Because It's Funny to Be Bigoted

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Fallows calls out Pete Hoekstra ridiculous ad in his campaign against Debbie Stabenow as a "embarrassment for America"


I kinda agree:

1) The "Chinese" woman speaks in American-accented English, and I would bet she is actually an Asian-American. But the script has her make pidgin grammar errors, "Me likee!!"-style. 

2) The ad's words are about trade, budgets, and jobs, but its images are about -- 'Nam!! Of course some parts of southern China look the way this ad does, with rice paddies, palm trees, no big buildings, people wearing conical straw hats and bicycling along dike tops. But this is nothing like how the typical big-factory zone looks in China, or the huge cities that would exemplify Chinese wealth and the country's rise -- ie, the subjects of this ad. So why this rural setting? I think it's because it offers a kind of visual dog-whistle, for those Americans who, either through experience or through Apocalypse Now-style imagery, associate smiling-but-deceptive Asians in a rice-paddy setting with previous American sorrow.

Yeah, I've never set foot in Asia, but the whole thing scans as bigot's view of China. The acting choices -- an Asian-American (I'm guessing) performing an American bigot's idea of how all East Asians sound -- is like some sort of bizarre meta-commentary on the history of yellowface.

I hope old girl got some people with her. She fin to catch a drop-squad. Yeah. Like the eye of Sauren, we goin see you!

What? I'm saying, I ride for my (other) people...
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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