Wouldn’t it be great if when someone asked a question that was naively, grossly, biased, that they just got a flick on the forehead, as in wake up! And, wouldn’t it be great if when it happened it was on a show for tweens, and you were watching it with your child, and have a “learning moment?”
Thanks, Victorious, for that moment. When Mrs. Lee, the owner of Wok Star, a popular Chinese restaurant for the Victorious crew, shows up as the owner of Nozu, a Japanese restaurant (because Wok Star burned down, shares the owner), Victorious asks: “Wait, Wok Star was a Chinese Restaurant, and Nozu is Sushi, which is Japanese. So,” she asked the Asian business owner, ” are you Chinese or Japanese?”
To which Mrs Lee delivered a big flick on the forehead.
“Why,” asked my 11 year old son. “Is that racist?”
Assuming good intentions, it’s not racist, but it is biased. It’s two-dimensional and sterotypical, to assume that someone of Chinese heritage can only open a Chinese resaurant, or someone of Japanese heritage can only open a Japanese restaurant. It would be like assuming that a white man who opened an Italian restaurant and then a French restaurant, had to be either Italian or French. (Lee, by the way, with that spelling, is most commonly a Korean surname.)
What did we learn? To look at people as multi-dimensionally as they are, and to understand how pervasive unconscious bias can be. It was exciting to see that level of sensitivity on a show geared to teens–where they often learn their biases. Oh, and it’s good to know what your kids are watching.
What are you seeing on the shows your kids are watching (good or bad?) and what have you learned?
Photo credit Victorious Tropes