Strollin’ Round the Interwebs: And Now, the News

Let’s be honest. By this point, you’ve probably seen numerous posts on your Facebook timeline or on your Twitter feed about the tragedy of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the Boeing 777 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6. And even more recently, you’ve probably seen the fallout and outrage that erupted after San Francisco TV station KTVU-TV used fake and racially offensive names on-air.

“Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow” — really? The anchor who read the script aloud immediately apologized after the break upon realizing that some fool (read: a summer intern) had essentially trolled a situation that involved three deaths and a dozen injuries. But was it too little too late?

And what, you might be wondering, could this possibly have to do with Asian Americans in entertainment and Kollaboration as an organization? Well, young grasshoppers, the thing is this: After the initial shock of the crash wore off, someone in the decision-making process of that broadcast didn’t think that it was important enough to check the facts, read those names aloud, and suspect that something might be fishy about these names. Someone might have even realized the “error” and thought it was hilarious to go forth with it anyway.

And this is important to Kollaboration and our mission of “Empowerment Through Entertainment” because how people react to Asians in the media is a measure of how far (or not) we’ve come, and much farther we have to go. In this case, then, we’ve got millions of miles to cover — because, undoubtedly, in that mix of Treyvon Martin and Cory Monteith posts on Facebook, there were probably at least a handful of your friends or colleagues who thought the Asiana prank was hilarious.

And laughing about a situation that ultimately sets the Asian American community back years (if the term “yellow face” is unfamiliar, now would be a good time to look it up) is a pretty big slap in the face to everyone — singers, performers, political activists, celebrities — who have worked so hard to make sure that stereotypes like Sixteen Candles‘ Long Duck Dong just don’t happen again. Forreals.

What do you think? Was the KTVU-TV incident a legitimate mistake, or something that needs to be addressed more in the media? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or via Facebook or Twitter.

And to make sure you don’t kick off the week with something too heavy-handed, enjoy this video below by the Fung Bros, about all the different kinds of foods that we Asian Americans love. Because we do.