by Carmen Van Kerckhove
It seems like several different publications are using the Ask a [Member of Ethnic Group] format to tackle race issues and/or poke fun at race and racism. Check out episode 21 of Addicted to Race for a discussion of the limitations of racial satire.
We all remember Paul Mooney’s Ask a Black Dude segments on The Chappelle Show. But have you checked out Seattle Weekly’s Ask a Mexican columns? (Thanks to Mark for the tip!) I’m not such a fan, especially not of the rather offensive caricature they use to illustrate the column. Here’s an excerpt:
My girls and I work at a Mexican restaurant, and the Mexican cooks are so infatuated with the Mexican Sandwich. Is this a cultural practice for all horny amigos? –From the Curious Center of the Mexican Sandwich
This column has discussed many of the Mexican male’s courting rituals, from lecherous whistles to stares that can bore through underwire bras and the ever- romantic slap on the ass. But few gestures are more revered amongst Mexican men than the torta, what you call the Mexican Sandwich. Two hombres grab an unsuspecting mujer—preferably a gabacha—and proceed to bump and grind her à la Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan’s “Night at the Roxbury” skit on Saturday Night Live. Instant torta!…
That column apparently inspired the blog Ask a Korean! Here’s an excerpt from that blog’s take on “the million dollar question:”
Why do Korean men beat their wives, and can I get any hints on how I canbeat my wife like a Korean? –Married in Manhattan
Why do Korean men beat their wives?
Because the Korean wives never listen. (Rimshot.)
…why are Korean men singled out as wife beaters? The Korean’s hunch is that it’s because Korean men are compared to Chinese and Japanese men. It is well-chronicled that Chinese men are traditionally their women’s bitches. (Chinese men cook and everything!) Japanese men used to have some balls, but they were neutered in the process of getting rich. That only left Korean men to carry the torch in the region.
DiversityInc has also gone with this format, albeit for much more sincere reasons. I give props to Luke Visconti for tackling some tough questions in his column, Ask the White Guy. His latest one had me cracking up:
Would not “giving” black contractors 2 percent of the available job, reserving that portion for blacks just because they are black, actually be easily understood, clearly defined reverse discrimination? And wouldn’t it also be patronizing, condescending, and unfair? Does it really help those presumed disadvantaged to give them free things solely because of the color of their skin?
It seems to have helped white people.