STEVE HARVEY AND HIS ASIAN JOKES
"So what do we do"
Steve Harvey recently made some jokes about asian men that blew up my particular social media feed . People felt angry , offended , outraged even , and took to the boards to express their fire . At first , even though I didn’t feel the fire , I did take to shaking my head . Shaking my head because it doesn’t surprise me . Shaking my head because the jokes and put downs sounds stingingly familiar . And lastly , shaking my head because the response , personally , also felt stale .
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Steve Harvey might be racist against asian men . He might not be . We can’t know for sure . But we do know one thing thats certain . Steve Harvey is a comedian . and he plays to an audience .
I’m not saying what he did was right or wrong . I’m also not saying that the backlash from the asian american community isn’t warranted . I think that voice is important . I’m just saying his number one job , is to say the thing that he knows will get the laugh . he may or may not believe in exactly the thing he said , but he knows that after he says those things people will laugh . He’s a long time professional at that . We know that for sure .
I’ve personally been on set with him and seen him work a room . He is a pro .
Were the jokes distasteful ? Ignorant ? Insensitive ? That probably depends on who you’re asking . We didn’t laugh , but there are plenty of people that did . So where is the real fight ?
The Asian American community has had to fight against many stigma’s and stereotypes in main stream media . I know this . I’m exactly the demographic he’s targeting in those jokes . It’s a lot like a wound that never heals , you get cut early in your childhood when you find out the stereotypes working against you , and before the wound could scab and heal , it would be cut again . I can tell you , these cuts happen to all asian men . I can also tell you , working in the entertainment industry , the knives are bigger and the blade is sharper , and you’re standing on the stage basically asking to get cut .
So Steve harvey’s jokes was basically another cut at the wound . A big prime time television cut . An industry/comedic icon cut . And that sort of knife cuts deep , maybe close to hitting an artery . So I understand the outrage , and I understand the lashing back . But although we cannot stand for injustice , I think it’s important to just get a little bit of perspective on it . He is a comedian , making jokes to try to get laughs , which many people did .
So what do we do ? After the explosive Facebook rants and the Twitter bashing ? What happens ? I hope you take this fire , this anger , this energy you feel about this topic , and throw it into making work and living life . Making work and a life , that fight against the stereotypes . Forge your own metaphoric weapons to represent your culture and unique perspectives . Let them make jokes , because soon it won’t matter .
I leave you with this video from Phil of Wong Fu . He speaks to the topic of white washing in media but touches to the point of making change elequently