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Rosie says "ching chong," causes stir

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 9th 2006 7:59PM

rosie odonnellOn Thursdays episode of The View, a show I never watch because I spend that time celebrating the fact I'm not watching The View, Rosie O'Donnell cracked wise about Danny DeVito's drunken appearance on the show being national news, saying that even in China the newspaper read, "Ching chong, ching ching chong, Danny DeVito!"

I don't know how accurate Rosie's grasp of Chinese is, but I do know that "ching chong, ching ching chong, Danny DeVito" should be put to a dance beat and played in clubs. I'd certainly dance to it. However, some weren't so amused with Rosie's remark: the Asian American Journalist Association wrote that Rosie's remark "gives the impression that they are a group that is substandard to English-speaking people." Rosie ironically responded in her signature fourth grade haiku style on her blog, saying no offense was meant.

My first reaction to this is that if we're going to get on Rosie's case about this, we might as well attack anyone who affects any kind of a fake accent or dialect. Bad French accents alone have been a part of comedy for ages: Monty Python and Peter Sellers both spring immediately to mind. Or is this different? Share your thoughts.

[via TMZ]

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It took me a while to understand why this was racist although I could tell it hurt me from the start. The mistake to make is to generalize "ching chong" as an accent, that's where most of you get lost.

Here's why for the people who are trying to figure it out but just can't.:

Think about it, Rosie did not invent the words "Ching Chong" on that day. You take someone who has never heard Chinese or an imitation of it and let them hear it for the first time, 99.9% of the time, they won't suddenly make up the words "ching chong" as their way of describing it. Whether it's just subconcious or not then, Rosie connected with some racist memory inside of her to come up with those two words; be it even from a course in 1800s US history or some elementary school racism.

The most hurtful racism isn't open... it takes even more thinking from someone who isn't the target of it to understand it. So please try.

February 23 2007 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Reid Houghton

These guys wrote a "Rosie O'Donnell Ching Chong Song", which pretty much says everything that has to be said on this subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywgxa5ORyIU

December 29 2006 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G. Mah

Right, right. Let's not discriminate against the Blonde Race. The Mother-in-law Race. The Southern Accent Race.
Annie, YOU don't know what you are talking about. Your comparative analysis is poor at best. I would recommend that you stay very quiet.

Nicola, since when are racial slurs OK if they are not mean spirited? If I'm a 'comedian' I can make 'comical' N-word comments about Blacks? Clearly that would be racist and in poor-poor taste. Which is why it's not done. BUT clearly in your 'freedom of speech' point of view, it's ok if it's done against Asians. I am certain that the Founding Fathers would agree that RACIAL DISCRIMINATION is OK in the Declaration of Independence. You too should stay quiet.

December 20 2006 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every one can file a complaint to FCC

December 16 2006 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's see ... I'm a blonde ... a mother-in-law ... and I have a southern drawl. I DEMAND that no one ever tells another blonde joke ... or a mother-in-law joke ... and do not - I repeat - do not even attempt to mimic my southern accent.
Get a grip people. Find a true cause to fight for like homelessness, hunger and things that affect us all as HUMANKIND. Peace

December 15 2006 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G. Mah

Also, her 'apology' wasn't even an apology. She didn't even acknowledge that what she did was wrong. Still stating that what she did was 'funny' that it is comedy.
Should people accept such comments when they are classified as 'funny'? I'm sure Rosie doesn't laugh at gay jokes.

Laugh at this Rosie!

Ching Chong is an ethnic slur directed at people of Chinese nationality or ancestry.

December 15 2006 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G. Mah

Annie Wu, I'm slightly disappointed with your statements. As someone who experienced such hatred as a child I expected you to be outraged. I also have been treated in this way as a child and it was not a picnic. Those kids who put me through that, they weren't trying to be my friend nor where they trying to be funny. It is meant to be a hurtful act. It is meant to alienate and dehumanize. Is Rosie's comment any different? No. Are they just as ignorant? Yes. How many more children will have to suffer from this?
"I'm a comedian... I was doing an accent." Is what Michael Richardson or Mel Gibson said acceptable? Of course not, most people agree that negative comments about African Americans and Jewish Americans are not permissible, it is terrible, it's hateful. Such speech should NOT be tolerated. Is what Rosie said ok? There appears to be quite a defense on her part. So, is this society stating that it's OK to mock the Chinese language? That it is ok to tolerate HATE against the Chinese/Asian American Community? This appears to be the message that many people a saying.
The issue I have is that Rosie is a public speaker. She has a broadcast show that can literally reach millions of people. She is a role model to many. Is it ok for her to make such bigoted comments about the Chinese? That her 'accent' of 'Ching-Chong!' can be viewed as acceptable behavior from someone in her position? Let's face it - that is NOT an accent of any language. One might think it is more in tune with a doorbell chime. If you defend Rosie and you view her as a role model but do not go around making 'ching-chong' noises to imitate the Chinese language then you are a hypocrite.
How much damage has been done to the Chinese/Asian American Community from Rosie's comments? How much more ridicule will we face in the future? Have the efforts and contributions of the past 100 years of the Asian American Community to be accepted into American society been diminished by Rosie's 'ching-chong' comments? I believe so. Why? Because people are coming to her defense, she was just "joking" that it was all done in good fun. People's like of Rosie is overriding common sense and plain human decently, "Rosie can't be bad, so what she is doing is ok, it's good. - You GO GIRL!" Is the Asian Community to not be taken seriously? Are we just the butt of jokes for comedians? Is our heritage to be mocked openly now? Her damaging comments are being downplayed as harmless fun. Everyone should do it, it's acceptable. Her actions and the people who defend her translate into acceptable behavior!

I think that most of those defending Rosie have never been subject to such acts of intolerance/discrimination. By that I mean these persons have never grown up being subjected to such comments throughout their life. Comments like; "Where did you learn to speak English so well?" "What country do you come from?" "What do you eat for Thanksgiving?" "What do you do over the Christmas holidays?" "Why do you eat using chopsticks? Don't you like forks and spoons?" - Yes these are all questions I have been asked, some within the past three years and I'm 35 years old! There is always that reminder that there are people in American society who do not view Asian Americans as being Americans - that we are NOT from this country, how could we be? Asia is on the other side of the world. Is America only for Caucasians, Blacks, and Jews? America doesn't tolerate hate openly, it's seen as a terrible thing, but it appears to be tolerable to treat Asian Americans differently, stereotypically. For those of you who defend Rosie's comments, you most likely fall into this category. Are you beginning to understand the struggle many of us go through? The need to be acknowledged and respected is not alien to anyone who reads this.

I would like to pose my own questions to Rosie, why are all Lesbians fat? Why do Lesbians hate men? Is it fair to treat Lesbians and Gays in such a way? I'm sure Rosie is outraged by such questions/comments when she comes across them. Why doesn't Rosie acknowledge what she did as being a terrible thing? It would be an acknowledgment of her hypocrisy and her own bigotted beliefs and I'm certain that she is putting her money making career before her social responsibilities. If she can be a hypocritical bigot, fiercely defend Lesbians and Gays, and still make her cash, then heck yea!

December 15 2006 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After studying Chinese for 5 years I can tell you that Chinese does not sound like , " Ching Chong Ching Chong Ching Chong". saying "Ching Chong" doesn't even sound Japanese or Korean. The old joke about americans is true. What do you call a person who only speaks one language? ANSWER: AMERICAN

December 15 2006 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The problem here is that she wasn't making fun of Asian accents but in fact was using a derogatory name commonly used to taunt Asians and Asian-Americans. The only people that don't understand why Rosie is being criticized obviously was never at the receiving end of the taunts. It is essentially the same as calling someone a racial epithet repeatedly.

December 15 2006 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I personally am soooooooooo sick and tired of all the PC crap in this country. Free speech, hardly! Where has it gone and how and when did we loose it? One can hardly open their mouth anymore without offending someone or another. This great country was founded and basic principal and laws were established in "God", it's even on the almighty buck, yet it is almost criminal to speak his name. But how long do you think that it will take some group, i.e. the once great ACLU and/or NAACP to take issue with that?? If not by the athiests than by those of the Jewish faith, Qwanza, Budhaist, Muslims, Mother Earth if you are of American Indian descent, and lest us not forget the Athiests!!! Our basic principals and and core beleif system is taken to task daily and it is disturbing at best. Some will call me a neocon, a term I personally despise, I probably am by some lunatics definition. I would just likw to see this Country take note and take a stand for the laws that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights afforded us - befor it is too late. Who knows, we may have already reached the point of no return...... Sad, sad, sad! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakuh (sp), Peace be with you and all that garbage, because at this point I beleive that all those well meaninng greetings are just lip service for "See ya" as everyone and noone are concerned about quashing "someones" and "no-ones" rights.
I am happy that at leasr Rosie O'Donnell was called on the carpet for a her little comment, which by the way , I am no fan and truly beleive that there was nothing mean spirited about it. JMHO.

December 14 2006 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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