It’s funny to you, because you dislike Arabs.

Does Humor On The Internet Mold Political Thinking? (ScienceDaily):

Jokes are not merely a source of popular enjoyment and creativity; they also provide insights into how societies work and what people think. Humor is so powerful it can help shape geopolitical views worldwide, according to Professor Darren Purcell and his team from the University of Oklahoma in the US.

Their study of humor including the analysis of two Achmed the Dead Terrorist skits, has recently been published online in Springer’s GeoJournal.

[…]

The authors use ‘disposition theory’ – a framework that allows them to understand who will regard which content as funny, and how derisive humor can be seen as amusing – to examine particular types of humor in texts which reflect society’s concerns, developments and relationships, and by extension, the geopolitical implications of these texts. With an emphasis on social context, the theory suggests that the appreciation of humor is dependent, in part, on whether one holds a positive or negative attitude, or disposition, toward the object of humor.

Purcell and colleagues analyze two stand-up comedy routines performed by American ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. The skits center on the character of Achmed the Dead Terrorist, an unsuccessful suicide bomber. The humor plays on anti-Arab/Muslim sentiment. Dunham uses his audiences’ disposition towards terrorists to get laughs, while at the same time challenging his audience members to look at their own views of terrorism, Islam, and American efforts in Iraq.

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“Chinese food” in the U.S. is not foreign, but foreignness is not “authenticity”.

My post White American culture is General Tso’s Chicken and Chop Suey has been linked to from various websites. Below I address a common criticism of the post, and I also link to two interesting analyses about the topic.

It’s not about “authenticity” or “appropriation”.

One common misconception was that I was complaining about cultural appropriation, and complaining that Chinese American food was “inauthentic”. This is not true. I posted this comment on Racialicious, but the comment thread is long, so I will repost my comment here for better visibility:

I am not against food appropriation or food “hybridity” (whatever that means). The concept of “authenticity” is flawed, because it assumes that certain cultures remain static and frozen in time, instead of being dynamic and fluid.

Tomatoes were not originally native to Italy; they were first imported from the Americas. Chili peppers were not originally native to India; they were first imported from the Americas. Potatoes were not originally native to Ireland; they were first imported from the Americas.

What I have a problem with is what I outlined in the post. The presumption that I am a food purist and cultural purist (whatever that means) probably comes from the stereotype that people who have beef with misconceptions of food origins are really complaining about “authenticity”. Maybe other people do that, but if you CTRL+F for “authenticity” and “appropriation”, you will find them absent from the actual post.

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White American culture is General Tso’s Chicken and Chop Suey.

Finally, somebody summarized the myths that non-Chinese Americans have about Chinese food. Most of what White Americans consider “Chinese food” is mostly eaten by white people, and would be more accurately described as “American food” (and perhaps even “white people food”).

Jennifer 8. Lee has a great video on TED Talks titled, Who was General Tso? and other mysteries of American Chinese food.

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White Americans earn as much as 79% more than their Chinese American counterparts.

Major Study Of Chinese-Americans Debunks ‘Model Minority’ Myth:

ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2008) — Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a “glass ceiling,” unable to realize full occupational stature and success to match their efforts, concludes a new study from the University of Maryland.

The returns on Chinese Americans’ investment in education and “sweat equity” are “generally lower than those in the general and non-Hispanic White population,” says the report, A Chinese American Portrait. It adds that, on average, Chinese American professionals in the legal and medical fields earn as much as 44 percent less than their White counterparts.

(emphasis mine)

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Americans of Color elected Obama. White Americans elected McCain.

Most White Americans voted for John McCain, while most Asian Americans, Latin@ Americans, Black Americans, and Other Americans voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

White Americans, 43% for Obama, 55% for McCain, and 2% for Other. Black Americans, 95% for Obama, 4% for McCain, and 1% for Other. Latino Americans, 67% for Obama, 31% for McCain, and 2% for Other. Asian Americans, 62% for Obama, 35% for McCain, and 3% for Other. Other Americans, 66% for Obama, 31% for McCain, and 3% for Other.

Some White Americans claim that Black Americans voted for Obama because he is black. That is, some White Americans think that non-white people have a “tribal” mentality and that they align with whoever looks the most like them. However, if we consider the fact that most White Americans voted for the white person, and that most Asian Americans, Latin@ Americans, Black Americans, and Other Americans voted for the black person, this hypothesis fails. A better explanation is that Barack Obama was the best presidential candidate, but most White Americans have a “tribal” mentality and aligned with the person who looks the most like them.

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