When bad satire is served up as a thin veil for hate

satire-fry

I don’t write funny. There’s a pretty good reason for it: it’s tough to do good comedy. In fact, the axiom among comedy circles is: “dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

It’s an axiom that seems to be too-oft forgotten in today’s easy-access self-publishing online world. For every great comedian of our times, there’s a hundred dime-store shucksters who think that access to a WordPress.com account and a hipster-witty Twitter handle will make them infamous for their belly-laugh-inducing skillz.

This would be excusable if not for the sheer amount of crap comedic writing that is passed off these days by talentless hacks who want to obscure — while simultaneously revel in — gleeful racist hatred.

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#FuckPhyllis and Arexis Fongman: Combating Casual Anti-Asian Racism on Twitter

Over the weekend, the Asian American blogosphere turned its attention to this racist account, created by an aspiring NYC artist.
Over the weekend, the Asian American blogosphere turned its attention to this racist account, created by an aspiring NYC artist.

With the growing usage of Twitter as a platform for social justice discussion and organization, a persistent question has been whether and how to combat casual racism in 140 characters or less. The success of hashtags like #NotYourAsianSidekick suggest that Twitter is a powerful tool for bringing together like-minded Millennial activists, yet Twitter is also a hotbed of racism, misogyny and bigotry that can, at times, derail those same constructive conversations.

Over the weekend, two examples of casual anti-Asian racism had “Asian Twitter” in an uproar: a racist Facebook persona awash with yellowface stereotypes created by a local NYC artist, and a Twitter storm of racism and misogyny targeting University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise.

Both examples of casual racism used Twitter and Facebook as a platform for their racism, and both were the targets of overwhelming Twitter-based backlash. These back-to-back incidents beg the question: does Twitter promote, or merely amplify, casual racism, and how effective a tool is it in combating that same racism?

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