National Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders and organizations are sounding off about a recent racist television segment called racist on Asian Americans that featured on the pundit program, O’Reilly Factor on FOX.
According to OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, on Tuesday, The Bill O’Reilly Show sent reporter Jesse Watters to “investigate” the effect of criticism of the Chinese government in the current election on Chinese Americans in New York City Chinatown. However, Jesse Watters reporting resulted in demeaning stereotypes of the local Chinatown community rather than investigation of the story at hand. The segment repeatedly mocked community members that could not speak or understand English, conflated Japanese and Chinese cultural institutions, fetishized and sexualized Asian culture, and continuously highlighted stereotypes as wholly representative of the Asian Pacific American community, such as martial arts, massage parlors, accents, and herbal medicine shops.
“This segment was grossly offensive to Chinese Americans and all Asian Pacific Americans who have ever had to suffer through the many false equivocations and damaging stereotypes that were mentioned in rapid-fire succession during the show,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, OCA National President. “By going to the Chinese American community under the auspices of journalism and then unleashing a barrage of offensive stereotypes, Bill O’Reilly, Jesse Watters, and Fox News have completely trivialized the community’s view on this important election. At a time when politicians have fallen back on xenophobia to get ahead in the polls, it is disheartening to hear such offensive behavior come out of the media even as our power in the political process grows. Fox News should immediately disavow the segment and apologize to the Chinese American community for making a mockery of their language, culture, and political views.”
U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) said that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News were “mocking Asian American voters and using every conceivable stereotype was, at best, racist and, at worst, really racist.”
“I am not ‘patient’ or ‘gentle’ nor do I ‘bow’ when I say hello or know ‘karate,'” Lieu said, quoting the stereotypes depicted in the mock news segment. “So let me gently say this: if you are not racist at heart, then you would apologize. Immediately.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice:
The segment was blatant, racist and offensive stereotypes of Chinese Americans. The fact that O’Reilly termed this as “gentle fun” and Watters believed it was “all in good fun” only demonstrates a complete lack of a moral compass. It is unconscionable that a news organization would sanction a segment that laughs at a community of people, including Watters ridiculing elderly Chinese Americans who were limited English proficient.
Although The O’Reilly Factor may believe this was “all in good fun,” the segment does nothing more than play up every offensive stereotype of Asian Americans that the community has fought against for decades. What they should have done is to talk about the important role that Asian Americans can play in this upcoming election.
There are more than 9.3 million newly eligible voters this year, and 37 percent of Asian American respondents in our 2016 Voter Survey identify themselves as independents. Our community stands to play an important role in this election and the future of politics as the fastest growing racial group in the United States. We demand a formal apology from Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor for airing such an offensive segment. We, as a community, refuse to be mocked and trivialized.”
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is appalled by the recent “Watters’ World” segment on The O’Reilly Factor on Chinese American voters. The segment exploited Asian American stereotypes and exemplified the very issue of China-bashing the report supposedly sought to assess. This racist and derogatory segment damages Chinese American and Asian American communities and exacerbates negative stereotypes towards our communities.
It is clear that the intent of this segment began from a desire to employ racist stereotypes to ridicule and mock Chinese American voters, and was never a serious attempt to understand the preferences or opinions of these voters after the first presidential debate.
“We are shocked and disgusted by the blatant use of disparaging stereotypes against Chinese American and Asian American voters,” said Christine Chen, APIAVote Executive Director. “This year marks the greatest mobilization of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters in history, and for this segment with grossly facetious portrayals of our communities to be aired is inexcusable. The media must cease to depict our communities using racist caricatures and instead properly cover the burgeoning AAPI electorate and increasingly important AAPI vote.”