The unknowing with boundaries

On the February 7th edition of Inside the NBA, the post game show after the NBA games on TNT, it was time for the usual last skit of the night, “EJ’s Neat-o Stat of the Night” in which EJ points out something in the upcoming week of the NBA or something special about that day. On this edition, EJ pointed out that it was Chinese New Year and that the NBA would be celebrating it by having teams wear special warm-ups for a few of the games as well as a few other minor festivities around the league. However, upon revealing this, EJ asked the other guys on the crew if they knew what it was, and only Shaq knew it was Chinese New Year and the rest of the crew didn’t. Shaq only knew due to his strong ties he has with China post-incident with Yao Ming after an incident during Yao’s rookie year. This then led to a statement by Charles, paraphrasing, saying that how are they suppose to know it’s Chinese New Year. Which had me agreeing with Charles. The reason why is because although the population of the Chinese is very large in America, we don’t learn their culture. This reminded of something we learned in class about Enlightened racism, in the sense that the quote sounded a little like the Asians were subordinate due to the lack of knowledge of the culture, mixed with a little of oppression in the sense that there is a belief that when someone comes to America, they must adapt to our culture but at the same time, we tend not to learn about other cultures. And I add in oppression because the majority tends to oppress the culture of other races since it is not seen as “The American Way’ and that they must change to be American.

Adding another point we discussed in class, what is the line that draws the difference between racism and not racist? In this clip, we saw the four men on the panel discuss their Chinese Zodiac animal, although none of them were Asian. The reason I bring this up is because going back to the point of what is and is not racist, we had the example of the French and wearing berets and eating crepes. Would this be an example of an unintentional racist act, or is this near the border of the line. Personally, I believe this is at the border of that line since there was no derogatory statements towards the Chinese as well as some good fun. But we did discuss in class that some people would be offended by this due to portraying a stereotypical look of the French.So going back to the zodiac, some people could be offended due to the fact that they were partaking in a culture that they have no background or idea of. Although, there seemed to be no major backlash of this skit, which means most of the viewers were ok with this or unaware of partial racism used, but that was from looking on the NBA website..


One thought on “The unknowing with boundaries

  1. Interesting post, Jonathan–I don’t think the lack of knowledge is as much racism as it is related to a lack of education. For example, there are different cultural/religious holidays that are very important but that the larger public doesn’t acknowledge or know about. I like that you problematized the issue–it does point to a lack of representation or perhaps less opportunity to get to know others with different backgrounds.

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