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Why does "Blind Banker" bother some people?

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The pacing seemed really off for me in the episode, it made me doubt that their idea was big enough for the 90 minutes, possibly it was more suited to a one-hour format.

 

There were a lot of good things about the episode though, and I especially liked Sarah.

 

I really liked Sarah as well.  She seemed to be their nod to the canon Mary Morstan.

 

You make an excellent point about the episode possibly being more suited to a 60-minute format.  I had never noticed the pacing myself, but now you've got me wondering whether this might indeed have been one of the six planned 60-minute-episode plots, expanded to 90 (as they also did with "Study in Pink").  I know they said "Great Game" was an amalgamation of several planned 60-minute plots, but I don't recall how many.

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There's enough plot to suit me -- but I sometimes think they hadn't quite figured out what kind of show they wanted Sherlock to be yet. TBB is the kind of story you'd see in a Victorian Sherlock, imo.... a bit fusty, with "exotic" figures, and a somewhat lame plot... but plopped down into the present day, it doesn't really work, it seems a bit silly instead.

 

There are some great bits in it though, my favorites being every time John one-ups Sherlock. :smile:

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There's enough plot to suit me -- but I sometimes think they hadn't quite figured out what kind of show they wanted Sherlock to be yet. TBB is the kind of story you'd see in a Victorian Sherlock, imo.... a bit fusty, with "exotic" figures, and a somewhat lame plot...

 

Exactly. That's why it has a certain charm to me.

 

I agree that in series 1, it felt as if they weren't entirely sure where the show was going. But I think that makes the first three episodes very exciting and fresh. They feel as if there's this huge potential, only part of which was later realized, if course, because you can't do everything.

 

I could never have predicted series 3 after watching series 1. Series 2 does a good job of making that transition. But just from the first 180 minutes, the story could have gone anywhere.

 

I wonder whether they intended Sarah to be a temporary minor character or whether she was originally supposed to become Mrs Watson, before they came up with the Mary plot.

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I wonder whether they intended Sarah to be a temporary minor character or whether she was originally supposed to become Mrs Watson, before they came up with the Mary plot.

They did have her back (briefly) of course, for "Great Game," and I have a feeling that I heard/read somewhere that Zoe Telford was not available for Series 2 (which is presumably why they came up with Jeanette and the whole string of ex-girlfriends).

 

So I'm thinking maybe they had Sarah in mind as a continuing occasional character, whenever the plot called for John to have a girlfriend.  But I doubt they intended for him to marry her, because if so, they'd surely have named her Mary Morstan.

 

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There's enough plot to suit me -- but I sometimes think they hadn't quite figured out what kind of show they wanted Sherlock to be yet. TBB is the kind of story you'd see in a Victorian Sherlock, imo.... a bit fusty, with "exotic" figures, and a somewhat lame plot... but plopped down into the present day, it doesn't really work, it seems a bit silly instead.

 

There are some great bits in it though, my favorites being every time John one-ups Sherlock. :smile:

 

I think you've nailed it.  There's something about TBB that very clearly echoes the ACD type of story.  Depending on your perspective, that either makes it a great episode or a little bit of a disappointment.  (Sorry, ACD!)

 

I still really like the episode as a stand-alone.  I'm still impressed by the degree to which it advances the characterization toward the Sherlock and John that we know and love by Series 2 or 3.  I still like the plot, and I think it carries the best parts of "The Dancing Men" forward into the modern age.

 

However, for pure "comfort watching," I never really reach for TBB.  I always go for HLV or Scandal.

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If I want to "comfort watch", I usually choose The Sign of Three or A Study in Pink. Or The Hounds of Baskerville. Or yes, The Blind Banker. Those are the episodes that are the least taxing for me. I don't often watch a single episode out of context, though. I usually go from the beginning to the end and then start over.

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I liked Soo-Lin, but I thought the villain at the end was so clichéd! I'm no expert on Chinese culture, but she seemed so stereotypical for a villain that it might potentially be culturally offensive. On the other hand, I liked the portrayal of Soo Lin, which seemed more respectful.

 

I've just read this entire thread, because I keep finding articles online that refer to this episode as "racist."  Apparently the members of this forum don't quite see it that way, because yours is the closest comment I see to such a sweeping statement.  (And I do see your point, by the way.)

 

What really puzzles me is that the articles I'm talking about are actually about other things entirely, but then there's this one casual comment like "and of course I don't like TBB because it's so horribly racist," and then they're on to other matters.  They seem to take it for granted that everybody sees the episode as incredibly racist, and therefore there's no need to explain why.

 

Does anyone here see the episode as racist?  If so, why?  And if not, why not?

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Hm. Not quite sure. I do think both Soo Lin and the villains are fairly stereotypical (even positive stereotypes are stereotypes). I see all that as a reference to Doyle, whose Sherlock Holmes stories are full of "exotic" foreign characters, the portrayal of whom is often offensive from today's point of view.

 

So I look at the episode from an adaptational point of view and think it's clever that way. But if you think they're trying to say something about the real world instead of a 100 year old work of fiction, then yes, I see how it could be considered racist.

 

And it's very easy for me to say I don't mind because it's not me being stereotyped.

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I don't see stereotype as synonymous with racist, though. Seems to me that "racist" denotes some negative attitude, be it hostile, patronizing, or whatever. I don't think a stereotype by itself is enough to make it racist. For one thing, it'd be awfully hard to write a story without using stereotypes as a shorthand way of presenting characters, especially minor and/or non-recurring characters.

 

Since most of the criticism seems to focus on Shan, let's analyze how she is portrayed. She's clearly a villain, but surely having a foreign and/or non-white villain does not by itself constitute a racist portrayal. I've read complaints about her accent, but it's my understanding that accents are the responsibility of the actor, and surely a Chinese or Chinese-British actor will make a good-faith effort to do an authentic Chinese accent. Her English isn't perfect, but surely that's also reasonable for the character.

 

I will admit that Shan strikes me as a character out of an old movie, and I suspect that's what's bothering people -- but does that automatically make the portrayal racist? You mention Conan Doyle's foreign characters, and yes, many of them are truly offensive by today's standards. But is Shan really in that category? I'm not necessarily saying she isn't, but I don't see anything specifically out of line. I'm honestly puzzled.

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I think I agree with all of the above. To me "racist" means you think someone is an inferior/evil/whatever human based on their race, and I don't get that vibe from TBB. But I'm not Chinese. I also think if someone is taking offense, it's simply manners to take that under consideration, and maybe do it differently next time to try to avoid giving offense. (Aka being politically correct. :p) And I note we don't see that kind of portrayal again in Sherlock (although I doubt that was a conscious decision, at least at first.)

 

I often think when I see TBB that they still weren't sure, when the script was written, what kind of direction they wanted to take the show in ... make it "Doyle-flavored", so to speak, but in a modern setting; or just update everything to modern sensibilities. TBB strikes me as kind of a hybrid of the two. But that's not why it bothers me; I just find all the secondary characters, including Soo Lin, boring. I'd much rather spend that time with John and Sherlock.

 

(It just occurred to me that maybe the reason I find them boring is because they are stereotypes. Hmmm. May be on to something here. Let's see; Jeff the Cabbie; not a stereotype, not boring. Moriarty; not a stereotype (!), not boring. CAM; stereotype, boring. Hm. Irene; stereotype, not boring. Uh oh.)

 

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Since most of the criticism seems to focus on Shan, let's analyze how she is portrayed. She's clearly a villain, but surely having a foreign and/or non-white villain does not by itself constitute a racist portrayal. I've read complaints about her accent, but it's my understanding that accents are the responsibility of the actor, and surely a Chinese or Chinese-British actor will make a good-faith effort to do an authentic Chinese accent. Her English isn't perfect, but surely that's also reasonable for the character.

 

I will admit that Shan strikes me as a character out of an old movie, and I suspect that's what's bothering people -- but does that automatically make the portrayal racist? You mention Conan Doyle's foreign characters, and yes, many of them are truly offensive by today's standards. But is Shan really in that category? I'm not necessarily saying she isn't, but I don't see anything specifically out of line. I'm honestly puzzled.

 

I see I didn't really address your question in my babblings. The way I see it; 

1. Making her non-white; not racist.

2. Accent; maybe. Depends on whether it's an authentic Chinese accent, or a stagey, Charlie Chan one. I'm not qualified to tell the difference, but to someone who is, it might matter.

3. Pidgin English; treading the line. I can see why, at this point in history, that might give offense. A more modernized villain might have used pidgin in the shop, but perfect grammar the rest of the time, just to show the writers were aware of the stereotype but avoiding it. But is that offensive? Not to me, but....

 

I think the idea of Chinese tongs may be a bit problematic as well; remember when Italian Americans took offense at "always" being portrayed as Mafia? They weren't "always", really, but enough that they got tired of the stereotype. Same kind of thing here, maybe.

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I ... think if someone is taking offense, it's simply manners to take that under consideration, and maybe do it differently next time to try to avoid giving offense.

 

If the people who are calling the episode "racist" were Chinese, I'd be inclined to agree. But if they are, they haven't said so. Or if the people who are making the accusation could explain why in terms that make sense to me.

 

To be honest, I suspect they're the sort of people who see an awful lot of things as racist, mostly where no offense was intended. It seems to me that in recent years certain people have set themselves up as rule-makers, and anyone who doesn't follow their rules is summarily written off as "racist." I personally feel no need to comply unless they happen to point out something that makes sense to me. But that rarely happens.

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To be honest, I suspect they're the sort of people who see an awful lot of things as racist, mostly where no offense was intended. It seems to me that in recent years certain people have set themselves up as rule-makers, and anyone who doesn't follow their rules is summarily written off as "racist." I personally feel no need to comply unless they happen to point out something that makes sense to me. But that rarely happens.

 

 

I suspect (without concrete evidence, however) that the same people who find TBB racist are the ones who find Molly's portrayal sexist. I think right now we have two things going on culturally right now:

 

1.  Overcorrecting.  That is, if you are showing a character of a non-white race, they have to be a hero with no ethnic stereotyping whatsoever.  (That includes accent, dress, habits/interests, etc.) No fair having an Asian interested in martial arts or anything! Likewise, iff you show a woman, she has to be a complete Amazonian bada$$ who is also beautiful - but who never enjoys anything stereotypical like baking or such.

 

2.  Virtue signaling. Something strange happens with some viewers when they go online. It's almost like they can't say anything about whatever situation at hand unless they put in the caveat that there is some sort of subtle discrimination going on.  "I like TBB, but of course all of the Asian portrayals are racist."  

 

It's not that it is wrong to point out problems with portrayals or want better and more accurate representation.  It's that there is always another level to make the situation "better:" A male character should have been female; a white character should have been non-white; a heterosexual relationship should have been a gay one and a heterosexual should, at minimum, be bi or fluid; and any of these characters should possibly be trans.  Unless they are villains. Villains should always be straight white men.

 

I'm kind of being facetious, but it seems like we've gotten so PC (not just sensitive to others' feelings and needs) that we've put the very people we want to represent into another kind of box.  I'd rather play some juicy villain character as a straight white person because the character might be written with nuance and motivation and backstory and all sorts of lovely things.  So, once again, the straight whites seem to be getting the plums.

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I see I didn't really address your question in my babblings. The way I see it; 

1. Making her non-white; not racist.

2. Accent; maybe. Depends on whether it's an authentic Chinese accent, or a stagey, Charlie Chan one. I'm not qualified to tell the difference, but to someone who is, it might matter.

3. Pidgin English; treading the line. I can see why, at this point in history, that might give offense. A more modernized villain might have used pidgin in the shop, but perfect grammar the rest of the time, just to show the writers were aware of the stereotype but avoiding it. But is that offensive? Not to me, but....

 

1. Agreed.

2. Assuming that Sarah Lam does not actually have that accent (I've never seen her in any other role), I assume that she based it on Chinese immigrants she's known.  Can't imagine why she'd go for a Charlie Chan accent.

3. Oh, heavens, no -- Shan's English is grammatically perfect standard English, but she has trouble pronouncing it -- as though the entire language was one big tongue-twister to her.  I find that perfectly understandable and realistic (since she presumably has occasion to read and write English far more often than she speaks it) and very nicely done.

 

I think the idea of Chinese tongs may be a bit problematic as well; remember when Italian Americans took offense at "always" being portrayed as Mafia? They weren't "always", really, but enough that they got tired of the stereotype. Same kind of thing here, maybe.

 

Yeah, I can certainly see that one tong too many could be quite irritating.  I don't know how it is on British television, but on American television (to the extent that I watch it), there's quite a variety of Chinese and Chinese-American characters, certainly nowhere near all tong members.  In fact, it used to be that the average Chinese character was either a cook or a laundry owner, which also got tiresome, but at least those are honorable professions.

 

I suspect (without concrete evidence, however) that the same people who find TBB racist are the ones who find Molly's portrayal sexist. I think right now we have two things going on culturally right now:

 

1.  Overcorrecting.  That is, if you are showing a character of a non-white race, they have to be a hero with no ethnic stereotyping whatsoever.[....] Likewise, iff you show a woman, she has to be a complete Amazonian bada$$ who is also beautiful - but who never enjoys anything stereotypical like baking or such.

 

2.  Virtue signaling. Something strange happens with some viewers when they go online. It's almost like they can't say anything about whatever situation at hand unless they put in the caveat that there is some sort of subtle discrimination going on.  "I like TBB, but of course all of the Asian portrayals are racist."  

 

It's not that it is wrong to point out problems with portrayals or want better and more accurate representation.  It's that there is always another level to make the situation "better:"[....]

 

I'm kind of being facetious, but it seems like we've gotten so PC (not just sensitive to others' feelings and needs) that we've put the very people we want to represent into another kind of box.[....]

Agreed!  I think it was that "one more level" thing that finally made me say "enough, already!"  You seem to use the expression PC with the same meaning that I generally do (i.e., overdoing it), so I'd better translate for Arcadia:  We're not talking about PC, we're talking about "PC."  And I think you're right about the "more PC than thou" crowd who feel the need to point out every little potential problem, lest they be thought soft on racism/sexism/whatever.

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Yes, cosign Carol's explanation of PC: I mean the over the top version, not the effort to be sensitive to the perspective of others.

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Question: Does it bother you when Americans are portrayed in a stereotypical way in foreign productions?

 

I really liked Soo Lin btw. I thought she was pretty and gentle and lovable and I was sad when she got killed, in fact, I even cried a little the first time. I didn't look at her as primarily a Chinese character, just a character. But I guess if you do, she's a bit of a cliché of what some western folks think an Asian woman is / should be like.

 

Are mere clichés / stereotypes automatically racist? Guess that depends on the definition. I used to think racism meant more than that but I think the way the word is used is changing.

 

It's hard to draw a line when it comes to being considerate. Can I, as the potential offender, really decide how much is too much?

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Question: Does it bother you when Americans are portrayed in a stereotypical way in foreign productions?

 

I really liked Soo Lin btw. I thought she was pretty and gentle and lovable and I was sad when she got killed, in fact, I even cried a little the first time. I didn't look at her as primarily a Chinese character, just a character. But I guess if you do, she's a bit of a cliché of what some western folks think an Asian woman is / should be like.

 

Are mere clichés / stereotypes automatically racist? Guess that depends on the definition. I used to think racism meant more than that but I think the way the word is used is changing.

 

It's hard to draw a line when it comes to being considerate. Can I, as the potential offender, really decide how much is too much?

 

Not sure how many of your questions are rhetorical, but they are good ones, so I'm going to take them as something to answer.  :-)

 

To your first, absolutely not!  I think its hysterical when Americans are portrayed stereotypically.  I can't say I think I've seen a really, really good stereotypical portrayal (which may be part of why it doesn't bother me), but yeah, someone for darn sure ought to show a flock of Americans with their leggings and their sneakers and their McDonald's bags trooping down the street.  Or, show us bounding around thinking we have all the space in the world and finding everything too darn small in Europe, from the cars to the roads to the amount of personal space.  (In fact, that might have been 70% of the plot of National Lampoon's European Vacation.) In any case, I can laugh at myself as an American.

 

More seriously, are cliches/stereotypes automatically racist? I think the problem is that this is an issue that arises in the aggregate but is solved/committed individually.  So, if every single Chinese or Chinese-descent character (since we are talking about Soo Lin) has a heavy accent, wears traditional clothing, eats food they prepare in a wok, etc., then you have a potentially-racist and certainly un-nuanced view of Chinese people.  But if one Chinese character does that, it does not, in my opinion, count as racism.  So, even with the Chinese tong and the focus on a traditional tea ceremony and all that in TBB, I have a hard time seeing it as racist because I've seen so many Chinese characters with so many different behaviors and interests that it only makes sense to me that some of what I see might be traditional or even cliche.  

 

Can a potential offender decide what is too much? This is tough.  The prevailing current logic is that the person with the power can't be the one to say what is offensive.  There's some truth to that.  But, equally, can one who might be offended be the one to call a halt to everything, and doesn't that simply put that person in the power position instead? How do you know? We have so many social media; are we going to scrap a movie or a TV show episode or subplot because a group on Twitter decided that they were offended? How many people do you have to potentially offend before you know you've really made a blunder as opposed to just coming to the notice of people who were going to be offended regardless because that's what they do?

 

Tl;dr:  I don't have any idea on how to handle potentially sensitive topics, but stereotypes of Americans are funny!

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Co-sign with PC stuff and racism, in 'over the top' and 'inferior' department.

 

I don't know much about those, and pretty sure I'm not very sensitive to a lot of those, especially when it's cross-culture.

For example I remember saying that RDJ gave good convincing acting as a black man in Tropic Thunder, that's how I saw it, acting, immerse the role into someone you are not, in behavior and speech, nothing more, nothing less. Didn't remember seeing any controversy at that time, but mostly because I also live under the rock for 'entertainment' news. It's only after a while that I learned the term 'wearing black face' being controversial and I was horrified to think how ignorant I must sound when I said that, even without a drop of racism intended.

 

Having said that, I think, imo, a lot of stuffs nowadays are being blown out of proportion. Almost everything is seen from racism point of view, people are way way too aware with racism and quick to judge.

Personally, I also always laugh at stereotype of what I am, in fact, similarly, I enjoy how others look at what I am, when I assimilated myself in other culture I also feel part of that and fell the same. I think it's healthy to laugh at yourself. But as said, as long as it's done in light-hearted fun and not in a way of associating race with inferiority.

 

TBB, personally, I don't see that as racism.

I don't get that actually. In what area?

Why? Because they present chinese actors doing chinese stuffs?

Would it be better if they use British actor to do the chinese stuffs?

Well, we know it wouldn't be received well. So what? Sorry in advance if I sound ignorant but I really don't know.

 

If they portray the cultural stuff wrong, especially sensitive and sacred culture, I can see that it'd be offensive.

But beside the errors of numeral system, as far as I know there is no other any glaring mistakes. 

So I'll vote no.

 

P.S. Do you know that kind of post when you getting more and more lost in what you are saying? Yah. This is mine. I'm not really sure if I say anything coherent actually. :P

 

 

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I agree with Boton; most of the stereotypes I've seen of (white) Americans in "foreign" productions I have found hysterically funny. The only exception I can think of is the three cowgirls that come home with the randy British chap in "Love Actually" ... I didn't find them funny at all, although that's one of my favorite movies otherwise.
 
But I have to disagree that many charges of racism/bias/stereotyping are over-reactions. I live in the American South, where those things are still a very tangible and pervasive problem, if far more masked in civility than it used to be. In my area, it's directed more at Hispanics than it is at African Americans, but it's still racism; making assumptions about people based on the color of their skin. It's pretty ugly, and it's not going away any time soon. And it's largely perpetuated by white people, because they're the ones who still hold most of the power. So yeah, if a "person of color" takes offense at something, or a white person takes offense on their behalf, I have no problem with expecting the privileged white class (which we clearly are, at least in the South; you only have to look at the neighborhoods most people of each race live in) to show more sensitivity rather than less, and avoid giving the same offense in the future, even if they don't understand what the offense is. It's sort of the same principle as "to whom much is given, much is expected." (Or however that goes.)
 
Not saying everyone has to believe that, just trying to explain why I think that way.
 
Does that cede power to the person who's offended? Well, so what if it does? Isn't that what's needed to even out the imbalance between races (or genders, or sexual orientations, or whatever); more power sharing? Would that I would live to see the day, frankly. But I also get why it's scary to many people; change often is.
 
I wouldn't apply that thinking to everything, though. Sometimes it's truly a matter of social justice, and sometimes it's just a handful of nitwits trying to make themselves look important. But when it's hard to tell the difference, I think that's a good sign there might actually be an issue that shouldn't be lightly dismissed. And other times, an issue shouldn't get any attention in the first place. There's no easy answer, alas, because people, by and large, don't make a lot of sense. :P Except to ourselves, of course. ;)

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Question: Does it bother you when Americans are portrayed in a stereotypical way in foreign productions?

 

I really liked Soo Lin btw. I thought she was pretty and gentle and lovable and I was sad when she got killed, in fact, I even cried a little the first time. I didn't look at her as primarily a Chinese character, just a character. But I guess if you do, she's a bit of a cliché of what some western folks think an Asian woman is / should be like.

 

Are mere clichés / stereotypes automatically racist? Guess that depends on the definition. I used to think racism meant more than that but I think the way the word is used is changing.

 

It's hard to draw a line when it comes to being considerate. Can I, as the potential offender, really decide how much is too much?

Not sure how many of your questions are rhetorical, but they are good ones, so I'm going to take them as something to answer. :-)

 

To your first, absolutely not! I think its hysterical when Americans are portrayed stereotypically. I can't say I think I've seen a really, really good stereotypical portrayal (which may be part of why it doesn't bother me), but yeah, someone for darn sure ought to show a flock of Americans with their leggings and their sneakers and their McDonald's bags trooping down the street. Or, show us bounding around thinking we have all the space in the world and finding everything too darn small in Europe, from the cars to the roads to the amount of personal space. (In fact, that might have been 70% of the plot of National Lampoon's European Vacation.) In any case, I can laugh at myself as an American.

 

More seriously, are cliches/stereotypes automatically racist? I think the problem is that this is an issue that arises in the aggregate but is solved/committed individually. So, if every single Chinese or Chinese-descent character (since we are talking about Soo Lin) has a heavy accent, wears traditional clothing, eats food they prepare in a wok, etc., then you have a potentially-racist and certainly un-nuanced view of Chinese people. But if one Chinese character does that, it does not, in my opinion, count as racism. So, even with the Chinese tong and the focus on a traditional tea ceremony and all that in TBB, I have a hard time seeing it as racist because I've seen so many Chinese characters with so many different behaviors and interests that it only makes sense to me that some of what I see might be traditional or even cliche.

 

Can a potential offender decide what is too much? This is tough. The prevailing current logic is that the person with the power can't be the one to say what is offensive. There's some truth to that. But, equally, can one who might be offended be the one to call a halt to everything, and doesn't that simply put that person in the power position instead? How do you know? We have so many social media; are we going to scrap a movie or a TV show episode or subplot because a group on Twitter decided that they were offended? How many people do you have to potentially offend before you know you've really made a blunder as opposed to just coming to the notice of people who were going to be offended regardless because that's what they do?

 

Tl;dr: I don't have any idea on how to handle potentially sensitive topics, but stereotypes of Americans are funny!

Thanks! No, I wasn't being rhetorical, those are all questions I genuinely wonder about. Sigh... I am only in my 30s but I feel old already with the kinds of cultural debates that are going on. I want to be a good person and go with the times and not step on people's toes but I am really not sure if I understand the rules these days.

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TBB, personally, I don't see that as racism.

I don't get that actually. In what area?

Why? Because they present chinese actors doing chinese stuffs?

Would it be better if they use British actor to do the chinese stuffs?

Well, we know it wouldn't be received well. So what? Sorry in advance if I sound ignorant but I really don't know.

 

If they portray the cultural stuff wrong, especially sensitive and sacred culture, I can see that it'd be offensive.

But beside the errors of numeral system, as far as I know there is no other any glaring mistakes. 

So I'll vote no.

 

P.S. Do you know that kind of post when you getting more and more lost in what you are saying? Yah. This is mine. I'm not really sure if I say anything coherent actually. :P

 

Nope, didn't understand a word. :tongue:

 

Seriously, I think Chinese actors doing Chinese stuffs may be what some people are reacting to ... because who gets to decree that that stuff is what Chinese people do? Don't they do all kinds of different things, some of which have nothing to do with tea or ancient artifacts or secret crime organizations? Why wasn't Soo Lin curating the African masks instead of the Chinese teapots? Or designing museums instead of working in one? Because she's stereotyped, is why. Is that automatically a bad thing? I'm not sure, but it's certainly a bit lazy, at best. Personally, I think that's all it is, but I can see why someone else might decide to be offended by it. Although I also think they could put their energy into something a little more relevant to curing the world's ills than a criticizing a TV show. :P

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Sigh... I am only in my 30s but I feel old already with the kinds of cultural debates that are going on. I want to be a good person and go with the times and not step on people's toes but I am really not sure if I understand the rules these days.

Join the club! :smile: But you know, I think most people of good will tend to recognize most other people of good will, and respond to what's in your heart, even if it somehow comes out wrong. So you just have to do the best you can and hope they do the same. Which most people do, in my experience. (Although it only takes one stinker to mess it up for everyone, I'm afraid. :()

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Sigh... I am only in my 30s but I feel old already with the kinds of cultural debates that are going on. I want to be a good person and go with the times and not step on people's toes but I am really not sure if I understand the rules these days.

Join the club! :smile: But you know, I think most people of good will tend to recognize most other people of good will, and respond to what's in your heart, even if it somehow comes out wrong. So you just have to do the best you can and hope they do the same. Which most people do, in my experience. (Although it only takes one stinker to mess it up for everyone, I'm afraid. :()

:-D Thanks, that somehow makes me feel better.

 

A little anecdote: During the McCain vs Obama campaign, I was in the US and watching TV with my grandmother and her older sister. My great-aunt was feeling the effects of age on her mind and had always been a little flakey, relying a lot on her family in important matters. So she turned to my grandmother with a perplexed look on her face and asked: "who are we voting for this time?" (my folks have never to my knowledge seen themselves as either Democrats or Republicans so they have to make up their minds every four years). And my darling grandma, bless her, without taking her keen eyes off the screen said in a soothing voice: "the black guy, dear."

 

Now, that sounds incredibly racist, doesn't it? Among so many more meaningful distinctions, to identify a politician by the color of his skin? But the thought would never have occurred to her. She was supporting Obama because she agreed with him more than with the other side and that was that, but to answer her puzzled sister, she chose the most obvious distinction between the candidates she could think of and that happened to be the one thing nobody else had dared to mention yet for fear of saying something offensive.

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Nope, didn't understand a word. :tongue:

 

Seriously, I think Chinese actors doing Chinese stuffs may be what some people are reacting to ... because who gets to decree that that stuff is what Chinese people do? Don't they do all kinds of different things, some of which have nothing to do with tea or ancient artifacts or secret crime organizations? Why wasn't Soo Lin curating the African masks instead of the Chinese teapots? Or designing museums instead of working in one? Because she's stereotyped, is why. Is that automatically a bad thing? I'm not sure, but it's certainly a bit lazy, at best. Personally, I think that's all it is, but I can see why someone else might decide to be offended by it. Although I also think they could put their energy into something a little more relevant to curing the world's ills than a criticizing a TV show. :P

Wait... but then, when they put other actors, example whites, to do those things.. they will complain that it's white washing, not respecting culture etc etc.. right?

So what exactly do they want?

 

Eta:

I mean, I'm quite aware that for certain things, people have to be sensitive, things like religion for example.

 

For other things, unless it's used especially to undermine certain race, yah, I think the energy could be saved instead of playing race card all the time. 

I have to admit whenever I read news or even others, in the comment section that I sometimes browse around, it's so fast and so easy before discussion about race appears, while the article could be nothing near that area. The power of online influences.

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Now, that sounds incredibly racist, doesn't it? Among so many more meaningful distinctions, to identify a politician by the color of his skin? But the thought would never have occurred to her. She was supporting Obama because she agreed with him more than with the other side and that was that, but to answer her puzzled sister, she chose the most obvious distinction between the candidates she could think of and that happened to be the one thing nobody else had dared to mention yet for fear of saying something offensive.

 

 

Is it?

I don't know.

Honestly, if you ask me, no.

I do that quite a lot of time. The chinese one, that white/black ones etc. I think I'm staying in places that have quite different culture, maybe. Those sayings are normally, like your grandma, mentioned without bad intentions, and I actually never saw anyone take offense on that. In fact, it's often used as lighthearted jokes (from both sides).

 

I remember some interesting conversation with a friend of mine, and if this is offensive, please let me know.

He was talking about his American friend, I don't recall exactly the story, but at the end he said,"Poor white Americans, they are trying so hard not to sound racist because it's very sensitive topic where they are." But in regard to his story, the American ended up saying something racist in effort of not being racist because it's implemented in different culture that actually created misunderstanding instead.

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