Steve Harvey is once again set to host the coronation of Miss Universe at the SM Mall of Asia Arena later this month. Most Filipinos know the comedian for his beauty pageant snafu involving Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez. Unfortunately, Steve committed another blunder that was caught on TV.
In the January 6 broadcast of his daytime talk show, the comedian did a roundup of dating books. One of the featured books was How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men by Adam Quan.
It's bad enough that the book's title reinforces racist stereotypes, but Harvey's commentary just made things worse.
The comedian declared that Asian men were not desirable to women. He proceeded to dramatize a scenario with an imaginary black woman whom he asked, "Do you like Asian men?" Harvey then acted out the imaginary woman's response, saying, "I don't even like Chinese food, boy. It don’t stay with you no time. I don't eat what I can't pronounce." (The spiel starts after the 1:20 mark on the video embedded below.)
Harvey's antics were criticized by viewers. Among them was Asian-American restaurateur and writer Eddie Huangjan, who wrote an opinion piece on the matter for The New York Times.
Huangjan disclosed that Harvey's joke struck a nerve. "Every Asian-American man knows what the dominant culture has to say about us. We count good, we bow well, we are technologically proficient, we’re naturally subordinate, our male anatomy is the size of a thumb drive and we could never in a thousand millenniums be a threat to steal your girl," he wrote.
Huangjan pointed out that out of all the racist comments he and his Asian-American friends have endured, "the one joke that still hurts, the sore spot that even my closest friends will press, the one stereotype that I still mistakenly believe at the most inopportune bedroom moments...is that women don’t want Asian men."
He went on to explain, "That's why this Steve Harvey episode is so upsetting. He speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for every one else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is."
We wonder if Harvey will feel awkward when he finds himself surrounded by Asian men when he comes to the Philippines later this month.