I hate hearing fake Chinese accents. They’re not funny and they’re racist. What’s worse is Russell Peters made a routine using a Chinese accent which was circulated across North America thanks to the viral nature of Youtube and the internet. Now when I hear someone put on a fake Chinese accent – whether they are Chinese or not – I can’t tell if they are referencing Russell Peters or if they are participating in a mockery of my cultural and racial heritage (which they are). To be fair, when I first saw the routine, I’d enjoyed it a lot as I thought it held Chinese and Indian people (both particularly racialized where I’m from, Vancouver) in a constructive, funny manner. But that was in high school and really, I hate the racist humour. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I will be the first to shoot the shit with someone and can appreciate some banter with a close friend about our racial differences but that is a far cry from poking “fun” and reinforcing a negative stereotype.
Fake Chinese accents are not intelligent humour. They’re the opposite: they’re shallow generalizations that reinforce and regurgitate racist values with little or no articulation at all. Intelligent humour changes people. It changes the way we look at the world and how we act in our life after it. Give me Margaret Cho, Richard Pryor, or George Carlin.
I hate that Chinese people get boxed into a certain mode of speech. I hate that anybody gets made fun of by the way they talk whether it’s an accent, speech impediment, or otherwise. People are so quick to other and judge. I don’t know about you but when I hear someone speak with an accent, I know that they can speak another language as well as I can speak English. They are articulate. I’ll laugh if they say something funny, but I will make it known that it’s because of how it reflects on the individual person, not because they are Arabic or Nepalese or deaf or whatever. I know that person has once experienced pain, fear, confusion and isolation based on the fact that they speak differently alone. And that is terrible because it never needs to happen but it does.
Don’t talk in a Chinese accent around me unless that’s just how you talk.