My husband recently started working for Next Media Animation, AKA the Taiwanese animators who brought you such classics as the Tiger Woods and Don’t Touch My Junk videos. While Next Media Animation is known for taking a satirical look at headline news, they also do more serious animations. The one above shows how the new full-body scanners might not be as effective as the Transportation Security Administration insists that they are.
Ron did the voiceover — and some of the YouTube comments had us cracking up. Like this one: “Sounds like some stoner with a head cold dubbed this one.” Has this person ever heard a stoner with a head cold? I spent plenty of time around sick stoners during college and I know what they sound (and smell) like. Definitely not like my husband. He enunciates more.
Or how about this one: “stop pretending to be an american, just speak chinese already!!!” I assume this person hears a “Chinese” accent (I used quotation marks because there so many dialects that it’s silly to assume there is one Chinese accent) in Ron’s voice. Ha! Oh, the irony, the bitter irony. Both of us wish we had Chinese accents — especially when we are speaking Mandarin!
I think this is all very interesting because I’ve had a few people, including a college professor, say they could detect an “Asian” accent in my voice (I posted about that experience here). In hindsight, I think my professor had a hard time seeing past my Asian-ness in general (when we talked about writing personal essays, he told me I should write about being Asian American… when we talked about my introversion, he said it’s because I’m Asian… when we talked about my anxiety over school, it was because I’m Asian).
I did have a slight lisp that I went to speech therapy for during grade school (it was because my tongue was either too small for my jaw or my jaw was too big for my tongue, I forget), so I don’t deny that I might have something going on with my speech. But if someone pegs me with an “Asian” accent (because all people in Asia sound alike, you know…), I automatically assume that they are hearing things because of my race and goodness knows what other things they might make up about me. Seeing this comment only backs up my hypothesis. If that Youtube commenter knew that Ron is Czech-American, I wonder if she/he would have written “start speaking Czech instead!”
I don’t mean to sound like I think there is anything wrong with having an accent. I only get defensive because I dislike it when people use me as a tool to back up whatever stereotypes they have about an entire culture, ethnicity or race instead of, you know, seeing me as a human being. Sheesh! Feel like indulging your prejudice? Then keep it to yourself or get a YouTube account.