Good morning friends! I see we all woke up with a fire in our bellies over that racist tweet from The Colbert Show‘s Twitter, but before we grab our pitchforks and our #cancelcolbert hashtags and go stomping off to storm his castle, there are a few things everyone needs to be aware of.
First, a little background. The tweet in question has since been deleted, but it said:
“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
I understand your anger and offense, because that’s undeniably racist. The word ‘Oriental’, the pejorative use of stereotypically Chinese syllables likes ‘ching-chong’ and ‘ding-dong’…all the bases are covered. It inarguably crosses a lot of lines, but it was actually done intentionally. The real error was in the quote being taken out of context and posted in a stand-alone tweet.
On Wednesday Night, Stephen Colbert was doing a segment on the owner of the Washington Redskins, who recently opened a foundation to support Native Americans. In a bit designed to emphasize how very little that does to combat the inherent racism in the team’s name, Colbert aired a clip from 2005 in which he played a satirical, stereotypical ‘Chinese’ character named Ching-Chong Ding-Dong, and in character announces in the present that he’s ‘opening the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.’
It’s a smart, incisive joke in context, but you really do need that whole set-up for it to come off, so putting it online via the @ColbertReport handle without either of those things was a definite mistake. You feel the intended offense at the statement without the aid of context to help you direct your indignation at the rightful target — the owner of the Redskins.
And even if that revelation doesn’t slake your bloodlust, you should be aware that Stephen Colbert doesn’t run the @ColbertReport account — his personal handle is @StephenAtHome, which was reiterated multiple times last night.
— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) March 28, 2014
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) March 28, 2014
So how are we feeling? Okay? Still mad? We can get through this together.