Roger Clemens, The 21st Century Wants a Word With You

Jeff · April 4, 2006 at 9:31 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

Roger Clemens gets a ticket from me. I’m handing it to him next time I see him, likely when we’re playing darts and listening to Jim Croce.

Proving that the ability to throw a baseball does not necessarily correlate with enlightenment, the jolly one popped off a racist wisecrack today:

“Roger Clemens was discussing his future Tuesday at the Astros season opener when he responded to a question about his health after the World Baseball Classic with a comment that some might consider racially insensitive … he made a questionable comment when speaking about the devotion of the Japanese and South Korean fans.

“None of the dry cleaners were open, they were all at the game, Japan and Korea,” Clemens said. “So we couldn’t get any dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing is that 50,000 of them were at Anaheim Stadium.””

I’m sure your first reaction, like mine, was: hilarious! I have never, ever in my life heard that one. Do you get it? See, Asians work in laundries!

I’m equally certain that your second reaction was: wait a second, isn’t the stereotype the Chinese laundry? Man, Roger can’t even get his racism right.

If you’re going to wade into the stereotype sewer, at least be sure you’ve got the correct address. Not since Ice Cube made his threat to kick Koreans’ “chop suey asses” has a public figure so brazenly permuted bigotry and inaccuracy.

Clemens gets more points than Cube, since he didn’t threaten to burn down any stores. But he also committed two unforgivable sins: being a jackass for no reason, and — worse — being unfunny about it. I mean, dry cleaning? If you’re willing to risk offending a wide swath of people, shouldn’t your one-liner elicit more than an eyeroll?

For some time, I have kicked around the idea of printing up fake tickets. For efficiency’s sake.

I would give these tickets out at parties or around town, sometimes to ignorant but well-meaning folks — those that announce proudly “I have black friends,” or say “Oriental”. It would save time and provide the individual with a handy quick-reference guide for home study. A sort of embarassment-prevention program.

There would be other, more strident tickets for more overt acts of racism. These wouldn’t have the “Hey, maybe you should consider this” tone of the aforementioned, but more of a “Please, for the sake of all your fellow white people, stop saying things like this. The next time I meet an Asian person, I do not want them thinking that the strange thoughts that run through your deranged melon also bounce around in mine.”

When I meet Clemens at the next White People Convention, I’m going to blow my whistle, check a box, and give him the inaugural ticket. “Nothing personal,” I’ll tell him, “but you’re making us all look bad here.”

Okay, this isn’t going to happen. White people don’t all gather together at a convention, just like Asian people don’t all work at laundries, and the Indian guy you meet at a party probably doesn’t know the Indian guy you knew back in Cleveland. So I’ll have to hope for another solution.

While I’m not a believer in karma as literal truth, and I certainly don’t wish any physical harm to the future Hall of Famer, a fitting end to this saga might involve the yakuza setting up a dry cleaning front operation in Texas and waiting for him to come in. Just waiting.

Patiently and politely. You know, like Asians do.


48 Responses to “Roger Clemens, The 21st Century Wants a Word With You”

  1. JI on April 4th, 2006 9:37 pm

    Maybe he was being incredibly ironic…


  2. kevin p on April 4th, 2006 9:52 pm

    ugh, how sad. as an “asian” (actually more of a pacific islander, i have to say i respect him for his pitching, but as a person: totally went downhill.

  3. deltwelve on April 4th, 2006 10:13 pm

    Now that’s how you get more than an eyeroll!

  4. IcebreakerX on April 4th, 2006 10:16 pm

    Thanks for the tip into this one.

    But I’ll let you guys blow the PC whistle on this one.

    As I’m very Japanese.


  5. Barry on April 4th, 2006 10:25 pm

    If that quote was in that ESPN article, it’s been changed to a more favorable paragraph.

    >He felt fine after the World Baseball Classic and left the >tournament impressed by the quality of the international teams — >and the devotion of the Japanese and South Korean fans.

    Remembering back to a Japan-South Korea game in Anaheim, Calif., Clemens said he took clothes to a dry cleaners and was told he wouldn’t get them back for nearly a week.

    “They said, ‘You’ve got no chance,’ they told me,” Clemens said. “I said, ‘I’m going to get it tomorrow, right?’ And then she goes, `No chance, we’re going to the game.’ So we couldn’t get dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing about them was there were about 50,000 of them at Anaheim Stadium, Korea and Japan.

  6. Barry on April 4th, 2006 10:26 pm

    Yeah well, all of that is supposed to be quoted.

  7. kevin in sf on April 4th, 2006 10:29 pm

    I would actually give Ice Cube a pass on his anti-asian statements over Clemens, there were some real tensions in LA back when (black and korean) and he was at least expressing some frustration that eventually did get ironed out. Clemens just wanted to frolic in racism.

  8. Tek Jansen on April 4th, 2006 10:34 pm

    I have always suspected that Clemens was a bit of a doofus. He probably has no idea that his statement is racist, nor does he have the mental capacity to analyze his words and understand the layers of racism endocded. (All “Asians” are the same, etc.) Moreover, he would probably take any such mention about his statement to mean that he himself is a rabid white supremecist racist, which he probably isn’t, and become greatly offended and defensive. If he does have the analytical capacity to understand how his words signify racial stereotypes, then I will take everyting I wrote above back and admit my error.

  9. Edgar For Pres on April 4th, 2006 11:33 pm

    Well maybe he really couldn’t get any dry cleaning done. Then what would you want him to say.

    Ok, I’m going to UW and so I know a bit about asians since I’m an engineering student. Crap did I just say that asians fill up my engineering classes. What a horrible sterotype. I am so ashamed. Really come on, there aren’t any interesting sterotypes that are that negative for asian except that they don’t speak good english if they weren’t born here. Man its got to be tough being called hardworking, responsible, and smart all the time. How do you do it? I think the thing is that with asian sterotypes they don’t apply very well to asians who were born here. For the most part when you get on to the second generation born here they have been sapped of most of the asian in them. If you spend one day at UW you will see that some sterotypes do apply quite well. Asians smoke much more often, have cooler phones and computers, take more science and math classes, and eat a lot of rice. None of these are bad (except for maybe the smoking thing) so don’t say I’m a racist because I’m saying the obvious. I’m pretty sure that all the dry cleaners I have gone to have been owned by an asian. I haven’t gone to all the dry cleaners in the USA and I’m sure some aren’t but sometimes trends occur.

    Clemens was born in Ohio and raised in Texas so I give the guy a break for not quite getting the race right but I bet he couldn’t tell you the difference between Chinese and Japanese so I’m giving the guy a break. Oh and #2 I’ve seen people get into fights cause someone got called asian when they were actually pacific islander so I’m saying you can’t get offended by this. I’m sorry but I believe you can’t have it both ways and I believe that pacific islanders said so.

    Clemens isn’t very racist if the best he can do is say that all the asians were at a baseball game. I think this is more an issue of being politically correct than racism and being politically correct is just kinda lame. I will give you that it wasn’t really funny or had any reason for him saying this. He should have probably kept this joke to himself so he could dish it out to some of his friends. I’m going to repeat, I am not racist. I live with one indian, two asians, and an african american dude. I will allow people to use sterotypes for jokes and don’t have a problem with it. I draw a line and that line is where it affects someone and how they feel but if this comment by Clemens offends you, I might suggest growing some thicker skin.(In case you can’t notice I’m not a huge fan of everyone being forced to be PC 24/7)

  10. lundgren on April 4th, 2006 11:34 pm

    Yes, Kevin, let’s give Ice Cube a pass for overtly threatening racism against a particular race, with some mockery thrown in. Meanwhile, a guy who is ignorant at worst, misquoted at best, and seems (especially from the quote in the comments) to just be relaying an anecdote in which the person working at the cleaners, and not Clemens, made original reference to the stereotype, is “frolicking in racism.”

    The weekly USS Mariner “let’s find racism” articles grow tiresome. I don’t see the authors complaining about Bonds’ overtly racist comments quoted in SI.

    In any case, get a grip. In case no racism may be discovered this week, I suggest the following article idea:

    “Carl Everett today announced that he not only does not believe in dinosaurs, but particularly dislikes Barney. If it were not bad enough for Mr. Everett to deny dinosaurs’ existence — and in so doing, to marginalize them and to neuter them of their status as the backbone of the scaled-person community — he has now gone beyond that, singling out one particular dinosaur for his vehement scale-ism. We believe Carl should be neutered in the same manner, although physically (as we also suggested when we learned that he (gasp) does not approve of homosexuality.”

    Get a grip.

  11. Godori on April 4th, 2006 11:37 pm

    “Patiently and politely. You know, like Asians do.”

    Jeff, i’m Korean American and while the original stereotype was of Chinese Americans working the launderies in the late 19th Century, currently a significant portion of the dry cleaners are owned/operated by Korean Americans. Do you know what it’s like to work on the steam press during the summer? It’s hard work, long hours and a lot of ass kissing which most Americans won’t endure.

    Sure RC’s comment was totally uncalled for, but he’s a douche bag and has been imho for a long time, ever since the Piazza bat tossing incident. He’s also rode on the Yankees coattails in getting his WS ring.

    But let’s talk about you, Jeff! Your last comment is no different than Rogers. YOU stereotype us Asians as being patient and polite. Next I suppose you’ll say we’re the “Model Minorities.”

    Reminds me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Richard Gere comments how he’s “never treated (Julia’s character) like a prostitute.” and she whispered in response “You just did.”

    While I respect your intentions, I hope you see where i’m coming from about your last comment. Maybe i’m being too sensitive since this topic involves my ethnic background. The point is that it prickled my thoughts reading it and i’m sure it did for others as well.

    Here’s hoping you remove that comment.

  12. lundgren on April 4th, 2006 11:46 pm

    Nice points, Edgar. Many are afraid to say that kind of thing, for fear that they, too, will be branded a “racist.” Here’s a hint, PC crowd — while legitimate racism should not be tolerated (and in any event, is remarkably inefficient, stupid and wasteful) — picking apart everything people say, do, think, imply, should think, and encouraging people to look for racial bias in everything, is, in my opinion and in the opinions of many others, many times more damaging to our society.

    I have yet to hear anyone provide a rational justification as to how, if we continually obsess with these issues, we can ever hope to permanently and effectively set them aside as a society. This is particularly the case when many other statements, policies and beliefs among various groups — so-called “white guys,” which are apparently a unitary group, even to the same person decrying someone’s lack of attention to distinctions among various Asian backgrounds, included — leads to an “us against them” mentality. I do not believe there is a legitimate place for that in a society that is truly moving forward. I find it ironic that many of those who are constantly looking for problems and excuses in the name of progressiveness are at the same time promoting stagnation. The irony loses its bite when you consider that many such individuals have some kind of financial, reputational or other stake in maintaining the PC police state.

  13. gwo on April 4th, 2006 11:48 pm

    Godori : I think Jeff’s stereotyping in the last sentence is intended to be ironically self-deprecating. A kind of “Look how easy it is to lapse into dumb stereotyping”.

    I could be wrong though, the Welsh often are.

  14. Red Sox Girl on April 4th, 2006 11:53 pm

    #11 I can’t speak for Jeff, but I took that last sentance to be ironic, not sterotypical.
    But then again, what do I know? I’m just a wazzu party girl.

  15. T-dawg on April 5th, 2006 12:10 am

    Clemens has never proven himself to be all that intelligent off the mound… literally 10 feet off the mound, when he once mistook a broken bat for the ball (I thought it was the ball.) The ball/bat/ball was then thrown in the general vacinity of Mike Piazza.

    This of course proves that off the mound, Clemens has a difficult time with lateral thinking of any type, as he simply forgot the rules of baseball are different than the standard wiffle ball rules that many of us (we shall for the sake of argument include Clemens as a wiffle ball player) played under in grade school, when it was okay to hit somebody with a thrown ball in order to get an out.

    I can understand the irritation some of you feel with the USSM for the “P.C.” orientation of some recent posts… but c’mon people– this is new news to me, and it is certainly baseball connected. Kudos to the USSM for having the courage to take a stand that they see valid.

    Now… final point on Clemens and his words… are you truly surprised? And are we at all disappointed? If so, I ask why? He is paid millions of dollars to throw a baseball… while there is a certain rare gift in that, it does not make him a hero or a role model for anything other than throwing a ball.

    Charles Barkley said in about ’91 or so, “I am not a role model.” This Clemens thing is just another shameful reminder that parents (and all of us) should have put a little more significance and rememberence in Charles’ words, and a little less in Clemens actions off the mound.

  16. DMZ on April 5th, 2006 12:17 am

    I know it’s a sensitive topic and tone doesn’t always come across well, but that last line is clearly a parting stab at the stereotypes being traded in.

    And for those of you who find USSM PC/liberal/tiring/whatever, that’s too bad, and I hope you’re able to find another site that you like better. I’m disappointed, and I think it’s a basic misreading of who we are, but what you see on the site is what moves us to write, and that’s how it’s always going to be.

  17. pinball1973 on April 5th, 2006 1:16 am

    While having a short-fuse about excessive PCism, these comments by Roger do make him out as unconsciously racist. They remind me of some of the “tolerant” racism quotes I’ve read about concerning black players in the early sixties (BTW, anyone have similar stuff about hispanic players? I know about “Bob” Clemente, etc., but haven’t read any books about the b.s. tey had to go through on the field.)
    Still, I also know that Roger was very friendly and helpful with NPB players on his last MLB all-star tour of Japan, working a bit with Uehara of the Giants and giving him a glove as a momento of the game.

    I don’t think protests are much needed: this kind of attitude will soon pass. It might even be pretty funny again some day.

  18. fanoliv on April 5th, 2006 2:01 am

    I tend to agree with those people who’re saying it’s overly sensitive to get worked up about this. (Btw, I am Asian.) I mean, who cares what a has-been like Clemens has to say? When it comes to comments like that, who cares what anyone has to say, really. I know I don’t ‘cos at the end of the day it doesn’t affect one way or another how I go about my life. I just ignore it in the knowledge that these people (Clemens, Ice Cube, that Abercrombie shirt few years ago, etc.) are so irrelevant in the big scheme of things that it doesn’t matter what they think or say.

    That being said, I do appreciate you guys bringing this up. So it confirms my personal opinion that Clemens is not a very nice person.

  19. Jar on April 5th, 2006 3:30 am

    He is probably just spouting off because they kicked Team USA’s butt.

  20. mln on April 5th, 2006 4:56 am

    Clemens and AJ Pierzynski would be perfect teammates. They can trade racist quips about ebonics and laundrymen all day. Thrown in John Rocker and San Francisco KNBR talk-show host Larry Krueger who made that comment about “brain-dead Caribbean hitters” last year, and you’re good to go.

  21. Jeff on April 5th, 2006 6:25 am

    For the record: yes, the last line is meant to be ironic.

    So are the comments throughout the article about white people having annual conventions, playing darts, listening to Jim Croce, etc.

  22. Jeff on April 5th, 2006 6:27 am

    Though I am, of course, down with Jim Croce. And if you aren’t, you are a PC fascist.

  23. gwo on April 5th, 2006 6:38 am

    I love Jim Croce, especially “Bad, Bad, Leroy African-American.”

  24. Jack Howland on April 5th, 2006 7:23 am

    Next you will tell us that you don’t even own a whistle! How are we supposed to seperate the truths from your irony?

    My story goes like this. Three years ago I was sitting behind first base at Wrigley when Hee Seop Choi manned the base there. A rather large Cubs fan sat a few rows behind the dugout sporting a Choi jersey of team shop quality, however, the name Choi was replaced by “Chop Chop”. Unfortunately I sat a section up away from the fan and never had the opportunity to get close enough to ask him what on earth he could have been thinking.

  25. msb on April 5th, 2006 7:31 am

    hmmm. Moyer’s folks own a dry cleaning business in Souderton …

  26. Tek Jansen on April 5th, 2006 7:38 am

    Jeff’s inclusion of “you know” is a clear indication to any semi-astute reader that that phrase is meant to parody Clemens’ comments.

    As for the “P.C.” charges, deconstructing and analyzing how certain words, in this case the Clemens quote, signify is not a “P.C.” attempt to limit speech nor is it a personal attack that labels someone “racist.” Rather it is a response that points out how language works and operates.

  27. little joey on April 5th, 2006 7:44 am

    I’m glad you guys do these posts. Baseball has an important part in civil rights history, and anyone who plays owes it to the game to respect the tradition of integration and tolerance.

    And wow, Roger Clemens is dumb. Like Dave said, it comes off as some silly racism.

    But there’s something else going on here. If we look back at the Pierzynski quote, and even Dave’s unfortunate last line, it’s the kind of humor that my roommate (who goes to Reed, no less) would call post-PC. When Pierzynski teased Jermaine Dye for using ebonix, he thought he was making fun of the political correctness of using the term ebonix- or something like that, because i really didn’t get what was funny. In his mind, he wasn’t puting down the way that black folks talk. Dave’s line is similar in that the joke is not the content but the context. Whether these comments are funny or not, they reinforce differences. Anyone who thinks that we’re out of the woods in terms of racism has never lived a day as “the other”. It’s something unspoken but very real, and I can’t imagine that there will ever be a day that racial humor, however ironic, will feel ok to its subjects.

  28. Mike G. on April 5th, 2006 8:01 am

    Jeff: I’m curious where you got the quote in it’s cropped form? The ESPN article linked, as Barry pointed out, is not nearly as harsh as it’s an anecdote where he was told he couldn’t get his dry cleaning done by the staff of this particular dry cleaner. Now we can definitely debate if that’s really an appropriate anecdote to bring up, but I’m not really feeling the racism. A bit of ignorence maybe but not racism.

  29. dw on April 5th, 2006 8:02 am

    In case you can’t notice I’m not a huge fan of everyone being forced to be PC 24/7

    Yeah, but you know what? Your stereotypes are really stupid, and you’re really unfunny. But then, all UW students are stupid and unfunny, right?

    The weekly USS Mariner “let’s find racism” articles grow tiresome.

    Weekly? I think this is the third I’ve read in the last three years. There have been open comment threads on steroids than there have been posts on rascist remarks.

    And for those of you who find USSM PC/liberal/tiring/whatever, that’s too bad, and I hope you’re able to find another site that you like better.

    May I recommend the John Birch Society’s new M’s blog —

  30. Jeff on April 5th, 2006 8:04 am

    The quote I got was from the first version of the story.

    They’ve since changed it at ESPN; I’m not sure why, and I’ve been unable to track down a cached copy of the original version. I will if I find it.

  31. dw on April 5th, 2006 8:16 am

    The article is actually an AP wire story, and they tend to correct those in real time now. Unfortunately, the AP is not consistent about noting the correction in the main body of an article.

    So, I’m guessing that the writer reconstructed it from his/her notes, then later heard it on tape and realized he/she had written it up wrong and corrected it.

    It would really be nice if they actually said in the wire feed, “Previous versions misquoted Clemens.”

  32. David A. on April 5th, 2006 8:25 am

    9 – Really come on, there aren’t any interesting sterotypes that are that negative for asian except that they don’t speak good english if they weren’t born here.

    Dude. Brush up on your negative stereotypes! Asian men are insufficiently equipped in bed. They have a hard time expressing emotion. If they do express emotion, it’s in a really awkward way. Asians only listen to horrible techno music while speeding dangerously in their rice rockets. But at least the crappy techno thing comes in handy when playing Dance Dance Revolution.

    Snark aside, I’m of the view it’s important to speak up about these sorts of things in all forums. I mean, I went to high school in San Francisco, and we still had our nutbags who wrote op-eds in the student paper supporting gay-bashing, titled “Intolerance of Intolerance is Intolerance”. Your basic premise offends me because you’re not promoting a “just chill out” philosophy; you’re promoting ignorance. In other words, you’ve stated that if Clemens doesn’t know any better, then we shouldn’t hold him accountable. Furthermore, in your home situation, I’ll bet all racist jokes are told ironically, because if they weren’t, then there would be a problem.

    I have a thick skin. I wasn’t angry or particularly worked up over Clemens’s comment, just dismayed. But if you can get through college in Seattle without realizing that racism in all its forms is a devastating thing, that bothers me, because that’s one person who should “get it” but doesn’t.

  33. skankin pickle on April 5th, 2006 8:28 am

    Thanks for the refernce, Jeff.

  34. skankin pickle on April 5th, 2006 8:29 am

    And by refernce, I mean reference.

  35. jhelfgott on April 5th, 2006 9:17 am

    #10: “The weekly USS Mariner “let’s find racism” articles grow tiresome. I don’t see the authors complaining about Bonds’ overtly racist comments quoted in SI.”

    So to recap: Stop talking about racism, but talk more about racism.

  36. kevin in sf on April 5th, 2006 9:22 am

    lundgren, stop being an intolerant and myopic fool.

    The difference between Ice Cube and Clemens is Cube apologized. Dumb things can be said in anger and I’m more prone (and I think people in general) to forgive someone when they admit to it later. And I bet you didn’t know that, maybe you would of if you bothered to get off your high-horse and do a little googling.

    On the other hand, jokes like ol’ boy Clemens’, you’re not expressing a gripe, you don’t have a legitimate issues to express, you just want to have perpectuate a stereotype for a chuckle.

  37. Steve T on April 5th, 2006 9:51 am

    My dry cleaner is Korean-American. Unfortunately he’s decided that selling his very desireable land for millions of bucks and retiring (he’s almost 70) is a more attractive proposition than continuing to grunt over the 100-degree presses for $15K a year. What am I gonna do? All the other dry cleaners are way on down the block; this guy’s directly across the street.

    Roger Clemens is dumb. Charlize Theron is pretty. Bill Gates is rich. So what else is new around here?

  38. Matt on April 5th, 2006 10:12 am

    Props for the Skankin’ Pickle reference. But boo to Clemens. Racism sucks more than the Yankees.

  39. msb on April 5th, 2006 10:42 am

    the quote as Jeff had it is still up on the SI site, citing the Sun Times

  40. Lauren, token chick on April 5th, 2006 11:09 am

    Wow. Skankin’ Pickle. That takes me back to my UC Santa Cruz days…

    Regarding discussion of racism/lack of political correctness, some of which I’ve initiated in the past… lundgren said this:

    “picking apart everything people say, do, think, imply, should think, and encouraging people to look for racial bias in everything, is, in my opinion and in the opinions of many others, many times more damaging to our society.”

    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find members of minorities who feel that looking for racial bias is “many times more damaging to society” than looking too hard for racial bias. Personally, I’d rather err on the side of thinking about what I’m saying and what it really means. Even if that mean, you know, busting a cap in the proverbial ass of our society. Sorry, society! My bad!

  41. weeeeeee on April 5th, 2006 2:25 pm

    I love the “holier than thou” condemnation that the USS Mariner writers always seem to spew forth towards anyone who so much as hints at disagreeing with the writers’ opinions on the various social policy dicussions that sprout up here all the time. (race in ownership, race in steriods accusations, Bush sucks hints, etc.

    I love the writing you do about the team but random social commentary really turns me off the site. I’m sure a lot of people agree with me but don’t comment for fear of such a scathing response.

  42. Edgar For Pres on April 5th, 2006 2:28 pm

    Ok, I know and understand the rebuttals people had to my initial message. Sure, his joke that he made isn’t the smartest but I bet we all think things similar to what he said. It would be great if we could all just use one of those Men in Black style mind erasers to zap away all these thoughts but that’s not going to happen. As long as the US has different cultures, there will be groups in the US which will be distinguishable from the whole. I think we have come a long way but we still have some ways to go. There is also a big difference between thinking a thought and actually acting on it. Not acting on these thoughts sometimes takes a conscious effort but is pretty easy as long as you make an effort. The thing is that stereotypes whether you like it or not exist and sometimes exist for a reason. (I know some of the reasons are horrible and I know I’m going to take a bunch of flak if I post this and I know that not all the reasons are valid and I don’t want to turn this into a sociology class where we go over all these reasons.)

    When students at UW (and many other diverse colleges) pick classes and there is a choice between a prof with an “American” name (Smith) or a “foreign” name (Sasaki), usually students will pick the Smith if they have no other information because many students have had bad experiences with professors who do no speak English very well. I know this is sometimes caused by laziness and some of the best profs I’ve had have not spoken good English but the worst profs I have had have definitely not spoken English well. Students who have no info about the prof (new professor for example) use this method because it has a logical basis. Does this mean that these students do not like “foreign” people? No. Does this mean that these students are being ignorant? I would argue yes and no. If they are able to get information about the prof and they are not getting the info to make a good decision, they are being ignorant. If the info needed is not available wouldn’t it be ignorant not to use this stereotype when trying to find a professor that you can understand.

    Another example. You want to get Asian food in some small town. You go to your phone book and look up the possible places to order some take-out. The two restaurants offering Asian food are called Billy Bob’s Asian Food and Sasaki’s Asian Food. You don’t have any way of getting additional information about these two restaurants because of various reasons (I know, very unlikely but go with it). I bet Sasaki’s Asian Food gets your call because you assume that an Asian person is better at making Asian food than Billy Bob.

    We all use stereotypes when we lack information. The problem happens when people do not seek out the information so that they do not need to rely on stereotypes. As people have more contact with other cultures, we have seen the use of the most harmful stereotypes decrease but not disappear. Stereotypes will get used but if the info is availible then you should use it and not a stereotype.

    The point of this whole thread is that Clemens’ comments were just not very tactful. It didn’t do anything but make him look like an ignorant guy who made a bad joke.

    #32 – I’m sorry I didn’t include those negative Asian stereotypes. I just didn’t really think that they were that widespread but the stereotypes Asians have are not very bad and I don’t know how widespread they are in mainstream culture. I’m saying that Clemens did not make that offensive of a statement. If you get offended by Clemens saying that many Asians work at drycleaners then maybe I should feel offended when you say many white males watch NASCAR. Oh and all the jokes in my house are told ironically just like Clemens when he made this joke to some reporter.

  43. David A. on April 5th, 2006 5:43 pm

    42 – You still have not rebutted the overall point that racist and contextless stereotypical comments are unacceptable. Sure, everyone discriminates, for as soon as you acknowledge difference, you discriminate. But not everyone makes assumptions and judgments based on those differences. Why the hell did Clemens reference dry cleaning? Why didn’t he simply say that he was surprised to see so many Koreans and Japanese supporting teams in Anaheim and San Diego? The reason, it seems, is that somewhere in his head, it’s okay to think of “Them”. “They” own dry cleaners because that’s what “They” do. What else do “They” do? Who else is “Them”? What other things does Clemens automatically assume about “Them”? Now, let’s point all this out and convince people that you’re better off not thinking about folks this way.
    Your “professor” analogy is a joke, right? Knowing nothing about them, why would you automatically assume Professor Sasaki wasn’t born and raised in the US and doesn’t speak clear and fluent English? That “logic” holds no water, and is exactly the sort of thinking I’d like you to get past. If I tell you my name is David Arnott, what does that tell you about me? Absofreakinglutely nothing, except that I’m probably male. If I tell you I’m half-Filipino, what does that tell you about me? Much MUCH less than you probably think, based on your previous posts.
    I’m just glad we can use Roger Clemens as an example for the discussion.

  44. Edgar For Pres on April 5th, 2006 6:46 pm

    43 – I think what I was trying to say is that stereotypes exist everywhere in society and that you can’t call Clemens a horrible person unless you want to call most of the people in the world horrible people. He didn’t just say there were a lot of Koreans and Japanese watching the game because he didn’t think that was funny. Apparently, he must have thought his joke was a little funny.

    The professor analogy is very real. Usually professors who have “american” names were born here and since UW is really big into research they bring a lot of “foreign” professors here from other countries. Math teacher evaluation forms we fill out actually have a space to describe how well your prof spoke english. The thing about this is that your just shooting percentages. Sometimes all the info you can get about a prof is their last name. If I can’t figure out which prof is better then all I can do is guess which speaks clearer english. Most science majors do this when picking profs where there isn’t any information available about them. Most of the time you can find information about profs such as advice from other students.

    I think there is a difference between stereotypes and discrimination. Simple stereotypes can be useful to some extent to “guess” what somebody is like and therefore most people carry around stereotypes without even realizing it. If I see you walking around with a Mariners shirt, I can guess that we might have something in common to talk about. The problem is that stereotypes lead to discrimination because it makes us think we know too much (ie ignorance). If we use stereotypes, it is very important for us to be able to easily cast them aside when we even get a hint of info that goes against our assumptions.

    You telling me your name and ethnicity tells me very little about yourself. Basically male and thats all. I’m not saying I can know somebody without knowing them. About all I can do is give my best guess which also isn’t very good.

    I guess the worst part about Clemens (or other well known people) doing this is that it gives the impression that lumping groups together is acceptable behavior and works all the time. I hope that people are smart enough to figure out this doesn’t work. I think the biggest thing is that you can’t just tell people that they can’t just lump people into groups and then they know everything about them. People really need to experience life to learn this lesson and meet a diverse group of people. It’s hard to discriminate against people once you get to know them and once you get to know people from these “groups” you find out that the assumptions you had at one point often aren’t very good. Then once you question some of your assumptions then you start questioning all the assumptions you once had. Just shaking my finger at someone isn’t going to do much and that’s why I don’t.

  45. crazysob on April 5th, 2006 10:34 pm

    How is this even racism? It isn’t much different from what Jay Leno does in his monologue. The reactions from some people confirms my belief that I need to be very careful at work these days. A joke or criticism taken in sensitive ears will get me funny looks or worse, cost me my job. No thanks. I’d take the A-Rod approach in public speaking where everything is sanitized before coming out of his mouth.

  46. vj on April 6th, 2006 12:57 am

    Going back to Jeff’s initial point I think that “racism” is a really strong term for what Clemens might’ve said. I think it would be worthwhile to limit its application to things like the KKK, ethnic clensings, or Jim Crow laws.
    Also, there seems to be conflicting info on what Clemens said and maybe we should presume that he said the less offensive version.

  47. Brian Rust on April 6th, 2006 3:27 pm

    The ultimate irony, Jeff, is your choice of “writing tickets” as a metaphor. I’m sure some people find this notion amusing, but it perfectly describes the “thought police” mentality many others find so threatening about “political correctness.” The use of such a loaded image is sure to put off (offend?) the very people I would think you intend to persuade.

    Certainly the metaphor works if you are writing primarily to entertain like-minded thinkers, or aggravate those with different points of view. If you simply chose the metaphor without much thought to how others perceive your words, maybe you can see how easy it is for Roger to do the same.

  48. Blog > Around the web on April 9th, 2006 9:34 am

    […] U.S.S. Mariner – Roger Clemens, The 21st Century Wants a Word With You – Seattle Mariners and general baseball discussion […]

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