Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pick yer battles

This isn't going to be a popular opinion, and it won't make me any friends, but here goes:

Rosie O'Donnell used a grade school taunt on the daytime TV show, The View. She said some puerile things that were stupid filler, and she should apologize. It was insensitive and not particularly funny, either. If anything I am more offended by her spokesperson's unapologetic statement that we need to learn what's funny.

That said, O'Donnell's idiotic remarks aren't worth the time and energy when our brothers and sisters are getting shot at on the streets of New York, Detroit and in Iraq.

Not worth it when our fathers and sons are getting disappeared off of our own streets, deported to unfamiliar lands under the USA Patriot Act.

Not worth it when women are being brought here from Asia as indentured slaves to serve as maids, sex toys, and (yes, the sex trafficking industry is still unfortunately alive and well.)

Rosie's not exactly a huge celebrity (and I think she jumped the shark a while back), although she does have access to maybe 1 million bored housewives across America who watch the show. If anything, they might think less of Danny Devito, who was the intended butt of Rosie's ill-attempted humor. But I don't think that this is going to drastically change how any of them think of Chinese Americans or Chinese either, for better or worse. And in an industry where your stock goes up if your name is on everyone's lips (unless you're Kramer and you've used the forbidden word), the debate is only fanning the flames of Rosie's revival.

So we should focus our collective energies on other more important matters and not lose sight of the fact that there's approximately 1 million undocumented Asian Americans who are in jeopardy of being deported and live in the shadows, working hard and paying taxes and into the Social Security lockbox, but unable to receive a higher education in the vast majority of states. I don't think they give a damn about Rosie O'Donnell. And the 18% of Asian American Pacific Islanders like myself who lack health coverage? (Stats from Families USA - nnumbers which are higher than the national average of 15% and the 10% of white Americans who lack coverage.) We don't give a damn either - we're too busy worrying that our kid's cough doesn't turn into a flu or something worse so that we don't have to take them to see the doctor, althhough we will pay (and pay dearly!) if we have to, because we worry that the one time we don't get it checked out, it'll grow into something far worse.

Update: To me, Rosie O'Donnell saying stupid stuff is about as important as the race of TomKat's possibly alien baby. Perhaps I am underestimating her power on the blogosphere and America in general since I never really paid her much attention in the first place. Also, full disclosure, I too get and got pissed about all sorts of things that I now consider insignificant in comparison, including Abercrombie & Fitch's racist shirts (though I still don't shop there.) Surely there are more weighty matters for Asian Americans to work on and consider.

And now I need to get back to working, eating, reading and sleeping (based upon relative frequency of action.) Ciao!


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