Monday, November 18, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel - a name otherwise unknown to many Chinese

The last grant deadline delayed for more than a month, thus,  I was given a bit of time to think about something else other than writing my grant every minute of my day.  What I have done is so out of ordinary that I have to write it down here.  Before we go further, you first should take a look at the following clip:

Honestly, after watching it, I had felt almost nothing, not funny, not insulting, a bit of concerned, maybe, I was a bit sympathetic for the parents of the kid - imagined if that kid was my own, boy, I would have had hard time to get to my work place next morning.  As emails kept coming to my way asking me to sign a petition to boycott JK and I had to follow what has been happening.  Then I saw this clip:

That, my friend, ticked me off.  His arrogance and ignorance were unbearable.  I felt insulted and disappointed.  I used to like him a bit when I had time to sit in front of a TV years ago.  After watching this, all the worst experiences at which people have looked down on me in the last 21 years have appeared in my memory.  Then I volunteered my time, money and sleep to join the protest on 11.9.2013 (119 movement), which is an event organized by "the people" in the following cities. 

Here was the speech I prepared but only had time to deliver a summarized form in 2 minutes:

I would like to express my motivation and purpose of coming out today to join this demonstration.

At first, I was kind of shocked by how desperate the ABC producers for Jimmy Kimmel’s show are. I thought it was obvious that they are seeking negative publicity to boost the declining viewers’ rating. I believed that I was an educated scholar and a mother of 2 young kids who has no time for such shows anyways. I would not give them the publicity for which they were looking. However, when I began to receive more and more emails from friends who are as educated as me, particularly many were American fellows, I began to understand this not just some kind of show to entertain viewers by singling out Chinese, they were clearly using “innocent” voices to promote ideas and values that they did not dare to speak by themselves. Because the show was pre-recorded hours prior to the air time, the ABC and JK show production team purposely chose the segment to show the viewers where they stand by commenting “killing everyone in China” as “an interesting idea”, by arrogantly asking “should we allow the Chinese to live”, by making more offensive remarks to accuse his viewers “have problems thus do not get the joke”.

I think the ABC network and JK production team should be boycotted for the following reasons:

Frist, JK commented the kid for his “killing everyone in China” as in interesting idea. Regardless which cultural background that we come from, this type of remarks is no joke to any of us. There is nothing funny and interesting about killing. As an experienced host, JK could have used his sense of humor to stop such horrifying statement, yet he chose to promote it. Now think for second here, do we really want to make our next generation killers? As a scholar and educator, I believe this is completely unacceptable and this alone, indicates that JK is unqualified for his job. His face should be banned from public media.

Second, after the fact, JK has never apologized. Personally, I am mortified by how uneducated he is, because he failed to understand “an apology” should include what he did wrong and why it was wrong and what he would do to avoid making the same mistake again in the future. There is nothing in his “apology” remotely covering above points.

Third, the ABC network authority has never apologized. In a letter that ABC management sent to the Chinese community, they stated, “We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large.” Again, this letter has not covered any points listed above. Again, it failed to admit what they did wrong, their responsibility and strategies to correct and avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. This raises the suspicion that the ABC network is using “naïve kids to spread thoughts that those adults dared not speak for themselves.” – a quote from Iminusc’s public protest letter.

Finally, I would like to end my speech with my personal view of this matter. I have come to the U.S. from China 21 years ago. Over the years, I, like many people who live in this country, have immensely enjoyed the multiculturalism and diversity. I am amazed and grateful everyday to the opportunities to learn from each and everyone of my daily encounters, particularly the ones with different cultural backgrounds from mine, about their cultures, values and tasty food. I have also chosen to immigrate to the U.S. after acquiring 2 advanced degrees so that I can contribute to this melting pot with the benefits that I have received. By marrying a French, I created our little world of diversity in our family and have created 2 little trilingual children.

Unfortunately, there are still small amount of people like JK, the production team of his show and the ABC network, who do not cherish the beautiful and colorful country by broadcasting a violence promoting show. What they did is disrespectful to the majority of the people in America, regardless the ethnic background, who have contributed to build this beautiful and attractive country. JK’s remarks in The Kid Table and the follow up “apology” shows were demeaning, ridiculous and offensive to the Chinese community and all JK TV show viewers. Therefore, he needs to be removed from the public eye.

Lastly, as an educator and a mother of 2 young children, I would strongly advocate education. The public media is one of the influential places that can assist us to achieve this goal. We simply need to have qualified and educated TV show hosts, producers and editors to focus on promoting responsibility, hard working, tolerance and peace with the true American sense of humor.

After this, our local newspaper reported our demonstration and then few readers commented that we Chinese had no sense of humor. To which I responded:

"There is a huge difference between joking in private setting and public network.  Can you imagine to replace "Chinese" with "Jewish" "Blacks" "Whites" "Indians" "Japanese" or any other words in a broadcast show like this one? I don't even dislike JK shows, however, when he node his head searching for words to promote the funny part of the "killing everyone in China", he said, "That's an interesting idea". Following that, he even offended his own viewers by saying that they "have problems and could not get his obviously disagreeing with the kid". As a TV show host, his inability in handling unexpected answers with true sense of humor disqualifies himself from the profession. ABC's JK show production team had ample time to "save his grace" yet this segment was allowed to show. Now if you were the parents of the kid, would you really think it's funny to use violence to solve every problem?"

There you have it. I have done something else on the top of working hard to meet deadlines.


  1. you convinced me…sort of….
    You are right. The appalling thing about the Jimmy Kimmel clip was what it said about violence in this country
    It's almost secondary whether the kid said Kill chinese or kill jews or kill africans…the shocking thing is that he so readily thought of killing
    If my daughter ever came up with that "idea" as a solution to any problem I would be shocked and horrified
    So the question is:
    Was the kid (Who said "Kill them…") just an immature idiot who would mature and realize the error of his way, or will he grow up to be a jerk, or even worse…a criminal sociopathic murderer?
    And was he the exception, since the other kids didn't think of killing as a solution, or his is typical of the way we in this society think?

    SO I guess in the end you really did not convince me, because before this "incident" i was never aware that there were little kids who viewed killing as a viable solution.
    BUT thanks to FREE SPEECH and the courage (or stupidity) to air things without fear of censorship I am now not only aware of but am talking about the problem of kids and how they perceive violence.

    AND that is the beauty of Free Speech and an open dialogue.

  2. In fact it was me who published one of the emails that I received from one of my close friends. He seems to embrace the Free Speech and non censorship that allows him to get himself "educated". I, however, beg the differ. It is exactly such unfiltered Free Speech that has implanted the horrified "idea of killing as a way of solving problems" into the little kid's head. Again, ABC is not just any other bad programs that we adults know better not to tune in under any conditions. It's a public and national TV network that has no control over who the viewers are. Uncensored programs such as this one is not welcomed. This reminds me to thank my daughter's school teachers who had chosen NOT to disclose any information related to "the Sandy Hook's tragedy" to my then 5 year old kindergartener. It is up to us, responsible adults, to make a world worthy of living for our next generations.