Holland Got Talent judge Gordon Heuckeroth made several racist remarks at a Chinese competitor, singer Xiao Wang, last week. You might have already seen it, but if not, check the above. What’s interesting, however, is the tepid, almost indifferent response from netizens in China, a study in contrast to the outrage expressed after the now-infamous and actually inoffensive skit by Jimmy Kimmel.
“As undoubtedly racist as this is, this is not construed as a racism in China,” writes Sinopathic.
For every “ching chong” slur and “chinky-eye” affair that occurs, there is an equally indifferent wind that does not blow. While overseas Chinese groups are outraged at such egregious displays of ignorance and hate, this doesn’t register with Chinese in the motherland. Because it doesn’t concern the motherland.
Racism in China is anything that has to do with the national interest: namely national sovereignty, national defense, and intangible cultural heritage. The bigger the affair, the more racist it is.
The top comments on chinaSMACK express much the same:
Can’t be helped, the Chinese people [there probably] don’t interact with mainstream society, and must have left this kind of impression [on the judge].
…Just look at it as entertainment. Foreigners’ humor all has a bit of ridicule/mockery in it. Don’t be oversensitive.
That’s incredible. Yet the reason is simple. Satire doesn’t translate, as we’ve noted here before, and the Kimmel story, if translated faithfully, sounds like an American network TV host wants to, you know, kill all Chinese people. No one bothered to footnote the translations with “THIS IS A JOKE,” and besides, who here would’ve understood it?
Judge Gordon’s comments, on the other hand – Can’t be helped. Overseas Chinese just gotta grit and bear it. Don’t be oversensitive. You’ve probably heard that the Chinese are blunt when it comes to race, especially differences in appearances — even if they’re grossly generalized and stereotyped — between ethnicities. They’re not used to the American level of political correctness. Also interestingly, this episode perhaps shows they’re not as monolithic in their defense of “one of their own,” either.
But that doesn’t mean judge Gordon’s not a supreme prick in the above and deserves to be called out. Janet Lie, a Chinese woman who lives in Holland, decided she can’t — in her words — “just let it go.” She emailed the following to us, which she gave us permission to publish:
RTL, the Dutch broadcaster, REFUSES to apologize because “he’s just joking”. Unfortunately, many Dutch people tend to agree and don’t think it was a big deal. That’s why we created this petition, demanding an apology!
Some Dutch people even denied it was racist and said people were “too damn sensitive nowadays”. The Dutch media didn’t pay any attention to this until it made international headlines because American bloggers were reposting the video.
As a Chinese woman living in Holland, I’ve been called “spleetoog” (Dutch for slit eye) all my life. Strangers would come up at me and say “ching chong”. I get ni hao’ed at least once a week. Men asked me if it’s true that Asian women have sideways vaginas a couple times. And even though not intentiontal, my own friends would also make racist jokes about Asians. Everytime I say that’s not right, they call me “oversensitive”. “What’s the big deal? It’s just a joke.”
I am sick and tired. I created a Facebook-page (it’s in Dutch, unfortunately) to create awareness and asking fellow Asian people in Holland to speak up. Unlike in America, Asian support groups here aren’t very vocal. Asian people here stay silent and just try to blend in with everyone. I want them to file a complain with me, but they tell me to”. But I can’t.
So again, sign this petition, if you’re the petitioning type.