group has been around since the early days of the protest against the whitewashed casting of M. Night Shymalan's live action adaptation of the "The Last Airbender" and as of last week had almost 6,000 members. The original cartoon show featured Asian and Inuit characters, heroes portrayed by people of color and as such, the show was celebrated for its inclusive diversity. This group was formed because in the movie version, the ethnicities of its Asian and Inuit characters are erased and put to the background while Paramount cast white actors to play lead characters of color. Racebending is calling out to all of its members to boycott the movie when it comes out. They have had an impressive following and stood firm despite many oppositions. On March 15th, 2010, Facebook sent the owners of the group this message:

The group “People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie” has been removed because it violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, groups that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down groups that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

The Racebending staff has issued a statement Facebook to ask what the facebook group exactly violated. While Facebook does respond to its users every now and then, YouTube/Google has not been kind enough to put a customer service contact and their phone number points people to useless information that they do not need. My battle with YouTube will continue but I cannot expect them to put up my original video back...only my response titled "YouTube/Google Restricts Racial Identity Expressions" will hold. The people can only wait if Facebook will ever respond and explain why the group was removed.

Action will be taken and this incident will go public if two things happen: if there is no response in seven days or if Facebook does declare that the Racebending group is indeed offensive and deserves to be taken down while groups that dedicate itself to assassinating Obama are still up.

I am already doing that for YouTube/Google because they don't care about their users at all (I can only say this because there is NO way to actually contact YouTube when it comes to customer service). I hope the same can't be said for Facebook.

"Know Your Enemy" by Rage Against the Machine is my mood right now. Fight the power, fight the system that dares to silence us.


pgee said...

This is all so ridiculous! sigh..

nemogbr said...

The original accusation was whitewashing, but Paramount decided to muddy the issue by casting the brown people as background and casting Dev Patel.

Akin to how Wesley Snipes was cast in Rising Sun. Confuse the issue.
They can defend themselves against the whitewashing accusation when they can point to the non-white cast members.

Reasons why Racebending became the group name. Detractors do make the accusation that the word was created by the fans, but it was also used to describe Robert Downey Jr.'s blackface in Tropic Thunder.

The first usage, I remember, is from Patrick Stewart's 1997 role as a white Othello in an otherwise black cast.

traci said...

Thanks so much for being vigilant with what you're doing and for letting people know about it. Just saw your blog for the first time as a link was posted over a news feed on FB. i'll check in again and keep up with your thoughts and actions. onelove - oneness, not sameness :)