Who’s Afraid of Suey Park?

The Nation, 3/31/2014

We have been told that, even if Colbert’s joke hurt the feelings of some Asian Americans, it was all in furtherance of a greater good—the education of people within his audience who did not realize that the name “Redskins” is an offensive slur until it was compared to anti-Asian slurs. This narrative strikes me as particularly specious. It rests on weighing the education of a group of people who have been hypothesized into existence as more important than the experience of a group of people who are actually speaking out to express their discomfort. If any journalist wants to present evidence of a single person who was moved to change their opinion of Dan Snyder by Colbert’s routine, then perhaps we can assign it a social value. I’ve yet to see any such evidence, and while I would never deny that Colbert’s performances are entertaining, there’s a difference between entertainment and enlightenment.