Casual racism is really having a moment these days. The next pseudo-celeb to stick their foot in their mouth is Kate Gosselin, of “Jon and Kate Plus 8″ fame. Take a gander at this picture. It’s confusing, I know, so let me break it down for you. Kate Gosselin, white woman, mother of eight lovely multi-racial children, is wearing a plastic geisha wig and pulling her eyes back in the manner of playground idiots since time immemorial. What gives, Kate? Maybe she felt her star slipping, and, seeing the “success” Paula Deen is having a of late, was inspired to attempt a curated controversy. Maybe she’s just not the brightest star in the sky. Naturally, the brouhaha she created necessitated a response, so Gosselin took to her personal blog with a response, writing:
Evidently, a fan sent [the wig] for me to wear so that I too could “be Asian” like the rest of my family. At that time, a common topic of our show was “everybody’s Asian” — except for mommy, so a thoughtful fan figured she’d help me look Asian too! It’s normal to talk about and even “exaggerate” the feature differences between family members of a biracial family as they are noticed by curious growing children within the family. These types of discoveries and at home discussions are a normal part of being a loving accepting biracial family and it does not make any of us prejudice!
Cool response, Kate. Here’s the thing — as a biracial person, raised by a white father, I spent a lot of time in a household where everybody was Asian, except for my father. Furthermore, my parents are divorced, so I didn’t live with the Asian member of my family. Never once did he feel it necessary to illustrate my differences using the same hurtful gestures that a kid at school would use to make fun of me. As someone whose potential child will definitely be multiracial, I am pretty sure there’s a normal and sensitive way to discuss why my child might look different from other children, and it will not involve a universally recognized gesture that mocks the appearance of Asian people.
Either way, Kate’s stunning display of questionable parenting and the surrounding dicussion is further proof that we do not live in a post-racial world. What do you guys think? Sound off in the comments.