Pete Hoekstra’s Racist Superbowl Ad

I hadn’t paid a visit to Phil Yu’s blog, Angry Asian Man – which the Washington Post called “a daily must-read for the media-savvy, socially conscious, pop-cultured Asian American” – in some time. In a recent post titled This Hoekstra Campaign Ad is Racist Bullshit, he points to this video:

Michigan viewers were “treated” to this ad run by Pete Hoekstra’s campaign to unseat Debbie Stabenow as United States Senator for the state during the Super Bowl.

The ad’s straight out of the old Charlie Chan serials, from the pentatonic “ching-chong” music (which has every stereotypical element except for the “Oriental Riff” and closing gong) to the rice paddy to the young woman speaking fake broken English. I’m surprised she doesn’t say “Me so horny for Amellika to fail! …and oh yeah, me put pee-pee in your Coke, too!

The rice paddy is one image of China, but it’s no more representative of the country than say, a Nebraska cornfield is of the United States. Equally representative is this picture, which is of a city you might not have heard of, despite its being one of the five major cities – Chongqing:


If you go to the website that accompanies the ad, you’ll see the stereotypes continue with its graphic design, which apes the best fakety-fake Chinese restaurant aesthetic. Reading it, it’s 1985 and I’m eating at Ruby Foo’s in Montreal again:

debbie spenditnow screencaps

Here’s FOX News’ “analysis” of the ad and the response to it. The “expert opinion” they bring is none other than Lou Dobbs, whose mantra is “a racist is a conservative who’s winning the argument”, and he rolls his eyes so hard that he’s almost risking injury by doing so:

Here’s what other, more legitimate, news outlets have to say:

One of the questions that should be asked is “Can you make a political ad where there theme is competing with China without resorting to stereotypes and racism?” The answer is “Yes…and it’s been done!” It’s called the “Chinese Professor Ad”, and I show it below:

I’m impressed with this one: well done, it gets the message across and it doesn’t do any of the “ching chong wing wong” stuff that Hoekstra’s ad does. The ad would’ve been made the same way if the competitors were blonde and blue-eyed.

The only thing wrong is its premise that the U.S. is falling behind China because of stimulus spending; China’s is a big central planning-style government that pretty much stimulus spends all the time (when it’s not covering up its shoddy human rights record).

For a better picture on why a lot of money’s going to China, see the New York Times article How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work. Hey, America – you want to win, bro? Don’t hate; innovate!


“Reasonably Suspicious”, Explained with Crayola Crayons

Crayola crayon box with the dark crayons marked "We need to see your proof of citizenship" and the white crayon marked "Welcome to Arizon have a nice day"

(In case you’re not aware of the new Arizona law, it’s explained here.)


Why You Shouldn’t be Celebrating “Confederate History Month”

virginia confederate history month

Because the Confederates were committing treason in defense of slavery.

Be sure to read the article Lest We Forget Why They Fought, an excerpt of which appears below:

So if you are from the South, you have no need to apologize for the Confederacy. Even if your ancestors include men who fought and died for the Confederacy, this is not a matter which ought to cause anyone today to evaluate you as any different than anyone else. You are not your ancestors. You have to make your own choices, and one of those choices includes deciding whether or not to be proud of a Confederate ancestry. If I had Confederate soldiers among my ancestors (I don’t think I do, but you never know) I’d say I respected their bravery, and that I understood why they might have thought they were fighting for their country. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.

But at the end of the day, they were fighting for a morally indefensible cause and while I might prefer to remain silent about that, if forced I would have to admit that yes, I thought they were on the wrong side of the war. Treason in defense of slavery is not a subject matter appropriate for any freedom loving people to celebrate. The Civil War had good guys and it had bad guys. The good guys were the ones who won.

The Current Situation

“Because ‘White Male’ Equals Default Human ‘Normal’, See?”

Sonia SotomayorMichael Tomasky nails the real issue of the Sotomayor confirmation hearings perfectly:

Greg Sargent makes a great point about Jeff Sessions getting his knickers all in a twist about the "wise Latina" comment. Sessions said to Sotomayor this morning:

You have evidenced, I think it’s quite clear, a philosophy of the law that suggests that the judge’s background and experiences can and should and naturally will impact their decision — what I think goes against the American ideal…

Now read what Samuel Alito said at his confirmation hearing in 2006:

[W]hen a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors.…

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

Sessions voted for Alito of course. So it’s all right if you’re a white man, because as we all know, white men don’t have prejudices. Just amazing

Barbara O’Brien does a good job summarizing things in her article Senate Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor and the Default Norm, reminding us:

However, we can see plainly from the hearings yesterday that they can put on public displays of flaming racism and still hang on to their jobs. And, anyway, they don’t have to explicitly proclaim their superior virtues as white men, because it is implicitly assumed.  As Mo Dowd said, “After all, these guys have never needed to speak inspirational words to others like them, as Sotomayor has done. They’ve had codes, handshakes and clubs to do that.”