Friday, January 29, 2010

The 50 Most Racist Movies (You didn't think were racist)

Here's an interesting article in Complex Magazine about the 50 Most Racist Movies that you didn't think were racist.  Although I would have to disagree with many of the selections, there are some here that I have been crying foul for some time now. Take particular note of the following:

#32: "Dragonball Evolution": an example of the common Hollywood practice of turning Asian characters white.
#30: "Twenty-one": another example of how Asian characters are turned white.
#26: "The Last Samurai": I actually really like this movie because the action and plot are so good ... but it's one of dozens (maybe hundreds) of movies where white guy saves the day among non-whites. While this sort of premise is common, this movie takes it to the next level by having a white guy be the last samurai and the only person who could save Japan ... a country that invented the samurai.
#16: "The Gods Must Be Crazy": a humorous and lighthearted short film, but it basically insults the intelligence of black people.
#5: "Sixteen Candles:" anyone who loves 80's movies will remember the crazy exchange student, Long Duk Dong.  I have been told by many Asians who came of age in the 80's that Long Duk Dong became the bane of their existence.
#1: "Breakfast at Tiffany's": I'm too young to have ever seen this movie but you gotta see the scene of the crazy Japanese guy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

White Supremacy Part II

The other day was the day I met the alleged white supremacist (I stress the word "alleged"). I was a little nervous. Not that I thought the defendant would have any violent or extreme reaction, but I had never met a real-life white supremacist before!

I saw a rather gruff looking character right outside the courtroom, and for some reason I had the feeling that this was the guy. Physically, he was not imposing. He only stood about 5 foot 8. He had an average build. Middle-aged. Gray, thinning hair. He kind of looked like a worn out guy who had worked on a farm for most of his life. I approached him and asked, "John?" He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and asked, "Are you a Chinaman?" Just kidding; he didn't say that. He just responded, "yes." He had no negative reaction to seeing my very Asian face. We had a firm handshake. I introduced myself. His father came too and the first thing I thought was, "Oh, here is the head honcho of the Klan."

We went into a conference room and talked about the case. It was clear that they had major beef with the police. What a surprise! I mean, we're talking about Officer Hoppie ... I listened to them carefully, and we combed through the police report to look for discrepancies. He pointed out numerous things that he thought were complete lies by the police. The interesting thing was that he never denied the white supremacist allegation by his co-defendant. As we talked, the father kept interjecting with things like, "Yeah, what is wrong with the police these days?" He also said things like, "Now, this is a good attorney. This guy really listens. A lot of attorneys don't care." I appreciated the compliment.

Overall, I found them to be pretty normal people, and in fact, I thought the guy was innocent (although I think that of most of my clients).

I took my newfound knowledge of the case and let the prosecutor know about the flaws. He agreed the case was weak, so he reduced the charge from a misdemeanor to an infraction (which is pretty much equivalent to a traffic citation). Unfortunately, because infractions are so low on the totem pole of crime, the defendant no longer had the right to an attorney; the judge took me off the case. A trial date was set.

So that's it. Kind of anticlimactic, huh? Well, I guess that's a good thing. He didn't call me a chink and I didn't call him a honkie. I followed the advice of what some readers suggested, and I made no mention of race and just treated him like I would anyone else. I think it worked out. They expressed a lot of appreciation for my help. And I was actually sad that I couldn't continue to work with them.

What I learned from this is to never prejudge a white supremacist. They're people, too!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Supremacy Part I

I've got an interesting dilemma. I was recently appointed to a case where I would have to defend a guy who, according to the police report, has "ties to white supremacy." At first glance, I was ok with this. I've always told myself that for the sake of justice and upholding the Constitution, I could defend pretty much anybody (except for maybe a child rapist who I know is lying through his teeth). However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the potential conflict. I haven't met the guy yet, but when we meet next week at a court hearing, I wonder if he would even want me to be his attorney. Would I be the subject of his anger and hatred (assuming that he is angry and drinks haterade)? Would I eventually hate the guy myself if I find out that the allegations are true? Should I fear for my own life?

Oh, and here is an interesting twist for all you drama queens. The police officer who arrested my client was Officer Hoppie. He ain't going to be too hoppie when he sees me (see last post).