Chinese New Year is coming up (this Saturday), and while I’m happy to celebrate it, I also often wonder about what non-Asians get out of Chinese New Years celebrations. There are always inevitably a good number of non-Asians who come to Chinese New Years celebrations and, presumably, enjoy the food and performances of traditional Chinese dances. But do they continue to learn more about Asian culture and the issues that Asians face after they leave the celebration? I’m pretty sure they don’t. However, not all is lost—there are many great websites out there discussing Asian activism. Today’s web crush is one such website which focuses specifically on the work of Asian women.
Based on a book by the same name, Congo is an action-adventure film that came out all the way back in 1995. The book was written by Michael Crichton, the same author who wrote Jurassic Park. And like Jurassic Park’s movie counterpart, the Congo movie was brought to life by Steven Spielberg. What I have to say about Congo is that I love this movie. It was one of my favorite movies growing up, and having rewatched it recently, I can most certainly say that it still holds up for me as an adult as well.
Recently, I was watching old episodes of Scrubs on Netflix and thinking about how good that show actually was. One of the main things I loved about it is that it addressed issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. That’s not to say that Scrubs was a perfect show. It certainly had problematic moments, but what I find especially interesting was how the show acknowledged microaggressions and showed many of their lead characters exhibiting these microaggressions.
In TV shows today, if a character is shown to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, they are usually utterly despicable, villainous characters. And while some real people are like that, on a daily basis, most people are more likely to encounter casual racism, sexism, or homophobia (aka microaggressions) from others, rather than undiluted hatred. What’s even worse is we can encounter these behaviors in people we admire and even respect. Furthermore, if we critique such behavior, people almost immediately become defensive because they will believe we are insinuating that they are some villainous KKK member or something.
Instead of having totally evil, racist, sexist, and homophobic characters, maybe it’s time we
portray more characters who exhibit casual racism, sexism, or homophobia, and show them being critiqued, learning from their mistakes, and changing their behavior.