poster parody sparks controversy at tufts

Heard about this recent controversy at Tufts, and I just had to shake my head at how stupid it all was: A Tale of Two Posters. Basically, in an attempt at "political satire," one student posted a parody of another student's campaign poster for student government, playing up some lame Asian stereotypes:
Two weeks ago, In-Goo Kwak, a freshman studying international relations and an immigrant from South Korea, put up a series of posters around his dormitory parodying the campaign poster of Alice Pang, another freshman of Asian descent who was running for the Tufts Community Union Senate. Kwak was not actually running for a student government position, but posted the parody next to Pang's at the encouragement of his dorm mates. who thought he was right to poke fun at the air of political correctness he perceived on the campus.

Pang's poster included the campaign slogan, "small person, big ideas," with the exclamation "hurrah!" next to her portrait. Kwak's parody poster looks strikingly similar in design to Pang's and includes the slogan "squinty eyes, big vision." Next to Kwak's portrait is the word "kimchi!" -- a traditional Korean dish. Additionally, where Pang's poster read "vote on Thursday," Kwak's said, "Prease vote me! I work reary hard!" in deliberately broken English.
You can see a photo of both posters side-by-side here. What was the point of this? In-Goo Kwak, the freshman who posted the parody, claims it was his attempt "to satire the oppressive environment of political correctness at Tufts." If that was indeed what he was trying to do, he did a pretty piss-poor job.

Yes, the poster certainly violated an accepted standard of political correctness, oppressive or otherwise -- reactions to Kwak's stunt definitely demonstrated that. But in and of itself, it fails to accomplish much more than that. All I really see are some extremely unoriginal Asian jokes and a goofy kid having a little too much fun with Photoshop.

Kwak insists that people at Tufts should be comfortable sharing their views, but there's a "taboo against the discussion of racial issues." I'm not part of the Tufts community, but maybe he's right. An open, intelligent discussion of racial issues should be encouraged. I just fail to see how jokes about "squinty eyes," "kimchi" and the mispronunciation of "rearry" contribute to an open, intelligent discussion about racial issues.

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