Sept. 24 update: Good news — CBS appears to have pulled all of the Farnfucious clips off their YouTube channel.
It’s hard to believe that a major U.S. broadcast network can get away with it, but there it is on YouTube: “Farnfucious Say,” a regular (apparently) skit on the “Farnsworth & the Fox” show produced by CBS. The show’s co-host, “Farnsworth,” is a puppet a la “Sesame Street” and the “Fox” is (not surprisingly) a woman cast for her sex appeal.
“Farnfucious” — they couldn’t even spell the pun on Confucius correctly — is a puppet character with Fu Manchu mustache and traditional Chinese-looking garb, talking in a slimy broken Chinese accent the way white people like to parody Asians speaking. The puppet is introduced by a woman’s voice speaking in the same cheesy accent intoning, “And now, anothah episode… of Farnfucious!” and afterwards the outro: “Words of wisdom… from Farnfucious!”
Asian American ad man and marketing guru Bill Imada comments on Ad Age‘s lively “Big Tent” blog (he’s one of a group of contributors) about how the LPGA is requiring English language proficiency for foreign golfers on the LPGA tour.
For those of you who do not follow golf nor sporting news, LPGA leaders recently decided to require their non-English-speaking members, many of whom have been on the LPGA Tour for two years or more, to be proficient in English before they are allowed to participate in LPGA-sanctioned events. In other words, the LPGA is asking its card-holding members who participate in the golf tournament circuit to be able to pass an exam in English or face suspension from LPGA play.
Well, the last time I checked, the LPGA is an organization that has sponsors based in the U.S. and other countries. Its membership is truly international and includes 121 golfers from outside of the U.S., representing more than two dozen countries. And, while the LPGA has its roots in the Western Hemisphere, it has benefited heavily from the growing interest in golf in a number of major industrialized countries as well as developing countries around the world — including nations in Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Rim.
Requiring that its members and players be proficient in English makes no sense. And the thought of suspending members who aren’t proficient in English seems unnecessarily harsh and, even worse, discriminatory and unlawful. The LPGA should be ashamed of itself.
Asian Americans (and Asians around the world) should be up in arms about this. Yet another “official” photo has been found, of an Olympic team posing with its members pulling back their eyes to make them slanted. This time it’s four members of the Argentine Women’s Soccer Team, mocking their Chinese hosts in a photo in a national sports magazine.
All these athletes claim the mockery is affectionate and that no offense was meant. So it calls in tho question a general cultural attitude — in Spanish-speaking countries? In Spain and Argentina? — that allows this kind of display as acceptable. Certainly, I don’t think any U.S. Olympic team would do this for a photo that’s going to be seen worldwide.
So maybe the U.S. is more evolved in racial attitudes than some other countries. I guess that’s good news….
OK, I had to post these two photos, in which Spanish athletes mock Chinese by pulling back their eyes to make them slanty — ha ha ha.
The first is a posed shot of of the Spanish Olympic basketball team. It was used in an ad in a Spanish newspaper, which calls into question not only the photographer, athletes and team management’s judgment, but also the national newspaper’s staff and management. The second photo is of the Spanish tennis team, celebrating after defeating the Chinese to go on to the Fed Cup finals earlier this year.
Man, I haven’t seen that done since I was in grade school — in the mid-1960s, when the expression was “enhanced” by the person sticking out his (or her, apparently) buck teeth and speaking in a heavy, phony Asian accent, saying crap like “ah-so!” and “herro, I solly, no tickee no laundoree.”
You’d think we’d moved past that kind of third-grade cruelty by now, but nope. Not in Spain, anyway.
What were they thinking? Are racial mocking stereotypes acceptable in Spain where they’re frowned upon here? Do Chinese athletes go around finding ways to mock Spanish athletes?
These photos disgust me. Continue reading
I know I still need to blog the JANM conference, but I had to write about this: Officials at a Louisiana school district are trying to prevent students from including foreign languages in their graduation speeches.
The brouhaha was sparked by Vietnamese American cousins Hue and Cindy Vo, who were co-valedictorians at Ellender High Schoolâ€™s graduation in Houma, Louisiana. Cindy Vo spoke one sentence in Vietnamese dedicated to her parents, who don’t speak fluent English, from the podium.
“Co len minh khong bang ai, co suon khong ai bang minh,” she said, and explained to her English-speaking classmates that the sentence roughly translates as “always be your own person.”
Her cousin Hue gave more of her speech in Vietnamese, but again, the point was to pay homage to her parents.
At least one member of Terrebonne Parish school district, Rickie Pitre, took offense to the Vietnamese passages, and he says that all graduation speeches should be given in solely English, or that passages can be paraphrased in foreign languages — but only after they’re spoken first in English.