Me So Angry: Fox Sports, USC Asians, Accents and the Pac-12

Today Fox News took off the air a "news" segment taped at the campus of University of Southern California, where the reporter asked Asian students to welcome Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12 Conference. This was edited to show only the ones who didn't know about the Pac-12 or had an accent. Realizing that there was a rising fury on the horizon, Fox Sports canceled the show called "The College Experiment" on Wednesday, which was after the Daily Camera, a Boulder city paper, reported on it.

Story Continues Below
Support KCET

The reporter Bob Oschack approached Asian students at USC and asks them to welcome Colorado to the Pac-12. I suspect he specifically went to USC to only interview Asian students because he wanted to create a piece that highlighted their accents and ethnicity and the stereotype that "Asians" don't care or know about college football because they are foreigners and studious "bookworms."

On Mr. Oschak's Wikipedia, this has been just added: "He has recently been under much criticism and scrutiny for his racially-targeted spoof on international Asian students at the University of Southern California."

You can take the segment down, but you can't hide from people with internet access.

The segment perpetuates the Asian stereotype of non-athleticism. Did all the work that Bruce Lee do go to naught? Was this supposed to be funny? Didn't we just see Wendi Deng Murdoch take out a pie throwing assailant at her husband's inquiry in the British Parliment?

I am angry that this stereotype is on a virtual loop, the "Chinese Driver", the Feminized Asian male, the fawning Asian Butterfly; for crying out loud, the Chinese were under threat of being blown up building the damn railway across this great country and yet we weren't even allowed to stay until after 1943 (Chinese Exclusion Act).

Why are racist stereotypes used as comedic fodder? Who is the audience and why is Fox Sports pandering to them? I don't find it funny. Do I laugh at Margaret Cho when she plays her mother? Yes, but she is not trading on a stereotype, she is using her relationship with her as a jumping off point exploring the humor in mother/daughter relationships. So am I only angry when Caucasians make a joke at the expense of my ethnicity? Yes. Why? Because it harks back to the time we were set apart by our perceived differences, it goes back to the time when we were segregated and allowed to work cheaply without rights to vote, or had a legal right to stay in a country we worked in.

Who gave Fox Sports the license to make fun of the way I look and the way I talk?

Even considering that this is Fox Sports, I am still stupefied that even they thought to run it. Who was supposed to think this was funny? Asians? Or everyone else who wasn't Asian and would think that this stereotype was worth their 3:18 minutes to watch? Why not pull out all the props and stick long pony tails on them and buck teeth? Why even bother using real Asians? Put a non-Asian in Yellowface and then really make it funny by sticking them in a rice paddy.

Comments on the LATimes online article run from anger to "oh really??"

"This just proves that those who want to take advantage of the American Dream need to fit into OUR culture. Believe it or not, we, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA has a culture-football & pizza, baseball & hotdogs, hockey & popcorn, and basketball & rap. "
"This is so funny. Its hilarious. I'm sure libs are up in arms because its fox but had it been nbc or anyone else, its funny. Such double standard. Everyone knows asians are way smarter than most studends because they value geting an education much more then anyone else. They study hard to make their parents happy. Everyone should be a little more asian, specially blacks and my race latinos. The only problem with asians is that they are not well rounded. They are very smart but cubicle smart. They are not rainmakers. Anyway, I thought is was funny and so did my asian friends."

Some of my best friends are (choose the ethnic group you just insulted).

I love the "Some of my best friends are _____" addendum that racists like to tack on to statements. Oh really? I would love to meet your "Asian Friends" and we can get down to why they are "laughing" with you. If you really do have Asian Friends. I wonder when we will be hearing from Mr. Oschack about how his Asian friends laughed till they cried when he showed them the video clip. Start counting now...

Back in the spring we had UCLA's Alexandra Wallace with her "chingchong" video, now we have Fox Sports with their version which is even more egregious funded video. Alexandra put up a simple webcam video of herself, Fox Sports went out with a crew to film their's. Which one is worse? The one with more than one brain working on it. And this proves the point that even with more than one person working on a video it can be just as stupid as one, when no one is thinking.

Artist, designer and teacher Ophelia Chong explores her adopted city of Los Angeles with an eye and ear for the small moments that tests the duality of being an Asian American. Join her on her journey every Thursday on KCET's SoCal blog

About the Author

A true multi-tasker: illustrator, designer, teacher, networker and writer of short blasts of pent up hot air.
RSS icon


Five Quarters of the Orange: A Sense of Place in the Inland Empire


Media Arts Preview: Eye Movement Research, Light Sculpture & More