Explanation of Anti-Asian Racist Content

I was reading Asians With Attitudes and they had this racist post up, all mad. They didn’t link to it, so I found it:

It’s lowbrow racism, but people think it’s funny, so they repost it, but added an extra joke about “Asians eating cats and dogs,” an old racist trope. By the time I blocked the content, it had been shared over 2000 times, with maybe 10% adding additional racist content on top of it, like this:

I started to report these, and probably got 20 of them reported.

I also contacted the poster of the original joke, and asked that they take it down. I know it’s not necessary to contact someone before reporting them, but I just do it like that. I figure it’s quicker, and more educational.

Well, she never replied, and on her post, said she didn’t care, because the post was going viral, and making her money (probably because it was sending people to her page, which was about her business).

I also figured the post might not be pulled down at all. Facebook has a history of leaving racist stuff up, even if it’s reported.

Results of Reporting: No Removal by Facebook

So far, it’s been fruitless. I got an inbox full of rejection notifications.

It’s really incredible that they don’t find statements about Asians eating cats and dogs to be anything but racist.

Appealing the Decision

I appealed the decision to FB, which eventually got back to me, with a message that it wasn’t being removed. So, I decided to escalate it through their next step, which is the “Oversight Board”, an organization external to Meta.

This is a process to makes decisions about what falls within community standards. They require a written argument, so I had Meta AI write one, based on the arguments Meta AI made below. This is an edit of what Meta AI produced:

Title: Asian restaurants do not serve cat and dog; this misinformation becomes weaponized into racist threats.

A user posted a meme that made fun of Black and Asian speech, and made fun of Chinese restaurants. The post got shared, and many of the shares added a “joke” about Asian restaurants serving cat and dog.

I reported the shares with the added “joke”, initially, because I thought what they added was more harmful than the original post. I only attempted to report the original share after asking the poster to remove it.

Facebook decided that none of these reports constituted a violation of the Community Standards.

The joke in question violates Facebook’s Community Standards by promoting harmful stereotypes and discriminatory language against people of Asian descent in the West. Specifically, they perpetuate the racist trope that Asian restaurants serve cats and dogs, a harmful trope.

These ideas in this content have caused actual harm to restaurants and communities.

A recent viral video of a dog being kept next door to a Lao restaurant in Fresno ended up with violence threats against the restaurant owner’s family, and he shut down the restaurant, fearing for their safety. The dog didn’t belong to the restaurant owner.

The trope was the basis of the harassment, but the racist insults also included insults to go back to Asia.

The trope contributes to the idea that Asian people are irredeemably and permanently different, a “forever foreigner” who cannot be integrated into western society, and must leave.

Facebook’s Community Standards prohibit discriminatory language, including dehumanizing speech, and expressions of contempt or disgust that promote harmful stereotypes. That’s exactly what the jokes did.

By allowing this content to remain on the platform, Facebook is failed to enforce its own guidelines and creates a hostile environment for Asian users, and also contributes to harms external to Facebook.

Meta AI and Me

This AI chatbot technology is a real time saver!

Categories: Discrimination, Misinformation, Race and ethnicity.

I have to keep track of all the posts and appeals, so they give you a code. Here’s my codes:


The Belief that Asian Restaurants use Cat and Dog Meat

I suspect people making the jokes about Chinese restaurants selling cat and dog meat think it’s not serious. Reality indicates otherwise:

In 2023 a viral video showed a dog locked up, and the videomaker assumed it belonged to an adjacent restaurant, and was going to be cut up for meat. The comments on the video and to the restaurant owner were hateful and anti-Asian; the restaurant owner got death threats, and the owner closed the restaurant, because he feared for his family’s safety.

Aside from the barrage of hateful online comments, Rasavong said his restaurant was inundated with threatening phone calls.

“I had one lady before I could even get a word out, as I picked up the phone she said, “Go back to the country you came from, you dog-eating mother f-er.” And hung up on me,” said Rasavong.

The threats did not stop there.

“We checked the voicemails and that’s when we started hearing these death threats and we were just like, ‘Wait, this is worse than we thought,” said Rasavong.

He, along with his family, decided to temporarily close the restaurant citing one major concern: to protect his immigrant parents who arrived to the states over 40 years ago.

— Christina Lopez, Fox 26 News, Fresno

So, while the stereotype seems silly, it sets up a baseline understanding that, at some level, many people believe: this person is not quite human. Once the belief is set, it’s ready to be triggered by a real-life crisis, and used to threaten, and potentially harm, the stereotyped person.

It fits into the larger pattern of “food racism”, where racist ideas are expressed in denigrating tropes about a culture’s food. This, in turn, contributes to the dehumanization of the people as “dirty”, “disgusting”, and “exotic”.

The Lunchbox Moment

Children of many different cultures who live in the United States experience bullying over food, Katherine Chan writes:

Children of immigrants and first-generation Asian Americans who grew up during this time often faced stigmas when they brought in their cultural foods. Whether they were made fun of for the look or the smell of their meals, it created a sense of anxiety whenever they opened their lunchboxes. 

The shaming comments at “weird” exotic foods and comments from other kids about traditional Chinese and Japanese lunches being “stinky” is such a universal experience for kids that it’s been deemed a “lunchbox moment.” 

Katherine Chan – “We Need to End the “Lunchbox Moment” Bullying of Asian-American Kids”

Asian Accent Humor

The “jokes” about Asian restaurants serving dog or cat meat were stacked on top of a post that mocked the Asian accent.

In America, Asian accents are automatically considered a joke, and instant gag, without any humorous content or effort, except Asian-ness itself being performed as a joke.

“I was called in to do a read-through for a pilot, the character was a Filipino nanny. I’m OK with doing a Filipino accent because a lot of people don’t know it, so I actually want it out in the ether,” Air Farce actress Isabel Kanaan told me, “I wasn’t trying to be funny but when I did the accent, people laughed.”

Celeste Lim – “Why People Still Laugh at Asian Accents: An Investigation”

What Meta’s AI Says

I asked Meta AI (Meta is the parent company of Facebook), “is joking about asian people eating cats and dogs racist?”

The AI responded:

Yes, joking about Asian people eating cats and dogs is a harmful stereotype and racist. Such jokes perpetuate negative and inaccurate assumptions about Asian cultures and contribute to a long history of discrimination and marginalization against Asian communities. It’s important to be mindful of the language we use and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes, instead focusing on respectful and inclusive communication.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the consumption of cats and dogs is not unique to Asian cultures, and it’s not a common practice in most Asian countries. It’s essential to be aware of the diversity within Asian cultures and avoid making generalizations or assumptions based on harmful stereotypes.

Later, I asked, “Would you say that statement, ‘At least you know it’s chicken and not cats and dogs.’ was racist?”

Meta AI

Yes, I would say that statement is racist. The statement perpetuates a harmful stereotype that Asian people eat cats and dogs, which is a racist trope that has been used to dehumanize and demean people of Asian descent. This stereotype is not only inaccurate but also offensive and hurtful.

By making this comment, the person is implying that Asian people are unfamiliar with traditional meat sources like chicken and instead consume animals that are considered unconventional or taboo in Western cultures. This reinforces harmful assumptions and contributes to a long history of discrimination and marginalization against Asian communities.

It’s essential to recognize and challenge these types of comments, as they perpetuate racism and xenophobia. Instead, we should strive to promote respect, inclusivity, and understanding.

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