What part of KO do you not understand?

OK, this is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. The name she had a problem with was Ko. What part of “KO” do you not understand? – Is it the “k” or the “o”? It’s Ko, dummy. You do not need to learn Chinese to say it. Just open your dumb mouth and with your dumb voice say “Ko.” See? It’s easy dumbass! This is ridiculous. And she is a politician!!! I don’t understand when people have trouble with my name! Like they say “Chow? Chow? Margaret Chow? Chow?” There’s no “w”! And why is it so hard? It’s just one syllable. Many Asian names are just one syllable!!! This shithead needs to resign for reasons of inexcusable ignorance, racism and straight up stupidity!!!

I am thinking about how straight white men have it so easy. They really do! When watching the Billy Bob crazy interview I was struck by how much entitlement he had! He felt he could be a complete asshole to the interviewer because he didn’t think he was being treated fairly. I have endured countless radio interviews where DJs have been completely racist towards me – mispronouncing my name, which should be totally easy (and also I have been in the public eye for coming up on two decades so they should have at least heard someone say my name at least one time, or they could venture a guess….hmmm, CHO…..now that wasn’t that hard was it?!) and haven’t lost it completely because I didn’t want people to get the impression that I was a loose cannon or overly defensive – because I wanted people to come to my shows and no one likes an angry comic – unless they are straight and white and male!!

I have had interviews where I have been told to my face that I was “ugly” and “fat” and asked, in real seriousness, how I dealt with that! I have been introduced with chinky music playing in the background I don’t know how many times! People think it is ok to be racist and ignorant toward me because it is generally perceived that I am ‘cool with it.’ I am not cool with it but we live in a society where racism isn’t viewed as such when it is directed at Asian Americans. How do you deal with this kind of stupidity when it’s so rampant?

This latest incident with Betty Brown, the lawmaker from Texas, is such a prime example of the duhduhdumbness that flourishes in our culture and I am completely sick of it. She needs to resign out of sheer inability to accept that Asian Americans are valid human beings with the right to have names that she cannot pronounce because she’s such an idiot.

47 thoughts on “What part of KO do you not understand?

  1. A state is having issues because its population can’t figure out how to pronounce foreign names. Why isn’t the first instinct, “Let’s figure out why our population is so illiterate” rather than “Let’s make everyone else change so we don’t have to”? And besides, why does someone need to pronounce a person’s name if it’s written down on a photo ID? Just match the letters, people! It’s not like the Chinese characters are on the driver’s licenses…

  2. Um, the Texas lawmaker/idiot kept referring to names that *Americans* would find easier to deal with. Maybe I’m on crack, or we do things all wrong here in Canada, but don’t you have to be a citizen to vote? Are these people with the tricky names (heavy sarcasm) not also Americans? Racism on so many levels. If you’re of Chinese ancestry, you’re somehow not American?

  3. As a young journalist and observer of the world you are truly an inspiration to me and a role model. You make me believe that there is a place for strong opinionated women who challenge norms of society. You’re question, “How do you deal with this kind of stupidity when it’s so rampant?” seems like one you have already answered in life. You take the stupidity and the serious with a grain of salt, learn from life and maintain the ability to laugh about it while moving toward progress.

    When I question my beauty through the extra pounds or when I wonder if people will be able to take me seriously one day if I have outlandish foreign opinions I think about how you have challenged these stereotypical roles by just being yourself. You show people that women of all sizes and colors (ethnic or tattooed on) can change these views of society and be just as strong and smart as anyone else.

  4. My first thought when I saw the Billy Bob interview was “what a spoiled asshole. The interviewer was doing his best. I’d boot that asshole out of the station.” Now I’ll have to rethink that in terms of regular garden variety male sense of entitlement. Does asshole=entitlement=self-esteem? Is there no other way?

  5. Hey, there! When you said: “This shithead needs to resign for reasons of inexcusable ignorance, racism and straight up stupidity!!!” hon- I can understand kicking her out because of racism, but ignorance and stupidity? You’ll have to boot most of the Senate and Congress!

  6. THANK YOU! As soon as I heard about this idiotic incident, I posted the article on my FB page and I had at least 20 people agreeing with me that someone like this should never be in public office. Did you see the follow up today? She was quoted as saying that she’d had a long “10 hour day” and that she wasn’t sure about what she was saying by the time she got quoted. WTF? Is she saying that she would have checked her racist thoughts had she been more awake? Margaret – what do you say we start a letter writing campaign? Let’s go!

  7. I’m right there with you!! I don’t understand why people feign such difficulty in pronouncing Asian names. It’s not as if the sounds are any different than those used to speak English. They might combine in unfamiliar ways, but give me a break! It’s just a subversive way of forcing Asians and Asian Americans to conform to the western world. The subversive racism is so much harder to fight. Regardless of how long so many Asian Americans have been AMERICANS they are still treated and identified as foreign. …Found the movie “Saving Face” in the foreign film section at Borders. Those Chinese faces and names must have really confused them.

    and on White men…My greatest pet peeve is weak white men. The fucking universe revolves around them. The least they could do is have a little backbone!

  8. As a white woman with a long and difficult name (probably the only indication of my beautiful and complicated background) no one ever takes the time to pronounce it correctly. And no one ever bothers to spell it with care. But, at the same time, I appreciate it when people really try.

    Yes, my name is complicated. It’s unique and I’m proud of that. So should you be Ms Cho. Sure these people can’t say your name, but do you really want them to? They’re never going to be your lovers- GIVE A FLYING $%£! There’s nothing worse than someone I don’t like knowing my name! According to my ancestors, saying a person’s name takes some of their life “energy” (of course, there’s a complicated word for that but you’d probably not be able to pronounce it.) xx

  9. Let’s force her to go hunting with Cheney! Maybe he will shoot off the ignorant part of her brain or at least part of her face!

    I am shocked that anyone would even think of you as F & U (as stated in your blog—I haven’t the heart to spell those incorrect, lame-ass, uneducated words disguised as adjectives) —you are a hot, beautiful, Asian American woman with a REAL body! It sickens me that these narrow-minded (usually white males—I’m white, and it’s really pathetic what they view as ideal), “men” have the nerve to call anyone since usually the ones calling people names in that shallow tone, are stereotypically out-of-shape, sporting a comb-over that rivals even Trump’s or Blagobavich’s road-kill rug action.

    It wouldn’t surprise me that those fools are dorky, white guys who long for an Asian woman’s attention, but deservedly so, never attain it.

    As for Betty Brown (I refrain from making a pre-Thanksgiving baking joke about a ‘Brown Betty’) — she’s from Dubyu’s hometown—-not so much an excuse as an explanation.

    Thanks for your hilarious, and informational blogs!


  10. Ya, I here you!
    My name is Jasbina. I am Guyanese-Punjabi in ethnicity but I think the name is more Punjabi/South East Asian, maybe Persian in origin.
    I have gotten misinterpretations of my name ranging from
    Jazz-bin… JAZZ-BIN-DER… to JAs-BEER or weirdest of all for me JISBUN
    It is easy think of merging Jasmine with Sabrina, subtract a few letters and presto chango JASBINA.
    I try my best to learn other people’s name of whatever origin so I wish other people would try to do the same. Just ASK. I will tell you!

  11. My favorite part is where Betty (Is that how you pronounce it? Betee? Betay?) says that she knew Dems were gonna play the racist card against her. HA. I believe she was even quoted as saying “you people”…hmm. Does it smell like a racist…? Well then, hell, it must be a racist.
    Take a whole race and generalize them and tell them they have to change to make yo cush life even cushier. Uh huh. Heeeeell naw.
    We gots yo back, Margaret. We need to up and call this woman out hard-core.
    I love you, my fellow Asian-American brothas and sistas.

  12. I am completely supportive of fights against bigotry of all sorts.
    I really do agree with your perspective that people have become so incredibly dumb and ignorant that there’s simply no turning back and now people just can’t cover it up, any longer.
    I love your routines. I love your sense of humor.

    That being said, there’s been something on my back about your posts, off and on, that’s really been bugging me and I need to finally vent, here:

    You speak of ignorance… and yet you say that all straight white males are entitled? Excuse me? Just because a select few – who, I might add, are selected by the media because it gets a rile out of people like yourself – make the rest of us look bad gives you absolutely no right to lump the rest of us in and make us look bad! You speak of bigotry… and yet you pretty much speak as if there’s not a rich gay black man out there whose family line will continue to be rich until some unforeseeable time. I’m not saying there is, but I’m almost positive, in all its irony, that it’s not far from the truth.
    Lastly… please. Stop sounding so oppressed. I know you spent a lot of time being oppressed because you weren’t some Barbie-doll looking bitch, but now that’s what’s earning your paychecks, along with your wonderful – yet spiteful – sense of humor. Using your exposure to bitch about people’s problem only exposes your ability to bitch. If you didn’t want to give the impression you weren’t a loose cannon, you sure picked the wrong place to vent your displeasures.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I bitch, too. I really let it out, sometimes. I’m also not in the national spotlight nor am I able to be half the philanthropist that you seem to be. I figure if not even 0.01% of the national population will read what I have to say, that means I won’t offend or get a rise out of nobody if I start talking out of my ass.

    In conclusion, that was wrong to say, and I disagree with your ‘respond to hatred and stupidity with even more hatred and stupidity’ approach to everything. You don’t like racism and bigotry. A majority of others don’t, too. That’s why we no longer have slaves, for example. That’s why blacks can do things whites can. That’s why race – except in interpersonal situations, about half of the time – is not an issue. You may be looked down upon, but so am I. And I’m a straight white male.
    So fuck off with this straight white male bullshit. That promotes the same shit you hate. Thank you.

  13. Well Ken Keelan, your reference to people as “blacks” and “whites,” pretty much screams 1950s ignorance and proves that racism is still rampant, even in communities that consider themselves progressive. You’re right – not all straight white men walk around with the sense of entitlement M refers to, but I can personally count on one finger the number of men I know who don’t have at least some sort of deep-seated misogynistic/racist/alpha-bullshit streak in them. Even in these so-called progressive, alternative lifestyle communities, there are still cases of spousal abuse, sexism, racism, classism, ageism and more.

    You like M’s rants, BUT…

    Well, thank you so much for tolerating another person’s point of view, waiting for a break in the conversation and then feeling entitled to point out why she’s wrong. Guess what, dude. You ARE behaving like one of THOSE GUYS. You might as well be among those journalists she talks about who basically say, “you’re totally hot, but have you ever thought about trying to lose some weight?”

    If you don’t like what she has to say, stop reading M’s blog. Don’t tell her that her content should change to suit you – that’s the same shit we get from entitled white guys like you every minute of every day, and quite frankly, it’s getting tiresome.

  14. OK, she’s a douchebag and a moron.

    But the tiny part of her point that is valid — and her solution is 180 degrees from the actual issue — is that a lot of Asians DO assume Americanized first names to make it easier on us stupid round-eyes. (I’m not talking about folks whose real names are Danny and Skip and, well, Margaret — it’s the Wen Ho’s who call themselves Jake to make it easier for us dumbasses I’m thinking of.)

    So what happens is that people are so accustomed to calling themselves Chuck and Bitsy at the office and the gym and on ManHunt and Match.com that they register to vote with those names, which don’t match their legal IDs.

    That’s the problem that does need to be addressed, and on some level, when you scrape the bullshit off, that’s part of what she’s talking about.

    Clearly, the right way to address it is for us morons to learn how to pronounce simple one-syllable names…

  15. 1st. I’m a straight man (who found out by trying gay sex and KNOWS he’s not gay…which is pretty fucking brave if you ask me). I don’t feel any entitlement. Billy Bob is washed up and pissed off. if he treated me like that , I’d kick him off his chair and send him home to cry over his Angelina posters.

    2nd. you’re beautiful. you ALWAYS have been.

    3rd. fuck that bitch.

    4th. I STILL think your buddy perez hilton is a douchenozzle . HE seems to feel pretty entitled. I’ve never seen a Lyndsey Lohan whatever she does anything. But, to get joy out of her misery strikes me as asinine. What if she DOES kill herself? Will that make his funny papers too?

  16. Just so you know, a lot of white people changed their names, but so far back in their history they aren’t aware of it anymore. I know my Italian grandmother’s parents went from Grande to Grant when she was a child because “Grande” was apparently a difficult thing to be in Connecticut. I looked on the Ellis Island online register and chuckled as I recognized who they were talking about behind the Luigi’s and Pietro’s I only had heard as Peter and Louis etc.

  17. I think it’s sad when people feel like they should adopt an English name in order to fit into another culture. I was speaking to a Chinese exchange student at my Uni who introduced himself as Brian. I didn’t say it but inside I was like ‘No! Your name is not Brian! Tell me your real name! I want to know who you are!’

    Names are important. If you can’t pronounce one then you have to learn. Having said that I was originally going to be named Myfanwy. My life would probably have contained 70% more pain!

  18. I just want to say I’m sorry, Margaret. I watched this exchange on YouTube and I was shocked. Open mouthed, face distorted, WTF is she talking about shocked. This is the United States of America and it’s high time we start acting accordingly.

  19. at first I was furious by this, then I went and watched the video for myself and honestly I agree with what a person posted under the video which I will re-post here.

    My Mother’s name is Arabic but she goes by an Americanized name just for the fact that it is easier, I don’t think Betty Brown meant any racism towards any people in this specific incident because they were merely discussing options of what Asian Americans could do to help with the problem of having two different legal names.

    I understand why people would be upset about it and I am not saying that this woman is NOT racist but watch the video for yourself. This IS The united states of American in which the majority of the people speak English and all of our official documents are in English.

    “Now, I may be wrong, but I believe the lady’s problem is not with furinur names, per se, but that many naturalized Asian Americans identify themselves with their actual name (romanized) and the American name they choose to be called so that other Americans won’t mangle their names, depending on which form of identification they use.

    IE, on their passport they’re first name is listed as Xiaoyu, but on their driver’s license it’s Tiffany, which would make it difficult to verify their identity when it comes time to vote.

    Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she MAY have simply meant that Asian Americans should choose one or the other for their legal purposes (preferably the original, in my opinion, but I never changed my Indian name, despite it having pronunciations that don’t quite exist in English), and maybe keep their American name as a nickname (which is what a few of the nurses I work with do, though about an even number do the mix-n’-match thing as well), which is a fair suggestion.”

    to anyone this offends…sorry to go against the crowd and have my own opinion I guess.

  20. Oh yeah just another one of those “moments”. Where the racist attitude rears it’s ugliness. I wonder if her last name was changed from “Braun” to “Brown”? Still I far as I see it. I think it’s just another way of stifling one’s own identity. Because the other person can’t accept that it’s a big world out there.

  21. Margaret –

    I was at the circle K getting beer, and I didn’t get the cheaper 12 pack in the freezer b’c it was cold, I got two six packs. This guy at the register says to me “you probably don’t need to save a dollar b’c your daddy owns two nail salons!!!.”

    Fuck that shit, you know what I mean?

  22. As a person with an “ethnic” name, I am outraged and sickened. No one asks that names be pronounced 100% correctly, or just as it is on an official document, we just ask that you try. Ask. If you have to ask 10 times, really, I’d rather you have me pronounce it for you than hear you call me something that randomly resembles my name, or that’s close enough for your taste.
    Truthfully, most people who speak Spanish never even call me by my whole name, but one of many pet names. The fact is, sadly and scarilly enough, that Ms. Brown is just speaking her mind and for every one of us that are aghast at her ignorance, there are probably two people who are in total agreement with her stupidity.

    What a pathetic, ignorant and vile way to be honest, Betty Brown. No sort of excuse of being up any amount of time will disguise what an ugly person you really are.

  23. I hate dumbasses from Texas, they make the smartasses from Texas look bad. As a a white broad some of my most profoundly pleasant moments have been when I finally got certain names right, like Nguyen and Xuan. But not being able to pronounce Ko, or Cho for that matter should be a hanging offense. I’m pretty sure you can’t consider yourself literate if you can’t pronounce the either of those one syllables/. Kindergarten teachers everywhere are groaning into their Irish coffees and contemplating corporal punishment…. or they should be after this idiot’s foot in mouth moment.

  24. WTF Jeslyn?! You criticize Ken for referring to people as ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’, saying it ‘screams of 1950’s ignorance’. How is that racist? You’re probably one of those self-righteous fuckwits who refer to ALL black people as ‘African-American’ thinking you’re being so Politically Correct when in fact you’re quite the opposite. By referring to all black people as ‘African-American’ you are insulting the heritage of any black person who is not of African descent and/or born/raised in the United States. Believe it or not, there are blacks in other countries, not just the U.S.

  25. Of course, now that my reply has been posted, it FINALLY occurs to me that I could have used the phrase ‘persons of colour’ D’OH!

  26. Margaret…I 110% feel you on this. I also think it’s difficult for people who have not experienced racism, bigotry and prejudice towards them to understand how you would feel.

    How is CHO difficult to pronounce? I am constantly having to correct people.

  27. I screwed up grammatically on that last post…here’s the clean version…

    “no one likes an angry comic – unless they are straight and white and male!!”

    Sorry, Margaret, you’re full of it on this one. No one likes angry comics, period. I can care less what their sexual orientation is, or their color of their skin. If they’re bitter and pissed off all the time (which most comics I know are), I don’t want to be around them at all.

    Billy Bob didn’t get away with anything because he’s a “straight white male”. He’s getting flak all over the Net for being an asshole to the interviewer, and his concert tour was cancelled. So even a “straight white male” can’t act without impunity.

    I love ya, Margaret, but the PC talk isn’t getting the mileage it once did.

  28. JaneaneTheAcerbicGoblin – where did margaret say he got away with anything??? You are putting words in her mouth or maybe purposefully not understanding her?

    she’s talking about his entitlement. The feeling that no one should talk to him like that! I dare say that comes with being a celebrity in general, but there is no doubt that in my life, which isn’t celebrity in the least, that it’s usualy men who feel they have a right to complain if they think they’re being treated unfairly. actually they are more likely to view their treatment as unfair in the first place.

    and something being a generality doesn’t make it true for everyone.

    no one likes angry comics really? isn’t that what lewis black and dennis miller have made a career on? i can think of a handful of comedians who are lebeled in that genre and none of them are women.

  29. Racism is a fact of life that happens nearly every day. My daughters are 10, 7 and 5 and they’ve felt the ugliness of racism already too many times. You are a better person than me because the first time they played chinky music to announce me I would have pitched a fit. I can’t stand racism. And I applaud you for not wanting to be an angry comic – but I think the time is now to be firm. That’s why I love your blogging. We have to call people out and let them know its racist and we won’t tolerate it. We are not cool with it and I’m really glad to hear you say it too.

  30. [I have been introduced with chinky music playing in the background I don’t know how many times!]

    That is incredibly insulting, stupid, and simplistic. You should have kicked their ass, Margaret.

  31. ): I feel bad for you…I’m asian-american but I feel like I don’t get it as bad as you do for being asian because I am not in the entertainment industry..but thanks for shedding the light on the industry and how racist it is…I was always suspicious…but never really could put my finger on it…but now my eyes are being opened to how white people get away with things that non-white wouldn’t be able to get away with…actually…I did know that..because…I see it everyday…white kids getting away with doing things that an asian kid would not be able to get away with even though they are all just being kids…like if the asian kid does something “bad” they are labeled as a asian gangster or unforgivable criminal, but if a white kid does the same thing…it’s brushed off as “oh, they are just being teenagers.” Like…wtf does that mean u dumbass???

  32. Does she expect Barack Obama to change his name to Barry Alabama, because “Americans” (which apparently doesn’t include Asians) are too stupid to learn how to pronounce a name that isn’t John Smith? *Newsflash* Ask people what they want to be called. Use someone’s legal name for government purposes. Quit being so stupid.

    It’s people like Betty Bowers… I mean Betty Brown that force Asian honor students to repeatedly take ESL tests, just because they’re bilingual, or tell Asian kids they should be satisfied that white kids portray them in movies. Fuck that.

  33. yea I feel like driving to terrell to go kick that bitch’s ass for being ignorant.
    she’s probably just angry she lives in a shithole like terrell.
    her constituents probably can’t read so they just randomly picked a pretty sounding name when they went to vote.

  34. The sad thing is that ol’ Betty would probably pronounce it “Caw.”

    I think we should all simplify to monosyllabic Chinese names, starting with Betty Brown -> Be Bo.

  35. as a white woman whose boyfriend is black, this one hit a nerve with me. thank you for this post, Margaret. I’d say more, but I don’t have the energy I was hoping for to do so, unfortunately.

  36. What I don’t understand is why?

    Most koreans have last names like park, lee, kim, cho and i don’t see how hard that is to pronounce. x.x

    Why doesn’t someone to tell her to change her last name, since the vast majority of america has a hard time pronouncing it as well!!!

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