Saturday, July 28, 2007

Marriage Equality YES; Racism NO! - Community Groups Challenge Anti-Asian Adam Sandler "Chuck and Larry" Film

Community groups are challenging the Anti-Asian Racism in Adam Sandler's new film which makes a statement about marriage equality.
See Mara Math's excellent review and MANAA's statement which targets comedian Rob Schneider who is part Pilipino and has a record of anti-Asian depictions.

MANAA Blasts Rob Schneider For Offensive Racial Caricature in Chuck & Larry Movie

LOS ANGELES-MANAA (the Media Action Network for Asian Americans), the only organization solely dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive coverage and depictions of Asian Americans, is offended by Rob Schneider’s “yellow face” portrayal of a Japanese man in the current #1 movie in the country, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James.
“Sandler showed his movie to GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and edited out scenes they deemed offensive because he didn’t want to make a movie that would offend the gay community. He should’ve shown it to MANAA; we would’ve had quite a few things to say to him.
MANAA is reachable at, (213) 486-4433, and P.O. Box 11105/Burbank, CA 91510.
San Francisco-based groups like the Chinese Progressive Association, Chinese for Affirmantive Action and the gay-straight alliance building network Asian Equality are discussing some kind of local collective community response.
Coalition on Homelessness activist Mara Math's review of the film gives insight into the insidiousness of the film as it relates to queer communities, Asian Americans and other people of color as well:

Inclusivity as interpreted by Chuck and Larry may mean waving a rainbow flag, or at least waving at one, but it's an odd kind of rainbow: all the stripes are white.
Chuck and Larry boasts some of the most galling anti‐Asian stereotyping since Mickey Rooney donned false buck teeth as an Asian landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's. In fact, Rob Schneider's chalk‐on‐a‐blackboard riff as a Japanese‐Canadian minister seems to have been recycled directly from the 1961 film.
Sandler, Ayckroyd, Schneider, and an uncredited David Spade are all "Saturday Night Live" alumni, and Chuck and Larry is infused throughout with that cocky SNL assumption, "But we're too hip to be racist." It's just soooo hysterical that the Japanese minister can't pronounce the letter "r," doncha know, that the alleged joke is repeated a dozen or twenty times. A barely‐clad bevy of Asian bimbettes gets three seconds to titter, "Tee‐hee‐hee, you so naughty, Mr. Larry!" or some such, before disappearing. And except for brief glimpses of two extras, these are the only Asians in the film.
In fact, these Asian caricatures, together with Nicholas Turturro (World Trade Center) as a Latino firefighter and Ving Rhames as the one black character, are the only people of color in the entire film — it's Woody Allen's whitewashed New York all over again. Rhames' character, Duncan, fares no better than the Asians (not even getting a first name): His "dangerousness" is exaggerated a la the Scary Black Man stereotype, before Chuck and Larry's masquerade motivates him to come out himself. The fiftyish Duncan could not possibly, of course, have found himself inspired by Marlon Riggs, James Baldwin or Audre Lorde, or even E. Lynn Harris.

Mara Math's full review

More on Yellowface

More on MANAA and other media watchdog groups

More on Building stronger alliances for Marriage Equality and social justice

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