Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Ronny Chieng’s Chinatown Report & The Wave of Anti-Asian Racism - Beyond the Scenes | The Daily Show

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- All right, so, you know how like

when you get a salad, right?

You get a salad and then you get the dressing on the side.

So you can feel healthy

when the truth is you just going to put the dressing on

a little bit, bite by bite,

and then by the end of your salad,

you've already used all the dressing that was on the side.

That's what this podcast is.

This is the dressing on the side of "The Daily Show."

I'm Roy Wood, Jr.

This is "Beyond the Scenes" where we go beyond

the topics and the discussions that we have

on "The Daily Show."

I sit down with correspondents, producers, right?

It's anybody that had anything to do

with the piece happening,

we talk to them on this show

and you enjoy it,

and it is as delicious as "The Daily Show"

because it's on the side

and you see, when it's on the side,

it feels healthier, baby.

Right now, you're getting a couple extra calories

just listening to me.

What the hell am I talking about?

You don't care.

The piece we're going to go beyond on this week

is "the O'Reilly Factor" getting racist in Chinatown.

This is when Ronny Chieng responded to

some racist-ass shit that was on Fox News.

If you didn't see the original segment,

Jesse Waters from Fox News,

this is during the 2016 election

and Trump was talking "China this, China that,"

and he went down to Chinatown

to do what was supposed to be quote unquote journalism

and having a real discussion with Asian people.

But really what he was doing was

exploiting people who did not speak English

and then going around town partaking in

all of the different stuff

that basically just highlighted a bunch of

Asian stereotypes.

He got a foot massage.

He played with some nunchucks.

He played "Kung Fu Fighting."

And my man, Ronny Chieng caught wind of this shit

and he clapped back in a major way.

("Kung Fu Fighting" by Bus Stop playing)

- Am I supposed to bow to say hello?

(woman speaking foreign language)

I like these watches, are they hot?

- J.C. Penny, 3.98.

(Mr. Miyagi laughing)

Who are you going to vote for?

- Clinton wife.

- Clinton's wife has a name, what is it?

- Oh man, I forget it.

- Snap out of it.

- Do you know karate?

- Yeah, I know.

- Hit my hand.

(Jesse grunting)

(Jesse moaning)

Oh, that's the spot.

Is it the Year of the Dragon?

Rabbit?

- No, it's actually the Year of Go Fuck Yourself.

(audience cheering)

What the hell was that?

How was that on the news?

In fact, how was that even on TV?

Where the (bleep) did this come from?

I mean, everyone's been wondering

who would be the target of 2016's worst racism.

I didn't even know Asians were in the running.

- Okay, so we're going to discuss

the rise of anti-Asian hate in this country,

where it came from, what we can do to stop it,

and a little later in the program, we're going to be

joined by Norman Chen, the CEO and co-founder of

Leading Asian Americans Unite for Change.

But first it is my pleasure to go beyond the scenes

with my office mate.

He is my friend.

He is-

you're my day one, man.

You're my day one from my first day at "The Daily Show,"

you were right there.

- You're mine too.

I think I beat you to the building by five minutes,

which makes me the senior correspondent.

(Ronny chuckling)

'Cause I beat you to the building

by five minutes on our first day.

Ronny, you did this piece.

This is Ronny Chieng by the way,

"Daily Show" correspondent extraordinaire, Ronny Chieng.

- Yeah, thanks for talking about this, man.

And you're my day one, too.

- You and I are good friends

and we talk a lot in our office.

Like we actually discussed at one moment

doing a podcast together, just us rambling and shit,

just our rambles.

But I think we both decided that

we talk about a lot of stuff

that should remain off the record.

- Yeah, you didn't even say we should talk about it.

You said you wanted to install cameras

and just keep it on record

and then cut clips about what was-

I was like, "I don't want to do that."

- Yeah I wanted to Big Brother our office,

just a livestream of Roy and Ronny

just solving every problem,

which speaking of solving problems, Ronny.

- There's gonna be a lot of you eating Subway sandwich.

That's what it's gonna be.

- Hey, we will discuss Subway tuna later, okay?

They said it's tuna.

They just don't know which kind of tuna.

(Ronny chuckling)

That's, we're getting off subject.

Ronny, in 2016, why did you fail to solve Asian racism?

Anti-Asian sentiment.

Why did you fail?

- It was a bait and switch.

I thought we solved it.

I thought racism was over after that video.

And then, you know,

they did a pump fake and then they went the other way

and it came back, they came back hard.

Racism came back and went hard to the rim.

You know what I mean?

It broke the backboard.

- Anti-Asian racism, it was down O-two,

like the Milwaukee Bucks.

And then gave themselves a locker room speech.

- And it came back hard.

They came back so hard, yeah.

- We joke a lot on this show, but this was a piece that,

you know, it was what we call in "The Daily Show" offices,

a quick turn.

This is where the news breaks.

And rather than go through a formal booking, like no,

Ronny was like, "Yo, where's the camera?

I'm going to Chinatown."

Just for the people who don't know, who missed the piece,

give me the backstory on what lit this fire so fast.

From the time this piece aired on Fox News,

I think our response aired maybe 36 hours later.

If that.

- Yeah, it was, yeah,

so, once things hit the Zeitgeist in America news,

then it starts to enter the building a bit.

And this, the underlying story,

which was the Fox News story,

was actually causing so much grief in America

that it hit the pop culture Zeitgeist

and then that entered the building,

which I mean, to be fair,

it already entered the building the day before,

but it started building overnight to the point where

"The Daily Show" had to address it.

We decided to go to China town to get the response of

people from that neighborhood who were interviewed,

the same neighborhood that was interviewed

in the Fox News segment.

And we went down and I was worried that

because in Singapore and Malaysia

people get really apathetic about politics

and they're very hesitant to be on screen.

And they're very hesitant to be

on screen talking about politics.

So I didn't know if that would be the same thing

we would face in New York City Chinatown.

But what we found, the entire "Daily Show" team found,

was that it was the exact opposite

because as soon as we got to New York City Chinatown

people, literally, as soon as we got out of the car

and I was dressed in the suit

and they, as soon as they saw me, they're like,

"Hey, are you here to talk about

that thing that happened yesterday?"

And I was like, "Yeah."

And they're like, "Come over here."

(Roy laughing)

And then they brought us to the place in Chinatown

and people lined up around the block to talk to us.

- To talk to you.

- They lined up.

- That doesn't happen normally.

- Yeah, people don't normally line up to talk to us.

So I literally, I was just standing there

as people came one after the other

to come and bitch about what happened yesterday.

- What are your thoughts on

the Jessie Waters video on Fox News?

- The chicken (bleep) reporter who came down here

and thought he was big (bleep)

because he talked to people who couldn't speak English?

- Yeah, that douchebag piece of (bleep).

- The one with no testicles,

the one who came down here, who said,

"Let me talk to some old people

and let me put them on camera without asking them

and sort of put them on national television

and made fun of them in the worst possible way,"

that asshole?

- Yeah, I think we're talking about the same guy.

- Right, right.

What was the question again?

- I can't even remember.

- The whole idea behind the piece was that,

and this came from Trevor, was the idea that

just because people aren't speaking your language,

whatever your language is,

doesn't mean they don't have

sophisticated thoughts on politics

and the way the country should be run.

So that was the idea we were doing in Chinatown,

which was trying to get their opinions.

And in many cases we kind of asked them

to speak Chinese or Cantonese,

just to make the point that

you can have sophisticated thoughts

in languages other than English.

(woman speaking Chinese)

(Ronny speaking Chinese)

- I'm from Queens.

- Yeah, the response was, you know,

it required almost no effort on our part.

The streets did the talking on that one.

- You're a more zen dude than me.

(Ronny chuckling)

But the thing that I found most interesting

about this piece for you

was the lack of anger from you as a correspondent.

That's the thing I'm always suppressing.

Like dude, when I'm out,

like when we did the Republican National Convention 2016,

and we did the piece "When Was America Great?"

And I'm having to look at people,

look me in my black-ass eyes and tell me

America was great during slavery

and I'm trying not to

(Roy grunting)

So when you went down to Chinatown on a piece, as an Asian,

was this personal?

Was this a more personal piece for you?

- Yeah, yeah, I mean,

it felt like a direct personal attack.

But at the same time, you know, at "The Daily Show,"

you know the drill, man.

It's like in the emergency room.

It's like, we see so much crap every day that you,

in order to operate professionally,

you become desensitized

and you're just here to treat the patients.

- That's a good analogy.

- And so we just keep seeing car crashes every single day.

Eventually you're like, "Oh yeah."

(Ronny chuckling)

Like you, you have an objective view of it.

And also I was pretty pissed going back to the studio.

And I remember we brought the footage back

and this is, again, speaks to the team at "The Daily Show"

is that we went out to shoot, went back,

edited whatever we shot, wrote the desk piece

and on the same night, right?

And we recorded the same night.

Like you, and you know,

field pieces are usually separate as desk pieces,

but this was like the perfect merging of chat with Trevor

and a desk piece and a field element and man on the street

all in one day.

I mean, that's, you know, for me-

And that was this early on in my "Daily Show,"

I was maybe one year in, and I was like,

"Man, this is 'The Daily Show' at its best."

You know, everyone's operating and firing on all cylinders

in a very short timeframe.

And sorry, to answer your question about

not being pissed off.

I mean, part of it is the job.

And part of it is I always feel like,

because I'm a first generation immigrant to America,

so I'm in America by choice, like, I want to be there.

(Roy chuckling)

And so when I see shit go down,

I see, like, I also see in this particular instance,

yeah, you can say, you know, blatant racism,

but the silver lining to this whole story was that

everyone got angry by this Fox News piece.

Not just Asian people,

not just Chinatown New York City people,

the entire country was like, "Yo, this sucks."

And that's why it entered the Zeitgeist, right?

Because if most people thought it was okay,

it would never have, you know, blown up to the point where

you know, at that time, people are pretty upset.

You know, everyone, white people were upset.

Every race was pretty upset about this.

So if you ask me why I'm not more upset, it's because

it was a cause that everyone already, you know,

most people were upset by the issue already

and we were just giving them a platform to express it,

you know?

- Who was the target audience for this?

Was it, or I guess, who were you aiming this piece towards

in a way?

Like, was it at the reporter that went out and did it?

You know, his name is Jesse Waters.

I personally think we should bleep his name.

Just bleep his name.

Is it at the reporter who went out

and said this ignorant shit?

Even though he kinda sorta apologized after the fact,

is it the right wing-y Fox News-type media outlets

that push this narrative?

Or was it at the people that actually thought that

what he did was real journalism and informative?

- Yeah, I mean, it was, I think honestly-

(Ronny sighing)

Man, it was for whoever wanted to listen to it,

but also I think Asian people in America,

they never had a way to critique the media like that.

I think the history of

Asian American storytelling in America,

there's been no one in the media

to critique media portrayals of them

on a big enough platform.

So honestly it was almost to put a flag in the sand

and be like, "Oh," you know,

"this kind of stuff isn't acceptable anymore," you know?

And it was a sentiment I felt there was already in America

and yeah, I kind of symbolically put the flag in, like,

this is the moment, but,

and I was lucky to happen to be in a position to do it.

Right?

'Cause we're on the show that criticizes news and media,

that's what our show essentially is, right?

And so I happened to be on the perfect platform to do it,

but like I said, I think most people in America

didn't think it was okay, even at the time.

- No, not in the least.

The thing that's so interesting about this country, though,

is that every minority group

is dealing with their own racism too.

So then when you find out about the new racism,

it's like, "Oh, okay, well, I'll be right there in a second

I'm currently getting beat in the head by a cop.

I'll be right there

as soon as I've finished dealing with my own traumas."

And it's very difficult.

And I think it's very dope

that so many people were willing to speak out,

which brings me to 2020, as a matter of fact.

Now, we already know the role that Trump played

in stirring the pot from 2016 up until COVID.

But at COVID, I feel like that's when the pot went from

medium to hot, well, from hot to hotter,

for anti-Asian American sentiment, you know.

There was a 150% spike in anti-Asian crime in 2020.

And then also, you know, everything that started with COVID

and "It's starting in China,"

and then Trump driving the narrative of,

"Oh, it's the," you know what he said about it.

I'm not going to even repeat

what they called the coronavirus at the time or whatever.

But "the China virus," that one I can say,

I'm not going to say the other one,

but it really, you can say it.

I'm not gonna say it.

I'm not gonna say the K-word.

- That we have to tip toe around quoting the president

in case we say a slur.

- I don't wanna stir up-

- We can't directly quote the ex-president.

- It's just, "insert slur here,"

just whatever you think he said, he said it.

Like, do you think, like,

how much of that contributed to

the uptick in violence in 2020?

And the bigger question, do you think that, like,

do you think that, like, Fox News and Trump

were following their base?

Were they just giving the people what they want

in terms of stirring up racism?

Or were they leading them to this and then creating racism?

- Yeah, I mean, I think

it's one of their go-to moves in the playbook

is to blame people who look different to them, right?

That's one of the go-to fascist moves, I guess.

- Agreed.

- So I think that was the easy, you know,

when bad stuff happens anywhere, I mean,

let's just say in America,

then people look for someone to blame, right?

And so I think putting it on a whole race of people

is a way to direct the anger.

I think it's also weird in America

that they, like, I think Asian people were kind of

under the radar a bit until this thing happened.

And then now it became,

it kind of gave people an excuse to like

go after Asian people if you're having trouble.

- Yeah, it's like, "Oh yeah, them."

- But I will say, in America,

I think what's interesting about being Asian in America

is that you're kind of always, you know,

the idea of being a perpetual foreigner in America.

Like, Asian-Americans, aren't usually, like,

they're always seen as having to, like,

answer for stuff that happened in Asia

or, like, everyone's always

putting stuff that happened to Asia on Asian Americans

when they're very separate cultures.

Like, a lot of Asian Americans haven't left America before.

They were born and raised and they never left, you know?

- Correct.

- And so it's almost like, quite frankly,

like African Americans being asked about

stuff that happens in Africa,

or like Anglo Americans being asked about stuff in the UK,

you know, like "What's going on with Brexit?"

You know?

Like, most people don't know what's happening.

A lot of these Asian Americans are

just Asian-American culture.

But I guess my point is that that's the way I kind of

describe the perpetual foreigner thing,

is that you're always being asked about stuff over there

and it's like, you got nothing to-

most Asian Americans have nothing to do with

the stuff over there, you know?

- The thing for me with 2020, when the uptick happened,

when the 150% jump in anti-Asian sentiment

and the crimes started happening,

especially in the New York area, you know,

it was people of all races perpetuating these crimes,

but there was also a lot of videos with,

sometimes it was a Black person attacking an Asian person.

And so as a Black person out and walking around,

I'm like, "Okay, how do I carry myself

to make sure that the Asians know that I'm safe

and that I'm not here to punch?"

And it I'm being silly, but there is this idea

and it's no different than

at night when you, you know, you live in a city,

there's a woman, five, six steps ahead of you

on the sidewalk, right?

"I'm not trying to creep you out, I know I'm a big dude.

So to keep us both comfortable,

I'm a slow down my step a little bit, give you 10 feet."

You know what I mean?

So like just being conscious of

making sure that everybody has a little bit of space

and that everybody's comfortable.

That was problem one.

Problem two was, for me,

because there were two doormen

that got fired in New York City

for not helping an Asian woman

who was being attacked on the sidewalk.

And my thought was, "Wow, okay.

If that happened, what would I do?

Me, Roy."

And in my head, I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to help.

I have to break that up."

But then there was also a piece of me in my head going,

"Okay, when the police come,

what are you going to do to make it look like

you're not the one attacking the Asian?"

And I'm like, "Fuck."

- Wow.

- I've got to call the police on myself

and let them know that I'm cool.

Set my phone up, set up the IG live stream, then go hit-

(Ronny chuckling)

Like, you know, a little fanatical on that side.

But there were all of these levels in my head

of how could I help, but also remain safe

for police and people that are pulling up

with even less information than I have, you know,

when I circled the corner.

But that's an interesting thing.

We could probably, matter of fact,

I'm gonna pose that question to our guest.

After the break, we're going to be joined by

the wonderful, wonderful Norman Chen.

He is the CEO and co-founder of

Leading Asian American Unite for Change.

We'll have him on in a second.

This is "Beyond the Scenes."

Are you enjoying going beyond the scenes with me, Ronny?

- I'm loving it, it's the best, I love-

- It's too late, it took you too long to answer.

(Ronny chuckling)

- No, no, that was the lag, that was the Zoom lag.

- It's too late, it's too late,

the commercials are starting.

We're joined now by someone who I trust

more than Ronny Chieng.

You know, I'm not saying that Ronny Chieng

hasn't done the work,

but last I checked Ronny Chieng

wasn't the CEO and co-founder of LAAUNCH.

Are you CEO and co-founder of LAAUNCH, Ronny Chieng?

- No, I, unfortunately I was written out of the story,

like "Hidden Figures."

(Roy chuckling)

- LAAUNCH is Leading Asian American Unite for Change.

His name is Norman Chen.

Norman, thank you for joining us on "Beyond the scenes."

Great to be here, thanks for having me.

So let's jump right back into this discussion.

We've talked about Ronny's piece

and everything that went down in Chinatown with Fox News,

but I wanted to have you on

to talk a little bit more about where we are today

with regards to anti-Asian sentiment.

I wanted to talk to you for a second about the status index

and ways that we're able to quantify what's going on,

because the thing that we deal with,

no matter what minority group you are,

you're told that you're,

whatever it is you're dealing with ain't real.

It's not real.

"Well of course robbery's up, it's a pandemic,

everybody's unemployed."

Like "No, man, I'm telling you, they're attacking us."

So how were you all able to assess attitudes and stereotypes

towards Asians over there with the status report?

- Thanks, thanks, Roy.

Exactly to your point, these stereotypes and perceptions

have been prevalent in American society for decades

and actually are at the root cause of hate crimes.

If you look at research about hate crimes,

they stem, just as Ronny was saying,

from stereotypes initially

that then lead to scapegoating

and then lead to violence during difficult times.

And crises like this is, like COVID,

are a once in a lifetime, hopefully.

So we're seeing a repetition of the cycle of stereotypes

leading to scapegoating, leading to violence.

So as a new nonprofit last year, we were formed in 2020,

we were looking for existing research

on stereotypes of Asian Americans.

And shockingly, the last study

that had been done comprehensively

was 20 years ago,

when there were half as many

Asian Americans in the country.

And so we thought that's just like glaring,

there's a glaring need to do more research

about stereotypes.

And so we commissioned the status index study,

which was really checking on how Americans now

perceive Asian Americans.

And unlike most other Asian American research

that's out there,

we interviewed all Americans.

So not just Asian-Americans about their experience,

but also other racial groups.

So it was quite groundbreaking this year.

- How safe, or how unsafe rather,

would you say Asians feel in America right now?

And Ronny, I'll throw this to you first,

just in general, during this time from 2020 till now,

is your head on a swivel more than it was, say in 2015?

- I think it depends on the state.

I think in Hawaii it was,

(Roy laughing)

- That's such a great answer.

(Ronny chuckling)

- I mean, that's like a lot of America, right?

It depends on the state, right?

- Yeah.

- I will say when I went back to New York City

at the peak of the pandemic

and all the crimes were happening,

I definitely was, you know, it's-

and that's the thing, right?

The internet versus real life.

Real life definitely felt different than my Instagram feed

in terms of the amount of violence

that was happening on my Instagram feed.

So real life felt way, way safer than compared to Instagram.

But because of Instagram, man,

my head was definitely on a swivel

the entire time in New York City.

You know, I'm looking behind my back.

I'm not walking down streets I don't know.

I'm sprinting.

- And making sure the black guy behind you

is at least 10 feet and not six feet?

- No, I don't racially profile.

(Roy laughing)

I go, I do my comedy shows.

I run from show to show,

make sure if someone's attacking me,

it's because of my jokes, not because of my race.

And I have my phone by my side.

So basically it's like living in New York City, but more.

(Ronny chuckling)

It's what we should've been doing over the last five years,

but this just kind of made me more aware.

And not just for myself, but for other people as well.

If I see like an old Asian person on the street,

I'm always like, "Okay, well, you know,

it's my job to make sure she's okay

for the length of time when she's in my field of vision."

And then I pass her off to the next Asian bystander

who's walking in a separate direction.

So yeah, it's looking out for other people too, you know?

When we see these videos, by the way,

Norm, I don't know what you feel.

And Roy, I mean, I don't know how you feel.

When we see these videos happening to elderly Asian people

I'm not even worried about, I'm not thinking about myself.

I'm not thinking "What if that happens to me."

I'm thinking, "Man, that looks like someone,

that looks at my relative, that looks like my grandma,

like my aunt, my grand aunt."

Like, I'm worried about them more than I'm worried about me.

- For sure.

- You know, when I see these videos, it's not like,

I don't start fearing for my life.

I'm like, "Man, what if there's another?"

'Cause the people being attacked at the Asian MMA fighters,

you know, those aren't the people,

those aren't the videos we're seeing, you know,

we're seeing the people who can't really defend themselves.

- To that point, when we talk about stereotypes, Norman,

just in general and just,

we know how much pop culture delves in that

and bathes in that, you know, for a number of minorities,

but it seems like it's even more unique

and even worse in a way for Asians,

because, like, some of the stereotypes will also,

they'll even take something positive and just,

"Oh, you do your homework."

"Aw, you're good at math."

Like, shouldn't we all be good at math?

Like even when you take Ronny's film "Crazy Rich Asians,"

which did, I would assume, amazing things

for helping to debunk some stereotypes.

People will turn around and see

three well-dressed Asians walking down the street

and just go, "Look at them rich-ass Asians."

Norman, how much does pop culture play a role in that?

And have you seen any improvements in any regard

that would help you believe that the tide is turning

in how Asians are at least portrayed in entertainment?

- You know Ron, that was one of

the key areas of our research

is about how Asians are perceived

in the media and TV and movies.

'Cause that's a key source of information

for many communities about Asian Americans.

A lot of communities don't have Asian-American friends,

so they look to movies.

And the question that you may have heard of

that got a lot of press,

was we asked people to name a prominent Asian American

and 42% of Americans could not name

a single prominent Asian American.

And the number two and three answers they gave

were all martial artists.

Number two was Jackie Chan, who we love,

but who is actually not American, he's from Hong Kong.

And number three was Bruce Lee, who was also, you know,

a martial artist, but-

- Been dead awhile.

- Hasn't been around for 50 years.

- So, and you look at

the roles people see Asian-Americans in,

the men are the gangsters,

they're the nerds, they're the technicians.

The women are the masseuse workers, they're the waitress.

- So every character in "Rush Hour"?

- Exactly.

- Most characters in "Rush Hour."

- So a lot of those stereotypes still persist.

You know, our research was important because

no one, again, had done this research for 20 years.

So we reestablished, we quantified a baseline.

This is where things are.

It's not good, but at least we know where we are.

Hopefully over the next one year, three years, five years,

10 years, it won't be 42% of Americans

who still can't name a freaking prominent Asian American.

So we're hoping to track progress over time.

But to your point,

yes, a lot of these stereotypes still exist.

The fact that Ronny and others were able to show

Asians in a positive light, right,

as being successful and being, frankly,

physically attractive, right?

When's the last time we saw an Asian-American male

take his shirt off in a movie?

We had a lot of that in "Crazy Rich Asians"

and a lot of the Asian American men in the country

were celebrating that.

And a lot of Asian American women as well.

(water splashing)

- Hubba hubba.

(both laughing)

There are definitely trends and positive signs.

And I think a lot more movies and TV shows are coming out,

which is really encouraging.

- But this brings me back, you know,

and that makes me think about the overall solution

to everything we're talking about.

And there is no one thing, you know?

I think in America, we always want this, like,

we want the app that fixes everything.

We want the GoFundMe that will end racism, you know?

We want that one homerun solution.

And like, these are complicated social problems,

multifactorial issues, you know,

that require attacking from different places.

So yeah, one aspect of the attack is

Pierre Png and Henry Golding taking their shirt off

in "Crazy Rich Asians."

That moves the needle a little bit.

I won't, you know, it doesn't solve everything,

but it definitely helps a little bit.

And some of it is where the funding is going

on the streets, actual help.

Some of it is legislation.

Some of it is, you know, messaging.

So like all this stuff plays into it

and that's why having the data helps

because it helps us understand where we can attack.

It also helps prove that there is an issue, you know.

- Yeah, one of the questions we asked our respondents is

"How would you address these problems about

anti-Asian American sentiment and stereotypes in the U.S.?"

And the answers were exactly what you mentioned

in terms of awareness, in terms of legislation,

in terms of solidarity,

in terms of, like, more media attention.

The other key solution is education.

And I wanted to touch upon that.

You know, when we grew up, very few of us

had the opportunity to learn about Asian American history

in classrooms in the U.S.,

and now, as you know, recently Illinois mandated

the teaching of Asian-American history in public schools,

which is a huge milestone.

And other states are moving in that direction.

And so clearly more Asian American history and knowledge

is important.

These are cycles.

There were lynchings in 1871 of Asian-Americans in L.A.

No one knows about that.

A lot of people don't even know about

the Japanese internment during World War II.

And so to make this information more accessible

to young kids who are really the key to address

before they become racist adults,

we're working with a group

called the Asian American Education Project

to provide a graphic novel overview

of the highlights of Asian American history.

So think about it,

you're a fourth grade, fifth grade kid.

You don't want to learn even about your own history.

How do you make Asian American history

interesting and accessible?

And we're working with an award-winning comic book writer

to create an overview of it

that hits all the highlights of Asian American history,

so that schools and teachers and students

can get this information in a very accessible way.

We can share it digitally as well.

These are the things we're trying to do

to really have an impact to create more education.

But to Ronny's point, it's a movement that needs to happen.

And we're starting to get organized,

starting to have resources,

but there's a ton of work to do in many different areas.

- Many different areas, many different areas.

If anyone listening to this,

if there's anything to take away from anything we're saying

it's go find the people who are doing things.

'Cause there's a ton of people who care,

and there's a ton of people

who are doing smart things in many different areas.

Maybe you like being a vigilante on the street.

There's vigilante groups you can join to beat people up.

Maybe you like being a bit more, you know,

like you like raising money to help small businesses.

Yo, there's organizations raising money

to help the businesses in Chinatown.

There's people trying to put, as Norm just mentioned,

educate kids, you know.

People are doing stuff.

- Okay, so then let's talk solutions after the break.

'Cause I have a couple of questions of

how I, non-Asian, can be a part of this.

This is so dope, Ronny.

I feel like the white woman talking to Black people.

Like, "I just want you to know that I see you

and I am an ally, and if there's anything I can do."

- We're trying to get the Karens on board, yeah.

(all chuckling)

- I'm Black, I'm a Keith, I'm not a Karen.

(Ronny laughing)

"Beyond the Scenes," we'll be right back.

When asked to name a prominent Asian American,

Norman, I have all the statistics here, man,

this is very interesting,

42% of Americans couldn't do it,

11% named Jackie Chan, 9% Bruce Lee,

5% Lucy Liu, 2% Kamala Harris.

And you brought up, you know.

- Whoa hang on, what percentage did they mention me?

- Hang on, let me zoom in.

- It's probably statistically insignificant.

- Yeah, trick question, Ronny, you're not on the list.

- Next year, Ronny, you'll have a big number next year.

- Let's talk solutions on how I can get on that list.

I want to be with the 42%.

- Now, Norman, you brought up something

with regards to one solution that I think makes sense,

which is education and the curriculum.

You know, I grew up in Alabama, which is,

I grew up in Alabama public schools,

late eighties, all of the nineties.

And I say this not joking, I am not joking with you.

I did not meet my first Asian person until the eighth grade.

So in terms of these areas

where a lot of this bigotry is happening,

and lot of that bigotry is believed,

it's not a lot of Asians there.

And so I know that there's definitely a role

that the school system plays

and, you know, Ronny, you talked about people being active

within their own communities and connecting with the-

it's crazy because you're basically saying the same thing

that Black people, the same thing we've been saying

to white people,

find someone that's doing the work and show up and go,

"What can I do?"

- Well, as a starting point, yeah.

Yeah, as a starting point, show up and vote

and show up and get involved in organizations

that are doing things.

'Cause like I said before the break,

there's a ton of organizations who are trying to help.

And I'm in America by choice.

I'm in America by choice because

I think there's more good people there than bad people,

way more good people than bad people.

And I think the fact that we are talking about this,

the fact that Norm did this study,

it shows that there are people who care, you know?

- Those are kind of more of the grassroot solutions,

but let's talk on the political side, Norman.

Did the anti-Asian hate crime bill,

the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,

is that enough from President Biden to help stop the swell

of what you've seen happening in your community?

- No, I mean, I think most people would agree.

It's the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be done,

but it's a positive step in the right direction.

So, you know, it helps to create more reporting channels

for people to report the hate crimes.

That's important.

It sets aside money for education

about racism towards Asian Americans.

That's all important.

But it's like the drug war, like, you got to start it,

fight the war at the source, right?

What's causing these hate crimes

and what's leading to the stereotypes

and the scapegoating and the violence?

And so media is very powerful.

Hollywood, TV, movies.

The news is very powerful, right?

In terms of how Asian-American stories are reported.

And so there are groups activating to try to get

more coverage about Asian American stories.

Education, as we talked about, is extremely important

to shape hearts and minds.

We were fortunate in terms of politically

to be invited by Congressman Ted Lieu to present to

the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

and where we shared our data so that

the legislators and the political leaders

can have more information that they can use

to fight their battles.

And so that's why we were trying to

link with the legislators.

You know, getting Asian American history taught in schools,

that requires legislation, right?

And so it requires political activity.

And so that is a very important channel

to get things done as well.

- All right, so Norman,

there are certain crimes in this country

that get more attention from the media than others.

Crimes of a racial nature.

How much does the media play a role?

And the example I want to use is

the mass shootings at the Asian massage parlors in Atlanta.

You have a gentleman who goes from parlor to parlor

killing people.

And I know that there was an element of sexual addiction

that was a part of that,

but that does not absolve race from also

being a piece of the motive for those crimes.

But not only does that not get turned into,

"Well, did he kill them because of sexual shame

or did he kill them because they were Asian?

Or was it a little bit of both?"

They just stopped talking about it all together.

- So let me amplify your point

with a couple additional data points there, Roy.

First of all, we did our study in March, April of this year.

And one of the regrets we had when we first did this study

was, "Gosh, I wish we had done this study

before the Atlanta killings,

'cause then even more Americans would be unaware, right?"

We thought everyone would have known about

the anti-Asian American sentiment.

Shockingly again, 32% of Americans,

basically a third of Americans

say they're not aware of the increase in hate crimes

towards Asian Americans in the past year.

So I don't know where they're

getting their information from,

but clearly it's not representing the hate crimes

that are affecting women in Atlanta and other places.

That's one data point.

The second data point is, I just was at an event

in the Bay area with Dionne Lim, who's a local newscaster

and really prominent activist

in the Asian American community.

And she says now that when she goes to her producers

and has, you know, sometimes five or six

anti-Asian American hate crime stories each day,

they're saying, "Ah, you know,

the public's not interested in these stories anymore

so we need to find something else to report on."

(Roy groaning)

So exactly to your point, these stories get buried.

And so how do you solve these problems?

And these are systemic problems for sure.

One area that a lot of people are focusing on,

I think makes sense, is representation.

How many of their producers or senior people

at these media companies are Asian American

and care about Asian American stories, right?

I think that is critical.

And I think that's an area where we have seen

significant under-representation of Asian-Americans

in leadership positions.

One of the key statistics from our study was that

half of Americans think that Asian Americans

are actually well represented.

They think, "Hey, model minority,"

or "Smart, hardworking, we must be successful,

must be leaders."

Well, actually we're 50% underrepresented

in terms of leadership positions,

in terms of Supreme Court justices,

of which there are zero Asian-Americans,

in terms of the corporate world,

in terms of the political world,

in terms of owning TV stations and movie stations, etc.

We are severely underrepresented

yet people are under the illusion

that Asian-Americans are well-represented.

So I think representation is a key part of the puzzle.

And only when you have leaders who

appreciate and understand the Asian American experience

and the Black experience and the Hispanic experience,

do we have real diversity and true, accurate

coverage of America.

And so we're hoping that we'll see some changes in that area

in the next few years as well.

- All right, I'll leave you gentlemen with this question,

and I'll let Norman go first

'cause I know Ronny and I are gonna argue.

Now do we, Norman, get other minorities to understand

that the Asian fight is also our fight?

- Hmm.

- Because, and I would just, and as a Black person,

I'm just going to be very blunt with what some of

the sentiment is in other communities where it's,

"Okay, well, how they get a anti-Asian hate crime bill

before us, we've been trying to get-"

- Hmm.

- How do we get other groups,

because everybody is so insular, you know,

Ronny's very right in that regard,

in America where everybody's just tending to their own farm.

You know, "I've got my problems to deal with,

the Latinos have, and we're focused on our things."

How do we get other minorities to understand that

if anybody can break through it's good for everybody?

- Totally, yeah.

A lot of the issues that we identify

apply to other racial groups and people of color.

And so one of our goals is more outreach

to other communities of color,

to reach out to the African-American Black community

and Hispanic Latino community.

There is much more that we share in common

in terms of our experience in a white America,

than separates us.

So outreach is critical.

We also believe that working closely with these partners

on initiatives such as diversity in the media,

such as fair representation,

are really critical.

So yeah, I think it's a key part of the solution.

And I say the onus is not just on,

it's on both on both sides of the equation, right?

In our study, we found that that certain communities

have less interaction with Asian Americans.

And so they don't know Asian American culture.

That's why they see them as others.

So we need to build more bridges between these communities

so that people can appreciate the Asian Americans,

whom some people think of as

cold and unfriendly or not warm.

Well, they've never been to my house or Ronny's house

for a dinner party, right?

They've never had time to hang out

with our grandparents and our parents

and just really enjoy each other's company

and have great Asian food together.

We need to share that experience more and let people know

just how warm and dynamic our culture is.

And also again, break down these barriers.

So I think at the micro level,

interaction among different groups

is really, really critical.

That's how you, just like you.

I mean, you didn't meet an Asian American

'til eighth grade,

but then once you get to know Asian Americans,

then you start to have a more

well-rounded understanding of them

and hopefully developed good friendships, so.

- Ronny, how do you get me to care about your shit?

Go.

(Ronny laughing)

- I don't mean Asians.

I mean me as Roy caring about Ronny's problems,

just your personal problems.

- Man.

(Ronny laughing)

Get you invested into my life, maybe give you some equity.

- I should have listened to about fuckin' Bitcoin in 2015,

but that's a separate conversation.

- We are pretty invested in each other's lives already.

I think the community as a whole, you know,

someone put it to me really well once.

Look, I don't have the solutions, man.

I tell jokes in bars for a living.

I don't know how to save the world.

What I do know is that

yeah, there's more good people than bad people in America.

And that goes for minority groups.

There's more good minority group people,

it goes without saying, obviously, than bad people.

And when we join together on issues that we do agree on,

it increases our voting strength.

It creates a more powerful voting block,

because Asian people are what, 4%, Norm?

- Seven, 7%, 23 million strong.

- Right, and what's the African-Americans are what?

- 13.

- 13?

Latinos are what?

- Hold on, Nick Cannon just had four more kids,

so African Americans are 14-

(Ronny laughing)

- Latinos are what?

If you join it all altogether,

there's a voting block there, you know?

There's a stronger voting block which allows you,

if we work together,

to get legislation passed, it benefits all of us, you know,

and nothing against white people too.

We need white people to help out.

And most white people are on board.

But it's so hard to explain sometimes,

and that's why only minorities get that.

And that's why we should get along in America

is because sometimes it's not that

anyone is being blatantly evil.

It's just that the system is set up in a way that

you can't even begin to explain the issues you're having.

How many times have you gone into a room and been like,

"None of these people are even going to get what I'm saying.

I'm talking about my Asian grandma on the streets who,"

you know, they don't understand what you know,

they're not going to get it.

Whereas if you talk to Latino people or Black people,

they'll understand it more.

And so if we can get more like-minded people

in decision-making positions, you know,

that's where it kind of,

we can start moving the needle with change.

And that's why we should be joining together

as a voting block, you know.

That's my argument to you, Roy.

I mean, you can also turn it back on me as you always do.

And you know, we can, America will continue on.

- Don't tell these lies.

You know what, I view America as a DMV

and everybody's in there for their own issue,

but the moment one person starts complaining,

(Ronny laughing)

you need three other people to start complaining,

and then that line of justice will move a little bit faster.

(all chuckling)

Norman Chen from LAAUNCH, thank you so much.

Leading Asian American Unite for Change, visit them online.

Laaunch.org

That's launch like the space shuttle with two A's, LAAUNCH.

'Cause I know I have a Southern drawl

and you would think I said lunch,

and I didn't say lunch, I said launch,

like a rocket, two As, .org.

Norman, thank you so much for coming

beyond the scenes with me.

- Thank you so much, Roy.

Thank you, Ronny.

- And Ronny, I'll see you whenever the fuck we're back

in the office.

- Yeah, I'll see you soon, man.

Clean up your side, please.

- Okay, all right, that's it, take care everybody.

(upbeat outro music)

The Description of Ronny Chieng’s Chinatown Report & The Wave of Anti-Asian Racism - Beyond the Scenes | The Daily Show