~~I have copied and pasted this youtube comment so that, should it be deleted, it remains in the public record~~
I feel some hesitancy in putting what is essentially a youtube comment on my livejournal, given the reputation youtube comments have, but hopefully it transcends what we expect from such comments.
It's kind of shocking that someone who can demonstrate such powers of empathy and emotional awareness in a therapy session video analysis could lack such empathy and awareness when it comes to their own content. Are you not aware of the idea of "punching down"? Your "funny Asian voice" isn't just politically incorrect, it's tasteless. There's political correctness and there's political correctness. While there are certainly challenges to it, and it can be taken to far, there is an undeniable importance to it. It is, sometimes, correct to be politically correct. You know the history of racism and the history of persecution in both this country and this world, and you defend what is a pretty sorry example of mildly racist humor on the basis that those who call it out are "brainwashed." This is pretty insulting, and assumes bad faith in others. Actual brainwashing is quite different from mere social mores. You think to shield yourself by saying "Indonesian Learning Disability Association" but come on, you know as well as I do that that's just code words for "this movie's action is retarded."
I call this racist, and not without reason. You adopt a cadence and articulation in your accent which is more reminiscent of ugly stereotypes than anything else. I was reminded of Breakfast at Tiffany's Mr. Yunioshi. Now. is it very very racist? No, this is clearly not as racist as other, more racist things. But it still has that unpleasant whiff about it. I do not think that you are racist, fundamentally, but by straw-manning anyone who is uncomfortable with this video as being overly politically correct, you are essentially deflecting criticism of yourself. Consider Gloria, who accuses Fritz Perl of various things in order to avoid self examination. Yes, political correctness can damage, just as therapy can damage, but it can also be a useful tool. Do you dislike watching Der Juden? How politically correct of you! Do you believe that women should have the right to vote? How politically correct of you! You want to be able to make a video like this but you also want to retain the respect of others. You do this by categorizing this video as just "good crazy fun." It's pretty startling that you on the one hand ask us to engage in critical analysis and deep thought about film in your other videos but say this, no, hands off this. Turn your brain off for this one, it won't be necessary here. Again, this is not an attack on you, but rather a consideration of one small video you have made.
I have a sense of humor (although this particular post may make it seem otherwise) and merely having a sense of humor isn't enough for me to ignore some pretty unpleasant stuff.
"I think humour is a great way to break down racial boundaries. When two people can make jokes about each other in jest and still trust and like each other that's much better than each trying to speech and thought control the other."
Sure, this all sounds good, but when you remember that historically 98% of these sorts of jokes are aimed at non-white people, you have to consider that the current state of things is unequal, and adding one more instance where a white dude makes fun of Asian people's accents just tips the balance further into inequality. You say that you want to break down social boundaries, but what Asian person is going to watch this and feel like you're on his side? You're trying to make fun of the dumbness of the movie, but by pairing this with such a stereotypical accent, it feels less about that and more about Indonesia. As far as trying to "thought control" the other, I really think you're abusing this phrase. When Fritz Perl provokes Gloria, is he trying to control her thoughts? In a way he is, because he is trying to turn her thoughts towards one thing or another. But this isn't thought control in the Orwellian sense.
"I'm a big believer in equality - everyone should be free to crack jokes about themselves and each other ... we'd all live happily ever after."
What pablum. We'd all live happily ever after if we all just joked enough? Meaningful social change is harder than that and you know it. I don't feel free to crack jokes about race because I understand that as a white dude I, for better or worse, am symbolic of the history of racial oppression. Now, this is to a degree unfair as I had no hand in the creation or execution of that history, but I am comfortable with this unfairness given that I benefit from being seen in a more favorable in situations like job interviews or being stopped for a traffic violation. And further, I don't crack those sorts of jokes because I have "devised my own moral code based on experience and rationality." This moral code consists of doing what I can to not needlessly make people feel like they are lesser simply because of their culture or ethnicity.
Let's break down another reaction.
"You'll probably hate this, but I'm gonna give you some home truth about insults and offense. You offend yourself by the way you distort other people's communication in your own mind."
This is so incredibly patronizing. You are essentially telling him that you know his mind better than himself. You shield yourself from further criticism by saying "you'll probably hate this" - the intended effect is to portray your words as a "noble hurt," a hard truth that if only he could accept it would benefit him. This ignores the real hurt that he experienced watching this. Whether it was your intention or not, hurt was caused. He never said that you were intentionally trying to hurt him, he just said that this hurt.
"Everybody is subjected to ridicule and jokes at one time or another."
This is a false equivalence. The ridicule and jokes targeted at white power and white racism are not the same. Further, to be subject to ridicule is not something invariable constant law of the universe; rather, this is something that is within our power to change. Further, there are qualitative differences between ridicule and jokes which can make them useful tools for social change. You flatter yourself if you think that this is what you've made here.
"When I lived in Canada for five yrs as a child I actually changed my accent to Canadian to fit in and prevent bullying."
Are... are you serious? When I was a child I experienced bullying for more than five years for having an unusually high-pitched voice for a boy. This was something I could not change, and this only ended when my voice altered in puberty. I had no more ability to change my voice than an Asian man has the power to change the color of his skin. And further, you seem to characterize your deliberate changing of accent as a positive thing. No! On some level, this means that you embraced your role as a victim, and gave those who bullied you what they wanted: an erasure of difference. Giving bullies what they want is not a long-term policy to deal with bullying. What those bullies did to you was not good. You didn't deserve it. My first response to this was "bullied by Canadians? how bad could that be?" But I quickly revised this thought when I remembered that you were a child, vulnerable and likely feeling alone. And then I remembered how kids can be cruel regardless of nationality. You see, I have a stereotype in my head of Canadians being meek, diplomatic, and friendly to a fault. Self awareness (and a dose of political correctness) allowed me to recognize that this stereotype was flawed, and I was able to be more sensitive to your pain and sympathetic to your position. Political correctness helping you without you knowing it!
"Have I grown up with a grudge about it? No. Do I react to anyone else who mocks my accent"
I don't know about you, but man, I still have a grudge about the bullying I received. What was done to me was unjust, and injustice bothers me. It bothers me that you were bullied. It bothers me that someone watched this and felt pain (I merely experienced unpleasantness). To simply choose to not react at all to anyone who mocks your accent takes stoicism to an irrational extreme. The world of today is not the same as the world of ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. On some level, we as a society understood that these racist stereotypes hurt people, we just didn't care. Now, we care. I see this as a positive development. We still have room to grow, of course. When political correctness becomes militant, when it ignores the human inside someone who is being politically incorrect, it can cause real pain and suffering. But the solution to this is not to give up on trying to be politically correct, but to be able to combine empathy with those who cause harm. This is not easy, because extending empathy to those who have hurt you goes against our nature, but it is important. It's more than important - it is vital.
I hope that you consider these thoughts on a more considered level rather than dismissing them as "pc brainwashing." My principle goal here is to understand the ideas and thoughts which course through your words as blood through a body. I trust that you truly believe that your experience being bullied for having an accent in Canada lends you the credibility necessary to say that this sort of thing (making fun of peoples' accents) isn't so bad and people should just shrug and move on if they don't find it funny. I hope that you would extend me the same courtesy when I say that this such experience is different in significant ways from those who experience this sort of thing while being non-white.