What's wrong with Rock

Posted Feb 29, 2016

Source: ABC

I rarely watch the Oscars.  But this year I watched a large portion of it, just to see how the push for diversity would be communicated by the host, African-American comedian and actor, Chris Rock.  To my disappointment, the lack of diversity issue being challenged by African-Americans lacked diversity.  If anything, I left thinking America's race and diversity issues are still relegated to issues of Black and White.

Why weren't Hispanic, Asian-American, Native-American, or other ethnic groups brought into this discussion?  Even the montages used to drive home the point regarding the lack of diversity were portrayed by Black actors while the only other major ethnic group represented was a group of three Asian kids used as fodder by Rock for a racist joke.  

Metro UK
Source: Metro UK

Rock introduced three Asian children as PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants and defended his joke by saying, "If anybody's upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids."

In addition to that joke, Sacha Baron Cohen made a dig at Asian-Americans when he said, “How come there's no Oscar for those very, hard-working little yellow people with tiny dongs?  You know the Minions!”

This is what's wrong with American race relations.  There's a double-standard when it comes to racial inferences and jokes.  African-Americans having endured the legacy of slavery, lynchings, and racism through the years, some like Rock feel they're entitled to racist attitudes or jokes towards newer ethnic and immigrant groups.

What's difficult for me as an Asian-American psychotherapist and diversity trainer to watch yesterday was how the audience laughed.  What laughter in such a venue does is send an implicit global message to those at home that Asians can be ridiculed and lambasted as being nerdy.  Asians have no Reverend Al Sharpton to hit the major media airwaves to vehemently demand an apology by Rock or the Academy Award Producers who also lacking any sense of cultural awareness approved this mockery.

Fortunately, many in mainstream media saw the hypocrisy and pointed it out.  But the tragedy is instead of unifying various ethnicities, Rock's performance last night continued to highlight the differences.

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