My fellow white people, especially my fellow white men, take a moment and watch this video. Seriously. This incredibly degrading and demeaning conversation happened this week. In 2014. On the Huff Post Live.
The behavior and attitude of the host absolutely sickens me, and I would hope it would you as well. I nearly wretch at the increasingly disparaging and patronizing way this (and I hate sharing a race and sex with him) white man addresses this obviously passionate, informed, intelligent, and resourceful woman of color. It is shameful the way he talks over her, drowns her out, makes leading statements, frames questions in an unanswerable way, and ultimately describes her very legitimate concern as “stupid” to her face, in an attempt to silence her with awkwardness.
Let me be frank: I do believe the infamous tweet, given that it was a joke taken out of context and written and released by a person not affiliated with the Colbert Report, was still a massive mistake. But I also believe that Stephen Colbert’s joke, in context, was a clever and pointed use of satire. There, I stated an opinion contrary to Suey Park’s.
What I would not say, under any circumstances, is that Suey Park’s opinion of the tweet/joke/bit itself is somehow irrelevant, stupid, or ill-informed. I am a white male, she is a woman of asian descent. Inherently, I cannot know this situation from her perspective. No white person can. No man can. That is truth, not opinion. The only way anyone can ever have thoughtful discussion is to BE thoughtful. An opportunity was lost here to have an interesting and informative discussion with her, but instead two men decided to sit back, puff their pipes, and dismiss her.
She never once said that as a white male the host was not entitled to an opinion. She said his opinion could not be founded on first-hand asian-american experience since HE IS NOT ONE. He could have disagreed with her, what was so shockingly offensive, is that he insulted and dismissed her.