guest post: racism on youtube videos??

I'm on vacation! Taking a much-needed break. But don't worry. While I'm away, I've enlisted some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's Phil Wang of Wong Fu Productions taking on the YouTube haters.

"Why is everyone Asian?" "Why's it all Asian?" "Look at these Asians!!"

These are regular comments we get everyday. Of course, not to our face. No, instead from the computer screen, probably from some guy trying to be funny (or serious) and hiding behind his keyboard and monitor, cloaked by his screen name that most likely includes a few "X"s and "dUdE" in it. You see, we make online videos... and sadly, racism and ignorance show its true face on the internet, where no one is held accountable for their words or thoughts.

Wong Fu Productions has been making short films, music videos, and vlogs for several years now. It is our job, it is our life. While we're so glad that our work has had a positive influence on many, I can't lie; racist comments still disturb me, even after hearing them for so long. Some are so obnoxious, usually involving "chink" or "slanty eyes," that they bounce right off because I know whoever wrote those are truly not worth wasting mental energy on (and probably 13 years old thinking he's funny). But comments like those mentioned at the beginning of this post, those are the worst, because they're racist, without even knowing it, and that's the most dangerous.

Double standards are what it comes down to. Obviously, "WFP" being a group of 3 asian guys, most of our work is going to be predominantly Asian. It's hard to hide that fact. And yes, we often cast Asian Americans in our work because many of them are our friends who we have fun working with. Then someone leaves that comment, "Why is everyone Asian?!" and I think to myself... "Why not?!" I highly doubt that when people watch other popular "white youtubers," no one's leaving a comment asking, "Why is everyone White?" This is just on the internet, too. If seeing a predominantly Asian video online estranges some viewers, how are we ever supposed to be accepted on mainstream TV or film?

Growing up, I loved the show Friends but never once did I question why all the lead characters were white. The reason being, it didn't matter. It was a funny show, the actors were great, the stories were fun. Same goes with music. When we made music videos for David Choi or AJ Rafael or Far East Movement, there were so many people commenting on the fact that the the video had so many Asians in it. But if Jay-Z releases a music video, no one really cares that his video is most likely all black people. Why? Because the music is most important.

My hope is that one day, maybe even through our work and efforts in our field, people can see the work first, and then the color. When Will Smith takes the lead as Hitch, is it a big deal to the viewers that he's black? I doubt it. But if an Asian were cast as the lead, it'd be the first headline. As Asian Americans are rising in the media, it is good to highlight when an Asian American scores something big, but I think the ultimate indication of equality is when we can have a predominantly Asian film or musical group, and it isn't be foreign to people. When people can first say, wow that was a great movie or song, AND THEN say, that's cool that they're Asian too. This is what we strive for. A balance of being proud of who we are as Asians, while showing the world that we are also American.

So, why is everything on this website about Asian people?!

Philip Wang is one member of the trio that is Wong Fu Productions. Along with Wesley Chan and Ted Fu they have created a brand and fan following based around their short films, music videos, video blogs, apparel and concerts.

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