Saturday, September 25, 2010
Asians Need to Be More Angry
There's a sight I've seen way too many times at comedy clubs lately, and I'd like to share it with you. Maybe I'm overreacting but it always helps to get a second opinion. I always cringe when I see Asian people sitting up front at a show because I know they're going to be in for a long night. Every comedian has a few go-to jokes when things aren't going well, or just to bridge the space between jokes. Some people go for fart jokes, and some work the crowd. Comedians know Asians are easy targets because A. everybody seems to laugh at Asian stereotypes, B. most Americans don't actually know anything about Asians or Asian Americans, and C. Asians never stand up for themselves. This never happens with Black people in the audience, unless the comedian is supremely confidant or supremely stupid. The average comedian won't just up and come after a Black audience member, especially if there are a lot of Black people in the audience because, well, we don't play that. We are known to destroy a persons whole character onstage, and sometimes continue it in the parking lot after the show. Seasoned comedians can insult a Black audience because they know how to temper their jokes with truth, or be somewhat self-deprecating at the same time. Above all else, a joke making fun of a Black audience has to be funny.
Too many times I've seen comedians make tired, old, cliche, unfunny jokes at the expense of Asians just because it is easy and because the people in the audience usually respond. I know for a fact that Asians, Indians, Africans, Latinos don't like being confused for one another. It's a sure bet if you call every Latino you meet Puerto Rican, you are taking your life in your own hands. But comedians, and people in general will often refer to every Asian person they meet as Chinese, which really pisses off anyone who isn't Chinese. Asians, like all other races, have their intra-racial stereotypes that cause them to like or dislike each other, and it's pretty insulting to just assume anyone Asian is Chinese, as China is not exactly the most popular country in Asia. Likewise, people who say "oh they're all the same" are just ignorant and useless. On this night in particular a couple of Filipino girls sat up front, and I felt so sorry for them, as many of the comedians used them for every Asian stereotype joke possible. They stoically sat there and took the abuse, but in the back I was angry for them. I have Filipino friends and a Filipino ex girlfriend, so I know a little about the culture. The comedian went on making stupid jokes about eating dogs and things like that. I was offended 1, because those are Chinese stereotypes, not Filipino, and 2, they weren't funny, just insulting. I always say, if you're going to be a racist, be an Informed racist. Have your stereotypes straight with your ethnicity. The #1 rule of making racist jokes is that they have to be more funny than offensive. As the night went on she admitted she knew nothing of them or their country (admitting to ignorance is a personal pet peeve of mine) and kept referring to them as "pinos" which I'm fairly certain is a racial slur. Other comedians came up and made comments making them out to be subservient Asian sex toys, talking about the, ahem, restrictive properties of their uterus and other things that I can only imagine were mortifying for them. All the while I became more and more angry because I thought about what it would be like if those were Black girls, even if that could and would never happen to Black girls. The mostly White audience, of course was eating it up, but I and many of the other comedians just seemed to feel uncomfortable. These were people who came out to an Open Mic and were being supportive, they didn't come there to be insulted. Especially not insulted in an unfunny way.
I feel I should say I am far from against insulting the audience, especially if they deserve it. I am all for making crude and offensive jokes at the audiences expense; this is something I hope to become better at myself. But I think that it should always be done with a sense of humor, and when those people go home they should remember the night fondly and want to come back another time, no matter how badly they got dissed. I feel like those girls had a horrible time, and I hope that they will look past that night and give comedy another chance, just not in the front row.
My point is, Asian people need to act a fool every now and then. Say what you want about Black people, but it's generally accepted that, much like Werewolves and Robert Bruce Banner, it is not a good idea to make us angry. I feel like if Asian people got angry more often, White people wouldn't take such liberties with your culture. I know it isn't very Asian to make a fuss, but there are plenty enough of you who are first and second generation Americans on the East Coast now. You are well aware of how to show your ass when somebody pisses you off, just like a Real American should. To be quiet and respectful is un-American. The next time somebody asks you if you eat dog, make them eat dog shit. The next time somebody asks you if you sucky-sucky, tell them to suck yo dick, bitch. The next time someone makes slanty-eyes at you punch them in the face repeatedly until their eyes stay that way. You have the inalienable right to be an Asshole like any other American, so use it.
Except for Indians. You guys are big enough Assholes as it is.