‘The Departed’ full of racist Asian stereotypes

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

the departed martin scorceseI’m really looking forward to watching The Departed but I’m shocked to hear that it’s chock-full of Asian stereotypes. Which is ironic, of course, since it’s a remake of the great Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs.

Brian from Asia Pacific Arts wrote this quick report in to Angry Asian Man:

…it is surprisingly insensitive to Asians — namely, lots of inscrutable Chinese villains lurking around in seedy Chinatown, as well as some sinister mainland Chinese government agents who are made into inept fools by Jack Nicholson and his gang. It’s not a huge part of the movie, and normally I can tolerate the stereotypes, but in a film that’s so indebted to Hong Kong culture, it’s shocking that this is the way it choses to give back to the Chinese.

And Jenn at Reappropriate has this to say:

But the insult comes not in these caricatures of Chinese characters. No, the insult comes with Jack Nicholson’s dialogue, which blatantly invokes nearly every “amusing” anti-Asian joke one can bring to mind: from Chinese as spies, to Chinese as foreigners, to Chinese as un-American, to Chinese as emasculated, to Chinese dick-size jokes, to — and I quote — “No Tickee No Laundry”.

All in the span of five minutes.

…This is how Hollywood treats the people who gave birth to the film upon which the Departed is based. This is how visible our community is in Hollywood. And they wonder why we don’t go to theatres anymore: tonight, I spent $17 on a movie that basically spat in my face.

Ouch. Sounds like we’ve got another Crash on our hands.

Have you seen it yet? What do you think?

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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