What a Journey — Protests Against ABC on Back-to-back Days in NYC

New York City, November 9, 2013, — Hundreds of protesters showed up outside ABC headquaters to protest against ABC network and its Jimmy Kimmel Live show yesterday. In the Kids Table segment aired on Oct. 16, a six-year-old boy suggested “kill everyone in China” when Jimmy Kimmel asked how to resolve the $1.3 trillion US debt to China. Jimmy Kimmel responded by saying “It’s an interesting idea”, and later asked the kids “Should we allow the Chinese to live?”

In spite of cold weather, thousands of Chinese Americans and their supporters staged another protest at Times Square today to join a National Day of Protest against ABC with more than 20 other cities. Protesters nationwide demanded a public apology from ABC, and hold people accountable for putting offensive remarks on air.

The protest on Saturday started around noon time, and lasted for about two hours. Protesters held signs and chatted slogans such as “Killing is not a joke”, “ABC apologize in public”, “Fire Kimmel”, and “Teach Kids to Love, Not to Hate.”

The following is a speech by Dr. Chunyan Li at the Nov. 8 protest.

What a Journey

By Chunyan Li, Ph.D., on Nov. 8, 2013 during protest at ABC headquaters in New York City

Dear all,

How long does it take for us to get here today? One hour? Two hours? For me, it is 20 years! 20 years ago I arrived at this land of the free, full of ideals, perhaps from listening too much to radio Voice of America. 20 years later my sons join me to protest against ABC’s spreading of racial hatred and violence. What is wrong with this picture? I ask my teenage son whether we should just treat “killing Chinese” as a joke. He said this demonstrated what the society and media had been feeding our young kids. My heart sank. Is America moving forward or backward?

Now I ask again: How long does it take for us to get here? The last 20 days seem longer than my 20 years. Those of us who stand here today must have been reading, writing, arguing, and agonizing over confusing pieces of reports and commentaries. And we ask ourselves, are we being unreasonable? Is our English that bad that we don’t know what an apology is? On 10/28, the night of our first protest, Mr. Kimmel said, “today is a weird day…I am sorry if I offended anyone.”

I ask ABC, who is the weird one? Who truly apologizes if he doesn’t even say sorry for what? Sorry to whom? To the Chinese whose sense of tranquility is forever disturbed? To our kids whom we try so hard to shield from pain and harm? To the schools that teach kids the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King? ABC, do you call that an apology?

In a letter to 80-20, ABC still claims it only entertains. Why is joking about killing Chinese so entertaining? Is it because we are always so nice? My friend’s sweet 11-year old wants to write on his poster,”do not take advantage of us.” I first didn’t understand, then found out he meant “don’t take advantage of us because we are nice.” That broke my heart!!! ABC and Mr. Kimmel, we hold you accountable for taking away our children’s precious sense of security. And we hold you accountable for sowing the seeds of hatred in other children’s minds.

Shame on you ABC! On 10/29, Mr. Kimmel even resorted to the ridiculous notion of cultural difference. I ask him, what cultural difference do you mean? A culture of hard work, respect, harmony versus a culture of violence and racial hatred? Then I admit there is an unbridgeable difference between Kimmel and us. We know what’s right, what’s wrong. And we know what humor is too! Yet we have no tolerance of your malicious joke, subsequent insult on air, then the absurd reference to culture. This only proves Mr. Kimmel you are unfit to be a public figure.

ABC, stop blaming cultural differences for your own mistakes! Except for Native Americans, all are immigrants with unique traits. Yet we share the basic value of human dignity. Stop magnifying the differences in skin colors or accents! Stop playing the language trick! There is nothing lost in translation. We need NO translation. I ask a third time, how long does it take for us to get here? Our friends started telling us there is another written apology somewhere. Who in real life is given so many third chances? Yet I ponder, are we asking too much?

I discovered to my dismay that in that written letter, Mr. Kimmel is still hiding behind the 6-year old. Come on Mr. Kimmel, you think our anger is on a 6-year old? Our anger is on your malicious question “Should we allow the Chinese to live?” Our anger is on your subsequent arrogant ridicule. Our rage is on ABC for not letting the public know the truth of these so called apologies. America is the home of the brave.

ABC, show our kids you have the courage of admitting wrong doing, show our kids you have the guts to take responsibility by dismissing Mr. Kimmel. Show us you have the resolve to institute procedures to prevent future incidences. ABC, do NOT hide behind a 6-year old! Show us what a major network can do to right its wrong! 20 years, 20 days. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happy? But without life, what is liberty? Without liberty, what is happiness?

Let’s join hands in our pursuit of human dignity. Teach kids to love, not to kill!