Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Racism at the Oscars

Just my random thoughts on the Oscars and racism:

  1. I didn't watch the Oscars. I don't care about the Oscars. As if celebrities need more awards reminding them how special and unique they are. I think it's largely an ingrown self-love fest. Just my opinion.

  2. Also, the supposed racism toward African-Americans for not having been nominated for any Oscars this year strikes me as funny. It's funny to me because it exposes the tension among many liberals between merit-based awards vs. quota or results-based awards. Does someone deserve an Oscar because they had an Oscar worthy performance, or because a certain number of Oscars need to be given to African-Americans even if their best performances pale beside other performances in the same year and category?

    Note: I don't know if this is actually the case, but presumably African-Americans weren't nominated for Oscars this year because there weren't Oscar worthy performances given by African-Americans; or at least the performances given weren't as Oscar worthy as the ones that were nominated.

    Moreover, this assumes the Oscar nominations are handed out fairly too. Although that's obviously highly debatable. However, if Oscar nominations aren't fairly given, then presumably it doesn't only affect African-Americans.

  3. The racism against African-Americans at the Oscars is ironic too because apparently the African-American host of the Oscars, Chris Rock, and the Jewish (and British) actor Sacha Baron Cohen (best known for being Borat) made some racist jokes toward Asians. If it's true the Oscars were racist toward African-Americans this year, then how does it help for an African-American host and Jewish actor to make racist jokes about other races? (Granted, Jews aren't necessarily a single race. But anti-Semitism seems to involve parallel issues.)

  4. I've read the jokes against Asians suggested Asians are good at math, that Asians work in factories making cell phones for American consumers, and that Asians have small penises. Since I didn't watch any of this, I don't know if all this is actually true. However, assuming it's true, then I think we have to make some distinctions:

    1. I don't think being stereotyped for being good at math is necessarily racist or otherwise a bad thing. Maybe it is if it likewise suggests Asians can never be good at other things like sports or that math is all they're good at.

    2. It's true there are many Asians working in less than equitable working conditions in the developing world. But that wouldn't apply to Asian-Americans working in the US.

      So I'm not sure if the joke is meant to satirically highlight working conditions in the developing world. Or if it's meant to suggest Asian-Americans are slave labor or something along those lines (which, if so, is ironic inasmuch as I read it was Chris Rock the African-Americans host who made the joke). Or maybe something else altogether.

    3. The last joke was apparently made by Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. One might be tempted to make jokes about circumcision at this point.

      It's easy enough to prove or disprove whether Asians (ignoring differences among different Asians like East Asians vs. Southeast Asians) tend to have smaller or larger penises if there are a population-wide studies about penis sizes.

      Yet, why would it matter? We could just as well say Asians tend to be shorter in height than Northern Europeans. Or Asians tend to be black-haired in contrast to Northern Europeans. Or whatever.

      In addition, my hunch is second and later generation Asian-Americans are on average probably bigger and taller than Asians in Asia. If so, this could be relevant to the present stereotype.

      Of course, that's all besides the point. The joke is really a joke about one's masculinity. Saying a guy's genital girth is somehow correlated with his manliness. However, that happens within the same race as well as between races. In this respect I don't know if it's so much racism as it is "alpha male-ism" or "testosteronism" or something like that.

      There may be an element of racism if the implication is Asians are less masculine than other races. If that's the implication, then let's settle it like gentlemen of days gone past settled it - with a fight to the death. Perhaps on an island like this one.

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