Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is sad, sad, sad...

For the first time in Ivy League history, an Asian American has been appointed President. Dr. Jim Young Kim, a Korean American, has been announced as the next Dartmouth College President. Instead of celebrating this wonderful occasion, his announcement was marred by the following email sent through the Dartmouth listserv:

Date: March 3, 2009 11:06:39 AM EST
To: GOOD-MORNING@LISTSERV.DARTMOUTH.EDU
Subject: Good Morning

This is the Generic Good Morning Message for March 3, 2009.

Yesterday came the announcement that President of the College James Wright will be replaced by Chinaman Kim Jim Yong. And a little bit of me died inside.

It was a complete supplies.

On July 1, yet another hard-working American's job will be taken by an immigrant willing to work in substandard conditions at near-subsistent wage, saving half his money and sending the rest home to his village in the form of traveler's checks. Unless "Jim Yong Kim" means "I love Freedom" in Chinese, I don't want anything to do with him. Dartmouth is America, not Panda Garden Rice Village Restaurant.

Y'all get ready for an Asianification under the guise of diversity under the actual Malaysian-invasion leadership instituted under the guise of diversity. It's a slippery slope we are on. I for one want Democracy and apple pie, not Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. I know I sure as shit won't ever be eating my Hop dubs bubs with chopsticks. I like to use my own two American hands.
The e-mail was sent to students and alumni and was supposedly a satirical compilation of the day's news written by a student intern. Apparently the author "of the original e-mail apologized for “inappropriate” and “insensitive” comments in an e-mail to the GGMM listserv on Tuesday, saying that the comments were intended to be satirical. The GGMM staff also offered a follow-up apology, saying they regretted their lack of oversight." (Dartmouth.com) Apparently the author has not been punished as it was decided that this matter "did not warrant college disciplinary action" because Dartmouth has no speech code. Nice Dartmouth! Link for article.

Wow. Trying to write this off by saying it is not racist because it was just a joke is nearly as offensive as the email itself. And no disciplinary action taken? Ok, fine, but can you at least post up the writer's name and home address please? Me and a billion other Chinamen would like to meet with him in person. And for the record, a billion other people who are not Asian but are just as offended by this horrible email will also line up behind us.

Seriously, this is so not funny - well, it's probably funny... if you are a racist. I bet the neo-Nazis and the KKK were howling over this one. And once again, the comments and responses remind us that being racist towards Asians is just par for the course. What's the big deal? It's just a bad joke! Get over it! Reminds me of the whole Miley Cyrus episode. Comments are nearly identical. What's the big deal? They are just kidding around! Stop overreacting! In fact, in my Miley post, even after I made a plea to people to understand that the chinky eyes was offensive and racist to us Asian Americans, someone still posted a comment telling me I was overreacting. Yes a non-Asian, who has no idea of what it feels like to be called a slanty eyed chink, telling me I was overreacting. Thanks. So yeah, there is this complacency in society that seems to accept racism towards Asians as not being racist and if someone like me objects to it, well just roll your eyes and sneer at us chinky eyed, bad driving, buck-toothed, math loving nerds.

Historically, Asians have had a difficult time in this country. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese internment camps. Let's not forget how Hawaii's rightful monarch was overthrown in order to be annexed by the US so that native Hawaiian's would be stripped of their property all for the benefit of the USA. But why is it that Asian's don't speak up? Many believe it is because our very culture teaches us to swallow bile and repress our anger. But no longer. We cannot be the silent minority any longer.

To all the Asians out there, stop swallowing the Chink jokes. Stop being quiet over the slanty-eyed comments, the bad driving and the Charlie Chan impersonations. There is enough outrage out there from all the communities to support our own. Racists are loud and ugly, but they are the minority now. And we need to teach them that this isn't funny. We need to teach them to stop passing on this demeaning hate to their children. We can't afford to be quiet anymore. Black, white, Asian, Latino, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Hindi, whatever you are, the world is changing. The time is right to speak up. Join me, for I am shouting.

25 comments:

Mike Jung said...

I'm joining you, ello. Thanks for the thoughtful, informed, and rightfully angry post. This email is a joke, all right, but not the way Dartmouth's so-called "apology" means. It's a joke that such a respected institution allows this to happen, then shrugs it off as meaningless high spirits. It's a joke that society has progressed so far, in so many ways, and yet is still burdened with such a profound degree of idiocy and venom. It's a joke that anyone thinks a message like this is satirical. It's racist. End of argument.

angelle said...

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

how can this person NOT BE PUNISHED?! what kind of educational institution is it if dartmouth cannot crack down on its students for being racist. that's not a joke. a joke is an offhand comment. we can all appreciate an off-color "joke" once in awhile. this email is disrespectful and ignorant and the fact that it was allowed to be sent to AN ENTIRE STUDENT BODY is just beyond me. this is not a situation of "oops, made a bad judgment/poor taste in a joke". i'd expect that if you go to a school like dartmouth, a place so prestigious, that you'd know better than that. if this is our best and brightest, then we're in for some trouble.

where's a DAMN PETITION SO I CAN SIGN IT?

Martha Flynn said...

I shouldn't have read this before bed because my blood is RAGING right now!!!

I remember being young and hit up with "where's Charlie" comments but not understanding them because I didn't realize it was a derogatory term for the Vietnamese and then wondering why it was supposed to be bad, and why did people think it was funny, and what was wrong with me that I didn't get it.

So to everyone out there who thinks it's just a joke and not a big deal:

1. It may not be a big deal to you, but that doesn't mean it isn't a big deal to someone else - particularly impressionable kids.

2. It's not a very good joke. If you want to point out comical cultural differences, why don't you find a way that honors the differences, is uplifting and positive, and doesn't sound like every other lame joke I've heard - take up the challenge to actually be original and funny and not some second hand hack digging for obvious (and insulting) material.

Sustenance Scout said...

Thanks for writing about this, Ello. Contemporary forms of racism need to be highlighted so folks who claim to be colorblind understand that's a sentiment that's really not at all helpful. Racism still exists, and it won't go away if we pretend otherwise. Cheers from CO, K.

kathi430 said...

When did racism become amusing? I feel like I've been having this conversation far too often, where I patiently try to get the point across that it's NOT okay to mock another human being because of some facet of their appearance, that despite differences, we all feel pain and being made fun of HURTS.

It's frustrating. Dartmouth needs to make an example of the author of that email or they shout WE CONDONE THIS!

I'm finally over the guilt of not being able to afford an Ivy League school for my kids. They can't afford that kind of education.

*walks.away.grinding.teeth*

Lafreya said...

The student should be kicked out.Racism isn't going to go away quickly or quietly. There's a reason for the rise of hate group. We all are going to have to work harder.

Meg Wiviott said...

It's as if people don't recognize racism if it's a "joke". As if all those Polish/Italian/Jewish/African American "jokes" weren't intended to be derogatory.

Great post, Ello

Cheryl Kauffman said...

I am appalled that this person was not disciplined. It makes me very angry especially because I used to spend a lot of time at Dartmouth as a child. My dad used to go there every week for medical treatment and we went every winter for the winter festival. I am sorry you have to listen to stupid, ignorant people like this. Especially an institution which is supposed to be setting a good example. I would not want my kids going to a school like that.

JaneyV said...

Geezus. Seriously Ello this just beggars belief and it further beggars belief that the college swallowed that BS about it being satirical. This is hatred - pure and simple and dressing it up as a "joke" only serves to deepen the offense.

Re the Miley Cyrus photo; I was willing to understand that the girl was just pig ignorant when the picture was taken (some people just are not brought up with the right values) but the fact that she was then told how offensive it was and still didn't give a humble and contrite apology made me livid.

Thank you for shouting this out. Racism is not acceptable in any form. It simply isn't.

Merry Monteleone said...

Oh, I'd want my kids to go to a school like that - I'm pretty sure even my daughter could pummel the shit out of the little twit that wrote the email.

I can see why you're enraged, Ell, moreso, the first thing I thought on reading this was, "How must Dr. Kim feel?" I mean, what a huge accomplishment, and now he has to start with every single person he works with and sees having been privy to that email... if it was me, every time someone averted their eyes, I'd be wondering if they laughed at it or agreed with it...

This is deeper than only what it said - this wasn't just a slap at an entire race (which is bad enough) it was harrassment aimed at a specific person because of their race... using school facilities to do so....

As far as people thinking these things are funny... a lot of people do outgrow it, or move away from things they've heard through most of their lives... a lot of it is learned... but even when there's no more prejudice against this group or that group... there will be something else to differentiate... it's a human nature thing... it's something we always have to correct and not stand for... but we can't dwell on it either - otherwise, they win.

angelle said...

btw, i just realized i havent been getting any of your posts in my feed! boo! thats why ive been so absent!

out of the wordwork said...

Racism is one of the most appalling things in our society right now and for all the strides we've made - Dr. Kim's accomplishment being a shining example of the progress made - it is horrifying to read about these kinds of deliberately malicious actions. Bullsh--t that it was meant as a joke. The person(s)responsible should be held accountable and disciplined before Dartmouth's reputation is irrevocably tainted by this stupid, antagonistic action. Let's hope the outrage that I'm sure is spreading across the web makes them listen...

Nandini said...

Ugh! You're right. It's sad, sad, sad ...

And this is obviously and intentionally offensive. Anyone can see that. They should take action.

Congratulations to Dr. Kim. I'm so sorry this had to mar his historic appointment!

writtenwyrdd said...

That's apalling. First that someone would actually express such horrible things as if it were okay, and then to say "it was just a joke" and everyone in authority is glad ot have an excuse to do NOTHING? At the very least, Dartmouth should use this as an opportunity to correct their code of conduct rules!

Can I apologize on behalf of idiot racists who are of my race? Will it help? Gah. I'm so disgusted.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

That is so offensive and inappropriate. When, in the name of everything, will people wake up and realise that not only are we more alike than we are different, but more importantly, that we are all one. As a certain chicken friend of mine would say, "have you guys any idea how daft you look from up here, squabblig over petty differences when, ahem, you're one race, one species, one world."
What boggles the mind is that the offending git wasn't punished - not on!

Anlyledo said...

This is so awful. And disgusting that Dartmouth let it go. Unreal.

Demon Hunter said...

I am disgusted, but not surprised. People who don't experience racism are probably surprised, but I'm not. The student should be disciplined. Period

Thanks for posting this, Ello. And I will continue to shout about racism, as I have always done since I've been a teenager here in S.C. ;-)

J. L. Krueger said...

Wow Ello! This one pulls in a bunch of different directions.

First, on the emotional level, there is the visceral anger that rises up for those of Asian ancestry or those of us who are not Asian, but who have Asian family members. On this level there is the desire that the individual be punished, as many commenting here have expressed.

When the anger subsides, however, we have to step back and remember that in this country all speech, even the most vile hate speech, is protected by the First Amendment. That recognition does not excuse the offense, but should give us pause when demanding official sanction.

Still, I find it rather odd that most universities readily censor comments critical of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), even when the criticism is based on supportable scientific argument, but allow such insensitive publication through the gatekeepers. Or if such a comment was made reference an African-American, they’d be all over it.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

“There was an Irishman, a German and an Italian…”

It started a long time ago.

Christina Farley said...

One word. Unbelievable.

Angie said...

I can't believe Dartmouth didn't do anything to that idiot! :( At the very least, he/she should've been kicked out of whatever class or staff or group does the Good Morning messages, and I don't think suspension from the school for the rest of the term would've been too harsh either. How do they expect to clamp down on this kind of crap if they don't demonstrate that there are any consequences? [sigh]

JL -- I'll buy the freedom of speech argument if that same argument lets me insert "[Name of Person Who Wrote the Racist Message] is an ignorant, racist fuckwad" into tomorrow's Good Morning message. All in the name of freedom of speech.

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

That's disgusting. The world is so full of idiots you'd think they'd start falling off.

Btw, I'm wondering why suddenly about 20 of your posts came through my google reader. Did you post all these recently, or has it not been feeding into reader? If the latter is the case I'm sorry I missed 'em. I tend to rely on Google reader to tell me when folks post new stuff.

Angie said...

Charles -- it did the same thing to me. [nod] I just got half a dozen of Ello's posts all at one time. I've had that happen before too; I've gotten 6-10 of Steve Barnes's posts in big glops too. I use Google Reader too, so it's probably something with them. :/

Angie

Lisa said...

I'm speechless.

Kiki Hamilton said...

Thanks for posting Ello. You're right - racists are in the minority and it's up to the rest of us to stand up and say NO MORE. The poster should be kicked out and Dartmouth should institute a no tolerance policy for any kind of racism. NO MORE!

Steve Malley said...

I shout with you!

Search This Blog