Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Must not joke about ethnic names

Jimmy Kimmel had a few funny zingers throughout his Oscars hosting gig. There was the bit where he tweeted at Donald Trump, and some ha-ha moments when he made snacks rain down on the audience. But overall, many of the late night personality's jokes landed with a thud — especially because more than a few of them were at the expense of people of color.

Most glaringly was that moment where he lifted the adorable eight-year-old star of Lion, Sunny Pawar, in the air to recreate The Lion King. A rich white man lifting up a brown child — one of few to ever make their way inside the Academy Awards show — in a nod to a movie set in Africa? Not the best idea, Jimmy.

Perhaps less noticeable but even more offensive was a consistent narrative throughout the night: Kimmel's tendency to either botch the non-typical names of the minorities in attendance, or his tendency to straight up make fun of them.

When he met an Asian woman — one of the tourists involved in the-tour-bus-skit-that-didn't-quite-work — and she told him her name was "Yulerie," Kimmel looked so dumbfounded that she had to clarify that it's pronounced Yulerie, which rhymes with "jewelry." After, when Kimmel asked another one of the tourists their name and they said, "Patrick," Kimmel quipped, "Now that's a name." Um, what? So it's acceptable in front of millions of viewers to tell a woman of color that her name isn't as good as a more American-sounding man's name? Not cool, Jimmy.

That wasn't it, though. After Muslim actor Mahershala Ali accepted his award for Best Supporting Actor and thanked his wife for giving birth to their daughter just four days earlier, Kimmel took the opportunity to take another jab, this time asking what Ali decided to name his daughter. After all, it can't be something "normal," like "Amy," he joked. Yes, joked. To the first ever Black Muslim Oscar winner — who had just tearfully shared with the world his joy over both the Oscar honor and being a proud new dad.

Of course, it doesn't seem like Kimmel is the type of guy that would purposely try to offend people on a major stage like the Academy Awards. But that's part of the problem: Many people don't stop to think about how their microaggressions toward people of color can wear them down over time. In addition to constantly being reminded of their "otherness" for simply being born with different skin, these men and women have likely already dealt with a lifetime of unnecessary teasing or questioning because of their unique names.

Mahershala Ali is now an Oscar-winning actor. A white man teasing a Black Muslim man about his name on a national televised award show does not set a great example for the rest of America — especially right now. And particularly when you kicked off the show with a message about bringing the country together.



Stan B said...

You know, people used to "overcome" stereotypes, and jokes about them, and attitudes that kept them from the easy road. Remember the old Negro Spiritual "We Shall Overcome?"

Now people cling to these things as proof of their "victimhood," and use them to demand not better from themselves, but better from others. Such a shame that so much energy is wasted on such a useless and meaningless effort.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea who Jimmie Kimmel is.

Anonymous said...

The Oscars. A useless exercise of white rich mutual masturbation. Never watched it, never will.

Bird of Paradise said...

Phooie on the oscars,phooie and the grammies,phooie on the Golden Globes who wants to sit through a bunch of dull boring lechtures from a bunch of knownothings

Anonymous said...

Micro-aggressions are a fabrication of the progressive cause. They believe that if they control all discourse they will win. If the Poles, Russians, Japanese, and Chinese were sensitive about the mispronunciations and ridiculing of their names by some Americans, they overcame it with their accomplishments. But progressives do not believe in accomplishment except to utilize it as a club. The academy caved and made sure that "people of color" (a euphuism for black) were well represented in the awards whether they deserved it or not. Ali is a mediocre actor in everything I have seen him do so I find it hard to believe that he was the best.


Anonymous said...

Have to laugh at a leftie accused of racism by his own cohort. Love it. Maybe in future the lefties will hold their tongue when abusing others for things they haven't done in reality but have been accused of by leftist media. I am still staggered that free speech only applies to the left and only for things that they approve of.