Does coverage of the murder of Korean-American immigrant Ki Suk Han, who was pushed onto the tracks of the New York subway on Monday, December 3 raise important racial issues?
One CNN guest and a number of commenters on Sina Weibo seem to think so.
On December 3, Naeem Davis, a black man, pushed Han onto the tracks after the two had become engaged in an argument. He was struck and killed less than a minute later. The incident became international news after the New York Post featured a photo of Han on the tracks with the train bearing down.
Much media coverage has focused on whether the Post was right to feature the photo on its front page along with the headline, “This man is about to die,” but a CNN guest and a number of Weibo commenters went further, finding racial issues in the choice of photo.
Daily Download Editor in Chief Lauren Ashburn appeared on the CNN show Starting Point on December 5 and asked, “Would The Post have published this if it were a white woman?” She didn’t go further in elaborating her point, but I would suspect her thoughts have something to do with the theory that the media treats cases involving white women differently than others, as illustrated by the phenomenon of missing white woman syndrome.
The discussion on Weibo was more defined, as two Chinese people living in America went back and forth about problems of racism as it affects people of Asian descent and media portrayal of different races in American culture.
One unifying point in the criticism is that the use of the photo was insensitive, particularly when put alongside the headline, “This man is about to die,” and some Weibo users find the headline to be disrespectful and mocking the victim.
Right now Americans society and media has completely different attitudes on the coverage of black people and Asian people, and it is causing people to be angry. Towards the later, they won’t dare commit an offense, and give them all kinds of welfare and special treatment. Towards the later, they use completely mockery and derision.Just look at the movie Red Dawn using people of Asian descent to invade America, and you can see what I mean.
Red Dawn is connected to the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War and to the Communist Party. It’s not about race.The original version and countless other movies are more contemptuous.
If it was a black person who was pushed in, would they dare write this headline?
The old version is about the Cold War time. It puts the Soviet Union as the enemy. In that film, China is allied with America. Now the Cold War is over. Russians are white people. They must find a new imaginary enemy. They cannot use black people or Latin Americans, because that is politically incorrect. Asians are the easiest to bully. The new film was going to use China’s army as the enemy, but after China organized protest they instead chose to use North Korea.
While Red Dawn picked one of America’s geo-political foes to invade, it is true that Americans do harbor some irrational amount of animosity directed at China due to nationalistic and xenophobic strains of thought. China’s economic development and international rise on the political stage has caused many Americans to be nervous or fearful of China, and has contributed to fear-mongering about China being inserted into political debate. No attack ad is complete in America without a reference to the candidates’ opponent “sending jobs to China,” and the 2010 ad “Chinese Professor” went so far as to portray China taking over America. Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama before him, have criticized China continuously over the pseudo-problem of alleged currency manipulation.
As ordinary Americans say, they basically don’t distinguish between Chinese people, Japanese people, and Korean people. In the end, they all Asians are the same. So this movie can easily mislead them to hate all Asians. A lot of web commenters have already started saying, now that I have watched this film I am starting to hate Asians, want to find some Asians to kill.
Those people are all uneducated dregs of society. They don’t represent average Americans.
For movies about sensitive topics, they will typically wait 3 or 5 or ten years to film.In World War II, China was America’s ally, so in the 80’s, this is how the movie was filmed. But the Korean War and Vietnam War had affected America, so in 2012, this is how they filmed it.
And I haven’t even mentioned so many other Hollywood movies, for examples Transformers or The Hangover, where the Asian male plays the role of the circus clown. They won’t chose a black man or a Latino to be ridiculed like this. Asians are the easiest to be bullied.
There is a widely held view in the study of Asian character roles in American media that Asians often play emasculated males and silly characters, and the character played Ken Jeong in The Hangover, with his buffoonish character and stereotypical heavy accent clearly fills that role. The blogger “Racist Proving Racist” offers more examples, and there are also academic papers offering this view.
Another Weibo user by the user name of 胖胖的围脖, who lives in China, posted in English:
ZT:This is a profoundly shameful photo in the history of journalism and an insult to the human race. You humiliated the victim and all Asian Americans by misspelling his name:His name is Ki-Suk Han, not Ki-SUCK Han! What you have done is racist,cold-blooded and totally despicable.
A number of news reports have misspelled the victim’s name as Ki Suck Han.
cold-blood paper. racialist.
Read more comments on Weibo.