Response from one of the authors of Deadly Viper

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

So here’s the e-mail exchange I had with Mike Foster.  One of the authors of the Deadly Viper book:

I sent the initial e-mail:

Really guys,

What is the point of making an allusion to “Kung Fu” and having a dragon on the cover.  You need to respect the culture.  Not mock the culture.

Mike’s response:

prof rah…seriously?

dont you think its a little ironic that an associate professor of evangelism is practicing the philosophy of “judge a book by its cover”

do this…read the book first….then feel free to make any judgments or voice any concerns on its content….

peace…….m.

 

My response:

The cover is what is offensive.  Why would you put gibberish Chinese characters?  Is that any kind of respect for the language and for the culture?  I am not judging the material.  I am judging the presentation.  There should be accountability for both the content and how you are presenting the content.   You are mocking Asian culture with your superficial use of our cultural symbols.  Some of your video clips are way out there as well.  What’s with the Japanese gardens?  How does that relate directly to what you are trying to present?  What’s with the monks and the “grasshopper” language.  Is that trying to honor an ancient culture or just using the culture for your own profit and gain?


Do the ends justify the means?


Here’s Mike’s response:

i realize you have an agenda.
i realize you see what you want to see.
im saddened that you are offended and angered by us shooting a video in a japanese garden.
not much i can do here except say good luck in life and what ever you may be trying to accomplish.

btw the kanji on the cover say ninja. warrior. assassin.

peace . . . m.

Not so nice.  Now he’s posted this on their blogsite in response to my posting:

soong chan rah…though i have done my best to respond to your concerns through email, send me your examples of how Deadly Viper is being disrespectful, offensive, and placing Asians on the margins because we use the themes, messages, and imagery of the Asian culture to make a case for living with integrity and character…also i would like for you to suggest the direct solutions to your concerns…i will post it on the Deadly Viper blog and you can have the desired discussion..peace…mike.

Too late to respond.  But I’ll have a longer blog post detailing the problems.  Calling for help.  If folks want to add contributions, I’ll add to this blog and to the post I’ll put on their blog.

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Comments
  1. Kathy Khang says:

    Seriously?

    Are you kidding me?!?!

    Here is my agenda, seeing what I want to see and what I wrote to Zondervan and to m & j:

    I am writing in regards to your new leadership & character series, “Deadly Viper Character Assassins: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership”. I’ve been looking at the promotional material on your website as well as checking out the Deadly Viper site, trying to understand how visual images of “Asian” culture and references to kung-fu enhance the actual content.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the word on the street is that the simplified Chinese characters used on the cover don’t actually form a sentence but were used for graphic design purposes. Why does that matter? It matters because the Chinese language is an actual language and not simply visually appealing gibberish. Using it as a graphic design element because it “looks cool” marginalizes the language and the culture. Using random Chinese characters doesn’t make something more authentic, nor does it legitimize the connection between content and a marketing pitch.

    As a Christian Asian American, I have grown weary of reading Christian leadership and character development books that are written solely through the eyes of Western/American majority culture. I can appreciate an attempt to weave in cultural values outside of our American experience to speak truth into God’s call to leadership and character. I applaud accurate depictions of my Asian American brothers as real men – not just caricatures of the emasculated Chinese food deliveryman or exaggerated martial arts warrior.

    However, the marketing and packaging of this new material appears to have tried walking a fine line between appreciating another culture by giving context and fostering mutual learning and using it as a gimmick.

    Are the authors, editors and publishers of this material open to a conversation about how dragons, vipers, ninjas and “cool” Chinese characters do not recognize Asians and Asian Americans as fellow-image bearers of God but simply use us as images?

    Sincerely,
    Kathy Khang

  2. H.K. Lee says:

    Asian-Americans face enough marginalization for being minorities. It is dismaying to see a Christian book exploit and also grossly generalize Asian cultures as a marketing ploy, especially when there is already much misunderstanding about Christians. If it was the intent of the authors to further the perception that Christians are ignorant, judgmental, and bigoted, then I applaud them for succeeding.

  3. Helen Lee says:

    Soong-Chan,

    This is Rickshaw Rally all over again, isn’t it? It seems that there is a typical process that people go through when they are being asked by someone from the minority culture to defend their racially offensive portrayals and choices. (Seems almost similar to the Kubler-Ross stages, doesn’t it? Anger, denial, etc…it’s almost as though they have to go through similar stages before they can see and accept what is being said to them.)

    Anyway, although it’s bad enough that they didn’t consider their material to be racially insensitive and offensive, the question is, now that they are becoming aware of this, how will they respond? I think that the only way they will begin to recognize that Asian Americans are frustrated and offended by their use of stereotypical depictions of Asian culture is for us to make our opinions known. We need to collectively let the Deadly Viper authors know how we feel, so that they don’t think this is just a one man battle against them.

    I haven’t read the book, but I think that’s pretty irrelevant to the issue at hand. I did listen to the interview that was done with the authors at Catalyst, and I have no problem with the content of the book as they describe it, all good stuff about trying to defend against potential assassins on leaders’ character. But that promo video was just awful, embarrassing, and cringe-worthy. It depicts Asian men in the stereotypical, demeaning role of largely bumbling martial artists, with bad accents to boot. If they wanted to honor the Asian cultural context for their book, they could have chosen tasteful ways of doing so; kung fu is a perfectly respectable form of martial arts and could have been depicted as such. Instead, the authors chose to caricature it and Asian culture alongside it in order to get a laugh and supposedly increase the palatability of their book. Well, I’m certainly not laughing and that video leaves a horrible taste in my mouth!

    Sound the call, Soong-Chan. Petition, emailing the authors, commenting on their website, etc…let’s make our opinions known on this matter. It is tiresome that Christian publishers are slow to learn these lessons, but I imagine that most do not have the ethnic diversity amongst their editorial staff to be able to recognize a racially offensive marketing campaign before it goes to the public. The only way they will learn is to hear from us. Otherwise, how will their sensitivity to such issues ever increase?

    Thanks once again for leading the charge!

  4. Irene Cho says:

    Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with the offensiveness of this material. I’m sorry if you’re saddened at the fact that the “cool” concept of trying to utilize Asian imagery isn’t being received well. Honestly, as an Asian American, I tend lean on the side of Asians being a little too sensitive about such issues. However, it is your response to the issue that’s making me upset. In your ignorance as Caucasian males, you could have easily not foreseen the hurt that your use of imagery could have caused; I get that. But it’s your absolute refusal to try and begin to understand the people you’ve offended that causes me to stop, scratch my head and really ask whether you’re qualified people to be talking about leadership and more so leadership under the name/banner of Jesus Christ. For you to respond with the notion that Asians who are offended aren’t understanding the humor in the situation is downright ludicrous. I’m sorry, would you ever in your right mind think that it would be acceptable to paint your faces dark and parade around in a humorous and mocking fashion that you were a freed slave whilst speaking the lingo and with an accent? No you wouldn’t. So how in the world can you even begin to think that a) what you’re doing isn’t offensive when you try and utilize Asian imagery in an absolutely incorrect manner (do you even know the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures?!) and b) that you feel that you have any right to tell an Asian what is offensive to an Asian? I’m sorry – I guess YOU must be Asian so of course you know what it’s like to marginalized as an Asian right? Oh wait, no you’re white… and male. Can you please try and capture the spirit of Jesus here and achieve what you claim your book is about… LEADERSHIP. Be a leader and stop to listen before you attempt to open your mouth with an offensive, ignorant remark please. The marginalized are speaking up right now.

  5. Paul Sun says:

    I feel like we are re-living the era of the Blackface during the 19th century where white people painted their faces black to play stereotypes and caricatures of the black community. I guess we can call it Yellowface today. Even the resource DVD is casted with all white people, the voice over is a horrible actor with a ridiculous asian accent, and even their video descriptions are offensive, racist, and disturbing.

    A sentence used to describe their Assassin of Concealment video:
    “There is a killer called Zi Qi Qi Ren. No, this is not some communicable disease, but it certainly is deadly. This funky Chinese word”

    They continue by showing videos of goofy Martial Arts mistakes.

    I believe they have great intentions but executed horribly and ignorantly.

    I also can accept that they are unaware of their offense. I’ve recently learned that the white-privileged were never pushed to be aware or to even ask those questions. However, Mike’s response to your letter, is what upsets me even further. How he doesn’t even try to consider or explore why we would be offended. Instead, he assumes we are too sensitive. Of course i guess a white man should instruct us, asians, on what should and shouldn’t offend us.

    Mike, please open your eyes, your heart, and your mind a little more and explore the TRUE mosaic of culture in this world.

  6. Irene Cho says:

    Sorry, one last thing. It’s one thing for Asians to make fun of our own culture and people group. However, you did NOT receive permission from the Asian community to mock our cultures. I stress cultures because again, in your ignorance, you have absolutely disrespected the fact that you’re mixing up very different Asian identities together). I know you might not understand what the big deal is, but doesn’t NOT make it a big deal. I might not have understood the differences are between a Puerto Rican, Cuban and Mexican, but I actually do now because I respected my brothers and sisters by asking questions and listening.

  7. Prof Rah,

    I agree with what I perceive to be your stance, which is echoed by several (seemingly) Asian-American posters: the issue is NOT with the overall content of the book, but of the manner in which kung fu specifically, but also Asian martial arts culture generally, is being misappropriated for the purpose of having an angle or a hook with which to appeal to their target demographic, which appears to be White males between the ages of 16 and 25.

    I would start with that idea, that the conflict is NOT with the overall content of the book. It seems to me that a good portion of the reason why Mike Foster (I’m assuming that’s who “m” is) is discounting your assertions is because he thinks your issue is with the book overall.

    I know that, coming from his experiences starting XXXChurch, he’s used to receiving criticism, and may just think you’re overreacting or having a religious spirit or what have you. He is probably also used to people judging his motives, accusing him of being a heretic, etc. So that clarification would help.

    I also think that it would be good for you to take some time and figure out some proactive steps that can be taken in both the short and long term. My immediate suggestions (and these aren’t the ones I think are most reasonable or feasible these are just the first few that have come off the top of my head):

    1. Ditch the current promo video. If the need for video promo is so great, shoot another one and make it more AUTHENTIC. Ask someone who has a background in kung fu or similar martial arts training to serve as a consultant during its production, someone who could make changes to the script. Also, hire actual Asians to do the voices, Asians who are fluent in their native tongues. (And if the response is something along the lines of “we don’t want it to be authentic, we want it to be a joke” then respond with, “why are martial arts a joke to you?” or something like that.)

    2.) Lose the kanji as a design element, OR make sure that it actually reflects the meaning of the words or concepts that are being promoted.

    3.) Arrange for a face to face meeting in a neutral location, perhaps with a moderator or facilitator involved. Maybe it’s as part of a panel on diversity issues, maybe it’s at the next Catalyst conference, maybe it’s somewhere else.

    Also… this is a small thing (and I’m making an assumption here, forgive me if I’m wrong), but if you’re trying to appeal to his sense of honor or fairness, you might want to apologize for publicizing his email response without his consent. In his last email it seemed as though even though he doesn’t understand, he was willing to listen. That glimmer of openness might be extinguished if he feels like you exploited his immediate response to rile up your base of likeminded supporters (a group to which I self-subscribe, for the record).

    that’s all for now… off to bed.

    JG

  8. samuel chung says:

    I hope that God will open their eyes to their racial insensitivity. Their response to Prof. Rah does not help their cause. It would be one thing if they are comedians, but this is a help book about Christian life and leadership. It just stinks of white privilege and supremacy.

    Also using violent imagery for Christianity is wrong period. I cannot see Jesus wielding a sword or calling himself a killer. If I remember correctly, he told Peter to put away his sword. How can the sword or violence promote social change? so sad….sigh

  9. andkim says:

    Among other things, I’m really disappointed by Mike Foster’s emails. I’m sure he has a side to the story but I’m saddened that he responded with such defensiveness, antagonism and flippancy. And he ended his emails with a salutation of “peace” when clearly he has no intentions of seeking peace — I found that juxtaposition painfully humorous. Definitely not the type of response I would have hoped for from some who says he is “committed to helping… other leaders live with radical integrity and radical grace.” (from his bio on the Deadly Viper web site)

    I think he has one point, though: Has anyone read the book? Do the authors give any reasoning for using this bizarre amalgam of Asian cultures for their book premise? Do they demonstrate any concrete understanding and respect for the cultures they are caricaturing? Have the authors thought about how this material would impact Asian American leaders who have had painful experiences of racism in basically the same form as what’s laid out in this book?

    I think these are questions that should be answered as we move forward.

    Thanks for tackling this and bringing this to our attention, profrah. Even for people who disagree, an honest and respectful dialogue needs to take place, especially in the Body of Christ. I hope Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite and the folks at Zondervon will be mature enough, sensitive enough and humble enough to be open to one.

  10. ericsohn says:

    Most of my professors in seminary were brilliant white male scholars who I appreciated deeply. One day, one of them referred to a group of us Asian students as “orientals.” I was shocked (b/c of my respect for the prof), disappointed, and more than anything, sad. I was sad b/c these men who were teaching me an incredibly rich and beautiful covenant theology, more or less went to white, upper-class Presbyterian churches. If that’s all they know, then is it so shocking that one of them might refer to Asians as “orientals?” I was sad b/c it made me cynical. I guess all the nations bowing together before Jesus is reserved for heaven alone, and to long for that on earth is not really worth bothering with. How can we even begin to get there on earth if the dominant culture, even our most educated are so blind to their ignorance?

    A while ago, Soong Chan Rah also brought up an issue with a Christian skit book that depicted a Chinese delivery man with all the stereotypes you can imagine. It was pretty ridiculous. But what was so encouraging was the public repentance of the authors. They did not intend to offend anyone, they just didn’t know. When they saw that it did offend their fellow Asian brothers and sisters, they humbled themselves, and publicly apologized. I believe the book was republished without that skit. It was beautiful!

    I’m sorry that the initial reaction of one of the authors of the Deadly Viper book is defensive. I do not necessarily blame him, because I’m sure he worked hard to write the book. I’m sure he did not intend to offend anyone, and honestly, I would want to defend myself too. But once it becomes clear that while unintentional, some do take offense, then perhaps it is time to seriously consider why? At the same time, I believe the Asian response should not be too angry or hostile. It is also up to us to understand and patiently walk with our white brothers and sisters as we struggle to understand each other better, in order to genuinely love one another. Once making a point or being right trumps love, it seems to miss the point before God.

  11. Charles Lee says:

    Hello Professor,

    It’s pretty clear to see why many are upset over this book. I am Asian American and I can definitely see why this book can be perceived as offensive. Regardless, I’m not sure that you posting a private email in a blog is that appropriate.

    It seems so out of character for you. In most of the interviews I’ve seen of you, you come across as really generous, understanding, and wise. I’m pretty sure you are. What were you hoping to accomplish by stirring conversation about this publicly before addressing some of the issues privately with the authors? I understand that you sent some emails, but how much time has passed since the conversation started? This posting kind of feels rushed.

    I’m not trying to defend the authors (although they do happen to be good friends, especially Mike). I’m just concerned at the method used to address this.

    I just think there must be a better forum to discuss such matters outside of a public blog, especially when it involves some really influential Christian leaders as yourselves. I wonder if we could model a different method for conversation or resolving conflict than the one expressed here.

    Please forgive me if I’m being presumptuous. I deeply respect both you and Mike and pray that God would be honored through this conversation.

    • profrah says:

      Thank you Charles. I don’t want to take this issue too lightly, but I also want there to be positive dialogue on the issue. I posted the e-mails because Mike said in a public blog: “i have done my best to respond to your concerns through email” His claim was that he was attempting to deal with the issue when he pretty much stopped the conversation in the last e-mail. I still have not heard back via e-mail since the last exchange. The e-mails were to refute a public statement that he made.

      If there are ways you can address this issue directly and privately, I would appreciate it. In fact, at this point, I don’t feel the need to be the person that raises the issue with them. As is evident in this thread, there are many articulate and cogent voices on the topic who could provide insight to Mike and Jud. They are more than welcome to engage with these folks.

    • profrah says:

      I went ahead and updated the blog to reflect my portion of the exchange. Reflecting on the e-mail exchange, I may have been curt with the authors (although it’s hard not to be curt in an e-mail sometimes). However, I’m still not sure where the “you have an agenda” part is coming from. I did try to point out initial, specific issues with the content in a brief e-mail.

      • I thought your emails were necessarily firm, but very restrained. I think you did well. I appreciate you reminding of us (white guys) of how easy it is for us to treat others cultures as “material” for our amusement or even well-intentioned purposes. I appreciate this.

        Peace,
        Jamie

      • Charles Lee says:

        Thanks so much Professor for updating your blog. I appreciate your willingness to listen to others.

        I have been in some communication with Mike and I pray that much good will come out of future conversations between you two.

        On a completely different, I hope our paths cross sometime in the near future. I love your work. (Also, Eugene Cho is a good mutual friend :-)

      • Ron says:

        Prof. Rah,

        It’s good to see that the issues are being addressed and the beginnings of reconciliation do appear to be taking place. Nevertheless, it seems to have been largely overlooked that your initial email was indeed “curt.”

        By starting with “Really guys, What is the point…” you are automatically putting him on the defensive. And then “You need to respect the culture. Not mock the culture.” If I got a similar email from a stranger, I would certainly not feel compelled to reply graciously. Considering that, I don’t really have a problem with his first email.

        His response to your 2nd email, obviously, is clearly unwarranted and out of line, but I think you can acknowledge that perhaps you started things off on the wrong foot.

    • Ken Fong says:

      The fact that I didn’t find SCR’s first email “curt” is, to me, beside the point. The point, for me, is Mike’s first response. Even IF he took offense to what he perceived as overt and unfair criticism of his current thesis, I think he still should/could have responded to the clearly stated concerns about perpetuating inaccurate and harmful Asian stereotypes with genuine concern and humility. I realize that in the moderated conference call on Nov 4th, both authors backed completely away from their earlier defensiveness, which I applaud. Which makes my commenting a day later on his first two responses seem quite irrelevant. But I chose to reply because some who replied already seem to think Foster was justified in how he first responded. No, to me, how he first responded displayed a lack of deep Christian character, the kind that, I believe, is the focus of his book.

  12. alice says:

    I can’t stop thinking about how the secular blogosphere around the topic of race in media and culture would respond to the book if they got past dismissing it as “just” more conservative, white, evangelical Christianity. This is similar to the kind of material I normally wouldn’t hesitate to submit for critique. Except its Zondervan, and frankly as a Christian, it’s embarassing.

    I grew up as one of just a handful of Asians at my elementary school and into my high school years as well. The lack of cultural understanding by my peers and my isolation as an Asian American was confirmed by enless questions and taunts surrounding chopsticks, eating rice, martial arts, Chinese language and other media endorsed popular symbols of Asian culture.

    My identity as an Asian American woman before Christ is more than these things. I speak this for myself because even after all that Christ has done to redeem my identity before Him, I still need to be reminded that He rejoices in other real aspects of my Asian American cultural identity.

    When “cool” graphic t-shirts with Asian language characters first emerged over a decade ago, I never wore one and neither did any of my Asian American peers. It was disturbing for us to see a school peer relating to a single part of our culture as a fashion piece without displaying any real interest in the rest of it.

    In the same way, it was wearying to hear ninja noises during so many jarring first-time encounters with other non-Asians. A child does not think, “oh cool, they really like ninjas and are complimenting my culture.” Or “they must be interested in learning more about my culture and open to talking more.” What I thought was, “What does that even mean? Ninjas have nothing to do with what I experience about being Asian American. What can I say that won’t result in being made fun of?” I concluded that many people are happy to keep their surface level relationship with my culture and tack whatever image they have of Asian culture onto myself. And there’s remembered pain there from learning to endure naivety and apathy and the burden of always explaining and correcting, often to unsympathetic ears.

    There exists a popular cultural use of Asian symbols and cultural objects that is not representative of Asian Americans’ experience of our own culture. We can’t help but be sensitive to usage of these popular Asian symbols on everything from clothing, to books, to advertisements, to sexual paraphernalia because these symbols have real consequences to how we are treated and identified by others.

    The reason we assume this is a marketing ploy is because this is not our culture at all, but the popular culture version of it that’s “cool”. I hold you to a higher standard because we are the church.

    What were you thinking? is the question that I thought when I saw the materials. To be sure there was no intent to harm, but we are mature in allowing that although intended impact might be kind, the hurt is real.

  13. chenster22 says:

    my comment to their blog:

    i’m tired of asians being marginalized by tired stereotypes over and over again. did you even try to make sure the “kanji” (which by the way, is Chinese characters used by the Japanese in their written language) say deadly viper? the words next to deadly viper are 加西生字由天道. those literally are characters used disjointly and make no grammatic sense. (add/west/birth/word/freedom/sky/arrive)

    could you have at least tried a bit harder to get the words right? the character next to books is “west.” how hard is it if you’re going to make something asian-themed to do a bit of research and get it right instead of just pasting a random character. chinese is a real language, and the characters you’re misusing have real meaning.

  14. chenster22 says:

    and inside their book (free preview on amazon) the characters next to the chapter titles have no connection to them at all. i don’t want to read the rest of the book if the table of contents is this ignorant already…

  15. Chris Changchien says:

    Hi Prof Rah. Stumbled here. Totally agree with you. Please add this to whatever you throw up on his blog:

    The material itself is, even if not in content, visibly degrading to whatever culture it is you are attempting to emulate. But what is even more disappointing is your e-mail responses. I don’t know what Prof Rah wrote in his e-mails, but if it was anything to the tune of “I find these things offensive, can you re-consider?” then I am in accord with his thoughts.

    We both are followers of Jesus, a man who came for the least, the poor, the sick, those who are under-appreciated. It is not a large stretch to say that Jesus was a man who came to serve the minorities of the world as well. This is why I, and we, as minorities who follow Jesus find it so painful when you use the name of Jesus and also simultaneously ignore the pleas of our weaker and smaller voices.

    When a hungry person asks you for food, their agenda is to be fed. Our agenda is no different, only that we have a different hunger, that is the desire to be respected. I believe the work that you are doing is good; I am not trying to hinder you from doing the work of our Lord. But I also pray that the Lord would humble you and you would reconsider your materials. Clearly it would be easier for you to ignore our requests, I imagine you have spent lots of money on your materials. But is not living a life of ‘radical integrity’ a life of making the difficult choices?

  16. profrah says:

    I updated the blog at 7AM to reflect my portion of the exchange.

  17. dave diller says:

    Check out this link to a video of Mike Foster speaking about the book (http://vimeo.com/7404698). One of the reasons why he says this book is different than the one before it is because: “…it’s got this little dragon on it…” and that “…it’s shiny”. Seems to be using someone else’s culture for their own profit. Reminds me of a time I was at a store in the mall and overheard a guy trying to purchase a cross necklace. He articulated that he was looking for one that was “cool”…”you know, one with the little guy on it”.

    Peace

  18. [...] a more recent post Dr Rah shares his email exchange with one of the authors.  There’s no need to recap that [...]

  19. Nguyen Le says:

    I used to be a Christian until I started going to Southern churches in Alabama and St. Louis and saw how ignorant, closed minded, insensitive, and just down right mean other Christians could be. When I turned 20 I decided to leave Christianity and it’s hateful beliefs behind and embrace an idea that is more respectful, relevant, and understanding to the rest of the people of the world.

    It doesn’t surprise me one bit to run into things like this.

    • profrah says:

      Wow. I am so sorry for the ways that Christians have turned you away from Christ. As a Christian, I want to apologize for the ways that we Christians have turned people away from the gospel. I hope you are able to encounter other Christians who are able to present a more Christ-like character.

    • samuel chung says:

      yeah I am sorry as well that those Christians turned you away. I am glad you found an idea/way that is loving and respectful for you. peace to you with much laughter and hope. your thoughts and experiences remind me that we, Christians, have a bigger Cross to bear and to make Christianity inclusive and loving and respectful of others. be well!

    • Nicole Poirier says:

      Nguyen,

      I’m sorry too. While I can’t relate directly to your experience; having moved to the rural-ish south from Boston, I understand what you mean about churches in the south. I’m a seminary student that won’t step foot in evangelical churches in the south for similar reasons. What I call racial reconciliation and righteousness – something I learned in part from Prof Rah – they view as a politically liberal tail between the legs servitism of the majority to the minority, and it angers, frustrates and saddens me. Instead I go to a church that is the farthest thing from evangelical, that has at least a small intercultural population, and doesn’t see some of their corporate cultural sensitivities, and I can only hope I can slowly influence individual awareness, and I pray that God will do the same. Because, after all, I’m a white female. There’s only so much I can do.

      • samuel chung says:

        props to you Nicole. I am glad that you are attending seminary and going to become a pastor(I hope). We need more people like you in Christianity! What seminary do you go to?

      • elderj says:

        Hey hey…. back up off the South. Regional stereotypes and prejudices are not any better than ethnic ones.

      • Nicole Poirier says:

        @Elderj

        I know that… I live in the South now, and I view it through my Bostonian/urban ministry lens. I am speaking of my first hand experience, and the words I used could have been placed in quotation marks and cited. I’m not attributing it to every church in the south. Obviously I found an exception in the church I attend. BUt I can honestly say that I have never in my life experienced this sort of personal racism until moving south. To give you one example, I was working at an event as a brand ambassador in Raleigh, and there were people coming to this even from all over North Carolina – so lots of different backgrounds represented. I was hanging out at the work site with a co-worker, who, for context of where this story is going, was black. An older middle-aged looking white male came up to us and was trying to flirt with us. He figured out we weren’t native to the area and had no patience for that kind of behavior (she was from Michigan). So he starts talking about his oh-so-vast experience with minorities. He started with, “I’m not racist, but…” and tells a story of when he stopped at a McDonalds in Chicago and was the only white person there, and thought everyone there was going to jump him. He told a far more elaborate tale, making my coworker and I both sick to our stomachs. He probably intended no malice, but he was ignorant, and he hurt my coworker, and quite frankly, angered me a LOT. Or, what about segregated bathrooms in Baton Rouge? I’m not saying there’s not racism in the North. There definitely is. But it goes deeper in the South because of the history here.

        @Samuel
        Thanks. I was attending Gordon-Conwell CUME where Prof Rah used to teach. I moved to do an internship, and I’m staying because I’m getting married. I have to finish seminary still, and I’m looking at transferring to Regent as a matter of convenience, and good dual degree programs and MDiv concentrations – I also want to study organizational management and public administration. Sorry, I won’t be a pastor. My calling is to community based ministry in the non-profit world, and interfacing with local government.

  20. [...] tried to start a dialogue with one of the authors, and he was pretty [...]

  21. J says:

    Mike’s responses seem dismissive, condescending, and smack of white privilege. He’s already defensive and shut down about any open dialog regarding the book and videos. Not very Christian of him. My advice, don’t fight him on it anymore. The more attention you give it, the more he’ll profit from it. Instead, create your own product and teachings the way you would have liked it to be presented. Then, market the hell out of it the way he’s doing with his. We’re living in the era of authenticity. Make a rival product that has authentic and genuine Asian content made by Asian Christians and the consumers will flock to it. Make it better, slicker, make it make sense, and market, market, market. Good luck.

    - A fellow Asian, non-Christian.

  22. Jimmy K says:

    Prof. Rah,

    The verse about throwing your pearls to the swine is coming to mind repeatedly as I read the back-and-forth between you and the authors. They clearly aren’t interested in even beginning to comprehend what was so offensive…And while I agree that dialogue would be incredibly beneficial, it doesn’t seem (based on their responses to you) that they’re at an intellectual level high enough to sustain any type of debate or discourse on the subject.

  23. eliseanne says:

    Dr. Rah,

    Here is my response on their blog. Reconciliation and true integrity, character, and honor is my prayer for all of this.

    Blessings and peace.

    ————–

    I love the idea of a book on integrity and character. We need that today!

    And I understand the desire to come across in a catchy way, that engages “macho” men in a warrior attitude, and that martial arts are really awesome to watch and the heroes in martial arts movies usually have awesome integrity and character. That being said, I am sure the content in your book is fantastic.

    Perhaps you dont understand the complaints from your asian and asian american brothers and sisters about the marketing of your content on integrity. You might think it is all fun and games (it all just looks cool), or as one person posted, that it is a way to honor asians and asian americans. Truly, I can see where those thoughts come from; I’ve been there.

    But it is highly offensive to portray a culture illegitimately when you are outside of that cultural group. It comes across as mocking, regardless of intent. But if you dig deep, you can usually see the intent was for entertainment – which means, however subconsciously it was, the intent was to mock.

    Words that make no sense, sarcastic accents, white actors pretending to be asian, failed stunts, etc are all ways of mockery. And because you and I are not asians, we have no right to mock their culture. And because you and I are white and have more racial power in this nation, we are ostrasizing asians and deeming them as only worthy of our entertainment, that they are weird and not normal, when we make videos and show images like this.

    You don’t make an historical study of martial arts in specific asian cultures and how those factual traditions have integrity and character, with primary sources and the support of asian communities in your representation. Otherwise this would be a whole different story.

    Does that make sense? Please feel free to follow up at my blog or email me to clarify more.

    I pray for reconciliation in this matter, and that integrity, character, and honor would truly be upheld.

    Peace.

  24. mike foster says:

    hey guys…appreciate the conversations and feedback…

    i thought some background here might be appropriate and constructive…

    first off i personally approved Prof Rah comment on our blog(even though off topic) and then even offered up to Prof Rah an exclusive post written by him on our site to talk about the issues and solutions…

    i did my best to try and quickly and succintly respond(through my iphone)to his harsh critique and accusations…my emails were short and quick and direct…that is how i communicate through private emails on my phone…

    however, it seems that my private emails between myself and Prof Rah have lead to simply more division, arguments, and anger…in that i completely apologize for my role in that…

    i think the discussions on these issues are critically important and something that i and our team certainly support. unfortunately, the forum and facilitation of the conversations seems one where it would be impossible to actually facilitate anything healthy or constructive…

    i certainly apologize for any offense that was taken through our work(Deadly Viper) that seeks to use Asian culture as a framework for the important conversations of character, integrity, and grace. certainly it was never our intent to cause pain or to disrespect a culture.

    all the best…

    mike.

    • profrah says:

      Mike,

      Thanks for posting here. On this thread are many specific issues about the website. What would be your response to these specific issues? Also, given that the offense was one generated in a public arena (that is a major website that is launching with much fanfare), should there be an appropriate public response on your website. I am still working on a summary blog entry (trying to make it well thought out and sensitive as well as trying to teach my classes and attend meetings today), but even without that, you and Jud can clearly see that there is a lot of specific concerns raised by many.

    • mishael53 says:

      Thank you for your apology. I hope that you’re able to read through what was posted and not receive it as an attack on your personally. I believe that your intention was good. I believe that you both wrote without understanding the rumblings that have been going on in the Asian American world about how we’ve been marginalized. We are a culture that has been predominantly compliant and quiet about such things but the upcoming generation is finally starting to say “no more” and perhaps this is what’s coming as a surprise to you. But again, as it has been stated many times above, your unintentional offensiveness isn’t what people mostly speaking against. It’s the notion that you didn’t seem bother to stop and really try and see what was offensive. Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc are all very different cultures and speak very different languages. I appreciate the theme of your book and watched your other promotional video with Urkel on it which is certainly less demeaning. But even you posing for a photo holding Samurai swords (Japanese) while saying you’re Kung Fu (Chinese) assassins or presuming that someone’s name sounds like a disease is demeaning. I truly hope that your apology is sincere and that you exemplify what your book promotes and publicly apologize for offending a people group, no matter how overly sensitive you might think we’re being.

    • jim says:

      Mike, you’re in stage 2 I’m sorry. Quote from Jud on your facebook site:

      http://www.facebook.com/DeadlyViperFans?ref=ts#/note.php?note_id=150127987254&ref=mf

      I’m sorry IF is not really saying I’m sorry. It’s cheating-giving the appearance of an apology without being an apology. “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.”

      equals

      “i certainly apologize for any offense that was taken through our work”

  25. elderj says:

    Well, I’m neither White nor Asian, but this annoys/offends/angers me in varying degrees. I can easily excuse ignorance: growing up in the United States when I did, Asians were regularly called “Oriental,” the only images I saw of Asians were badly dubbed Saturday afternoon kung-fu flicks (which as a young boy I thought were awesomely awesome), and I engaged in my fair share of mocking behavior — having no idea at the time that it would be remotely offensive.

    When I became a man I put away childish things and opened myself to learn and behave differently. The initial offense is not so great as the ongoing reactive defensiveness that wants to cover over error with arrogance.

  26. jimmy says:

    As i peruse the emails. i want to applaud the varied thoughtful responses. It is privilege to witness this coalition of Asian American voices. I am distraught that the division persists even in this conversation, presuming, if i am correct that a Non Asian voice is absent. . As an African-American man, it did not take me long to “get it”, having seen and read about the caricaturing of my own community. Immediately, the offense is wrong because it undermines the value of God as our Creator. I am willing to stand alongside you. I have no desire to speak as much as be seen next to you. I believe that when the multi ethnicity will be seen as more than the gathering of eclectic groups to sing songs in different languages. It means displaying the love of Jesus in way that all can see we are His disciples by the way we love each other. I always imagined that love would be different from the love displayed in the world. I continue to hope so!

    i am hoping some productive conversations will occur from this trespass. Look at Eccl. 4: 1-3.

    Standing with you.

    Jimmy

  27. Richard says:

    Speaking as someone who reads both the Deadly Viper blog and Soong-Chan Rah’s blog but who has not yet read the books of either author (but who is planning to), I offer a plea to you all.
    (so I posted this on the DV blog, and I figured I should cross-post this here as well)

    To Mike and Jud: I implore you to explore ways you can move this to an “I’m sorry and…” conversation rather than an “I’m sorry if…” conversation.

    To Soong-Chan Rah: I implore you seek out ways that you can extend grace to Mike and Jud as you point out the things that are hurtful and pursue justice and reconciliation.

    To everyone who is reading and commenting: I pray that we can make this conversation not one of hostility and defensiveness (as conversations around racial offenses often become) but instead one of grace, humility and openness.

  28. Richard says:

    P.S. You don’t have to publish my comment above. This is really just heartfelt plea that doesn’t even need to be public

  29. David Park says:

    I appreciate your comment Richard and while I think there is good substantial reason to be upset, I also want to work with Mike to see how the concerns can be addressed. I think Kathy from the opening comment said it very well and I believe there is a strong enough constituency here to hopefully leverage some change from the publisher and authors.

    I hope to see a more concrete response from Mike soon but if not, I believe we have to keep getting the word out. The reason why Asian American Christians have to care about this issue is because it hurts our Christian witness in our own communities if we are silent on this matter.

  30. Makeesha says:

    ick. I’m more annoyed by the tough guy Jesus absurdity and the man cave/manswers crap that’s on that website. And I think their choice of cover was unwise to say the least – someone already made the rickshaw rally reference. The whole package is offensive…but not only to Asians. I don’t imagine they intended it to be offensive so implying positive intent might be a helpful way forward but it’s also important not to be dismissive of the concerns.

    • eliseanne says:

      i agree. as i posted on dr. rah’s facebook….the hyper-masculinity is offensive to me also. alas, the captivity!

  31. dannyyang says:

    i think they’re doing some type of live chat deal online, tonight at 9PM EST (nov 3). that might be a good way to initiate a two-way conversation. here’s the link http://www.mediasocial.tv/deadlyviper/online.aspx

  32. Wayne Park says:

    I think it’s good that Mike weighed in here. And I think we can give him the benefit of the doubt that although terse and abrupt, his message was written from an iphone. I would think this would be a more sit-down well-thought out correspondence, but again, maybe he meant better.

    The issue goes beyond ethnic gaffes to bigger questions of how minorities are perceived / engaged in the larger culture which really does hold sway in arenas of religion, culture, entertainment, to name a few.

    As annoying as this thread might be to you, I do hope you turn a contrite, open ear and heart, Mike. Don’t dismiss this one.

  33. Marq Hwang says:

    I’m actually curious as to how one can justify using “kung fu” in this context? I realize that in the West, it’s largely divorced from its philosophical notions, but a great many of the forms have their roots not in Christianity, but in other schools of thought–like Daoism.

    Appropriation is nothing new, and it’s quite common for some Christian holidays and behaviors to stem from non-Christian sources (for instance, the “traditional” Christmas celebration).

    Is this a case where the authors were just caught unawares of the nature of many Asian martial arts?

  34. Makeesha says:

    Marq – that’s an interesting perspective – sounds like the same sort of “christians can’t do yoga” stuff. I think there are so many problems with this site and book, IMO, that’s not one of them.

  35. Marq Hwang says:

    Actually, I’m not saying anything of the sort–I’m more curious as to whether the authors even knew of its relation? I’m willing to bet that they didn’t, and it’s fine; it only underscores how little they knew of what they were getting into, and why they’ve ended up in this mess.

    I don’t think the authors themselves are racist. However, I do think that this entire thing sprouted out of a horrible amount of ignorance and unintended cultural insensitivity, as the use of random Chinese characters as decorative fluff with little regard to its meaning (which admittedly could have been worse–see hanzismatter.com for example), the conflation of multiple distinct East Asian cultures, and the seeming unawareness of the origins of these martial arts suggest.

    It doesn’t help that the video on Facebook mocks of the stereotypical appearance, language, film, and mannerisms, all while the actors are in yellowface.

    Are Christians free to learn martial arts or practice yoga? As a non-religious humanist, I’m unqualified to say; whether they’re allowed to or not is between them and their faith. I would, however, hope that whatever they appropriate, they do so understanding where those traditions come from, rather than assuming things from a cursory scan, as it appears these writers did.

    I’d like to recommend a video that may help with this discussion:

    http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html

    Remember–the writers are, in all likelihood, simply unawares as to how it was wrong at the time.

  36. I haven’t encountered the book, but yes the cultural stereotyping for entertainment/profit’s sake and the macho man image are nauseating and offensive.

    And it may not be the time yet to bring up this question, but this whole discussion has me wondering where the line is between appreciating cultures and being offensive. Most people – no matter their race – will never have the opportunity to deeply engage more than one or two cultures. But in a globalized society, we will be exposed to all sorts of cultural artifacts from those cultures. Is admiring such things and weaving them into our own cultural identity automatically offensive for the mere fact that we can never fully enter into the wholeness of that culture. Is doing Christian Yoga or even Yoga Booty Ballet offensive and racist? Is it a neutral act? Or can it in a small way be an act of respect even in its shortcomings?

    I am thinking of Ghanan author Kwame Anthony Appiah’s discussion in his book Cosmopolitanism of cultural artifacts. In a globalized world where the most basic of artifacts stream endlessly detached from their context – can we still truly claim private cultural ownership of such things? Mocking is one thing. But can cultural ideas, like Kung Fu, be copyrighted by one particular culture? The use of it in this book is mocking and offensive, but was it the same in how it was used in The Matrix or the spoof of that movie scene in Chuck?

    I don’t want to disagree with your emotional reaction to this, it just raises these deeper questions that I truly want to understand. I struggle with this too as a handicapped person who just saw kids across America pretending to be Captain Hook missing a hand for Halloween. Is this offensive? Is it just fun? I don’t know… I’m trying to reach an understanding.

    • Marq Hwang says:

      I will admit that the lines between appreciating a different culture, appropriating that culture, and then being offensive regarding that culture can be blurry sometimes; unfortunately, it sometimes seems like the answer to that is often altogether too similar to the famous line about differentiating art and pornography: namely, the viewer “knows it when s/he sees it.”

      Additionally, I won’t even say that culture is exclusive; while Kung Fu has its origins in China, yes, Ninjas in Japan, and Yoga in India, that doesn’t mean that the practice of it is restricted to only those countries, those ethnicities. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be adapted or hybridized with new ideas.

      With your example of, say, “Christian Yoga” (which is a new one on me, to be honest), I can’t imagine it being offensive, but I do think it is an appropriation of another culture’s traditions; if it’s done respectfully (in other words, without mocking the source and paying homage to it), I’d even venture to say that it’s incorporating them in an appreciative way.

      That’s not what I personally am seeing here, and judging by the reactions of the majority of Asian-Americans here, they’re not seeing it either. No effort appears to have been made to even make a cursory understanding of where many East Asian martial arts came from; they’ve conflated at least two different, enormously distinct cultures, taking only the most basic, basest notions of them and merged them without and consideration.

      The reason why it didn’t trigger this offended reaction with, say, The Matrix, has a lot to do with how the people involved approached it. In that particular movie, they hired fight choreographers who had long histories in Wuxia films; the actors did not mock the appearance or mannerisms of a major fraction of the globe’s population. What Asian trappings they did use made sense, rather than just scattering characters around that look cool. I honestly don’t know how much research the Wachowski brothers did, or any of that–but by their treatment of the material, it seemed one of at least some degree of appreciation.

      I’ll agree–the line’s a tricky thing to spot; I don’t think the authors are racists, just misinformed and ignorant of what they did would cause. That said, the initial reaction was also precisely the wrong one for him to have done, however understandable it may have been.

  37. Makeesha says:

    I see what you’re saying, sorry to have assumed.

  38. kimjinsu says:

    i love the internet, and i respect everyone with a thought and are willing to voice it.

    i bet when mike responded to prof rah’s email he was feeling all high and mighty. thinking he had put this guy in his place. now that his ordeal has caught enough fire to reach over a dozen blogs as well as several facebook posts and twitterings, i’m sure he’s regretting those comments and is at home drafting up a press statement.

    “for all those of you guys that say i’m racist, i just want you to know i have tons of asian friends and they were totally cool with my ideas”

    hey buddy, remember when miley cyrus took that picture pretending she had asian eyes? well, it didn’t fair well for her. at least she owned up to it… eventually. maybe you should take a hint. [http://www.popcrunch.com/miley-cyrus-racist-asian-slanted-eyes-photo-controversy/]

    we live in a time where racism hurts and people speak out about it. if you’re going to go out on a limb and risk stepping on peoples feets, then you better be ready and willing to stand up for your actions. i mean, a dallas cheerleader gets ripped apart for blackface halloween costume from this weekend. hers, a halloween COSTUME. YOURS, A NATIONAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN. [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/DN-cheerleader_03met.ART.State.Edition1.4b47128.html]

    “do this…read the book first”. no, i will not read your book because it requires me to purchase it. in fact, i will go even further to say, “zonderman, i will no longer support your company and purchase anything made from zonderman.” ignorance is no longer an excuse, and i’m actually surprised that this wasn’t stopped or caught earlier, especially since its a product from such a large Christian book publishing company, zondervan.

  39. Collin T Tomikawa says:

    Was that really what the author, Mike Foster?

    Really really sad.

  40. [...] book). But when I saw the callous justification type of “what’s the big deal?” response from Mike Foster posted up on Prof. Rah’s blog, and then some video, I was really ticked off. Then it made me [...]

  41. Pauline says:

    James 3:1

    Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

    ‘Nuff said.

  42. [...] matters more than intention filed in dialogue Wow. These blog post comment threads at here and here about unintentional racial stereotypes is blowing up. Big. [...]

  43. [...] Foster is obviously a busy man. And in his quick responses to Soong Chan’s initial email probe, it seems that he assumed that Rah was trolling. He [...]

  44. Russell Yee says:

    I’m trying to think of an analogous example that captures both the offensiveness and sheer clumsiness of the book cover.

    Let’s say an author in China wrote a book on Christian character and titled it, “Deadly Vulture: Character Snipers – A Shock and Awe Survival Guide to Life and Leadership.” This illustrated by a silhouette of an oddly posed, menacing American eagle on the cover.

    Inside, there are chapter titles such as,
    “M16s, Marines, and G.I. Joe”
    “Sniper of ‘What goes around comes around’”
    “Sniper of Obese Turkey”
    “The Star Spangled Way of Strength”
    “A Drone Strike to Your Double Cheeseburger”
    “Invasion Mistakes”

    At least vultures and eagles are both real birds, whereas vipers (actual small poisonous snakes) and dragons (mythical, benevolent, composite creatures in the East, not to be confused with the dragon in Revelation–a completely different animal) have nothing in common.

  45. Dave says:

    It’s worth observing, I think, that there’s a LOT of money invested in this Deadly Viper thing. The book goes back a few years; I remember it being sold at Catalyst the first year I went (2006?). Since then the DVD, the website and now the major-publisher-produced curriculum. Beyond just the financial investment, Deadly Viper has become core to the authors’ “brand” in Chrstendom; I have virtually no impression of Mike Foster or Jud Wilhite outside of DV. And when their whole project is so contrived and stylized, there’s really nowhere to go with this critique except a very costly and public repentance–”go and sell no more.” Ironic that the context for all this is a men’s curriculum on character.

    • Irene Cho says:

      I don’t know… I think if football and baseball teams can change their name and branding because they offend, I think that it’s at least well worth the effort to ask the question of how it can possibly be done.

  46. [...] But really the most disappointing thing in all this has been the lack of response from the authors. They have mostly responded in silence. Or when they’ve responded, they’ve been defensive. You can read an exchange between one of the authors, Mike Foster, and Soong-Chan Rah, a Professor at North Park Seminary here. [...]

  47. [...] Viper’s misuse of Asian stereotypes is alarming. Catch up with the conversation by reading this interaction between Dr. Rah and one of the authors of the book, this open letter to Zondervan & the [...]

  48. [...] by Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite.  Noted author and professor, Dr. Soon-Chan Rah, posted on his blog yesterday about the inappropriate and offensive use of Asian culture in the writing and visual [...]

  49. Ken Fong says:

    Ok, so it’s the day after the Toyoma-moderated conference call between Rah, Foster, et al. I’m encouraged by the now non-defensive sound of the authors’ responses to the outcries.

    Earlier today, I emailed Jason @ Zondervan and expressed my being upset at their endorsing this offense misappropriation of a hodge podge of Asian symbols and stereotypes. I also said that the only sign to the offended parties that they are truly remorseful and repentant is if they immediately remove the offending materials from the shelves.

    Having not been aware of how Deadly Viper has become the authors’ “brand” or shtick in the last couple of years, I think I get how this would mean the dismantling of this vehicle to teach Christian character development. That would mean not only loss of future profits but also the loss of the authors’ brand altogether. And when it comes to making tough decisions, it’s often hard, even for Christian people or corporations, to chose the path that means taking it in the shorts financially.

    But what other choice do they both have? If they work together to remove all of the offensive parts from the book and approach, wouldn’t it just be another Christian take on building character? Wouldn’t it lose its ‘coolness’ quotient, especially among the younger Emergent crowd? I believe the answer is ‘yes’ to those questions, which I think explains any initial and current hesitancy to yank the product(s) from the market ASAP.

    But what if the authors insisted that that is exactly what Zondervan should do, no matter how much it cost either of them? What if they insisted that this happen because it was simply and clearly the right thing to do?

    If the authors insisted that Zondervan do this, imho, it would be them demonstrating what I understand is the very point of their book, blog, etc. Impeccable Christ-like character that can elude being assassinated along the way. Wouldn’t that be an ironic way to make their point?

  50. Great review! It’s nice to see that there are such great stories in these books!

  51. Oops! I posted a comment without making sure I was logged in on my own account. I update a blog our church has and was logged in as Neighborhood Church. Please delete that one and I’ll repost it under my own account…

  52. I haven’t read through all the comments, but I’ll say this: Professor Rah, you disappoint me. You’re offended by the use of the term Kung Fu and of Asian characters? Have you taken the time to consider that Kung Fu isn’t even exclusively part of Asian culture anymore? I don’t know where you live, but in my town I can’t think of a single dojo of ANY martial art that is taught by an Asian person. Do you think that should change, too? My son’s is in a martial arts class. His Sensei is not an Asian. Because of that, should the class remove any Asian symbols and abandon classes until such time as a suitable Asian is available to teach? Should I be offended if an Asian features American Football “symbols” on the cover of his/her book?

    This is ridiculous, and you should be ashamed to have even brought it up. Now a man’s work has been pulled, and income reduced, because you took choose to be petty?

    This is absolutely RIDICULOUS!

    • Marq Hwang says:

      Have you taken the time to consider that Kung Fu isn’t even exclusively part of Asian culture anymore?
      Have you taken the time to consider that Christianity isn’t even exclusively part of Caucasian culture anymore? It might have been okay to mock other cultures in the past when Christianity was primarily Caucasian, but it’s not anymore.

      I don’t know where you live, but in my town I can’t think of a single dojo of ANY martial art that is taught by an Asian person.
      I don’t know your experience, but most of the devoted Christians I’ve met were Asians.

      Because of that, should the class remove any Asian symbols and abandon classes until such time as a suitable Asian is available to teach?</b.
      Because of that, should I expect that Christian symbols and texts be replaced by things that fit traditional Asian perceptions and stances? You know, like making Jesus Asian, with black hair, a black beard, almond-shaped eyes, and seamless silk robes?
      Nobody here said that Asians are a requirement for relating bits of Asian culture. If you’d taken the time to read the comments, you’d have understood that. Instead, you decided to come in and shoot off your comment from the hip, with the height of arrogance.

      Should I be offended if an Asian features American Football “symbols” on the cover of his/her book?
      Because Xs, Os, acronyms, and arrows are exclusively American.

      This is ridiculous, and you should be ashamed to have even brought it up. Now a man’s work has been pulled, and income reduced, because you took choose to be petty?
      You know, I’m not feeling generous today. Go take your white privilege and shove it, since you obviously weren’t willing to read and follow the discussion to see where we were coming from.

      • So much was said between the lines here. Congratulations. I hope your comment remains. It would be a shame if someone deleted it.

        Thank you, thank you, thank you.
        ;)

  53. A question: were you also offended by the movie “Kung Fu Panda”? After all, it was “guilty” of the same things you didn’t like about Mike’s book.

    • Marq Hwang says:

      Personally? Offended might be the wrong word for it. Irked at what looked to be nothing more than a cheap appropriation, done poorly by DreamWorks, a mill for CG animated films? Yes.

      If you’ll note, I felt the same way about Kung Pow.

  54. [...] matter for the same reason the Deadly Viper’s controversy was indeed a real controversy.  It is not without significance that Deadly Vipers was initially [...]

  55. [...] Life and Leadership I tried several times to weigh in at one of the blogs that started the storm here but believe it or not my comments never were allowed to be [...]

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