Diversity

Rights Group Calls for Tropic Thunder Boycott

Ben Stiller Tropic Thunder

And it’s not because of Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of an actor who dons extreme blackface.

A coalition of disability advocacy groups is calling for a nation wide boycott of Tropic Thunder over the movie’s use of hate speech against the intellectually disabled. The main source of contention is a subplot in which Ben Stiller plays a mentally challenged character Simple Jack in the hopes of winning an Oscar. Throughout the film, Stiller’s Simple Jack is referred to as a “retard,” a term that is considered by some to be hate speech.

I remember an American Studies course I took in college and we had a guest speaker who was a disabilities advocate. She said that to her, the word “retard” was as offensive as the word “nigger.” I had never thought of it in that light. She explained that if derogatory language was unacceptable when referring to one’s color, it should also be unacceptable when referring to one’s mental or physical abilities. The reason none of think of “retard” that way is because we largely ignore the mentally challenged. Since then, I have tried my best to refrain from using that word.

I did remember something about Simple Jack in one of the previews I saw, but I didn’t think it would be such a prevalent theme throughout the picture. I was more concerned with the reaction to Downey, Jr.’s blackface. However, I still think Tropic Thunder is going to be awful damn funny.

I think a boycott is an appropriate response. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Tell people why you’re not watching and maybe they’ll join you. I will probably see this at some point. I don’t discount the offense at all, but I think if we bind comedy by what is tasteful or unoffensive, the world would be a lot less funny.

[Via New York Times]

I Pity The Fool Who Calls Mr. T Homophobic!

Angry Zen Minion Kensei sent over these Snickers commercials featuring Mr. T.

Funny, right?

Well, apparently, there are some who feel that this ad campaign which aired in the UK derides homosexuals. US based Human Rights Campaign filed a protest to the Mars corporation claiming that the ads, which never fucking aired in the US, support “the notion that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is a group of second class citizens and that violence against GLBT people is not only acceptable but humorous.”

That’s quite a bit of a stretch. First, there is no anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual, or anti-transgender language used by Mr. T. Second, since when is speed walking only associated with the GLBT community? Third, the commercial didn’t even air in the US so what the fuck are you complaining about?

What the flying fuck! Speed walking has to be one of the most ridiculous looking Olympic sports next to curling. I don’t want to live in a world where we can’t make fun of speed walking. The fucking guy looked like a skinny duck with yellow shorts so Mr. T shot at him with Snickers bars. Duck walking is not manly. That’s fucking funny!

As liberal as I guess I pretend to be these days, I’m getting really fed up with the political correcting of everything. You can’t give each other a fist pound without it being a terrorist hand shake. You can’t wear a black and white scarf on a commercial without it somehow supporting terrorists. You can’t say anything about black, white, or yellow people without being racist. You can’t call someone unmanly without being a homophobe. You have to wear a fucking flag pin or you’re not a patriot. What the hell people?!

Get over yourselves and get back to laughing. There are people dying in the world today reasons that no one has been able to really explain. You really think some stupid Snickers commercial will lead to the downfall of society?

Get some nuts? Get some fucking balls!

[Via Ronin Tech and Daily Mail]

How To Tell People They Sound Racist

So this is Jay Smooth, creator of the Hip Hop Music Blog and founder of the Hip Hop radio show Underground Railroad on New York’s WBAI.

This year has been full of race and I fear the worst is yet to come. This election is bound to get messy. I think Jay is right. Judge people by their actions because in the end, you can’t really know who they are because you’re not them.

Oh, and I love his review of Wall-E.

[Via Ill Doctrine]

Cute Monkey Selling Phones or Racist Depiction of Obama

A few things to keep in mind before you jump right into the “OMGZ, teh Japanz R Racist!” pool. Snow monkeys are revered as intelligent and wise in Japan. They even have their own temples. There is a new political drama on Japanese television that started in May called Change. The intended audience does not associate monkeys with racist images of blacks. Of course, the intended audience isn’t all that diverse to begin with. Also, The intended audience has not been assaulted on a daily basis by the Democratic primary race.

So let’s get into this.

From an American perspective, this is horribly racist. The “Change” banners, the monkey in a suit, it’s clearly a riff on Obama’s campaign. Sure, all the presidential candidates this time around have attempted to use “change” as their theme. But most of us readily associate “change” with Obama. Blacks have been portrayed as monkeys in racist cartoons and comics here in America so it’s easy to associate the monkey with Obama and therefore conclude that this is a racist commercial.

From a Japanese perspective, I don’t know. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or in this case, a monkey. And if the snow monkey is truly a revered animal, it could be that this is their screwy way of paying tribute to Obama. Or it could have nothing to do with him at all. The monkey has been part of other Emobile ad campaigns and if this “Change” show is popular, it makes sense to do a riff on a political theme.

Is this just a cute monkey with a phone or is Emobile demonstrating a lack of judgment by replacing Obama with a monkey?

[Via Gizmodo]

Discrimination in Tokyo – We Shall Overcome!

Racism in Tokyo:

Segregation in Tokyo:

Brilliant.

[Via Tokyo Comedy from Kotaku]

Hate Crimes Laws, A Savage Hypocrisy

I love the fact that we can embed South Park now!

Reader Kevin Bahrt sent over this clip where the boys give a presentation on the savage hypocrisy of hate crime laws. South Park usually comments on current events within the context of the show, but I’m not entirely sure what event this episode was riffing on. Regardless, I think it’s a fairly sensible assessment of hate crime laws in general. Well, as sensible as you’re going to get from the tele anyway.

[Via Comedy Central]

Black Panther on BET

Black Panther

Reader Devin Wolfe sent me news that BET will premier a Black Panther animated series based on the Marvel comic in their 2008-09 season.

BET Cages Black Panter

I hope that:

a) This thing is simulcast on Adult Swim or goes into immediate syndication, kinda like Boondocks, because it’d be a shame if they limit their target audience to a specific demographic with such a cool and enigmatic character like BP… It’d be like making a Wolverine spin-off cartoon only available on Canadian television because of the main character’s nationality.

b) That they do a bang up job on the animation, a la say Gotham Knight or Afro Samurai. Dear God let them tap I.G. or GONZO…

Whole heartedly agree. It’s about damn time. Regarding Devin’s second point, I haven’t been impressed with much of Marvel’s animated efforts lately. They’ve all left me rather underwhelmed while DC still manages to knock them out of the park. But I’m hoping for the best.

[Via Variety]

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