‘chinese Food’ Is The New ‘friday.’ Except Racist
15, 2013 Customers push shopping carts at the Wal-Mart location in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, Sept. 19, 2013. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images Walmart has no regrets about allowing a wild shopping spree at two of its Louisiana stores when an electronic glitch lifted the spending caps on the cards of food stamp recipients. “We know we made the right choice,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told ABCNews.com today. The chain has no regrets even though Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services said food stamp recipients should have been limited to $50 each during the emergency and that Walmart will have to pay the difference. Lundberg declined to comment about how much the company may have lost or why it did not follow the emergency $50 limit. Read More: Walmart to Get Stuck With Most of Food Stamp Shopping Spree Courtesy KSLA.com Shelves in the Walmart store in Springhill, La., were cleared Saturday, when the store allowed purchases on EBT cards that didn’t show limits. Another Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said, “Our focus was to continue serving our customers.” Food stamp recipients jammed into Walmarts in Mansfield and Springhill Saturday when word of the glitch spread. Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said some customers were buying eight to ten grocery carts full of food. The store in Mansfield temporarily closed because of overcrowding and Mansfield Chief of Police Gary Hobbs said some shoppers left with up to eight carts of food and then went back for more. The food shelves were left bare and all the meat was sold as well, Lynd said. The shopping frenzy was triggered when the Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down because a back-up generator failed at 11 a.m. EST Saturday during a regularly-scheduled test, according to Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system and based in Norwalk, Conn. The outage erased limits on the EBT cards.
Food events in the Washington area
Monza, 9405 Battle St., Manassas. 703-434-3621. www.eatmonza.com . OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATION: Bavarian beer, food, music, dancing and singing. 5-7:30 p.m. Free, registration required. Fox Hill, 8300 Burdette Rd., Bethesda. 301-968-1850. foxhillresidences.com . WINE DINNER: Featuring wines from Destination and Honor wineries. 7 p.m. $90, including tax and gratuity. Chef Geoffs Tysons, 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. 571-282-6003. www.chefgeoff.com .
Screenshot from Chinese Food The fact that many Chinese restaurants in America serve foods from more than one Asian country will probably be used in a defense of the video, but thats a straw-man argument. Chinese Food is not racist because it depicts pan-Asian cuisine; its racist because it lazily traffics in racial stereotypes and paints over the distinctions between vastly different Asian cultures with the same its all Chinese to me! brush. Its difficult to tell whether Wilson understands that the song he wrote deals in harmful misinformation, but judging by his earnest responses to Rebecca Blacks success, its likely thats not the case. Chinese Food is another example of the kind of cultural tribute thats harmful even when it lacks malicious intent the reason many Americans still dont understand why, for example, the song What Made the Red Man Red from Peter Pan is racist, or why calling Washington D.C.s NFL team the Redskins is not okay. Theyre not explicitly hateful, of course, or even vicious, but they are ignorant and diminishing towards huge swathes of people, reinforcing ideas about them that are vastly overgeneralized and demeaning. A communication breakdown still exists in the space between the celebration of multiculturalism and the commitment of hate crimes, a space where people mean well and certainly dont consider themselves racist, but still obliviously inflict damage and then refuse to acknowledge its existence or impact. Yesterday, Gawkers Cord Jefferson wrote a thoughtful article that explained how racism exists not just in overtly hateful thoughts and comments, but in the framework of plausible deniability that builds up around racism and how insane that plausible deniability can make people feel. Like those terrible Asian schoolgirl jokes on Seth MacFarlanes new sitcom Dads, Chinese Food can attempt to hide behind the post-racial America argument, the one that says that its okay to exploit stereotypes because they cant do us any harm, not anymore but it will fail. Thats the real danger behind the myth of colorblindness, the myth of post-racial America: the potential for the racism embedded in this confectionery video to be denied and enjoyed anyway. The problem, particularly with a viral video like this one, is that everyone sees it, but not everyone sees the damage implicitly wrought by it. Earlier today, a YouTube commenter wrote on the videos page , This is why kids become racist. She could be right; I can hear this song echoing down the halls of my high school as readily as I could The Fox. Viral videos like Chinese Food, when theyre widely viewed, become a part of our shared culture; theyre what millions of people talk about, reference in conversation, share with their friends. When those video depict other groups of people in inaccurate and demeaning ways for entertainment as exotic, monolithic, or otherwise fictionalized they encourage us to internalize those ideas, or at the very least to laugh them off. Chinese Food is, in a sense, a frillier, less overt manifestation of the same kind of minstrelsy that Miley Cyrus gets away with . It uses food the way Miley uses a dance incorrectly, with little concern for either accuracy or why its important to be accurate about other cultures to create celebrity, social capital or a desired image.