Comedian Steve Harvey has finally decided to apologize to all those offended “particularly those in the Asian community” by his jokes last week mocking the thought that anyone could possibly find Asian men attractive.
In a segment on his talk show last Monday, Harvey poked fun at a variety of different self-help books, one of which was titled How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men. Instead of making fun of the obvious racism in the book’s title, Harvey — a comedian known for his ability to shove his foot in his mouth — went for a different “punchline”:
“Excuse me, do you like Asian men? No! Thank you,” Harvey imitated. “You like Asian men? I don’t even like Chinese food, boy. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce,” he said, cracking himself up, but not the audience.
After video of the segment went viral, Harvey found himself facing a serious online backlash. After first making time to visit US President-elect Donald Trump, Harvey finally issued an apology over Twitter on Tuesday.
Wanted to share this today. pic.twitter.com/mpKGBZic5k
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) 17 January 2017
What a truly heartfelt apology. You can practically hear the sorrowful violins playing in the background. Obviously, he was too overcome with regret to write more.
But will Harvey be forgiven? Only time will tell, but his words aren’t likely to be soon forgotten.
@IAmSteveHarvey lol took you almost a week to offer this soft apology? Posting a note so no character limit…yet no thoughts past this?
— Jack Davis (@NotJackDavis) January 17, 2017
@IAmSteveHarvey So if your humor was not meant as disrespect, what the hell did you possibly think it was? Honestly, you just generalized
— Justin (@justinfun_g) January 17, 2017
— sarah☁️ (@sarxh_bee) January 17, 2017
Harvey’s apology is certainly quite a bit shorter than the response that Eddie Huang, the author of Fresh off the Boat: A Memoir, penned in The New York Times on Saturday. Huang, whose autobiography has been turned into a popular sitcom about an Asian-American family, had this to say about Harvey’s sentiments:
Over time, I began to find solidarity with my singularity and difference. Yet the one joke that still hurts, the sore spot that even my closest friends will press, the one stereotype that I still mistakenly believe at the most inopportune bedroom moments — and I know Joe and Steve do as well — is that women don’t want Asian men. Attractiveness is a very haphazard dish that can’t be boiled down to height or skin color, but Asian men are told that regardless of what the idyllic mirepoix is or isn’t, we just don’t have the ingredients.
That doesn’t mean we give up. Steve goes to the gym; Joe buys every piece of Supreme clothing he can afford; and I’ve got jokes. They’re the cultural modifications we see as antidotes to our issues with masculinity. But no matter how successful I was, how much self-improvement was made, or how aware I was that stereotypes are not facts, there were times I thoroughly believed that no one wanted anything to do with me. I told myself that it was all a lie, but the structural emasculation of Asian men in all forms of media became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world.
That’s why this Steve Harvey episode is so upsetting. He speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for every one else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is. He isn’t the only one doing this in 2017, but as I told myself on New Year’s, I’m not drinking anymore of this Cook’s they’re trying to pour, and neither should you.
Still, Huang would appreciate a little more explanation from Harvey.
.@IAmSteveHarvey I appreciate the iPhone notes apology but I want to know why you thought it was funny in the first place? Enlighten us
— Eddie Huang (@MrEddieHuang) January 18, 2017
By Matt Bonini
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