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When Do Stereotypes Cross the Line?

August 09, 2000

While I have not seen the Mr. Wong show described in your July 31 article ("Funny or Racist? 'Mr. Wong' Draws Mixed Reaction"), Caucasian people are generally depicted as being wealthy, bigoted and oppressive, yet I have not heard anyone complain about this type of stereotyping. It is time that all of us wake up to the fact that generalizations about people based on their racial makeup does have some basis in fact, and we all need to be a little less sensitive.




Your reporter described Mr. Wong as an "85-year-old, buck-toothed, yellow-faced Chinese houseboy serving his white socialite boss." One producer defended the program by saying, "it's just entertainment."

Buck-toothed? Yellow-faced? Calling an 85-year-old man a "boy"? What if he was black and he was called "Sambo"? Would it still be "just entertainment"?



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