On Thursday, Jim Norton and Sam Roberts, co-hosts of a SiriusXM morning talk show of the same name, discussed the New York Post article that brought attention to her tweets.
“‘Emerging comic Esther Ku is drawing online attention for her racially charged tweets about Asian men’ oh noooo!” Norton began reading, feigning concern and offense.
He continued. “The guy who wrote this for the Post is Christian Gollayan. I think either Christian himself has an issue with Esther or this person who set up this Twitter account [calling Ku out for her tweets] knows Christian and set this whole thing up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Christian just set up a fake account just to create some controversy so he could write this.”
“It really is a non-story,” Roberts chimed in. “That’s what Esther’s been doing for years. She’s been getting shit for that since 2007. That’s what she does — she grew up in a certain situation, her feelings are what they are, so who gives a f**k if you don’t like it, don’t enjoy her!”
They then read a few of her tweets, such as the one asking for sympathy for White men who found themselves attracted to Asian women, and found they couldn’t disagree. They also excused her comments about Asian men beating their wives, saying that she probably believed that since she must have grown up a certain way.
Finally, they pointed out that they couldn’t understand why Ku, who is Asian, couldn’t make jokes about other Asians and praised her for how she’s handled the backlash against her tweets.
The problems with their line of reasoning are many — for one, the implication that Ku’s comments are not worth reporting on show how ignorant they are of the problems within the Asian-American community. To say that the controversy is a non-story belittles the real rift between Asian men and women and the problems each side faces.
Additionally, although Ku may have had negative experiences with Asian men, punishing all Asian men for the transgressions of a few by generalizing is unfair. It is also unreasonable to assume that only Asian men beat their wives, as this is something that plenty of men of all races are guilty of doing. These comments on their own are hurtful enough, but to be made by someone within the Asian-American community can cause even more pain.
Lastly, to accuse a writer of creating controversy simply because the netizens who spoke out only had a handful of followers not only defames the journalist’s name but denies real people of their grievances against Ku for using her platform to perpetuate stereotypes against Asian men.
Ku’s brand of humor is unlikely to change any time soon; as the hosts commented, she’s been doing this for over a decade. But what’s truly unfortunate is how Norton and Roberts minimized racism to their listeners and essentially made it seem like it’s okay to ignore the problems others face. Instead of taking a moment to try to understand someone else’s point of view, they called it a non-issue and slandered a journalist in order to defend Ku and excuse racism.
Will this ever change? Eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to continue to point out why racism is unacceptable until change happens.