oh you know, all that hoopla over “chink”

So recently there’s been an uproar over a recent ESPN.com headline covering a Knicks game that was lost (“chink in the armor”). I have a lot of furious, angry FB friends commenting on it. Husband and I have talked quite a bit about the incident at home.

SNL, of all places, had a Jeremy Lin sketch that made me think further about the race stuff — they brought up all these puns and jokes that have been in the news that played off of Asian stereotypes or cultural things. The characters were having a great time, but as soon as the jokes stereotyped an African-American player, they got all up in arms — and I sort of think that’s true in real life.

So why do so many people think it’s okay to use words like “chink”? Do you need to be friends with Asians to know that word is wrong? Husband didn’t think so, but has also told me people he works with genuinely didn’t know that it’s an offensive word. And why is that? How did that knowledge skip them? What is the deal with people truly not having a clue? On another note, is there a pervasive sense that it’s okay to offend Asians, and not African-Americans, because the protest movement isn’t as powerful, loud, or organized?

A few years ago, Sarah Silverman had a joke that involved the word “chink.” She was on some late night show, talking about how to get out of jury duty. She said if you demonstrate you’re racist, you can get out of it, but you can’t be as obvious as using the “n” word, so go with something more subtle like “chink.” At the time, there was a huge uproar and Asian-American groups made statements, but she never apologized — and I actually don’t think the joke is racist or that she subscribes to the notion that the term is okay. The whole point of her joke is that it’s not okay, but what pisses me off is that, of course, is that the joke puts Asian-Amer groups in the unenviable position of playing pc-police. Of course, they have to protest officially, which if that’s all you know of Asians, makes them look cranky and humorless AND THAT pisses me off. SCREW YOU SARAH SILVERMAN!! My race has a sense of humor!!!

Of racist incidents I’ve heard as of late, what strikes me the most is how stupid the people involved are. It just makes me hang my head in disgust. I mean, back to the ESPN headline mess, they are editors, right? To be an ESPN journalist, you have to have some sort of language prowess, cultural awareness, and a BA in English right??? I read about am FBI agent who pulled over an Indian woman at Occupy Wall Street for hours because she was wearing like suspicious looking head gear (I don’t know what the heck it was — not a burka, maybe burka-lite head gear, so sorry to be offensive), suspecting her as a terrorist. YES, the agent was totally racial profiling, but beyond that, the only evidence you have is skin color and head gear choice, and it warrants several hours of your time and expertise to see if she’s going to have a bomb? Really? Are our FBI agents that stupid? Really? That scares me that people like that are in charge of our national security.

First off, “chink” is an offensive, racist term. Period. I’m not a fan of the word. But for some reason, I didn’t have a huge emotional reaction to it. I have seen other stuff that commented on Jeremy Lin’s Asian-ess I had bigger reactions to — pro-Jeremy signs written in that Chinese-restaurant-font. Oy, I hate that. It’s like whenever a work of fiction comes out from an Asian-American writer and the marketing people HAVE to put a pair of chopsticks on the cover and write copy about “East meets West.” Can the East stop meeting the West? It’s just bloody annoying.

dream toy

Husband and I were talking about the dream toys we loved as kids and never got — for me, one of those multi-level, detailed doll houses with teeny-tiny-features, eg, fake food, etc., and for him, one of those elaborate toy train sets with real functioning trains. He had one friend whose dad set it up in the basement and it was apparently quite amaze-balls (sorry for the language foul. Soooooo very tired). We made some kind of airy promise if we ever have a basement, we would build both dream toys for our children…but it occurred to me the next day that our dream toys wouldn’t necessarily be the dream toys for our children. For them, it will probably be the ipad 2 or some rad app that I will refuse to buy them for whatever reason.

subway seats

In general, I always get offered a seat these days on the subway — but why must it be from African-American senior citizen women? They need seats too!!!! Everyone else is on their PDAs I guess, but I am so darn big now, I take all offers and pass out. Terrible.


Um, dude, I dragged my fatigued, pregnant self to a prenatal massage today, but started to have mild contractions RIGHT before the treatment — so we stopped, and I got charged anyway. Oh, I mean, I got a $20 discount. If you charge a weeping lady pregnant with twins for service not delivered, um, cheesy? Thank you.

I had a whole monologue in my head about it, but would rather devote writing energy to Jeremy Lin.

Jeremy Lin Is Getting Me Through Chaos, a.k.a. My Life

Oh my goodness, the pregnancy feelings vacillate moment to moment. At 4 p.m., whatever changes were happening all of a sudden, made me feel like I was carrying around a slab of granite. It greatly slowed down my walking pace to the point where the trees rooted in the sidewalk seemed to be moving faster than me.

I don’t know what’s happening to me. A few days ago, I truly knew nothing about the Knicks or basketball, but in a matter of six games, I’ve gotten to know about the importance of a point guard, the names and jersey numbers of Knicks team members, and the background of Jeremy Lin. Every time I feel the fatigue encroaching, I look online for a clip of his game highlights, like this one against the Lakers. I find myself texting Husband about particular saves and points. I get overclempt, witnessing the camraderie of this team, the interracial hugging.

I absolutely love the humility Lin demonstrates in his interviews – he says “This is much bigger than me. This is about the team playing well together. I’m just so grateful they trust me.” It’s not just being humble – I think he’s actually smart and correct in that assessment, and in terms of mental health, I think he’s got it in spades. For anyone else, to gain so much attention for an achievement during your early 20s is definitely a path to character corruption; to experience a phase so golden early on can make the rest of your life seem tarnished. If he can keep this perspective, he can go on to do and enjoy other things.

So every time I’m tired, I go “You don’t think Jeremy Lin is tired?” This story is coming in the nick of time for me and Husband. We keep getting rejected for aparment rentals (I honestly think we are experiencing discrimnation because people don’t want so many babies nearby) and are just juggling a bunch of things, so this kid’s charismatic playing and inspiration story (Dude, please, the kid gets pushed down past the hoop and still makes the basket. Dude, please, the kid does a spin in mid-air and still makes the basket. Dude, please, the kid is surrounded by men at least a foot taller but jumps high enough, and still makes the basket) is totally sustaining us in this last whirlwind stage as we closer to the finish line.

And I do think of race stuff quite a bit and cannot deny that it is the kid’s ethnicity that got me interested in the story in the first place (you don’t see me googling eli manning) but it is all the other factors I mention above that has kept me hooked. I think if he were any race or ethnicity, people would be going ape because of the underdog aspect, the emphasis on the team, and the magnificent, cartoonishly excellent performance. A co-worker suggested this story should give me racial pride, and I do feel things about race in some instances, but part of me genuinely does not give a rat’s arse about race. My utopian vision of the world is diversity in every sense (ethnicity, stories, FOOD, cookies especially), but everyone playing together – having differences, but identifying what we have in common. This is why I loved Lost, and directly stems from my experience in theater.

I am LINSANE, I am LINCREDIBLE. It’s gotten to the point where Husband just suggested we go to a Knicks game, which I totally want to do, but wonder if I can handle it. I might weep through the whole thing because of all the interracial hugging. This is totally like when I fell for Harry Potter. Uh oh, I feel the onset of a multi-year obsession coming, people.


Husband, who knows my whole diversity fetish, keeps me informed on diversity in sports — there aren’t a ton of Asians, but when there are, he tells me. He is a Knicks fan, which as far as I can tell, judging from the vehement cursing and bowed head at the couch, is a long, lonely path to despair. But apparently the team has recently had a bright spot — Jeremy Lin, an Asian American Harvard grad who barely got off the bench recently got called in as point guard, and like led the Knicks to victory or at least won a bunch of points. (I’m in foreign territory right now, be patient.) Knicks fans are apparently so psyched for a hero that they now chant his name and they play “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam whenever he appears (which is song about someone who is, dunno, mildly learning disabled or abused or something? Kind of sad anthem, but I suppose, an anthem is an anthem.) What’s exciting about this guy, Husband says, is that there were such low expectations for this guy that it feels like he’s coming out of nowhere. Everybody loves the underdog story.

Anyway, there aren’t really any Ivy League grads in the Ivy League, and like only four Asians in the history of the NBA (sorry, if I”m making this up…). I remember reading the Knicks actually had a Japanese-American player in the 1940s who was actually interned during World War II, so maybe the Knicks are a bit more cutting edge than other teams? Dunno, but this is an unusual story…I’m going to go back to writing about entertainment trivia next. Writing about sports feels too unnatural.

Lucy Liu’s next career move

I watched the first season of The C Word starring Laura Linney (not bad, though some the writing is very dorky, e.g., “I couldn’t find an olive branch, so I brought you olives” when the wife wanted to make up with the husband). All of the lead cast members are white, with some featured and all peripheral characters as nonwhite — which I’ve heard is something casting people do when they do care about diversity casting, they just fill up the parts they’re allowed to with non-whiteys. The problem with getting lead actors is you need someone who has a proven track record, someone who will inspire someone to plunk down money to see you.

If you are an Asian actor (or I suppose any non-white actor for that matter, though a study in NYC casting that came out this past week said that all minorities, except for Asians, got more parts on Broadway this year except for Asians, who got fewer. Booooo.), you really have to become an activist, if you want to get parts. One of my FB friends has been working in film and TV somewhat regularly, but couldn’t break into theater before this year — now he’s in the ensemble of Wit starring Cynthia Nixon on Broadway. He had never been asked to audition for this company in ten years, which led to a public forum, study, etc. He also has won Tonys for his producing work — so dude, the guy is definitely an actor, but also an activist. I don’t even necessarily think producers and casting people are so racist (but will allow for the possibility), as they are clueless. What would motivate them to think about diversity if they are all white to begin with? Even those who do care about diversity might be clueless as to how to assuage the situation.

In casting, I think, it’s really about money once you go to a certain production level. Like if people will flock to stuff you’re in, no producer will care what race you are, because you will be making them money, you feel me? But if you are not given a chance in the first place, how on earth can you build an audience?

Hold that thought while I explore another — Showtime’s strategy has been to seek out strong female actresses with theater in their background and build a series around them, in order to be in the running at award season. They don’t necessarily make much dough with The United States of Tara, The C Word, Nurse Jackie, and Weeds (though they probably do), but they’re doing is building prestige in their program and adding value to their overall brand going this route.

SO, searching my mental data banks for Asians who’ve been around with certain cache, I thought of Lucy Liu, someone who has made Hollywood pictures and TV, but maybe never got a good quality lead before, and is really going to that no-woman’s-zone in casting of the 40s. I could see her playing, dunno, a psychic mom detective, trying to get along with her ex, communicate with her kids, but also solve crimes, b/c her psychic gifts only give her part of the picture until the very conclusion of the episode. Then they could make the family interracial, but fill all the peripheral parts with caucasian actors in a reversal of fortune.

Don’t mind me. Thinking about casting is like my version of fantasy baseball.

Happy Superbowl Sunday!!! Ha ha ha ha.