#CancelColbert for Lampooning Racism?


Comedy Central

The Internet is, for better or worse, an amplifying device. Especially on Twitter, whether it's #FreeBieber and #FreeAlaa, people can really crank their opinions up to 11. Amplification does not mean clarification though, and everyone's favorite microblogging site is at the center of another a hot mess, fighting about Stephen Colbert, racism, and the stinging impact of satire.

The Comedy Central pundit ran a segment about the Washington Redskins on Wednesday, mocking the team's owner for starting the Washington Redskins Original American Foundation. To hit home his point that the charity is an empty gesture, Colbert joked about starting his own Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever. The next day, someone in control of the Colbert Report's official twitter account wrote about the satirical foundation.

Cue the outrage.

Suey Park, a self-described writer and activist, saw the tweet and wrote back, "The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals has decided to call for #CancelColbert. Trend it." She also blamed "white liberals" for not doing enough to end racism.

Cue the outrage getting messy.

Today, #CancelColbert is trending in the U.S. and worldwide. The mosaic of 140 character statements in solidarity with Park constitutes an argument that Colbert's attempted anti-racist satire is still hurtful and racist because it relies on racial stereotyping, and is therefore unacceptable. On the other side of the kerfuffle, people are angry that others want a jokester off the air for making a joke. Given the nature of the debate, a lot of the outrage seems to be satire-on-satire posturing. Even Colbert called for canceling his show while noting that he didn't send the original tweet.

Blurring more lines, Park hasn't shied away from using the same kind of ironic humor Colbert does to address race-related issues. She previously started a Twitter campaign called "#NotYourAsianSidekick" and embraces Asian stereotype jokes to make her point in the current argument. She contends that it's not a two-way street, though, because of minority marginalization.

"As a white man, I don't expect you to be able to understand what people of color are seeing," Park charged against HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps, who interviewed her today.

Zepps retaliated on Twitter that Park is a "professional umbrage-taker" and "pretending that a silly idea isn't silly because of the race of the person holding it is condescending and racist."

Some Native Americans are mad that the #CancelColbert indignation has overshadowed the Redskins affair.

The caps-lock-because-I'm-shouting confusion hit new highs when Fox News' Michelle Malkin retweeted Park, and people started blaming conservatives for starting the anti-Colbert push.

At Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams, describing herself as a "a full-time, professional offended feminist" offered some advice: "You don't like what you see in the world? Speak up about it. Shine a light on it. But don't insist that other people be shut down."

Park is well within her First Amendment right to speak out against the perceived threat that Colbert poses. But, policing humor threatens a valuable form of free speech that is particularly useful in addressing sensitive issues.

NEXT: Scott Shackford on the Language Police and Learning from Trolls

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  1. She also blamed “white liberals” for not doing enough to end racism.

    From what I see, they are doing exactly the opposite of ending racism. They never fucking shut up about it.

    1. If they ended racism (impossible) then an entire class of grievance mongers would be out of work with no meaningful way to put their skills to use. Except ginning up hate against (insert privileged group here).

      1. Except ginning up hate against (insert privileged group here).

        Isn’t that about 90% of what they do anyway?

      2. – “(insert privileged group here)”

        White males. The correct answer is always, “White males”, with some additional level of more specific qualifiers optional (ie, “Rich white males”, or “Old, rich white males”).

    2. She unintentionally parodied herself in attempting to parody herself.

      1. Unintentional self-parody is the cruelest, and therefore funniest, form of humor.

  2. I don’t even find Colbert that funny at all, tbh, but this is a load of shit. She needs a boyfriend, or something.

    1. I’ll volunteer.

      1. She’s cute, but you’ll be faking your own death by morning.

        1. That’s OK, I’ll have the memories after giving her the best 14 seconds of her life.

          1. She’s the sort who would inform you that female orgasms are a right, not an option.

            1. Too late, I’m done. Bye!

      2. The orthodoxy of the heterocage compels me to inform you that volunteering to be this woman’s boyfriend means you have already committed {imaginative-modifier-to-be-named-later} rape.

    2. Or even just a freakin’ dildo for starters.

    3. Get out of here with your misandry, RannedPall.

  3. “As a white man, I don’t expect you to be able to understand what people of color are seeing,”…

    That is some prime modifier dangling right there!

    1. It is perfectly consistent with non-bigotry to tell you what you can or cannot see, in accordance solely with your race and sex.

    2. And as a person of color, I don’t expect you to be able to understand what white men are seeing.

      But just in case, here’s what we’re seeing: a bunch of whiney bullshit.

  4. TEAM OUTRAGE hasn’t had any red meat for a while, it seems.

    1. Red meat? Try soy, you anti-veganite.

    2. So they resort to cannibalism. And Colbert is a perfect soy substitute.

  5. Liberals really are the very worst intolerant assholes to walk the earth.

  6. i have no idea what happened. is this the microaggression that folks are bitching about?

    1. Microaggression… othering…

      I guess you’re not even allowed to make jokes anymore about other races.

      1. Except white people. They’re fair game.

        There was some Vice article concerning the Nick Cannon white-face “Connor Smallnut” thing about whether is constitutes reverse racism. In the comments, several people linked to a largely unfunny Australian comedian same Rahman something or other. The bit was about reverse racism and how telling jokes about white people can only be reverse racism “if i had a time machine and traveled back 1,000 years and had the masses of asia, africa, the americas, and the middle east invade, strip mine, colonize europe..” etc etc etc. He goes on to list every leftie greivence with the west from time immemorial to the present.

        So, white people are fair game. Maybe its because we really couldn’t care less.

        1. So, white people are fair game. Maybe its because we really couldn’t care less.

          Yes. This is also why men/dads are always the dipshits on TV shows and in commercials. We don’t care. And white dudes who pretend to be offended are the worst.

        2. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. There’s only racism, regardless of what race the perpetrator(s) belongs to.

    2. Nah, this was macro.

  7. Colbert wildly overestimated his audience. Hilarious.

    It would be nice if his show got cancelled, though not for this stupid shit. He’s too talented of a comedian to waste his whole career on his boring anti-Republican minstrel show.

    1. I think the fact of this response just counts as meta-theater.

  8. I would have cancelled him for not being funny, a much graver sin than a tasteless twit by a staffer.

    1. That doesn’t seem to have been a criterion for comedy shows for a while.

  9. Fuck Colbert. He is a nasty blowhard. If someone else had put up the same tweet, he would happily be in the lynch mob. So fuck him.

    1. I’d like to see him run for public office and have his campaign regulated to death (again).

    2. Also, the defense of him appears to be that if you take it in context, and try to understand where he’s coming from, you can see he’s not really a racist.

      Meanwhile, his entire career is built on creating reductive stereotypes and steadfastly refusing to expend a molecule of energy understanding where Republicans might possibly be coming from.

  10. Zepps retaliated on Twitter that Park is a “professional umbrage-taker”

    Seems like there’s a lot of those these days.

    1. It’s a growth industry!

  11. #tonedeaf #humorimmune #identitypoliticsmongoloid

    1. #oopsdidntrealizemyaudienceisincrediblystupid

      1. In his defense (solely for his excellent work on Strangers With Candy), he didn’t tweet it. I’m pretty sure he knows how stupid his audience is; it’s how he’s made his fortune, after all.

        1. And Ron Paul didn’t write his newsletters.

          1. #BOOYAH

        2. Well, he can eat half of a cheesecake at three in the morning and never gain an ounce…

  12. Whoda thought when the PC movement started that it would come to this?

    Oh, wait, that was me.

  13. It’s a safe bet that anyone who describes themselves as an activist isn’t worth listening to.

    Also, this is delicious. I hope Colbert doubles down and antagonizes everyone even more.

  14. Blurring more lines, Park hasn’t shied away from using the same kind of ironic humor Colbert does to address race-related issues. She previously started a Twitter campaign called “#NotYourAsianSidekick” and embraces Asian stereotype jokes to make her point in the current argument. She contends that it’s not a two-way street, though, because of minority marginalization.

    Don’t forget #BlackPowerYellowPeril

    1. BlackPowerYellowPeril

      Some of Lexington Steele’s finest work.

  15. “As a white man, I don’t expect you to be able to understand what people of color are seeing,” Park charged against HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps, who interviewed her today.

    So…Park is a white man?

  16. I learned something recently. Koreans pronounce the name Park “Pak”. The r is in there to indicate to an Englishman how to pronounce the a. “I shall take tea in the paaaak with Mr. Paaaak.” Mind=blown.

    1. That’s also why Myanmar is supposed to sound pretty much the same as Burma.

      You’ll understand a lot of weird shit if you think about it from a non-rhotic historical perspective.

      1. The Latin alphabet barely works for English. It’s hilarious how bad it is for non-European languages.

        1. The slightly modified version used for Czech and other Slavic languages works quite well, one-to-one correspondence with phonemes and letters. Long a, as in glass, and presumably pak is ?, for instance.

          1. Turkish, too. Although I don’t understand why they went to such lengths to create a sensible alphabet and left the one silent letter in there.

            1. I dunno about Turkish but Czech had the advantage of having the alphabet done fairly late and skipping all the historical baggage, plus they adhered to the logical rule of not keeping loan words’ spelling.

              1. I wonder about the effect of these one-letter-one-sound alphabets on a country’s hillbilly dialects. Do they write their words in the standard way and pronounce them differently? Do they spell differently? Or does the alphabet gradually kill vowel shifts and enforce language standardization?

                1. Typically, they use standard spelling and nonstandard pronunciation, but nonstandard spellings exist to actually write in dialect. Just like in English.

                2. I dunno, interesting question. I mean there’s a Praguer accent where ‘e’s shift to ‘i’s. Mleko-mliko polevka-polivka etc. Would this ever become common enough to change the spelling, would you end up with the pronunciation not matching the spelling like in English (or completely shifting like in Kiwi English) or would the spelling have some corrective influence?

                3. Do they write their words in the standard way and pronounce them differently?

                  Yes. The notion of a truly accurate phonetic writing system is a myth, imo.

              2. The language of the Philippines is mostly phonetic like that as well. If a word has a “k” sound, then there is a “k” and not a “ch” that could also sometime be pronounced as like in “chartreuse” or “chart.” Even words borrowed from Spanish use these rules. It’s wasn’t formalized until about a century-ish ago.

    2. So does this mean that Boston natives are really Koreans?

      “I’m gonna paaaak the caaaaa in the Haaaaa-vud yaaaaaad.”

      1. Hm. Koreans are bellicose and drunk, correct? And they love cabbage. HMMMM

        1. They do always sound a bit pissed when speaking.

        2. And degenerate gamblers. Got Bahstahn written all over it.

        3. No, no, no. They are the Irish of the East.

          Fight too much, drink to much, argue too much. Been conquered and occupied by their neighbors.

          Blame their misfortunes on everyone else but themselves.

      2. Bellicose? Sometimes. However I have never spent a night drinking with a Korean that *didn’t* throw up makoli at the end of the night.

    3. “Bak” (rhymes with “ack”), not “Pak”.

  17. Sooner or later the monsters you create will turn on you with hunger in their eyes.

    Too bad.

  18. “As a white man, I don’t expect you to be able to understand what people of color are seeing,” Park charged against HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps, who interviewed her today.

    Is she for real?

    1. Real and wise.

  19. Outrage aside, the joke is pretty good. “Orientals or whatever”.

    1. Well, I thought the joke about not catching AIDS in Africa because she was white was pretty good also.

  20. Suey Park

    Did anyone else see this chick’s name and immediate think of pigs racing to Old McDonald? Or is that racist, too?

    1. No. But Suey seems to be the kind of name that also applied as an adjective for what I imagine her preferred method of stifling dissent is.

    2. I saw the name and immediately thought of the cans of Chung King Chop Suey that plagued my childhood.
      Or is that racist too?

  21. Given the nature of the debate, a lot of the outrage seems to be satire-on-satire posturing

    As Poe’s Law folds in on itself.

    It may be impossible to ever arrive at a clear indication of the author’s intent when extremism is being expressed. Any expressed indication is just as subject to irony.

  22. I thought of a good offensive joke that I could tell in an ironic way, but I decided it was too offensive for Hit ‘n Run.

    1. Nothing is too offensive for H&R.

    2. Are you new here?

    3. Have you ever read a Warty Hugeman story here? “Too offensive” is past that.

    4. I wouldn’t want to associate with people who wouldn’t find my joke offensive.

    5. Even if I just pretended to clutch my pearls?

      1. I’ll run this joke by a friend of mine who’s Jewish. If he doesn’t like it, or if I don’t dare mention it too him, that’s a sign it’s a bad idea to tell it.

        1. You pussy. Tell the fucking joke.

        2. As someone who happens to be Jewish. I say bring on the offensiveness. Points will be deducted for pizza oven references – only because I’ve heard it so many times.

    6. Tell it Notorious.

      1. Well, I should have waited to ask for advice, but…

        The Jewish mother says, “close the oven door, you want to warm the whole camp?”

        1. Hey dude, the Holcaust is NOT FUNNY. Ass!

          1. Anne Frankly, I’m offended

            1. I saw a flyer at a university which had an Anne Frank joke at the top. All I remember is it was offensive. Then the flyer went on to say how wrong it was to tell jokes like that – it was some kind of multicultural awareness thing.

          2. I’m Goering to write a letter to the editor about this one!

          3. Seriously, I’m f?hrious after hearing these jokes.

          4. You should really concentrate on your jokes. You are probably going to heil for that one.

        2. I waited *how* long to hear that joke from you? Way to Jew up the thread.

          1. Funny story about the phrase “jewing” or “jew’d”. My next store neighbor is straight-arrow Christian Conservative (volunteers at bible camp – you get the idea) who never swears and always uses the current PC term for any minority (basically the opposite of me, so I always have to watch what I say).

            Then the other day, we are talking about record players and he says, “I am so excited. I just bought an old turn table at a garage sale for $40. He wanted $60, but I jew’d him down to $40”

            I kept waiting for him to catch himself and apologize, but he seemed to think that was a perfect usage of the word. I tried not to laugh and embarass him, but I like him a whole lot more now.

          2. I was actually just alluding to the Hong Kong Danger Duo episode of Upright Citizens Brigade and don’t actually think I have ever heard someone use the term “jew’d” as a verb. I guess it takes all kinds though, right?

        3. Meh…medium funny, medium offensive. Needs work on both.

          1. Tough crowd.

        4. Actually some of the funniest “Jew jokes” I have heard have been from my Jewish friends. Sadly I can’t remember any of them right now, or at least not the punch lines.

          1. Why did Moses wander in the desert for 40 years? He dropped a quarter.

            1. You know the worst thing about being a Black Jew? They have to sit at the back of the oven.

        5. I did Nazi a Jew joke coming when I opened the comments.

        6. As someone who grew up in a Jewish family (great grandfather fled Russian Pogroms circa 1905) this is only worth a C- at best. If you want to be offensive try:

          What’s the difference between a pizza and Jew? A pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.

          I have plenty of other offensive jokes, but I expect the ban hammer in 3… 2… 1…

          1. I’m glad you said it so I didn’t have to.

            It is the most evil joke ever told, therefor the most hilarious because of the faces it makes people make.

            1. There have only been 2 times where I truly offended. First was when a customer asked if I was trying to “Jew” him over the price of a water heater. As if I somehow had control over pricing within a chain of 1200 stores.

              The second time almost resulted in my termination. While in the break room a coworker (female, non-white) was complaining about the “Heeb” who had the audacity to buy a convenience store in her neighborhood. After about 10 minutes of this I finally realized she was talking about someone from India (likely a follower of Sikhism). I (male, white, and Jewish) confronted her which was pointless, and ultimately went to HR. In the end I was written up for creating a hostile work environment.

              To this day I’m not sure what was more pathetic, that no one had a problem with an obvious bigot, or that she was too fucking retarded to use the proper racial slur.

              It seems like the ban hammer has been misplaced. Good news for me.

    7. Notorious, if your jokes are not offensive then you aren’t doing it right.

      1. I have to wonder if any Asians were actually offended by ching chong ding dong. Seems way too silly to be offensive.

        1. If you’re offended by a liberal pretending to be a blowhard Republican, pretending to be a racist in order to skewer racists in a parody, you need to have your humor detector recalibrated, Ms. Park.

  23. It’s actually pretty rare for these folks to call out one of their own. They usually stick to the double standard.

  24. It’s so uplifting to watch them eat their own.

  25. Lost in this, of course, is any discussion of the shallowness of Colbert’s observations about the Redskins’ foundation which ignited this whole kerfuffle. As far as I can tell, the criticism seems to be that the owner has expressed an interest in addressing the problems faced by Native Americans as expressed by Native Americans, instead of tackling the problems that white liberals wish to project onto them.

    1. Which of course is teh horrible!

      If an organization doesn’t tackle the problems white liberals think they should, obviously they aren’t sincere in their endeavors. I can never decide who is worse, them or the race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    2. Of course, Snyder will run the organization into the ground by bringing in management and high level board members who are way past their prime or coming off anomalous performance years and way overpay them.

      1. Yeah, Snyder pretty much has the reverse Midas touch.

  26. With protests and women the same advice goes
    Always stay away from the hose

    1. How do you make a dead baby float?

      1. “Last week, someone was doing it with a duck!”

      2. One scoop dead baby, two scoops ice cream?

  27. Trend it.

    Can’t spell Twitter without TWIT.

  28. You know what, if the Affirmative Action bakesales, which are explicitly anti-racist (by pointing out how it’s unfair and fucking racist to treat people differently solely based on race) get called racist, fuck it. Colbert can deal with the accusation too.

  29. It’s so sad to see Asians jumping on this band wagon too. Shut the fuck up and get a life!

    1. Most Asians don’t watch Colbert.

      They might remember Colbert for making fun of Rain’s (SK pop star) signature song. Boy, were they mad at him.

  30. So… outraged lefty cunt gets hoisted on his own petard when fellow outraged lefty cunts don’t get the joke. Salty ham tears are delicious.

  31. I have never watched Colbert more than 10 seconds and am worried about Reason staff who spend time writing about this twit-er-ness. Although, the possibility of an Inception-like scenario of comedic satire is interesting.

  32. “Some Native Americans are mad that the #CancelColbert indignation has overshadowed the Redskins affair.”

    I think I get it: America’s original umbrage-takers are now forced to take uber-umbrage, because an oriental umbrage-taking interloper snatched away their original umbrage, turning it into a new form of neo-umbrage because a white liberal satirist taking umbrage with an evil capitalist – who possibly may not truly care about natives taking umbrage over the use of their ancestors’ likeness – made fun of orientals to illustrate his umbrage? Yep, my head just exploded too.

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