Wednesday, March 16, 2011


One of the the many things that people really object to in the racist UCLA girl video (posted here on Monday) is her imitation of Asian (Chinese?) language: "Ching chong ling long ting tong". Shaquille O'Neal took heat for doing this when Yao Ming was entering the NBA. So did Rosanne Barr and Limbaugh, but I don't remember the context of their ching-chong'ing. And everybody seems to agree that imitating a Chinese speaker in that way makes one a big ole bigot.

Problem is, *I* do an imitation of the Cantonese language which is based on the fact that Cantonese has 128 distinct tones (as opposed to Mandarin's 4), and that every word in Cantonese is spoken louder than the preceding word in the same sentence. Through these established linguistic facts*, my faux Cantonese is downright hilarious, and not the least bit racist. Or is it? I mean, big ole bigots are seldom aware of their big ole bigotry, and maybe my bit is not funny at all, and is in fact offensively racist to all right-thinking people.

Just for the record, if a non-English speaking Asian jokingly imitates my spoken English as "Derp derp derp herp herp derp"**, I will not be offended in the least. Couldn't be really, since that would be eerily accurate.

As to the original post, don't miss the gem of a video response. Poor guy doesn't even know what "ting tong"means. (It means "hear brass")

* If you are new here, take a look around before writing an outraged comment on my stupidity.
**Or if they imitate Red A, which sounds like "Derderderpaherpaherpfreemarketderp", only faster.


Anonymous said...

Don't you ever get people who talk to you in Chinese, but with their "American" accent?

I always find that amusing.

Oh, and in Indonesian, the dictionary actually has "cing cong cang" (ching chong chang) as the sound of Chinese.

I've asked what English sounds like, and people say "swish swish swish"

Red A

Anonymous said...

Ting Tong is a Thai mail order bride portrayed by a fat British homosexual comedian.

Very funny.

Karl said...

Doing the 'American speaking Chinese with a bad accent' is pretty easy. Change all words to second tone, and draw them out really long.

I have no idea if it is racist or not.