RACIST TONGUE-IN-CHEEK SEGMENT FROM FOX
Jesse Watters, a Fox correspondent, took to Chinatown to get the Chinese perspective of the ongoing debates between presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. In an effort to determine where the Chinese-American vote will fall, Watters asked some controversial questions and made some comments that have people calling him a racist.
From the beginning of the video to the end, the interviews between Watters and residents of Chinatown are riddled with cringe-worthy statements. These statements included Watters asking members of the Chinese community if it was “the year of the dragon,” if the Chinese could “take care of North Korea” for the United States, and whether or not they knew karate. From here, Watters participates in a random slew of stereotypical Chinese activities such as practicing karate in a dojo, getting a pedicure from a Chinese woman, and asking what “Chinese food” is called in China.
In addition to the cringe-worthy interview questions and stereotypical activities, the video is also peppered with movie segments offered as reactions to the interviewees’ answers to Watters’ questions. This added feature gave a juvenile and unprofessional touch that, combined with the other elements of the interview, makes it almost unbearable to watch.
In a follow up, CCTV American posted a video of people reacting to the segment and giving their opinion of what Watters was trying to do. One young man stated, “He was just kind of pulling the elderly to kind of make fun of what they were or weren’t going to say. It wasn’t very informational.” Another young woman responded that the interview was “mocking and offensive and just something that you see in American media often. As a media company you have a responsibility to not spread these messages of stereotypes and offensive materials.”
The purpose of this interview segment was to inform Americans of the Chinese-American vote; what Watters did was pull people aside in order to portray the people of Chinatown as uneducated, ignorant to current politics, and full of Chinese stereotypes, which is not the case. It was unprofessional and disrespectful to Chinese-Americans who because of him, are being misrepresented on a national news source.
Watters, after seeing the reaction to his segment, then sent out two tweets reading, “My man-on- the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in- cheek and I regret if anyone found offense” and, “As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was meant to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are.” Also following this interview, China Daily US posted a video capturing the protest that happened as a response to the Watters Chinatown segment where elected officials and activists gathered to demand an apology from the Fox station and from Watters. Councilwoman, Margaret Chin, in her statement against Watters and his segment stated, “We urge news corps to hold their anchors and correspondents accountable. We demand an apology, not regret.”
A tweet doesn’t make for a respectable apology for insulting an entire race and culture of people. It does not matter what Watters was attempting to do or what he intended through this interview; the context behind it is simply offensive. He should have been more cautious in his approach and actions.
At the end of the day, an entire race was offended and he should have gotten on air and apologized for representing them in a way that they found offensive. People who are not Chinese-American do not get to decide what is offensive to a Chinese-American. Fox news and Watters has yet to reply to the protest, which I consider another fail on the part of Fox news, coming in second to approving Watters’ segment in the first place. If Watters had wanted an educated response to the question of where the Chinese-American vote will fall, he could have found it, but instead he picked on Chinese people to entertain viewers. Watters is not the first or the last to misrepresent an entire race and refuse to apologize for it, but I hope news corps will learn something from his mistakes.