Twitter can be a powerful social tool; anyone can share their feelings at any moment, tweet their opinion about any event, from anywhere.
Because Twitter works on that impulse, the reactions can also provide a window into the brain of the tweeter. And taking those related tweets together, one can also get a sense of the collective mindset.
The sum of tweets displayed in the 12 examples below show how Asians are perceived, how we’re respected, and what is considered acceptable commentary (spoiler: anything).
Judging by the 12 Twitter “events” and the corresponding tweets, Asians have a long way to go in regards to increasing our visibility to better dispel outdated (not to mention STALE AS FUCK) stereotypes, breaking into the mainstream and eventually being accepted as real Americans, whatever that means.
NFL player Darnell Dockett sure could use a close Asian friend or two, or seven, or however many of us it takes to break his preconceived thoughts about Asians. The Arizona Cardinal tweeted a “clever joke” that was based on the ad nauseum stereotype about Asian eyes:
Oh, that’s good, Darnell. I see what you did there, you took an racist stereotype and Apple’s naming convention… you even made the “I” lowercase… Even with my eyes, I was able to see what you did there… you made a throwaway racist joke despite facing your own racism. Who needs the iOpener again?
Adding stupidity to ignorance – Dockett has already refused to issue an apology, proving he is more man than human. The actual joke of this situation is that Dockett thinks he’s a step ahead of the game; that he’s figured it out… when his tweet shows that his brain is just a tool to verbalize his ignorant impulse and just another lazy racist personality that believes they can say anything because you know, fame and money.
Whether Dockett recognizes it or not, Twitter exposes fools like him, and reveals the acceptable racism that Asians face in real time. A carousel of kindergarten-level ignorance –“open your eyes,” “bad drivers,” and “rice jokes” all underscored by a lack of respect for all Asians.
It seems that all races get their fair share of ignorant and insensitive tweets, but 2013 felt like Asians got more than our fair share. Starting with the Dockett’s classy, tweet from the future, I’ve gathered 12 of the most infamous examples of Asian racism on Twitter:
Spaghetti O’s Unleashes Racist Rants on Pearl Harbor Day
(Dec 2013) Yeah, you read that right. On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the official SpaghettiOs Twitter account asked the Twitterverse to “take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor.”
Before taking the tweet down and apologizing, followers took the opportunity to remember Pearl Harbor in their own, racist ways.
Who follows “SpaghettiOs” on Twitter anyways? Oh, right.
Justin Bieber/One Direction Fans unleash racist fury on Lorde, boyfriend for no reason
(Dec 2013) It all started with a rumor that Lorde had called her fellow pop stars Justin Bieber and One Direction “ugly” even though that allegation was never confirmed and no source for the rumor was ever found.
Beliebers and 1D fans went crazy anywaaaaaay. And when they discovered that Lorde’s boyfriend was Asian (and 24), they went completely out of their fucking minds:
And those are just two of the stellar examples. Read more about how crazy teenage girls can be…
K-Pop Stars Girls Generation Win YouTube Video Awards, Ire from Tweenagers
(Nov 2013) Staying with pop music for an easier segue, K-Pop group Girls Generation made the mistake of winning “Video of the Year” at the 2013 YouTube Video Awards. Why was it a mistake? Because the other nominated artists were Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Lady Gaga, and as we learned, many of their fans don’t do well reconciling bad feelings.
I picked those tweets at random. Like shooting racist fish in a barrel. For more tweenage Twitter twantrums, check out popdust…
Nina Davuluri Wins Miss America Crown
(Sept 2013) Nina Davulrui, an Indian-American, took home the Miss America title for 2014 and, of course, Twitter was there to cover it. Tap tap tap and the ignorance hit the fan.
From 9/11 to 7-11, Davuluri was showered with every eye-rolling stereotype in the book. And for good measure, she was also labled an Arab (probably pronounced in the slur form), a terrorist, Egyptian, and everything else than what she actually is – an American-born…. American. Here’s some of the cream of the crap:
Asiana Plane Crashes at San Francisco Airport…
(July 2013) When Asiana Flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco’s International Airport back in July, Twitter was all a flutter with opportunity… with ‘Asians as bad driver’ jokes! Yes, that’s right, there are people that still think that joke is brand new.
Mind hasn’t exploded yet, huh? Read on for more variations of that never-gets-old-apparently joke.
Comedian Patton Oswalt Piles On
Local TV station KTVU’s reported that “Wi Tu Lo,” “Sum Ting Wong,” “Bang Ding Ow,” and “Ho Lee Fuk” were the names of the Asiana Airline pilots. Seeing the opportunity to take the situation from bad to worse played out, Patton Oswalt jumped in with a fifth name; tweeting “KTVU has announced hiring PR spokesman Wi So Solly to address the Asiania Airlines on-air gaffe.”
How creative. Because, you know Patton, we hadn’t had enough the first four times.
Kate Gosselin Insensitive to Herself, Her Children
(June 2013) Back in July, a photo on Twitter popped up of Kate Gosselin pulling back her eyes and mimicking stereotypical features of Asians. You know, Asians like her husband and children. She defended herself; explaining that she couldn’t be racist because she married an Asian and has 8 bi-racial children.
Using Kate’s logic, I suggest that her next husband be an active member of MENSA. Have a couple brain cells to spare? Read Kate Gosselin’s explanation… (I learned way too much about this woman in writing this post.)
(Nov 2012) Released last year, Red Dawn is a movie about North Koreans invading and overtaking a small U.S. town. The not-real, fictional, fake film features Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Josh Peck taking on the Asian baddies, so you know, tweeples felt more akin to side with their good-looking, all-American, celebrity brethren…
Olympus Has Fallen
(Mar 2013) No, Olympus Has Fallen is not the sequel to Red Dawn. Even though it’s another movie about North Koreans on American soil. The not-real, fictional, faked film features Aaron Eckhart, Gerard Butler, and Morgan Freeman taking on the invading Asian baddies, so you know, it’s an easy call to be make-believe friends with Morgan Freeman… and mow down some zipperheads in the process (nervous laughter)…
Ah, humanity. R U still optimistic? Read more great tweets motivated by the FICTIONAL films ‘Red Dawn’ and ‘Olympus Has Fallen’…
Rihanna’s Racist Rice Cakes
(2012) Ooooh, a battle on social media over a boy! After Karrueche Tran, Chris Brown’s half-Vietnamese girlfriend, tweeted something stupid trying to incite Rihanna. RiRi responded with something equally as stupid; posing a photo of a bag of Safeway rice cakes fashioned with sunglasses and hoop earrings mocking Tran’s style and culture.
I mean, this one is almost too stupid to comment on…
Jeremy Lin catches nation with their pants down
(2012) In addition to the mostly anonymous Twitterverse, there were loads of other athletes (Stefon Diggs, Rex Chapman, Floyd Mayweather) commentators (Jason Whitlock), and personalities weighing in on Linsanity, and together, in unison, showed how Amurrica wasn’t even remotely prepared to deal with an Asian athlete in the limelight.
Here’s a small sample of the non-fictional, non-dramatization of what really happened on Twitter after Jeremy was featured in a Volvo commercial in 2012:
And who can forget this tweet during ‘Linsanity’?
When Whitlock, a writer that often discusses race in sports, tweets something like this to his thousands of followers and thinks it’s okay (he has since apologized) really shows how little Asians are considered in the larger discussion of race (think model minority). h/t Confessions of a Jeremy Lin Addict
Gilbert Gottfried jokes about Japanese Tsunami
(Mar 2011) Twitter can be the ultimate epiphany-giver for those that idolize celebrities. The tool is not only works really well for uprisings, but also works great for proving that famous person are not any smarter, and actually may be dumber than the average person.
Case in point, Glbert Godfried’s Twitter behavior after the Japanese Tsunami that killed over 20,000 people.
And that’s just three. Gottfried was on fire (I wish); posting over a dozen “jokes” from his official Twitter account. Want to see more? Not sure why you would, but I am not sure why I wrote a blog post about it either.
There you have it. Did you notice that the majority occurred in 2013? 8 of the 12 happened after March 2013. I’m not sure what that means, if anything. Was it because Asians were more visible in 2013? Or was it because it was reported/noticed more? Am I just unscientifically paranoid?
In any case, I’m sure I missed other mind-boggling, proudly-ignorant and violent racist tweets… If you know of any other infamous Asian racist twitter-rants that I didn’t include, please do your best to look shocked, then leave me a link or note in the the comments below. I’ll be sure to add it.