Emil Guillermo: "Saturday Night Live" TV ad parody on Asian American Doll is downright racist

December 22, 2014 7:09 PM

I won't waste your time. Here's the problem with that "Saturday Night Live" Asian American Doll sketch right up front: It's so self-consciously aware of pandering to diversity that it's really a blatant attack on remedies for equality, fairness, and civil rights.

These are principles we should all support, right?

But the ad parody speaks for corporations and all others tired of giving in to minority demands, in this case, a doll that is racially sensitive.

It's become the post-civil rights lament of white conservatives, a variation on an old theme. You know, the one that goes, "Haven't we done enough? Isn't political correctness just so much B.S.?"

SNL's playing that up for laughs, in a mock ad that depicts not-so-innocent white girls and a white mother as the adoring consumers of Asian American Doll.


Somehow, that's supposed to soften the message and make it seem like the show is really mocking white attitudes. 

But it's just a rhetorical trick to enable SNL to say it's arguing both sides. 

Whites buying these dolls! That's funny.

But SNL also makes fun of Asian Americans who complain about these dolls. They are those self-righteous, unfunny, politically correct killjoys who fight for equal rights and justice.

If you laughed at the sketch, then you laughed at everyone who fights for equality over all the little things that add up in society, the little transgressions that really do matter.

When I saw the sketch, I wondered why they would make merciless fun of Asian Americans who dare to advocate for justice.

Would SNL do the same with Dr. King? Give him a watermelon and have him engaged in a seed-spitting contest at Selma?

They wouldn't do that because blacks have risen at SNL over the last year.

Asian Americans? Not at all.

I guess it was too much to expect that after "Saturday Night Live" hired multiple black performers and writers in the last year, all its diversity problems had been solved.

SNL is now a lot more sensitive to blacks. 

But Asian Americans? Apparently not.

There are still no Asian American comic actors on the show. And SNL continues to resort to Bobby Moynihan as Kim Jong Un. Is it to save money and avoid paying an Asian guy scale? Or does Moynihan play Kim in order to add to the mockery of Asians?

Coincidentally, Moynihan makes an appearance as Kim during the 12/20 Weekend Update segment. But again, that was harmless compared to the Asian American Doll ad.

The punchlines in the ad were a self-conscious whine about placating minorities who advocate for equality.

That's not funny.

But the SNL writers felt so good they decided to load up on a full array of Asian American stereotypes in the ad parody.

Start with the China doll, throw in a joke about academics and test scores, add a jab about "oriental rugs," and finish strong with a dog joke.

Yes, Asian American Doll comes with some accessories, like a chef's hat and a puppy.

Cue the Asian dog eater joke.

And wait. There's a big finish with a gong. 

Did someone say gong? Yes, a gong. There's even a kind of wink that signals they shouldn't have done it.

But they did it anyway.

Because Asian Americans aren't like blacks. 

SNL relies on the Asian American stereotype of our docility and compliance. They don't expect Rev. Al to lead us into a confrontation demanding equality. If you don't find the jokes offensive, at the very least, you should be taken aback by their arrogance.

Maybe this is SNL's racist enema to get it all out there before it makes amends by hiring a few Asian Americans on staff.

There's just no other explanation for such a self-consciously in your face rant against diversity.

Somehow it was even more offensive on the night when two NYPD officers were gunned down by an African American man who invoked the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

SNL has been sensitive about all the news of protests and police violence.

But one of the cops gunned down Saturday in Brooklyn was Asian American, Officer Wenjian Liu. 

Knowing that made the ad even more offensive to me.

Because after all these years, we still don't count. And we're not expected to speak out. Ever. SNL is saying, if you do, they'll be there to ridicule our concerns. The show is developing into the voice of the reverse whiners, those who've had enough and are tired of all that "political correctness." 

And what about Asian Americans fighting for racial justice and equality?

The show doesn't care, because we just don't matter. 

Still think the doll ad is no big deal, not offensive, and maybe even funny?

Well, think of what SNL is really taking aim at in their "satire."

They're making fun of protests for cultural sensitivity, in this case, a toy doll.

They're making fun of "doing the right thing."

Making fun of "doing the right thing?" To do what--welcome back racial indifference and insensitivity?

If that is SNL's view of a post-racial America, there's nothing funny about that.

*     *     *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

Posted by:Emil Guillermo

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views or policies of AALDEF.


1. Not Funny!!!
Posted by: Mariel Toni Jimenez | Feb 8, 201511:18 AM

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