There’s a long list of words that are not OK to say. Racist terms have become part of that list. It isn’t something that sits well with the majority of the populace in America anymore (thankfully), and it’s something that’s more and more of a sensitive subject to be broached on any media.
Certain types of humor aren’t tolerated as much, as demonstrated by the “How I Met Your Mother” kung-fu-style episode, and more recently by Stephen Colbert’s misstep that was a catalyst for the #CancelColbert campaign.
As a predominantly white female in America, I haven’t experienced the racism that many of my friends and family have. I have a mixed background, so I’ve been exposed to quite a bit of Filipino culture, and growing up around an Asian-American culture has been and is a norm for me. I’ve witnessed some positives and negatives associated with the stereotype, especially as things were heated around 9/11 (which changed a lot, as far as American culture).
I’ve also witnessed many misunderstandings throughout my life as to what is racist and what isn’t.
For example, it isn’t racist that there are salons where mostly African-Americans go, and others where mostly Caucasians go. It’s actually a difference in skillsets that drives both in different directions. European hair has its own characteristics, African American hair has its own personality, Latino hair has its own rules, as well as Asian hair….et cetera.
It takes a different set of skills to do certain things with each hair type. If someone cuts bobs all day, they’re not going to know much about braiding, nor will the next stylist know that some types of hair require thinning, and others show every single layer and snip.
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging differences, it is the fact that one must know that they are differences and not things that make someone better than the other. It’s OK and healthy to acknowledge that people come from different cultures, and it’s OK and healthy to learn about them and participate in them.
What needs to happen isn’t to cancel every show on television that has some something offensive (on purpose or not). It isn’t acceptable to include sarcastic accents anymore (unless they’re just different dialects, such as “speaking Boston” or having a Southern drawl).
But what needs to happen is an open dialogue about what is acceptable and what isn’t.