Friday, February 20, 2015

The Joke on Two Broke Girls

I'm trying to understand the controversial joke that was recently on Two Broke Girls.  It's kind of hard for me, because I don't watch the show. But I'm going to make some guesses.

In the scene, an Asian guy is upset because he can't find his iPad. He needs it to continue his casual romance with a woman in Australia. He then says, She's Aboriginal Australian, but she has a great personality. 

From what I've seen online, people are interpreting it to mean that Aboriginal Australians are ugly. Of course, if the joke is saying's very offensive. And that might be the case. Maybe that's what the writers of the show were going for.

But I'm seriously doubting it.

I don't think there's a common shared opinion in America about the appearance of Aboriginal Australians.  So I'm not sure why anyone make such a joke.

My guess is the joke was more about the victim becoming the perpetrator. A group that DOES get a lot of racism and de-sexualization in America is Asian males. From some Tweets I've seen, I'm getting the idea that the Asian guy on the show is often the butt of racial jokes. So I'm guessing the show was showing how we can hate when something is done to us, but then we go ahead and do it to others.

Was the joke a racist joke or a joke against racism? I'm hoping it was going for the latter. But I can't tell, because I watched it out of context.

I just found this article, which makes me think it's NOT the latter. It talks about how the show is anti-Asian.

I don't know. Some shows playfully poke fun at many groups of people. But other shows are not so innocent.

It reminds me of being in sixth grade. The people are the lunch table start teasing you. You can't tell if they're laughing with you or at you. Should you laugh along or storm away and sit at another table?

Out of all the Tweets I've seen this morning about Two Broke Girls, the one I found most compelling is from a guy who calls himself JTZ.  He says, To all those who are outraged by the 2 broke girls let me ask you this, are you okie with the racism directed at the Asian man.  He also Tweets to Kevin Rudd, who has spoken out against the joke.  hey @MrKRudd, you do know that #2brokegirls has always made fun of the Asian man in a racist manner. So why now do you only take offence?

I'm sure many people are like me—talking about a show they never watched. But are there people who were fans of the show before the Aboriginal joke? Were there people who laughed at jokes against Asians, but then got angry when another group was targeted?  If there are people like that, I think they should feel a bit hypocritical, conflicted, and ashamed. At least...that's how I'd probably feel in such a situation.  


Ann ODyne said...

I am guessing that the character's line is a play on "he is asian american but he has a great personality".

on the other hand there is no misinterpreting that awful, and ugly councillor woman in the UK who stated publicly that she couldn't bear the sight of anyone with "a negroid appearance". she herself could not possibly be more unattractive. I will be surprised if she hasn't had to move out of her house and will now check the news update. google "Rozetta UKIP" - it's a political party I think.
best regards to you my dear.

Dina said...

Ann ODyne,

Oh dear! She sounds like Kathy Bates' character on American Horror Story. She was very racist.

There are beautiful and ugly people in all ethnic groups. And That goes for both appearance and inner/personality stuff.

Andrew said...

'But' is such a little word but what an impact. If 'and' was used, would there be fuss? I am especially interested in, ah what did you call it? De-sexualisation of Asian males. I suppose it is similar here. It is a big subject and I have read discussions on forums. While anyone who has been with Asian guys knows it is untrue, I still none the wiser why it happens like that.

I'm just going to have a look at what Ann mentioned.

Andrew said...

The person was Rozanne Duncan.

Dina said...


I read a good blog post about it once; but now I'm not sure I'd know where to find it.

Well...I just found the blog, but now I'm struggling to find the post. Or maybe there were multiple posts.

The blog in general is about racism (towards everyone) Asians, stereotypes, etc. It has a lot of interesting stuff.

It's interesting and sad that Asian males tend to be perceived that way. But like you, I don't really understand why it happens.


I'm thinking it might coincide with the Asians-are very-intelligent-stereotype. Smart=nerdy. And nerdy traditionally was seen as being unsexy.

I think that's changing though. Nerd and geek are becoming more positive labels, and I think these days you can be a nerd and geek without being perceived as being unsexy.

I think also that the past few years, the negative stereotype of the Asian male has diminished a little bit. It's still not great, but not as bad as it was a few years ago.

Well, at least there's a sexy Asian Walking Dead character.

My other idea is it goes along with the whole thing of white men wanting Asian women. There does seem to be a lot of white male/Asian woman couples. So in that case, maybe the Asian male is seen as a threat. If something is a threat, one way to handle it is to see them as being inferior to you.