“Stupid Chinese” and “Japanese Devils” on Air Canada Flight

Air Canada 747 plane.

I randomly encountered an interesting anecdote involving “racism” my Weixin (aka WeChat) feed this afternoon, posted by someone I had likewise randomly exchanged contacts after a random meeting through a mutual friend. This guy was introduced to me as something of a “Chinese internet celebrity” on Weibo or Weixin or something, but I’ve never actually looked into it so I’m assuming he’s at least a minor online personality. Long story short, the fact that we once exchanged contacts and I haven’t yet deleted him means I get to see all of his “Moments” (WeChat’s name for people’s status updates on the social network) in my feed. The guy is currently vacationing in Canada, and below is one of his first posts into his trip:

飞机快降落时,同排的亚裔男子接听电话,满口日本话。前排的白人男子脱口就是“Stupid Chinese,Fxxx”。我立马拍了那白人,指着自己“Chinese”,然后指着电话男,“Japanese”,“We r different , u know?”结果,白人男子和日本鬼子同时道歉,因为飞机颠簸过于剧烈,我被迫勉强接受。

Translated:

As the plane was about to land, an Asian guy in my row picked up a phone call, and a bunch of Japanese came out of his mouth. The white guy in the row in front of us then blurts out, “Stupid Chinese, fuck”. I immediately tapped that white guy on the shoulder, pointed at myself and said “Chinese”, then pointed at the guy on the phone and said “Japanese. We are different, you know?” The white guy and the Japanese devil simultaneously apologize, and because the plane was jolting excessively, I was forced to reluctantly accept the apology [without continuing/pressing the matter].

There are at least three aspects of this anecdote that people may find noteworthy, and which of them one notices or notices first probably says a bit about oneself. I’ll list what jumped out at me, in the order it did:

  1. What the white guy blurted out loud, potentially to himself or a companion, perhaps thinking the target of his ire wouldn’t likely understand or not.
  2. The guy posting this anecdote being irked by the white guy’s “racist” generalization only to turn around and use a racial slur for the Japanese guy.
  3. The Japanese guy having his cell phone on and actually answering a call while still in the air, against well-known commercial flight regulations.

Japanese Dude Using His Phone In-Flight

I’m somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t even think much of the Japanese guy openly answering a call in-flight before being annoyed by the the white guy’s comment. Maybe my mind had already registered the English words and I had started reading the Chinese words with an intent to figure out the context leading to it so the detail about the Japanese guy using his phone before landing just fell into the background.

That said, how often do we hear about Chinese plane passengers disregarding regulations and flight attendant admonishments when it comes to turning off or keeping off their cell phones? Or about unbuckling and standing up before the plane has come to a complete stop? Misbehaving to outright unruly Chinese plane passengers are a fairly common stereotype, regardless of the causes, whether it be general ignorance/inexperience, some notion of the rules not applying to them, or that their infraction is ultimately “no big deal”.

In this context where Chinese passengers are regularly negatively stereotyped and often compared unfavorably against “Japanese people”, who are often simultaneously stereotyped as something akin to “model” Asians (in the eyes of many “Westerners”), polite and civilized next to the uncouth Chinese “peasantry”, it’s impossible to not see a misbehaving Japanese passenger as some sort of “balancing of the scales”.

The feeling here isn’t that the “Westerners” who regularly criticize the Chinese think all Japanese people are perfect; the feeling is more that some Westerners too often take their stereotyping and generalizations too far. Examples that run contrary to these exaggerated stereotypes and generalizations therefore force such Westerners to backpedal just a bit when they get a little too obnoxiously and unjustifiably judgmental. The feeling is a sort of vindication, against the feeling that one is painting one side too black and another side too white.

So yeah, “Hah! Japanese guy breaking the rules! It’s not just Chinese people!”

Of course, it’s hardly just Westerners who have a negative impression of Chinese passengers, and stereotypes often have some basis in truth. The defensiveness comes from how far some critics take them, along with their tones of condescension and self-righteousness. There’s criticism and then there is bashing, and that line gets crossed quite often.

"Sir, we haven't landed yet, please turn off your cell phone."

“Sir, we haven’t landed yet, please turn off your cell phone.”

White Dude’s “Stupid Chinese, Fuck!”

The racial slur for Chinese people is “chink”. For Japanese, “nip”. Koreans? “Gook”. There’s something for everyone. While “cracker” might be one for white people in an American context, an interesting though perhaps recent proposition is that the racial slur for white people has become: “racist”.

Is this white guy’s comment of annoyance “racist”? What if he said “Stupid Mexicans, fuck!”? Or how about “Stupid Arabs, fuck!”? Maybe “Stupid blacks, fuck!”?

Let’s be clear: there’s no difficulty in understanding the root and context of his annoyance. There’s this obviously Asian looking guy behind him, on a flight that may have started off in mainland China, who is seemingly shamelessly answering and then carrying on a phone conversation right before finally landing in Canada, when everyone has been clearly told that such telecommunications equipment could interfere with aircraft systems. The damn fucker is jeopardizing everyone’s lives, yo! Stupid fuck, fuck! How many times has he been told on how many previous flights he’s been on? Someone get a stewardess over to bitchslap this fucker upside the head with a shaming “what the fuck is wrong with you?” glare, right?

If the white guy had said “Idiot, fuck” or “Dumbass, fuck”, we probably wouldn’t have this anecdote. Calling a jackass a “jackass” is one thing, but invoking a racial or ethnic identity makes it another.

We know the white guy can’t distinguish between the Chinese and Japanese language. We can assume he has cause for thinking “Chinese” people are liable to disregard the rules and answer a call mid-flight. He’s probably even had lots of misleadingly vivid experiences with Chinese people not being good little plane passengers. No point denying that many haven’t been, aren’t, and that many people have encountered them with dismay.

But does it justify or excuse his reaction?

And if that’s how he reacts, by zeroing in on racial or ethnic identity, what does it say about his thought processes?

"Goddammit, you people, turn off your fucking phone now!"

“Goddammit, you people, turn off your fucking phone now!”

Chinese Dude’s “Japanese Devil”

Likewise, how almost funny it would be that this Chinese guy took issue with the white guy’s comment only to then refer to the Japanese guy as a “Japanese devil” if it weren’t so glaringly hypocritical? How can one avoid thinking, “oh, so it’d be okay if he said ‘stupid Japanese'”?

Racism, accidental or intentional, casual or otherwise, in speech, thought, or action can be really obnoxious. Introspectively, I even wonder if it is just those of us who grew up in the United States who are so sensitive about race-relations. Many Europeans I’ve come across seem to think Americans are more hung-up about it than others. I can grant that, though I think it’s a sociological issue worth being hung-up on, given how it subtly–even nefariously–shapes people’s worldviews and self-perceptions. We’re social creatures, so if we don’t shape society, society shapes us, for better or worse.

Right?

Hypocrisy is often even more obnoxious. This isn’t to say we aren’t all guilty of some measure of hypocrisy in our lives, because we all are. But there’s something doubly irksome about double-standards, about a Chinese guy being indignant about being conflated with a “Japanese devil” by a white guy. Was he more annoyed by the white guy’s racism or at being mixed-up with a “Japanese devil”? What was he objecting to?

What does that say about him?

So…

We know the white guy apologized, though it’s uncertain if it was for his racism or for his misidentification of the target’s ethnicity. We know the Japanese guy apologized, probably for doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing, and we can only hope he’s contrite about that. However, I’m waiting to see if the Chinese guy who shared this anecdote will respond to my comment asking him for the difference between what the white guy said and his “Japanese devil.”

To be fair to the Chinese guy here, judging by an earlier comment he posted (likely in response to someone else’s comment I can’t see because I’m not linked to that person), I’m not the only person who made a point about his own racial slur. That’s probably a credit to the other Chinese WeChat users he’s connected with.

And life goes on…

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  • kindbails

    Yawn

  • Sam

    Yeah, yawn. The article is so stereotypical Overseas Chinese… She is trying to be better than someone / anyone else. Is it too abstract to find a real hobby?

    • fr hy

      canucks bleah!!!!

  • Smartass

    Racism is unpleasant and not very constructive, I hate it, it’s dirty energy.

    Even though
    Hong Kong, a place with a Chinese majority, has been marked the
    worlds most racist place in 2013 (World Value Survey), I
    think there are more racist countries. Let’s be honest here. It’s the
    countries with a Chinese minority. Amy Chua, a Chinese American, which I
    appreciate for her ability to think outside of the Chinese box, and her
    honesty, gave us two reasons for Chinese wealth, actually three, but
    two only matter regarding the roots of Overseas Chinese racism: A
    superiority complex, or lets more correctly call it a psychological need
    to feel superior when comparing to others (a variety of „face”, mianzi,
    面子), and the feeling of insecurity (high level of contingent
    self-esteem among Asian Americans, Zeigler-Hill, African American
    scientist). So in nice Chinese influenced societies like China and Hong
    Kong, this insecurity and psychological need to feel superior can been
    seen when Chinese people are competing with each other, in school, in
    their jobs, and so on, which is useful in some ways. However, in places
    like Malaysia, or generally speaking in countries with a Chinese
    minority, the pattern changes into something different, into something
    ugly. The psychological need to feel superior and the insecurity, as
    expressed by Amy Chua, turns into a constant need to look down up on
    other groups, Indians and Malay people in the case of Malaysia, the two
    main ethnicities there. Chinese Malaysians are simply so used to suck in
    the apparent inferiority of any non Chinese compatriots on sight in
    order to produce their sense of superiority, that they get frightened to
    see a white person suddenly popping out of nowhere, as their need to
    feel superior gets threatened.

    Ok, Vancouver.
    So the question is how to look down up on other races a.k.a. to feel
    superior and not insecure in a place like Vancouver? The example can be
    studies above: You can try to make yourself feel morally superior to
    others, as it does only require an illusion and not real
    accomplishments, a real accomplishment would be „setting up a new
    world“. So you blame the ones who are the biggest thread to your
    self-esteem, most likely not Mexican immigrants or Native Americans, but
    “White guys”, of being racist, a moral flaw. Which is obviously racist
    itself.

    The pattern is
    not intellectually disturbing or surprising. Disturbing is the fact that
    the author as smart as she tries to be does not get it herself, even
    though her IQ is probably around 110. It’s as disturbing as a Korean PhD
    student with an even slightly higher IQ complaining about racism in
    other countries. Hell, yeah, you have certainly a high IQ, but what
    about the ultra racism in Korea compared to the joke one in the US? Your
    high IQ is not able to find the result of 1 + 1 = … on its own. That’s
    f.cked up! That’s like talking to a non real person, a ghost.

    I think that
    Chinese from Mainland China and Hong Kong, despite all the obvious
    problems and difficulties, are the most decent, most real, and actually
    most honest Chinese people compared to Chinese people living in other
    countries.

    There are exceptions, Amy Chua is one.

    • Wenge

      Amy Chua is a racist bitch and she isn’t Chinese, she’s American.

      • Zhenlai

        Nobody said otherwise.
        But having the choice between an alcoholic who is aware of and honest about the pleasure of sucking on 20 bottles of beer every day is better than someone who is living in denial and unawareness, who says “I have to drink so much beer because it is so warm”. Now replace alcoholic by “racist” and bottles of beer by “20 people” and you might get point.

    • Xio Gen

      More racist than India or South Korea? I don’t believe it.

      • funny

        truth hurts…

  • Zappa Frank

    I really think here there is a strong will to feel offended.. Besides Chinese talking on phone while not allowed is not a stereotype, is simply the truth for 90% of Chinese passengers..

    • Barack Obama

      The only thing offensive is what you said. Also 90% of chinese passengers take out their cell phones is a little exaggerated isn’t it? Just admit it, you hate chinese people.

      • Zappa Frank

        ever been in china? take a flight and see what happen when it land, it is still not allowed to use the phone, but at least 90% of people use it. Why should this make of me a person that hate chinese? what did i say of offensive?
        Is true that is a generalization, but one really have to try hard to feel offended.

        • anon

          I been to China several times in the last year alone and It is clearly not 90%… I saw maybe at least 5% tops checking their phones and Chinese people do not magically pull out their phones when the plane land and start making calls. Planes landing is not a programmed trigger for Chinese people at all.

          PS. I am disturbed that you believe Chinese people are partially or completely robotic and they must uplink to the great Chinese overnet via their cellphones all the time.

          • Zappa Frank

            no, you’ve never been in china evidently…. 5%? please.. really don’t joke.. when the plane land at least 90% (more likely 100%)of Chinese take of the phone and use it.. if you say just 5% or you lie or you are blind.
            p.s. I don’t care what makes you feel disturbed.

          • Kai

            C’mon, Zappa, you’re usually smarter and more reasonable than this. Although I think it is more than 5% (5% would be low even for Western plane passengers), it isn’t close to 90% either. You and I both have been on a lot of planes with mainland Chinese passengers. We both have a lot of experience and observations.

            Second, are you arguing that there was nothing inherently offensive in what anyone in the above story said? Are you saying the offense was all in the mind of the person objecting?

            I personally think what the white guy AND the Chinese guy said were inherently offensive. The Japanese guy using his phone when he knows he shouldn’t have may also be considered offensive, because the white guy in front of him obviously felt it was.

            As for a “strong will to feel offended”, would you say the same about foreigners who are offended by Chinese people referring to them as “laowai” outside of China? A lot of foreigners regularly argue at length on cS that it is inherently offensive, based not on what the speaker means but simply based on how the listener interprets and feels about the word. Would it be fair to say those foreigners have a “strong will to feel offended”?

            If so, then you’re at least internally consistent and I can respect that. If not, then it isn’t fair for you to have double-standards.

            The point of sharing my musings about this anecdote I saw on Weixin was because I found the irony of using casual racism while complaining about another person’s casual racism to be insufferable.

          • Zappa Frank

            about laowai outside china I think it doesn’t make sense, however I don’t think is offensive, and yes I think people that get offended for being called laowai in or out of china are too sensitive, to tell the truth I think this is typical American o canandian mind, I find hard a European would feel offended, but is up to people.
            If it is not 90%, I think we can agree that is not less than 70%…right? Now, can you tell me what’s to feel offended about this? Someone see an Asian use the phone during the plane landing an think is Chinese.. Be honest with yourself, you would think the same. I sincerely believe that sometimes abc are more likely to feel offended than Chinese mainland themselves, Chinese would be the first to think and say “he’s Chinese” when they see an Asian guy doing something like that… on this point I really think abc share a lot with whites americans, that’s what makes them very americans in the same way, an exaggerated political correctness that makes people in right to feel offended for everything. But the rest of the world is not on the same line.. at least this is my impression.
            Italians people are used to clap when the airplane land, now this is embarrassing, but it’s not that I try to minimize, to tell it’s not true or other excuse.. I would not feel offended if someone would say “damn Italian” when someone claps once the airplane is landed, also because it would be my first though as well.. but here seems we put too much effort in defending ‘race’ and too less in being objective.

          • Kai

            Okay, if you’re internally consistent, like I said, I can respect that. I still however think what the white guy (“stupid Chinese”) and Chinese guy said (“Japanese devil”) was inherently offensive, but maybe that’s because I’m American, as you say.

            I think it is less than 70%. Because of how popular the stereotype of bad behavior by Chinese plane passengers is, I tend to pay attention and observe just how bad it is when I take flights in China. Every plane is different but on average, I’d say both whipping out their phones or getting out of their seats before getting to the gate are definitely minority phenomenon under 50% of the people. I’d even argue lower than 25%.

            Turning phones on earlier than they should is more prevalent than getting out of their seats in my experience but still not over 50%. A lot of Western passengers turn on their phones earlier than they’re supposed to as well in my experience, so the phone thing doesn’t bother me as much.

            What does bother me is the unbuckling and getting up early but on average, it is just one person every few rows with everyone else in those rows still remaining seated. Again, the actual numbers vary from flight to flight, but on average, its definitely not remotely close to 70%. Even the worst flight I’ve been on wasn’t clsoe to 70%. To be fair, too, I reliably saw non-Asians unbuckling and getting up early on the flights I took during my recent vacation in Australia, but to their credit, still less than the amount of Chinese passengers on China flights.

            So, there’s definitely a basis for why people stereotype Chinese plane passengers as misbehaving. I just don’t think people should go too far and make it seem unique to Chinese plane passengers, and I don’t think the quantification of 70 or 90% reflects my observations. Chinese plane passengers need to improve their behavior and compliance with the rules, and those critical of Chinese plane passengers shouldn’t go too far in their generalizations. I think this is a fair position to have.

          • Zappa Frank

            we can discuss about 70%, less, more.. of course there are no statistics about it and we just can go with our impressions since for sure we did not check passengers one by one…. My point however is that since, among Asians, a Chinese is more likely to indulge in such behavior I don’t see anything wrong for a man (that by chance is white, I don’t think is relevant ..or not?) to think that the Asian guy he saw using the phone was Chinese.. I really do cannot understand why someone has to feel offended..

          • Kai

            Your rational is that as long as the person making the offensive comment thinks there is reason to generalize, then the comment isn’t offensive.

            I don’t agree with that. Some people think English teachers are more likely to indulge in certain behaviors, but that doesn’t make their offensive comment generalizing English teachers any less offensive.

            The Chinese guy in the story was offended because his nationality was blamed for doing something another nationality was doing. I’d be offended if a Chinese person said “stupid Americans, fuck” after seeing a British guy behave rudely to someone else.

            I’d also be offended by the Chinese person’s eagerness to generalize at all. When I was in school, there was an foreign Italian student who was quite promiscuous. She had some self-esteem issues but she ended up sleeping around quite easily and a lot. People negatively generalized Italians based on their experience with her. Their generalizations were inherently unfair anf offensive to me, regardless of how much think they they know other Italian people who are also promiscuous.

            If you’ve been in Japan (or read jC), there are also plenty of Japanese people who get offended if people mistake Chinese or Koreans as Japanese people, especially over bad behavior. A lot of Canadians don’t like being mistaken as Americans as well. I think it should be pretty easy to understand why the Chinese guy in the story was offended by what the white guy said.

          • Zappa Frank

            maybe is my limit to do not understand. Is it offensive because he thought he was a Chinese or because he said “stupid Chinese”? because he saw a person who was doing something stupid and than the adjective stupid perfectly fit… he thought he was a Chinese, and that was a mistake. So the point is that you guys get offended because he thought the one who was using the phone was a Chinese?…or because he was a white guy who thought a Chinese was doing something bad?… because as said before, if you are honest, you would admit that in the same situation, when you see an Asian doing something like that, you also would think he is a Chinese, and probably you would be the first to do this “generalization”…. but since you are not white and you are a Chinese yourself than there would be no ‘offence’.. am I right?
            the example of the Italian girl is not the same, she was just ONE girl.. we are talking about something different. I think the example of the Italians that clap on the plane I said before is more similar… and again can you tell me.. should I feel offended if seeing some people clapping on the airplane someone would say “stupid Italians!”.. ? I would be the first to do this “generalization” thinking they are Italians. Should I feel offended if a Chinese would think the same thing I’m thinking (‘stupid Italians’)? I think it would be a bit hypocrite from my side.

          • Kai

            It’s offensive because he associated the bad behavior with a nationality instead of the individual actually responsible. Imagine if it was an Asian guy saying “stupid Americans, fuck” except the guy wasn’t actually American.

            but since you are not white and you are a Chinese yourself than there would be no ‘offence’.. am I right?

            No, you’re not right. I understand you suspect I only think this is offensive just because a white person said it. That’s not true. I’m offended by the inherent hasty generalization. Also remember that I’m also critical of the Chinese guy referring to the Japanese guy as a “Japanese devil”. I do not think the white guy’s remark is offensive because he is white; I think his remark is offensive because it is offensive. The white guy could be from Africa, South East Asia, or the Middle East and the that remark would still be offensive.

            the example of the Italian girl is not the same, she was just ONE girl..

            I think there is a misunderstanding. I used the Italian girl example to illustrate the concept of hasty generalizations and how they are often inherently offensive to me. I’m not trying to argue that the situation is the same as the airplane situation.

            should I feel offended if seeing some people clapping on the airplane someone would say “stupid Italians!”.. ?

            Clapping when the plane lands is not breaking a known and announced rule like making a phone call when your phone should be turned off. It isn’t “misbehavior” or “bad behavior”. How about football hooliganism? If there were a bunch of British football fans misbehaving at a match and some Asian guy says “stupid Italians, fuck” in response, would you as an Italian person think it is unfair and offensive?

            Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you, as someone who feels Italian football fans are known for misbehavior, would think it is perfectly reasonable for the Asian guy to identify the bad behavior he sees by British fans as “Italian”. I, as an politically correct American, would think you were unfairly maligned. I’d say “yeah, there has been bad behavior by Italian football fans before, but those guys are actually British.” I may even say “and it’s not like all British football fans are like that; those guys are just idiots.”

          • Zappa Frank

            football fans maybe is not the perfect example since Italians fans support Italians teams, not English teams. Anyway no, I sincerely would find it not offensive, because is true that Italians footballs fans have bad behavior, and therefore is more likely that a football fan with a bad behavior is Italian than English. Not only, this is not just my opinion, I can assure that even other Italian would think the same (mostly) and if it came out that football fan with poor behavior is English many Italians would say “at least English have ONE fan with such bad behavior, but in Italy we just have those kind of football fans..”…
            I pointed out the race of the guy because, in my opinion (that may be wrong by the way).. seems to me in US racism is an over sensitive issue when is about minorities.. while same jokes used on whites are perfectly ok.. For instance there was an issue about a back girl school leader mocking withes peoples on pictures and publishing it on line.. (a school that need a fee of about 50kyear by the way, not a ghetto school), a white doing the same to blacks would have been expelled… another example, an Italian rapper called Emis Killa (by the way I dislike him with all my heart, but is useful for the example) went to US for “bet hip hop awards” representing Italy, the host, Ed Lover, criticized his performance (and it’s ok), and than said something like ” back home, we don’t want that shit, back to eat some lasagna (sic. it’s lasagnE), pasta, or whatever..”… now in Italy nobody find it offensive, but what if a white would say to a black, “back home, we don’t want that shit, back to eat some bananas, or whatever you eat…”.. or to an Asian “back home to eat some rice, spring roll or whatever..”.. see my point?

          • Kai

            Italians support Italian teams just like Chinese support Chinese “people” not japanese people. I think the analogy works well enough to illustrate what I mean. But let me try another one:

            Let’s say a black American overhears some Asian guy who remarks “stupid blacks, fuck” after hearing about some crime happening in the United States. The Asian guy says such a thing because like the white guy in the above story, he has generalized and associated crime in America with black Americans. However, the black guy knows the crime wasn’t actually committed by black people, but as a black guy, sure, he knows black people have a reputation for crime in America, but do you think he would still be offended by the Asian guy’s generalization and presumption that the perpetrator of a specific crime was black?

            Just like the white guy in the story above, the Asian guy makes his remark based on a hasty generalization, based on a stereotype.

            Let’s try another one that might be closer to home. Italians have a reputation among tourists for being pickpockets. Let’s say an Indian couple visiting Italy suddenly notice they have been pickpocketed and you noticed that the pickpocket was Algerian or something. Would you be offended if the Indian couple immediately blames Italians?

            You might not, because you may really be internally consistent and find what you consider to be reasonable presumptions based on stereotypes to be non-offensive. Like I said, I can respect that although I don’t think it is a very wise way to live. Why? Let me explain:

            If someone tells me about bad behavior by a passenger on a plane flying out of Beijing, and asks me what nationality the perpetrator might be, I might speculate that it was Chinese based on probabilities given the details.

            If however someone tells me about bad behavior by a passenger on a plane flying out of Beijing and I actually know the passenger they are referring to is NOT Chinese but instead Japanese, then I would be offended if the person ignorantly assumes it to be Chinese.

            Note the key differences in the situation. In the first one, I rely on my own understanding of Chinese passenger reputation to give an answer to a question. In the second one, I rely on what I know to be true in response to an assumption.

            The Chinese guy in the above story knows the guy on the phone is Japanese. The white guy doesn’t, but assumes the guy speaking some language he doesn’t understand and breaking flight rules must be Chinese. Being offended doesn’t mean the Chinese guy doesn’t recognize that Chinese passengers have a bad reputation. He’s offended because of the hasty generalization, by the white guy’s willingness to judge misbehavior as “Chinese” without knowing all the facts or even bothering to investigate the facts.

            Moreover, even if the guy said “stupid Japanese, fuck”, that could be offensive too, because he’s still judging the entire nationality by the actions of the minority (or here, just one person). I hate it when Chinese people do the same thing, when they just throw out racist generalizations in response to minority incidents.

            I pointed out the race of the guy because, in my opinion (that may be wrong by the way).. seems to me in US racism is an over sensitive issue when is about minorities.. while same jokes used on whites are perfectly ok.

            I wouldn’t say “perfectly okay” but I understand what you’re referring to, that there are feelings that it is riskier to make jokes about minorities than about white people. A lot of Asian-Americans think American media are more comfortable making jokes about Asians than they are about blacks because Asian-Americans don’t object as much as blacks do. That feeling about unfairness is definitely there.

            If we want to discuss reasons for why American society is more comfortable with jokes about white people than about minorities, the place to start would be with how much of white society knows they are the dominant society and culture in America, and they know minorities have suffered racism and prejudice in ways they themselves are unlikely to truly appreciate. Some suffer “reverse discrimination” because they feel turnabout is fair play or they don’t see it as much of a threat because they are secure in their position in society. Minorities often see racism against them as limiting their opportunities and position in society. Do white people hearing jokes about white people in the US feel their opportunities and position in society is being threatened? No.

            That is not to say that racism against white people is okay. That’s just to introduce many of the dynamics which are at play for why it seems more okay for minorities to joke about white people but less okay for white people to joke about minorities.

            but what if a white would say to a black, “back home, we don’t want that shit, back to eat some bananas, or whatever you eat…”

            Hah, that’s actually a faulty analogy because the host was making a joke using “food associated with Italy” while this analogy is making a joke using “food associated with monkeys/apes”, which is extra worse because you’re no longer just making fun of black people for what they stereotypically eat, you’re making fun of black people for what they look like. The more appropriate analogy (and I’m now introducing you, a European, to racist jokes in American pop culture) is if he said the black guy should go back to eating fried chicken and watermelon (both foods that black people are stereotyped in America as loving).

          • Zappa Frank

            ok i see your point, but to tell the truth i don’t see much difference between the ‘question’ and ‘assumption’. Let me explain, if someone ask you what nationality it may be you speculate is chinese due to the behavior description… but if the guy in the airplane assume the nationality is chinese isn’t the same? i mean, you may know the difference in language, but is not something everyone knows, so we can assume the guy judge the that asian person only by appearance and behavior.. than what is the difference between what he did and what did when you think that a an asian person with a certain behavior is chinese? of course, you did not shout “stupid chinese”, but you also think that behavior is stupid and that he is chinese..

            now that i think about, maybe i did a mistake.. when he says “stupid chinese” i intended he refers only to that guy, like that chinese is stupid… i sincerelly did not think he may mean all chiense…

          • Kiwi

            You’re just another sad product of a systematic racist society. Go ahead and defend the right you already have to be racist.

          • Zappa Frank

            And you have all rights to be stupid, as stupid you are a perfect citizen of this world’s society.. for sure there will never be racism against you.

    • Guest

      what you say on this topic here is generally true and NOT offensive to those who know mainland culture ^_^

  • YahooHenry

    Such racism is brought about by a total lack of real education and the absence of morals. I never had the school lessons that Western school children have now on race and culture but I see them and older people totally unable to see each person as an individual.

  • heavyshift

    I will always be grateful to China for giving the world Gong Li.

  • sho_uesugi

    Racism is the idea of one group of people being genetically determined (inferior or superior. Racism is NOT cultural criticism. Disliking the manners of a culture or individual representing that culture is not racist unless you think it’s genetic. In this case, we see that Japanese have a reputation for following the rules, and being “devils” apparently lol. Chinese do not. Not racism. Just stereotyping and general annoyance at something we have all experienced – Chinese break the rules with impunity. And you know what? I kind of enjoy it. That’s why they’re winning and the rest of the world are just bystanders.

  • Robert Gilpin

    The white fellow and the Chinese man where idiots, the Japanese man really did not do anything wrong.

  • Mainlander

    People are usually upset over the VOLUME of cell phone conversations.

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