Rosie O’Donnell’s publicist thinks Asians just don’t get the joke

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I guess Rosie O’Donnell, like Michael Richards, believes she’s not a racist.

First came the non-apology via her blog (for some bizarre reason she blogs in uh, poetry, not prose):

1) Rosie:
for someone who comes off to be so sensitive and aware of lgbt issues, why did you think it was alright to mock Chinese people and the language on The View (re:danny devito: ching chong …)???

it was not my intent to mock
just to say how odd it is
that danny drunk
was news all over the world
even in china

it was not meant to mock

2) hi rosie,
i thought your impression of the news in china was a little offensive! it’s ok, though, I still love you-

didnt mean it 2 b offensive
in any way

3) Rosie, what made you think it was okay to make fun of the way Chinese people speak?

the joke was about the danny devito drunk news
making headines all over the world
including china
just comedy folks
no intent 2 harm


And even more offensively, her publicist basically dismissed the entire Asian-American community. (For the record, everyone from New York City Councilman John Liu to the Asian-American Journalists Association has spoken out about this.) From

Cindi Berger, publicist for O’Donnell said, “She’s a comedian in addition to being a talk show co-host. I certainly hope that one day they will be able to grasp her humor.”

Hmmm…. I guess those white kids who pulled their eyes back and sang “ching chong, ching chong” on my first day of class when I was in second grade had the same sophisticated sense of humor as Rosie. Perhaps one day I too, will reach that level of enlightenment.

(Thanks to Geraly and Phil C. for the updates!)

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Reclaiming racist!!!

by guest contributor Dumi, originally published at

“I’m not a racist.” Another variation on it is often, “I’m not a racist but…” or better yet, “Are you trying to say I’m a racist?” All three of these things are beginning to make me literally sick to my stomach. A few weeks back Michael Richards’ outburst set the blogosphere on fire, which in turn set the media a fire, which in turn drove Richards to say, “The funny thing is, I’m not a racist.” Well to Mr. Richards and all others who utter these words, I have one simple comment, “Yes, (fill in name here), you are a racist.” Many folks get jarred by this statement, so read it again in the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” tone. Does that help you stomach it?

I tend to let my mind ferment during the evening by watching reality TV or playing my Nintendo DS (oh it’s so great!). Tonight, I opted for Reality TV. I decided to watch the Real World Denver (no I don’t think I have a real reason to watch this trash, but I did). Tonight’s episode was yet another “big race episode” (this reminds me of when they would say things like, “Next week, a very special Webster” remember that? I digress). The characters end up in a tussle and the N word is barked by a drunken White male, Davis, within earshot of at least one Black roommate. I’ll summarize so you don’t have to watch the episode, they (producers) take the White roommate away for the night to a hotel and he returns the next day so the cast can talk it out. The result, the Black roommates forgive him and he says… you guessed it, “I’m not racist.” One Black roommate Tyrie asked him (and I paraphrase) “So I just want to know, when you used that word. Where did it come from? Is that something you’ve been thinking or did it come out of anger or…?” Davis quickly responded, “Out of anger.” This was particularly important to me because I knew once Tyrie gave him an “out” – mentioning anger, he would immediately jump at that reason. The episode closes with the Black roommates forgiving him and Davis staying so he can show them he can “watch what he says” and “he’s not a racist.” Dammit, you are a racist!

Now if any of you reading have had the pleasure (or pain) of sitting in on one of my guest lectures on race and ethnicity you know about this. Towards the beginning of the lecture I have all the people in attendance point to their neighbor and say, “You’re a racist” and then have them point to their other neighbor and say, “You’re a racist.” After people follow in a Pavlovian style they usually look back at me, half of them with some form of pissed expression. I then allay their fears by saying, “Now that everyone has been called a racist and called at least one person a racist, we can stop being scared of being labeled a racist.” The label racist is avoided like Jehovah’s Witness’ on a Saturday morning.

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Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#51)!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Karen Walrond in this episode. Karen is a writer and photographer, and author of the blog Chookooloonks. She’s also a columnist for New Demographic’s blog Anti-Racist Parent.

After listener feedback, Karen and Carmen discuss the following four news items:

Please help us reach new listeners by voting for us on Podcast Alley, reviewing us on Yahoo’s podcast directory and reviewing us in iTunes.

Check out this great introduction for the new podcast listener from iTunes. It breaks down all the different ways you can find podcasts, listen to them, subscribe to them, and so on.

Duration – 42:22
File Size – 17.1 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 51
Click here to never miss an episode by subscribing to us in iTunes
click the button below to play it immediately

links for 2006-12-11

Guy Aoki anoints Adam Carolla as an honorary Asian?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Adam carolla guy aokiHuh interesting… Guy Aoki, co-founder and president of the media watchdog group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) practically anointed Adam Carolla as an honorary Asian when he appeared on his show on Thursday to discuss the Rosie O’Donnell ching chong incident.

From Angry Asian Man:

Guy Aoki was the Adam Carolla Show yesterday to talk about the incident. Yeah, you read that right—Guy Aoki and Adam Carolla. They’re like buddies now. Carolla considers himself “in” with Asians, having gone through fire, and somehow now a better man. Yeah, some of us aren’t so forgiving. Listen to the show segment here. Please. Did Guy Aoki give Carolla a Yellow Pass or something? Because it’s obvious to me that Carolla, who’s smug and patronizing throughout this clip (granted, he’s always like that), still doesn’t get it or give a damn. He’s just going through the motions and still doing penance for his own “ching chong” bit gone wrong. Please, stop.

Click the play button below to listen to the interview yourself or click here to download the MP3:

As activists, it’s important for us to keep good relationships with media people. But I think that can be done without quite so much sycophancy, especially when the person you’re fawning over himself used the ching chong routine just 8 months ago to mock the Asian Excellence Awards.

Is 8 months the statute of limitations on being offended by racial mockery? I guess I didn’t get the memo.

I have a lot of respect for the work Guy Aoki has done over the years in speaking out harmful media depictions of Asian-Americans. But I’d like to see him take a harder line against people like Carolla from now on.

links for 2006-12-09


by Carmen Van Kerckhove

congratulationsJust a quick note to congratulate a couple of our friends in the blogosphere for winning awards recently.

First up, congratulations to Tariq Nelson, who blogs about “the problems faced by different groups within the American Muslim community, the American Muslim Community as a whole and the Ummah in general in hopes of creating some dialogue to solve the problems.” Tariq just won in the “Best Thinker” category for the Brass Crescent Awards!

And congratulations also to the blog gay persons of color for winning two Canadian Blog Awards: gold in the Best Cultural Blog category, and silver in the Best New Blog category! The (anonymous) man behind the site is “a native Montrealer, gay, male, Filipino, Asian, Pacific-Islander, Québécois, Canadian, English-speaking, French-speaking, North American, and more depending on how you see. I am looking to document and explore the diverse vantage points of being gay and of color.”

In case you missed it…

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic’s various projects. Here we go!

addicted to raceADDICTED TO RACE
a podcast about America’s obsession with race

  • Episode 50: Jen and Carmen discuss Jen’s transition out of the New Demographic co-director role.

anti-racist parentANTI-RACIST PARENT
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

  • Jealousy: Everytime I hear about an adoptee who has reunited with their families, the green-eyed monster makes a visit. I have witnessed three reunions and have had many more friends reunite with their bio families and while I am beside myself with happiness for them, it also reminds me that I am still waiting.
  • Columnist Intro – Dawn: I remember cradling him while my exhausted husband slept on the pull-out couch in the corner of my hospital room. I gazed lovingly into his perfect little scrunched up face and thought, “Oh my god – I had a white male!”
  • Gratuitous Cute Kid Pic: Anti-Racist Parent Rebecca writes: “This picture was taken at my moms house as Lauren (6) and Jacob (2) were meeting their baby sister Norah for the very first time. They were so excited and so gentle with her. This shot perfectly captured that sweet moment.”
  • Columnist Intro – Michelle: I guess at first glance, I would appear to be a good candidate as a contributor for the Anti-Racist Parent: I’m a biracial woman (mother is Korean, father is white) who is married to black man, and we have 3 mixed race children: 2 girls (9-years-old and 20 months) and 1 boy (3-years-old). I also have 4 black, teenage stepsons.

a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World