The nasty Asian jokes at the Oscars highlighted Hollywood's other big race problem.

Last night, Chris Rock forced Hollywood to confront its race problem.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


Rock didn't let up all night, using not just his slashing monologue, but nearly every appearance to make those in the audience face up to the lack of diversity in the room — particularly the ceremony's exclusion of black actors, directors, and writers.

It was glorious.

A couple of jokes, however, came at the expense of a group just as frequently ignored and stereotyped by Hollywood: Asian-Americans.

In one bit, Rock brought out three kids to represent "PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants," a joke which appeared to trade on the stereotype that Asian and Asian-American kids are good at math.


"It's OK, it's OK, thanks guys, thanks a lot. If anybody is upset about that joke just tweet about it on your phone, that was also made by these guys," Rock said, apparently, jokingly, referring to the charge that iPhones are often made under poor labor conditions at the FoxCon factory in Shanghai.

Later in the program, Sacha Baron Cohen (as Ali G) drudged up one of the oldest, crudest stereotypes in the book for a gag.

"I is here representing all of them that's been overlooked," he said as he took the mic.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

"How come there's no Oscar for them very hard working little yellow people with tiny dongs," he said. "You know, the minions."

So ... yeah. That's an "Asian-American men have small penises joke," folks. At the Oscars.

Since 2000, only 1% (!!!) of Oscar nominations in acting categories have gone to actors of Asian descent. And, sadly, that might be the best that can be said about Hollywood's historic treatment of Asians and Asian-Americans on film.

Emma Stone, who portrayed the part-Asian Allison Ng in "Aloha." Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images.

Yellowface — white actors portraying Asian characters on screen — is an unfortunately common practice in movies, ranging from the just-kinda-boneheaded (Emma Stone in "Aloha") to the weird (Fisher Stevens in "Short Circuit") to the grotesque (Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's).

Even when portrayed by actors of the same ethnicity, Asian or Asian-American characters in movies are often conceived as one-note stereotypes or the butt of a joke ("Van Wilder's" Taj or "Sixteen Candles" Long Duk Dong).

Needless to say, Twitter wasn't here for it.

A hashtag was started in response...

...as commenters called on Hollywood to do better.


Others used the tag #RepresentAsian, in reference to "Fresh Off the Boat" actor Constance Wu's insistence that even though she plays a mother of Asian descent on TV, she doesn't need to "represent every Asian mom ever."




The silver lining to Rock and Baron Cohen's stumbles? An often invisible prejudice is now getting some much-needed attention.

Progress is already being made on TV, by shows like "Master of None," "Fresh Off the Boat," and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which feature nuanced, complex Asian and Asian-American characters in leading roles.

"Fresh Off the Boat's" Randall Park and Constance Wu. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.

But as more and more people speak out, the more likely it becomes that the film industry will start to get the message too.

And the bigger push they get? The more likely that there will be a lot more celebrating at next year's ceremony — by actors, writers, and directors of all genders and ethnicities.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular