Racism & Ignorance Abound
On the heels of intense earthquakes, devastating Tsunamis, explosions at oil refineries and various radiation leaks, Americans are up in arms, hoping and praying that their family members, friends and colleagues are safe. Despite the closeness that many Americans feel for our Japanese familia, there are still people out there ignorant enough to point fingers and laugh at those who are different from them and somehow fail to realize the gravity of the situation along Japan’s coastline.
Over the past week there have been attacks on Japan and Japanese culture and unsympathetic jokes made at the expense of lives lost and families split. While the attacks may have been unintentional, they aren’t without insult to Japanese Americans who are struggling to cope with the destruction and loss in Japan. How could someone find this funny!??? How could we become so disconnected that we define people by their race and culture and not realize that they are HUMAN???
One of the most upsetting discussions comes from a young UCLA student who apparently didn’t want to offend anyone, but felt justified in her rant about the poor manners and annoying cultural habits of her fellow Asian classmates.
Ms. Wallace later released her statement of apology for the video:
- “Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.”
UCLA is still deliberating about exactly how to handle this situation, but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty. Police officials are looking into the case to see if any laws have been broken, so there is a possibility of criminal charges.
Another awful display of insensitivity comes from Gilbert Gottfried
, the voice of Aflac
‘s talking duck in the popular insurance commercials. He was quoted in his tweets, cracking jokes at the Japanese:
- “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.”
- “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.”
I’m still shocked that he really thought these jokes were funny or acceptable! I admit, am impressed and have to applaud Aflac for their response and decision in firing Gottfried. His racist and unsympathetic jokes during this huge tragedy are beyond cruel! The company, who does more than 75% of there business in Japan, responded with this statement:
- “Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac. There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
Other individuals and celebrities like 50 Cent
have also jumped on the bandwagon, using various social networks to poke fun at the disaster. I’m not laughing…and you can be assured that most other Americans aren’t laughing either. In a place and time where prejudice runs rampant, we have to be concerned about any individuals who would be callous enough to make these kinds of slights towards an entire race of people. Dehumanizing people for a laugh isn’t funny…ever. I stand in support of those who refuse to allow this kind of talk to continue.