Rosie O’Donnell raised a ruckus by using “ching chong” on The View last week to describe how Danny DeVito’s drunken appearance on the show is making the news, even in China.
Here’s a good summary of the debacle, courtesy of an e-mail from the Asian American Theater Company:Rosie: “The fact is that it’s news all over the world. That you know, you can imagine in China it’s like: ‘Ching chong â€¦ ching chong. Danny DeVito, ching chong, chong, chong, chong. Drunk. ‘The View.’ Ching chong” when describing guest Danny DeVito for coming onto the show intoxicated.
Watch it at Gawker
Rosie told Asians to lighten up in the New York Daily News.
The statement didn’t sit well with John C. Liu, a New York City councilman, who fired off a letter to “View” co-host Barbara Walters.
“The ‘ching-chong’ bit is not a trivial matter,” Liu told FOXNews.com. “It really hits a raw nerve for many people in the community â€” many like myself, who grew up with these kinds of taunts. We all know that it never ends at the taunts.”
This incident comes right after Rosie’s a public tiff with talk show host Kelly Ripa. Rosie accused Kelly of being homophobic when Clay Aiken put his hand over Kelly’s mouth. Both hosts spent air time on each of their shows defending themselves. See it at Gawker.
Remember ‘ching chong ching chong’ on the playground? Would Rosie have made a joke about African tribes or nations? Write a letter to ABC’s View Producer Barbara Walters.
Recent usages of the term ‘Ching Chong Ching Chong’
In December 2002, the term gained international notoriety when National Basketball Association star Shaquille O’Neal directed it, apparently in jest, at fellow NBA star and Chinese immigrant Yao Ming, during an interview on Fox Sports Radio. O’Neal was quoted as saying, “You tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.'” Yao Ming reponded with: “Chinese is a hard language to learn.” After a public outcry, O’Neal apologized for making the comment, insisting that no prejudice or malice had been intended.
On January 24, 2006, comedian Adam Carolla referred to the Asian Excellence Awards as a joke on his radio morning show and repeatedly used the sounds “ching-chong” to recreate a segment of the awards. The awards honor Asian Americans in media who have made a difference in the United States and were conducted in English. Branding the segment as demeaning and racist, several Asian American organizations have threatened to ask advertisers to withdraw their support from the show if the station does not issue an apology. On February 22, 2006, Carolla without fanfare read a brief apology for the segment. On April 26, 2006, Carolla invited the head of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, Guy Aoki, to further explain that when he aired the bit, he had no idea that “ching chong” was a racial slur.
Below is a link to Adam Corrolla’s show last week with Guy Aoki, Media Action Network for Asian Americans, describing his support for the Asian American community against Rosie.
Listen to the Adam Corrolla Podcast with Guy Aoki.
This posting is also on Hyphen magazine’s blog.