|By Theresa J. Mah, Ph.D., Department of Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University
Recently, members of Asian Communities United, a group of students, faculty, staff, and community members at Bowling Green State University, reported some appalling incidents on the radio. A DJ identified as “Lucus” on Tower 98.3 FM (a Cumulus Toledo station) has been making prank calls to Asian restaurants in the area with the intention of ridiculing the recipients of the phone calls live on the air. The assumption is that the call recipients speak little or no English and can be easily ridiculed without consequence.
In one incident, on May 22, 2006, around 8:40 pm, the DJ called a restaurant whose workers spoke perfect English. Upon hearing this the two DJs reacted by saying “Who are you? What are you doing there? What’s with these white people working at Chinese restaurants? We’re not calling Bob Evans!”
In another incident, two months before (date and time unknown), a DJ at the same station, called a Japanese restaurant repeatedly, despite clear indications that the calls were unwelcome. The DJ had a huge laugh at the call recipient’s expense, making outrageous remarks such as: “Me love you long time,” “Ching Chong Chung,” and “Me Speakee no English,” among other things.
The Asian Pacific American community in Ohio and Michigan is working to get the offending DJ off the air. So far, a petition drive has been mounted, letters have been written, and calls have been made. Yet station representatives have not responded in a suitably apologetic or meaningful way. Toledo area resident Lisa Blake reported that in a phone conversation, Larry Blum, Regional Manager of Cumulus, told her that he did not think that the DJ’s comments were all that bad. He said, “They didn’t harass anybody,” “We do our best to be lily white clean on issues like this,” and “I’m so tired of having to walk on eggshells about stuff like this.” The DJ remains on the air and unrepentant, having mounted his own petition drive to keep his show on the air.
Asian Americans on the other hand, in the Midwest and beyond, have been united in their outrage over these incidents. Almost 900 signatures from Asian Americans and their allies have been gathered on an online petition calling for the DJ’s ouster. Once the petition reaches 1000 signatures, Asian Communities United, along with a coalition of supporting groups, plans to approach the station’s management more formally with the petition’s demands and a timeline for action.
You can help in two ways. First, write to the station manager and let him know how unacceptable his DJ’s behavior is. Next, go online to the URL below and sign our petition. Here are some relevant addresses:
Here is the URL for the online petition. http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ACU123/petition.html
Thanks for your help and thanks for passing this information along to as many people as you can.
Theresa J. Mah, Ph.D., is on the faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies and is co-advisor to Asian Communities United, a registered student organization at Bowling Green State University.