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Fox News Aired a Super Racist Segment, But They Aren’t Sorry

If you’ve been on social media at all in the past couple of days, you may have seen some reactions to the latest segment released by Fox News. This came in the form of a “Watter’s World” segment, a series of street interviews by Fox correspondent Jesse Watters with people in NYC’s Chinatown.

The purported goal of the interviews was to get the take of Chinese people on Donald Trump’s campaign (note: there is no documented evidence of Watters asking any of these people if they are even Chinese).

Watters uses some questionable techniques and makes several offensive comments during the interviews. In addition to splicing scenes from “The Karate Kid” and “Chinatown” movies, Watters asks participants questions like, “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?” upon encountering two women, and asks one man, “Is it the year of the dragon?” Some people in the segment appear not to speak English, but Watters continues to ask them questions and hold out his microphone, making them appear stupid or uninformed.

At the end of the segment, Watters talked to Bill O’Reilly (on whose show the segment appeared) about his experience during the interview, where he continued his othering of pretty much all Chinese people. O’Reilly stated that Chinatown is a very “insulated” area that doesn’t have any interaction with or awareness of American politics, while Watters added that “They’re such a polite people—they won’t walk away or tell me to get out of here.”

The segment overall makes use of a whole host of harmful, racist stereotypes—That Asian people are polite and submissive “model minority,” that Asians are foreigners who don’t really want to be American, that somehow all Asians know something about karate (which is Japanese, by the way).

While Fox itself has released no official statement on the segment or the reactions it has prompted, Watters stated on Twitter that his intention in the segment was to be “light” and “tongue-in-cheek,” and that he regretted anyone taking offense to the video. Doesn’t quite sound like an apology or an acknowledgement of the seriousness of his actions, does it?

There’s a difference between tongue-in-cheek and patently offensive that Watters seems to need an education on. According to The New York Times, “Asian-American groups denounced [the video] as flat-out racist,” and there was a small protest outside the Fox headquarters Thursday.

Margeaux Biché

Columbia Barnard

Margeaux Biché is a current senior at Barnard College living in New York City. During her freshman year, she studied at the George Washington University in D.C., where she wrote for The GW Hatchet. She is a Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies major and is passionate about social justice. While she does not know exactly where she'll take her degree, she hopes she can contribute to the advancement of marginalized peoples through legal and/or activist work. Chocolate covered pretzels are her favorite food, Rihanna is her favorite musician and her go-to talent is her ability to wiggle her ears. Margeaux loves dogs, hiking and her hometown basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, all of which are oft-featured on her Instagram account. Twitter | LinkedIn