Apology from the unapologetic

Upon request from a few friends, I took off the post about the “Jersey Guys”. Since they had already apologized, what use was the post anyway, any more, the winning argument went.

To refresh memory, these were the same radio personalities who called the “Orientals and Indians” un-Americans. In fact in a “ching chong” mocking Asian dialect, Carton and Rossi had declared that Asian Americans were outsiders.

“No specific minority group or foreign group should ever, ever dictate the outcome of an American election,” Carton said. “I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an election. Americans should. In Edison, this is just another example of us losing our own country. Ray and I represent the average guy in New Jersey, blue-collar white people.”

To counter it, West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh joined in with protest: “We are all immigrants or children of immigrants, whether we came here 300 years ago or yesterday. We all have to stand up and say this is un-American. Freedom of speech must have a sense of responsibility.”

In fact, especially when freedom of speech is enjoyed by the ruling class, it does not amount to intrinsic freedom any longer. Click here to find the Tsunami Song and the Friends racism as found in the local paper.

What is missed in the entire context is the institutionalized racism that exists in the United States. The radio host commentators of course knew well that only a citizen of this country is allowed to vote, and everyone else is barred from electoral process (even if a permanent resident works for the country for more than four decades). Despite that, to assume that “Chinese should never dictate the outcome of election—Americans should” shows grossly misplaced knowledge.

My objection was not so much to discover how come the racist duo had not apologized yet, but how come these people have not yet been persecuted for such racist comments on public airtime. Not that I am surprised, considering the old boys clouts: following show the Jersey Guys flanked by two eminent ones: the Governor, the US Attorney General.

Apparently the Asian-American NJ Mayor candidate Jun Choi was allowed to the studio of the hosts and was granted a chance to talk about his political platform. He brought with him a six-pack of beer and some Korean soju, a liquor similar to vodka.

Carton said that “the few politicians that had a legitimate gripe with us always come in with booze.” After the beer talk, Carton started in with the apology.

“All right, a lot of what we do — the majority of what we do — is satire,” Carton said. “We poke fun at ourselves. We poke fun at a lot of people, and the intent of that is to never hurt any one specific person or a specific group. So I will tell you man to man, if you were personally offended by the comments we made a month ago today, man to man I’m sorry, and you have my apology for that, because the intent was to never to specifically hurt you personally, or hurt your political campaign in the upcoming mayoral election.”

According to Sentinel at Edison, Choi accepted the apology and gave advice that the Korean soju liquor goes really well with Korean barbecued beef.

Few questions emerge: Was such an apology a mockery? What did the hosts mean by “man-to-man” apology? The comments were originally made towards all Orientals/Indians/Chinese (and not to specifically a Korean-American like Choi) anyway. When it was not a man-to-man slur, why a man-to-man apology? Moreover, Choi’s liquor trip just trivialized the issue in an insulting fashion. Instead of directing the misguided missiles like the Jersey Guys to where they should belong, Choi, in order not to segregate the votes of the fellow racists who so religiously follow the radio show and come out in public to show solidarity with the sentiments of the hosts, just was so pathetic in demeanor. In contrast, the Asian Media Watchdog’s appeal seems ridiculously philosophical following such unquestioning submission by Choi.

The problem, though, is that apology is no answer. Only the ones who don’t care as much to act upon the issue, try to get rid of the issue by apologizing. Look at Ronald Reagan apologizing to Japanese Americans for the American torture, Clinton visiting Africa and apologizing for American slavery, and recently, senators apologizing for American lynching.

Did any of them mean anything other than to skirt future questions on the same embarrassing issues (and not criminal issues, for if they were criminal issues, why not a fair trial?).

Seems like apologizing has become a prerogative for some, and forgiving an accommodation for others. And history, very cruelly, is allowed to repeat itself.

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

One thought on “Apology from the unapologetic

  1. Saswat:

    Wonderful post. I wish I had come upon it when this issue was timely. Everyone I spoke with considered the 101.5 “apology” a victory for the Asian American lobby. I thought otherwise.

    The “man-to-man” apology was laughable. Equally pathetic was Choi’s acceptance of said apology. The sad truth is Carton & Rossi brought Choi’s name to the forefront of mainstream media – a windfall for a neophyte politician.

    Indeed, Choi had nothing to lose by showing up with an offering of liquor and culinary advice. His name was already out there.

    Demanding a clearer apology from Carton, Rossi, and their ignoramus station manager not for himself, but for the Chinese, Indians and other Edison citizenry, may have been a good start.
    I personally would have appreciated a: “Thank you for inviting me. You apology sucks ass. Chinese and Indian children heard you call them inferior. I hope racist assholes like you never bear children.”

    But Choi had a primary to win. And soju to offer.

    Sadly, Edison township gets the shaft in all of this. Choi, a rookie, who until recently was lobbying the machine for a chance to run for the Edison Board of Education, among other positions, remains poised to win the election. Among many glaring deficiencies such as inexperience (trust me, he is no Corey Booker), Choi does not even deny that he may leave mid-stream to run for higher office (like the state Assembly or Congress).

    Thanks to Carton and Rossi, Edison will probably elect its first unqualified Asian-American mayor, while qualified and dedicated Asian-Americans like Council President Parag Patel watch the debacle unfold. And Edison has many other gifted individuals, including independent candidate Bill Stephens, who will undoubtedly have a hard time keeping up with Choi’s ever increasing wallets of family and friends.

    Sad. But not avoidable. Vote with your brain in November, Edisonians. Thanks for the post Saswat.

    Please visit my blog at:
    http://the-stupefied edisonian.blogspot.com/

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