This blog contains some slightly inflammatory comments, so if you don't want to hear me get up on my high horse in regards to this blog post, please keep browsing.
Some lady posted an argument on how racist the show Community is and her self-righteous blog got on the cover. So here's what I think about race, as a half white, half Japanese woman living in Los Angeles, and a minion of the entertainment industry.
First of all, I'm just happy that another Asian actor is getting jobs that don't involve subtitles and ninja stars. Congratulations to Ken Jeong on all of his success. I'm happy there are a plethora of lead roles for minority actors in a leading comedic half hour comedy on NBC. I'm happy these roles were written for minorities and are being performed by minorities. That's more than Friends, Kung Fu, and Seinfeld can say. I'm happy that the most endearing character on Community is an Indian guy named Abed.
Secondly, I think we're all well-aware of how far we have come in terms of race, and I think we're well-aware of how far we still need to go. Yes, I think it's important to hear voices from different facets of the culture. Entertainment is an incredibly important window into how a society sees itself and these kinds of issues should be debated and sussed out. But lets be completely honest: networks would rather reproduce a powerhouse like Two and a Half Men starring THREE WHITE MALE CHARACTERS, instead of My Wife and Kids or The Tracy Morgan Show because one makes a lot of money and the other two didn't make as much money. Entertainment has no obligation to be reflective of authentic multicultural voices, it has an obligation to what sells.
Thirdly. Pity is as much a part of racism as stereotyping is. Only one creates a parody of the issue and thereby has the potential to deconstruct it, whereas the other one can't take a joke. You complain that the minority characters are mere charicatures without acknowledging the fact that, as a comedy, all of the members of the cast, including the white lawyer and the white aging professor, are charicatures. It's really easy to stand on top of a podium and wave a big racist flag over something you don't understand, like irony. You can easily claim you know something that other people don't because you've seen it with your own two eyes. You, after all, know everything about working at an urban community college. Here's the thing though: I don't know if you noticed, but it's a TV show set in Greendale, Colorado, a city that doesn't exist, and, as in The Office, the show is more about the characters than it is about the setting. And many of the characters happen to have diverse backgrounds.
You might think a show is unfunny, you might think the actors were poorly cast, but to make claims about the show's subversive racism because it's two lead characters are white is simply narrow minded and inflammatory. I'm not saying that part of your argument is incorrect. The Knapsack of Priviledge is real and it exists. You have one. I get that you're a teacher, and you have a close intimate relationship with your students and that gives you access to their life story, but where do you get off feeling like you have the right to speak for them and people who share their ethnic backgrounds on what is and is not offensive? Oh, that's right, you're a white woman, so you have the priviledge of speaking for the less fortunate people who are not white. That's a little item in the knapsack of priviledge you were talking about.
Many apologies for now being racist and probably mean towards you. It means that my barbs are also pointed at, well, myself, really. I don't know your students, and I don't know you at all. I found the show endearing, funny, and I'll be watching it tomorrow night- I want Ken Jeong to keep working because I think he's talented, and I absolutely love Abed. And Joel McHale is dreamy. I do share your dissatisfaction with the lack of diverse characters on network TV. I hope there are more Bernie Macs and George Lopez's and Raven Simones and Chris Rocks and Dave Chapelles out there who can carry their own show and make money for greedy, sticky fingered studio execs. I do see a future in which Lindsay Price is the star, and not the supporting lead. I think we're heading there.
In the meantime, I'm going to sling my criticisms at the Kardashian family, Paris Hilton and Accidentally on Purpose for cementing images of women as irresponsible and sex obsessed. At least one of those three bad boys is a scripted show, so I can't give it too much flack.