Growing Pains - Part 3

Sorry, I'm a bit late in posting this so it's a little after the fact, but I think there are some relevant points that should be reiterated with MSNBC political commentator Ed Shultz's segment.

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Transcript excerpt:

SCHULTZ: Now, I think that if we had seen a black player`s head in the middle of a watermelon, OK? There would have been tremendous outrage. We have an Asian athlete. An Asian athlete is not seen in the NBA too often. But there was a comfort level that it was OK to put his head in the middle of a fortune cookie -- the Knicks good fortune. Someone decided to put that on the air. You know, I`m amazed at it. There`s a lot of things I could have led with tonight to start this show out, but I`m just driven to make sure that this conversation happens in America because I think we teach hatred and we teach racism. Young kids don`t grow up with it. They are
taught this.

PETERSON: That`s true.

SCHULTZ: And when we don`t call people out on what`s going on in this
country, when people in front of cameras and in front of microphones are
given the license and they just get a little slap on the wrist and go, I
have made my share of mistakes. And I`ve been publicly embarrassed. I know I`ve changed. I know I have.

PETERSON: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: But how -- what do we do? The response from the black community, they got to feel beaten down all the time when they see stuff like this.

PETERSON: Well, it`s an uphill climb and it`s an ongoing battle. You
know, black folk have been fighting this battle for a long time and will
continue to do so. There are a lot of blind spots in our racial discussions and sometimes racism against Latino, Hispanic communities and racism against Asian American and Asian communities are one of those blind spots. Gender bias is another one of those blind spots.

The problem with what MSG does, or what they did with that fortune cookie mishap is that they basically endorsed the ways in which we enact biases against the Asian American community. And so, that kind of endorsement at that level is problematic.

Think about the various Asian communities within New York City. You
know, how are they supposed to take that kind of representation of someone
who is being elevated with a great story, great talent, and then you sort
of take the wind out of the sails with that kind of negative imagery.

The bottom line for us, is we have to be vigilant about these things,we have to wrestle with them directly. And the only way to get out of these sorts of situations recurring and recurring is through education. You know, we`ve got to fight it in the classrooms and we`ve got that fight that indoctrination through media and through different platforms as sort of engage it in the most critical way possible.

SCHULTZ: And it`s being presented as entertainment on some talk shows around the country, as it was on that one on KFI, that -- in the middle of misery, when people are suffering the loss of a loved one, it`s OK, just call her a crack ho. It`s no big deal. They took the license to do it.

And then, of course, there`s probably some Asian parents who were watching this Jeremy Lin and now they have to explain to their kids who are 7, 8, 9 years old of an impressionable age, you know, what that really meant and how we have to deal with it. And it forces parents and kids at a young age to have to deal with this stuff.

That`s why we have to call them out to be responsible.

PETERSON: It is. And we have to give people tools to wrestle it. I`ve had -- sadly, I`ve had those conversations with my children and I want to plug a book that`s called "American Born Chinese". It`s a great novel that sort of excavates a lot of the different Asian American stereotypes that we have in our society.

It will make you laugh but it will also make you think about the ways in which we think about certain groups of people. And, yes, we have to have those conversations with our children and we have to have these kind of conversations on your show. And we have to have the same kinds of discourses in our classrooms so we can sensitize people to this insensitive language.

SCHULTZ: Dr. James Peterson, thank you for joining us tonight. I
appreciate it.

PETERSON: Thank you for having me, Ed.

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