TW for homophobic and racist comments
But I still wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer volume of people who chose to answer the above question with “gay”, “Asian”, or outright homophobic or racist slurs.
Sure, maybe not everyone intended to be racist by pointing out Sulu is “Asian”, but that just shows how we view people of colour as “other” whereas whiteness is invisible. I can’t imagine seeing the same question about, say, Tom Paris with so many people responding “White.”
Or “straight.” I think some of the people describing Sulu as “gay” are LGBT supporters who think it’s cool that Takei is an LGBT activist, but there were also clearly a whole bunch who thought answering “gay” was just funny, or took it several steps further:
And this guy replying to a commenter who said, “People who are so shallow to just see him as gay, without really understanding more about this complex person, are pretty sad”:
I remember first being introduced to Chris Lilley via his show Summer Heights High on HBO. I loved it and thought it was funny. So when his new show, Angry Boys, was announced I was ecstatic.
Finally, a show that was funny and different. But all that changed when I saw this 30-something year old white Australian man not only in blackface, but yellowface.
Even though I knew what black and yellowface were and that they had long racist pasts, none of that clicked in my mind while I watched Angry Boys. My mind didn’t put two and two together—that a white man in brown make up donning an Afro wig and appropriating AAVE playing as a wannabe rapper and that same white man in a black wig speaking tight, broken English playing as a Japanese woman who was trying to make money off her son by saying he was gay (he wasn’t)—meant that he was a disgusting human being.
For whatever reason I never saw him as racist. I felt very uncomfortable whenever these two characters showed up on screen, but I couldn’t place where these feelings were coming from. That uneasiness, that discomfort.
One could say it was because of my age. I think I was barely in high school at the time these shows were on but that still doesn’t make any sense. For one, I’m black. I think I should know what’s racist and what isn’t. Yet oddly enough I couldn’t. For some strange reason I could not.
It’s not until now that I’m 17 that I can see racism (and sexism, for I am a girl) from a 10 mile radius. I can now see all the blatant racist, homophobia, and sexism in Lilley’s shows that was staring back at me 3 years ago as if from now open eyes.
So when I discovered that Jonah from Tonga was a new show where Lilley was going to star as another character from his previous series Summer Heights High via Wikipedia with the description of
"The mockumentary series follows Jonah Takalua, a rebellious 14-year-old Australian boy of Tongan descent (played by 39 year old Caucasian Chris Lilley in brownface make-up and a curly wig) who was previously seen in Lilley’s series Summer Heights High.
[…]The series was called “racist”,
I realized how deeply ingrained his racism was in his so-called “comedy.” It pulled back S.mouse and Jen Okazaki from Angry Boys and Jonah Takalua and those racist moments with Ja’mie from Summer Heights High.
I now know that I cannot watch another one of his shows. I cannot support a man—a white man—in any way that is making money off of being a complete and utter racist when there are so many other ways to be even slightly “funny.”
'The more you know' thanks to Ta-Nehisi Coates.