Recently there’s been surge of controversy surrounding the use of stereotypical images, namely the moniker for the NFL team the “Washington Redskins.” Although, not an entirely new issue; the name as well as the mascot have been a heavily debated issue for years now. Many Native American organizations have renewed their objections to the use of the name as well as it’s accompanying logo, and have been calling for a replacement. In light of the negative press, Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder has announced plans to create a Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, that he claims will “provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.”
Personally, I don’t see how creating a foundation that includes the same offensive name that has been protested, effectively deals with the situation at hand. And apparently I’m not the only one who saw that minor defect in Snyder’s plan, because last Wednesday on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert mocked the plan by announcing that he too was creating a foundation; “The Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
On air, Colbert explained: “Folks, this move by Dan Snyder inspires me, because my show has frequently come under attack for having a so-called offensive mascot: My beloved character Ching Chong Ding Dong,” he said, showing a 2005 clip of him acting as the character. “Offensive or not, Ching Chong is part of the unique heritage of the Colbert Nation that cannot change. But I am willing to show the Asian community that I care — by introducing the Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever…and I owe all this sensitivity to Redskins owner Dan Snyder.”
Taken in context the audience laughed and the show moved on. However, it was the fateful tweet that was sent out Thursday night, that got Twitter activists (Twittervists?) like Suey Park all enraged. The tweet-heard-round-the-world, sent from the official Colbert Report Twitter account (which is not run by Colbert himself) reiterated Wednesday night’s joke, but left out the all important pretext; simply stating: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” In her outrage, Park succeeded in getting #CancelColbert to trend across the Twitterverse.
In a country filled with confusion and questionable ethics, how will we ever deal with such conundrums, you ask? Fear not Twittervists and conservative jerks; the answer is simple. In the great hall of the Stereotype League, the world’s greatest super heroes have been created from the cosmic legends of racism. Their mission: to prolong injustice, to promote racial stereotypes, and to bamboozle all of mankind. We call them The Racial Stereotype Super Friends and they are here to save the day.
But really, why are we all getting so bent out of shape over these particular fictionalized stereotypes? These hackneyed racist images are as American as apple pie, or even pancakes. In fact, I’m willing to wager that the same people hash-tagging Cancel Colbert were probably enjoying their breakfast with some Aunt Jemima’s syrup and Land O’ Lakes butter this morning. Oh the irony.