Friday, March 25, 2005

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The universality of inane Internet chatter

Hamish McDonald reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Internet afford people the opportunity to make jackasses out of themselves no matter how old the civilization. To be specific, not all Chinese reacted well to Condi Rice's recent trip to Asia:

"How come the United States selects a female chimpanzee as Secretary of State?"

"This black woman thinks rather a lot of herself."

"She's so ugly she's losing face. Even a dog would be put off its dinner while she's being fed."

The 5000 years of civilisation on which the Chinese pride themselves were not so evident this week in the comments on Condoleezza Rice's visit to Beijing posted on the internet site "New Tide Net".

As monitored by the media analyst Liu Xiaobo, the overall tone of the 800 postings was hostile and about 10 per cent were racist, sexist or both, reflecting what Mr Liu calls a pervasive phobia here about dark-skinned races.

Read the whole thing -- not for more quotes like this, but to see how the Chinese leadership has had a bad foreign policy stretch as of late.
Thanks to alert reader P.D. for the link.

posted by Dan on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM


Not all the different from how Condi was recieved in some of the leftist circles here in America.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Put up or shut up, Mark. Show us some comments from leftists that express similar sentiments or words.

And don't give me anonymous blog comments -- for every such comment, I can probably dig up a dozen comments about ragheads and wiping out all Muslims in Free Republic or LGF.

posted by: Josh on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Why is anyone surprised by the inanity? The real worry, should be as the author surmised at the end of article, is that it is a reflection of official policy. There is clearly a recognization that Ms Rice is a personal representative of the President not just a high government functionary. They are not merely trying to show displeasure with US policy over Taiwan but indicating their clear displeasure of Bush's foreign policy actions.
I wonder now what they think with the situation in Krygzhistan(sic?)

posted by: Robert M on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A radio talk show host who called Condoleezza Rice an "Aunt Jemima" issued an apology Friday, but not to Rice.

"It is with a heavy heart that I apologize this morning to Aunt Jemima," John "Sly" Sylvester said on WTDY-AM in Madison. "She wasn't a self-serving hack politician who got up in front of Congress and lied. Aunt Jemima didn't kowtow to Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney."

"The speakers: City Councilor Chuck Turner and local activist Sadiki Kambon.
Turner was quoted as saying that Rice isn't concerned "about the plight of the majority" of African-Americans. Okay, she's a foreign-policy wonk, not a domestic-policy analyst. But then Turner added that Rice is a "tool to white leaders.... It's similar in my mind to a Jewish person working for Hitler in the 1930s." Say what?

Kambon, naturally, was even more outrageous, calling her "Condoleezza White Rice" and "The Negro Security Adviser.""

"It comes close, at least in spirit, to the picture of Rice sketched by political cartoonist Pat Oliphant a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, Oliphant drew a big-lipped, bucktooth Rice perched like a parrot on President Bush's arm. Bush was speaking to Rice in baby talk, with Rice replying: "Awwrk!! OK Chief. Anything you say, Chief. You Bet, Chief. You're my HERO, Chief."

then there is this:

and this is nice:
"A July 1 comic by Rall suggests "appropriate punishments for deposed Bushists" that parodies alleged treatment of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. The panel featuring Bush Administration national security advisor Condoleezza Rice has her saying "I was Bush's beard! His house nigga. His" She is interrupted by a character wearing a shirt reading "You're not white, stupid" who says, "Now hand over your hair straightener."

note that these are all media personalities, politicians, and nationally syndicated cartoonists. You can imagine what its like on DU and the other places you suggest 'the loonies' hang out.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

I don't know anything about Sylvester, but radio shock jocks are notorious for tossing out racial terms. And contrary to your comments, the vast majority of those come from the the right, not the left.

Kambon is black himself and historically blacks (both on the right and left) have generally had greater latitude to use racial terms against other blacks. We can debate whether this ia a good idea or not, but right wingers like Armstrong have used it as much as anyone else.

Riall's cartoon is probably bad, but the man is a nutcase anyway, even if he is a cartoonist.

Of course, its pretty easy to come up with racist or bigoted statements not by the occsaional fringe character, but by Repulican Senators and Congressmen, not to mention Right Wing Talk Show hosts.

posted by: Josh on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

You mean right wing Republicans like Senator Robert Byrd who said to a KKK Imperial Wizard: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."

He also wrote to Sen. Theodore Bilbo "Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

posted by: ROA on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Byrd made those comments 50 years ago and he has recanted his position many times calling his association with the Klan his greatest mistake.

But what about those 2 Republican Senators, Helms and Thurmond. the late Storm Thurmond ran for President as a segregationist, and here's great quot for him

“All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches.”

And he never recanted his past either. Of course, he decided the Dems were not for him and switched to the Republican party, where he was more welcome.

posted by: Josh on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

So lets make a list of when its OK to be outrageously racist:

-you're a shockjock. But I doubt Michael Savage would have a show if he called Joycelyn Elders Aunt Jamima. So a democrat shock jock.

-You're black. Traditionally blacks apparently arent held to any standards of decorum, much less taste. If you want call fellow blacks race traitors, that is none of anyone elses business. Of course if Bill Cosby called Al Sharpton Buckwheat, he'd have a problem. So only lefty African Americans reserve the right to throw racial slurs.

-You're a nutcase cartoonist published in major syndicated newspapers. Hey, do what you want. Of course if you're drawing Peanuts and Lucy asked Franklin to borrow his straightner, you may get a few letters. Apparently you have to be a liberal nutcase artist to tread below the lowest standards of human decency without so much as reprimand.

Any more exceptions im missing?

But Republicans are much worse... i'd love to see the documentation. Same rules, no commenters, no unknown bloggers. Lets see some republican shock jocks, politicians, or media folks race baiting to this dispicable degree. Or better yet, lets see just one who used the 'N' word on camera like Robert Byrd did within the past couple years.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Byrd also filibustered the 1965 civil rights legislation; voted against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, one liberal, one conservative, both black; and led the opposition to Condoleezza Rice’s selection as Secretary of State. If Byrd had really changed his views on blacks he would have seen how inappropriate it was for him to lead the opposition. An ex KKK executive with his record of racists statements opposing a black woman who lived in Birmingham Alabama when ex KKK members blew up a black church and killed an acquaintance of Ms. Rice. Sure he has changed.

posted by: ROA on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]


keep towing along. the left needs loyalists like you.

posted by: Derek on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Actually, I'm kind of pleasantly surprised.

10 COmments and counting, and the "Yeah? But not as racsist as AmeriKKKa" comments are nowhere to be found.

Nice restraint, Lefties - congrats.

posted by: Tommy G on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]


Buehner! - You're being summoned. Apparently Peter, downspin on the 1st "Iraqification" post, is waiting for a "clarification" on your invite that he explain the discredited "Lancet" study,'s... Oh - nevermind - you've just got to go downspin and read him. I can't wait.


posted by: Tommy G on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

You know, this topic (race) probably deserves its own blog, much less its own post. (Possibly its own internet, so that I wouldn't have to think about it as much.)

Black people (those of African descent, etc.) are not well looked upon by Asian culture. (Does anyone remember the controversy about Sambo-type dolls in Japan in the late 80s/early 90s?) There -- I said it. Racism is not just a white thing, unfortunately.

(Those white people now chuckling with schadenfreude should stop, because when your beautiful white grandchildren find themselves discriminated against by their ChiCom overlords, it won't be funny.)

posted by: Klug on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

But I doubt Michael Savage would have a show if he called Joycelyn Elders Aunt Jamima.

Michael Savage has called Mexican Americans wetbacks several times and has said they breed like rabbits. He routinely refers to non-white countries as "turd world nations". He has made extremely bigoted anti-gay statements several times. he has suggested dropping nuclear weapons on the Middle East several times. What got him off the air was only when told a gay caller that he wished he got AIDS and died.

But Republicans are much worse... i'd love to see the documentation.

I never said that Republicans were much worse. I was responding to a comment by you that instead of focusing on the main topic (China) chose to attack lefties ad hominem. I think the fringe groups of the Republican party do include racists. Most of these are kept at arms length by mainstream Republicans, but they do exist.

Remember David Duke, ex Klansman ? The national Party repudiated him, but he did well with the State Party.

Remember Bob Jones University and its policy on racial profiling ?

Republican Cooksey has made racist comments about people wearing turbans (recently).

There's also the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is definitely racist. Many Republicans such as Haley Barbour or Trent Lott have links with that group.

Re: Robery Byrd: I'm not saying that Byrd is any sort of paragaon on racial equality. His support for the Klan was despicable, as was his filibustering on the Civil Rights Act. I do not see anything inappropriate in his voting against Rice. He has voted for black candidates before. But at least he admits his role in the Klan was a mistake. Does that excuse his sins ? Not completely, but at least it points out that he's willing to admit his racist past.

One could also add that Byrd represents a conservative Democratic state, that is trending Republican and went strongly Republican in the last Prez election.

But Republicans have or had their own troglodytes as well. Thurmond ran for President on a segregationist platform, and never apologzied for his actions and now he never will. Helms was another unrepentant racist. And they switched from the Democratic party precisely because of the National Democrats support for desegregation.

Both sides have their race idiots, fringe elements on each side.

posted by: Josh T on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

he left needs loyalists like you.

I'm no loyalist to the Left, I think they have their own share of race idiots. I just responded to a total ad hominenm attack. The KneeJerk crowrd needs another person like you.

posted by: Josh on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Klug you're absolutely right, that is the first relevant comment on this blog entry. most of the rest of which is bogus sniping. We should also recollect the Japanese Prime Minister's racist comments several years ago.

But Westernized Asians do drop some of these prejudices or try not to mention them openly (although the Japanese PM did).

posted by: erg on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

It was the fact that Byrd played such a prominent role in opposing Rice that sent such a disgusting message. He may have said he was repentant, but his actions speak louder than words. Surely he is aware of his past and hers, and if he was truly repentant he would have at least kept his mouth shut regardless of how he voted.

posted by: ROA on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Byrd's statement against Rice actually commends her heavily for her remarkable experience. He opposed the war in Iraq, and whether he wsa right or wrong to do so, he had grounds for opposing her. He voted for Colin Powell, also a black. So no, I don't think his past record of 35 plus years back compels him to vote in any particular way on this topic.

posted by: Josh T on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

As a matter of fact, erg, I am one. But thanks, anyway. I sure wish we could generate discussion on 1) why each race is so convinced of its own
beauty/purity/wonderfulness and 2) why it seems 'the black race' seems to be at the butt end of more than one totem pole (mixing metaphors there!).

posted by: Klug on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

P.S. erg -- I don't mean the 'thanks,anyway' in a dismissive tone, like it looks. I meant "thanks for the agreement, but I don't think we're going to get any on-topic discussion anytime soon."

posted by: Klug on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Klug, as it happens I am Asaian too. South Asian background rather than East Asian, but the same holds in South Asia as well.

Prejudices abound all over the world ..

Now, returning to the main topic, I think China's hamfisted "diplomacy" has hurt it badly. Its pressuring Taiwan when EU leaders were trying to decide on whether to provide it arms --- what sort of sense does that make ?

posted by: erg on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

If I were to guess, I would say that perhaps they thought they could get away with it. I was interested to find that the 'EU weapons embargo lifting' may be more symbolic than substantive. If it were so, then perhaps the Chinese thought this symbolism was even more important.

posted by: Klug on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

China is a very, very homogenous country: 95% of the population is Han Chinese, and reportedly extremely racist, especially against black people. These comments disgust, but do not altogether surprise me. Think of white Americans a hundred years ago reacting to a black woman who expected to be treated with the respect owing her senior rank: I imagine you'd hear the same kind of thing coming out of their mouths.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Thanks, Klug, for bringing this thread back to something interesting. Anyway, I just want to make the observation that Westerners tend to overlook the fact that non-Western cultures tend to be the most racist of all. Whenever one of my friends talks about how racist this country is, I generally shoot back an incredulous look and ask, "Do you have any idea what goes on outside of America?"

Looking at the attitudes/treatment towards the Indians in Fiji, the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia, the native Formosans in Taiwan, and pretty much everybody else Korea and Japan, it's easy to conclude racism is essentially a universal constant across all cultures. I think the reason it's a bigger issue in the west is (1) the idea that racism is universally both stupid and evil had its origins in the west, and (2) western nations as a whole (and America in particular) tend to be more ethnically diverse (partly as a function of #1).

posted by: Independent George on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Jesurgislac, that's not entirely true - 95% of the population may claim to be Han ancestry, but the actual portion who are ethnically and culturally Han is much, much smaller. There's been a major population shift away from the countryside in the last few decades, so the different ethnic populations have started to mix, but the country is far from homogeneous.

posted by: Independent George on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

Byrd is a disgrace to his party and his state. Savage is a disgrace to humanity. Chicoms are unenlightened. Wow, we've learned so much in this thread.

posted by: Dan on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

western nations as a whole (and America in particular) tend to be more ethnically diverse

I dispute this. In the first place, most other Western nations are far less ethnically diverse than the US (although immigration from North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and yes, the Balkans is changing that). Secondly, even the US used to be considerably less ethnically diverse before loosening of immigration laws in 1965.

Also, non-western counries are often very diverse -- not necessarily in matters of race, but in terms of religion, language, ethnicity, tribal affiliations, caste etc.

Take Iraq: 50-55% of the population is Shia, 20% or so is Sunni Arab, 20% or so is Sunni Kurd, the rest are other groups like Turokmen, Assyrians etc.

Brazil has a complex mix of races. India has a crazy quilt of religions, languages, castes etc.
We know that tribal affiliations are important, and sometimes deadly, in Africa. In Iran, only about half the population is Persian. 40% of the population of malaysia is non-Malay (primarily Chinese and Indian).

For every Japan, you'll have a very diverse non-Western nation. Many of these are still struggling with protecting minority rights, avoiding inter-ethnic clashes and the like.

posted by: erg on 03.25.05 at 10:48 AM [permalink]

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