Colbert Report Tweet Sparks Campaign to Reexamine Casual Racism on Twitter
A tweet from the Colbert Report’s official account has ignited a campaign to reexamine casual racism against Asian Americans—at least on Twitter.
On Wednesday night's show, Colbert made fun of NFL coach Dan Snyder’s launching of the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation,” a thing meant to paper over the offensiveness of his team’s name.
Colbert satirized the foundation with the following:
But I’m willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitive to Orientals or Whatever….I owe all this sensitivity to Redskins owner Dan Snyder. So Asians, send your thank-you letters to him, not me.”
The joke later resurfaced in a decontextualized tweet, from the official account not run by Colbert himself:
Soon after, crusading anti-racism activist Suey Park and her network of advocates who propelled #NotYourAsianSidekick began #CancelColbert to call awareness to the casual racism against Asian Americans that such jokes can engender.
O hell, Colbert decided to "satirize" genocidal America w/the R*dskins by using the word Orientals to Asian people? #CancelColbert
— Lauren Chief Elk (@ChiefElk) March 28, 2014
#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren't amused.
— Suey Park (@suey_park) March 27, 2014
POC deal with racism every day and the real life DEADLY effects. & this clown profits off joking about POC pain. #CancelColbert Yes, please.
— William C. Anderson (@williamcander) March 28, 2014
Others thought that the campaign misdirected anger from where it should go: toward "Redskins" owner Dany Snyder.
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) March 28, 2014
The Suey Park Army regularly initiates viral Twitter campaigns against perceived slights to the Asian American community and other aggrieved minority groups. It’s a powerful network that usually gets the attention of whoever is the target of their ire, including Colbert himself, who tweeted his response from his official account:
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) March 28, 2014
The official Colbert Report account was quick to delete the offending tweet (though it was screen captured prior) and absolve Colbert of responsibility:
— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) March 28, 2014