The Burden of Racism
The purpose of racism is to enforce the supremacy of Whites. It keeps them at the top of other races through acquired and prolonged stereotypes. This operates more efficiently when the media of stereotype perpetuation and the controlled race are all in one setting (Chin and Chan 65).
Racism continues to affect Asian-American men and their masculinity image. William Hung is an engineering student of Asian-American origin who is undergoing the issues of racism in his music career. According to the uproar from online fans, it is evident that Asian-American actors consider Hung racist. In Guillermo’s essay, he highlights that people are unaware of the racism that when it settles into their life, it becomes a culture and an integral part of their existence (Guillermo 1).
The most common stereotypes about Asian Americans in the United States are their sharp teeth, small eyes, accent, and height. Evidently, William Hung represents the symbol of the status quo in perpetuating racism. According to Guillermo, Hung participated in American Idol and became famous mainly because his image fit what Americans stereotype as Asian-American. In this connection, an image consultant Kathie Lee Gifford, an image expert, laughs at Hung and says that if his teeth were fixed, his career would be over. Therefore, Hung is forced by those circumstances to continue perpetuating the stereotypes despite the uproar from his Asian-American counterparts.
In addition, Alan Grunblatt, executive vice president and general manager of Koch Records, avers that Hung’s accent makes his music funny and consequently wins the audience of many fans. This clearly indicates that Hung uses the stereotype of accent to make his music more relevant and adorable, yet the Americans consider him inferior and uneducated.
Asian-American actors are angry because if Hung becomes famous for representing a stereotypical Asian man, the stereotype will become accepted. The burden of racism here is that Asian Americans have to fight what a racist America has portrayed them to be. Therefore, they believe that looks and accent should not be a cause for the rise to fame as it will strengthen a stereotype they do not like.
Don Bonus’ Life in the United States
The family of Sokly Ny fled war-torn Cambodia and traveled to America. They left their father, who sacrificed his life to Pol Pot’s soldiers, behind so that his family would get a fresh start in the United States of America (Chew and Dea 2). The family made it to America and settled in San Francisco. Life in this new land proved to be much tougher than they expected. In fact, for Sokly Ny to fit into American society, he changed his name to Sokly ‘Don Bonus’. He created a personal video, a.k.a ‘Don Bonus’, that shows the remarkable inside story of the Southern Asian immigrant family.
The video highlights the struggles of his family in America. Through this video, Don Bonus was able to express himself through videotaping. This behavior was problematic for his family to tolerate. The reason was that they were from Cambodia, where traditions prohibit revealing family secrets to the public (Chew and Dea 3).
Life in America continues to change Don Bonus’ cultural perspective and way of life. In fact, together with other Asian-American friends, Don acts like an American teenager by dressing in baggy hip-hop attires, hanging out outside the halls during class time, playing basketball, trading insults, and banging the lockers. Some incidents that depict American influence on Don Bonus’ life are his use of the derogatory phrase ‘fucking black bastards’ (Chew and Dea 3). In the housing projects, Don uses abusive language after a rock is thrown through a window. On the contrary, Don Bonus could not attempt to use abusive language in Cambodia since it was not part of his culture.
During his life in America, Don Bonus changes from a conservative Asian male to a mainstream American man. Just as Americans would carry a gun to school, Don’s brother comes to rescue Bonus with a gun. He is arrested for attempted murder. Indeed, the scenario shows how harassment is prevalent in America compared to Cambodia. Therefore, American society expects them to use self-defense for survival. Therefore, American society has taught Don and his family to defend themselves from intruders, even if it means using violence.
Chew, Laureen and Dea Collier. Don Bonus Studies. Center for America Media. 1994: 1-8.
Chin, Frank and Jeffrey Chan. Racist Love: Seeing Through Shuck. 1972: 65-79.
Guillermo, Emil. Hung As Buckwheat. April 20, 2004. Web. Oct 30, 2014. < http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Hung-As-Buckwheat-2766245.php>