Don’t Just #StopAsianHate

  • Yellow-face Geishas
  • Underage teens who sleep with high school gym teachers
  • Nail salon lady who points to her chest and says in a thick accent, “Let’s dance our titties off!”
  • Asian man named Dong
  • Kim Jong-un

These are the only Asian characters depicted in the work of Tina Fey, someone who I once deemed a clear-eyed sage in her writing of smart capable, lovable women. Through these roles, she normalized seeing Asians in a certain way, to be laughed at. For years I turned the other way when I saw this bc if she’s a well-regarded, savvy left-wing intellectual claiming it’s just a joke, then I’m probably just being hyper sensitive. I gaslit myself to credit this woman who never had any intention of empathizing with someone who looks like me. If I’ve allowed Tina Fey to write harmful depictions of me for so long and owned it as my problem, what dangerous path has she paved for all the other well-intentioned non-racist people out there with a platform?

Jay Leno recently made an apology for making decades of jokes about Asians. “At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless… there was an attitude that some group’s always complaining about something… Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke. Too many times I sided with this when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”

Sarah Silverman argued with Guy Aoki for 20 min, telling him how to feel about being called a “chink” in defending her chink joke. Though this was all years ago, when the broad response to our plea for empathy was, “Can no-one make a joke anymore?!”, the damage was done. Refusal to hear us when we said it was offensive, manifested into the way we treat Asians today. The price paid for these seemingly small but insidious choices, for a cheap laugh, is now Asian lives and livelihood. Then there’s Miley Cyrus…

So when you’re horrified that people are so quick to scapegoat us for Coronavirus, it doesn’t surprise us Asians. It didn’t happen just Bc the virus came from Wuhan. We are being targeted, humiliated and killed bc within people’s hearts lies a latent distrust and skepticism of Asians that’s been baked over time.

It irks me when I see #StopAsianHate. It’s should be #stop all the comments, jokes and actions that we see and know are wrong, happening in the moment. We, Asians aren’t allowing the jokes to slide any longer. Whoever you are, I’m pleading with you to speak out against anything directed toward marginalized groups when it feels wrong in your heart. Let’s be better. Be the new Jay Leno. #StopAsianHate

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