By Zara Zhi
AsAmNews Staff Writer
A new show making light of human trafficking and Asian stereotypes called Mail Order Family has been greenlit by NBC. The half-hour sitcom centers on a widowed single White father who orders a mail order bride from the Philippines to help rear his two preteen daughters, reports Deadline.
Comedian Jackie Clarke, the show’s creator, based the story on her own father who bought a Filipino wife after he and the children looked through a catalogue.
Clarke’s stepmother lived unhappily with the family for several years before divorcing her dad after finding out he had another secret family in the Philippines.
This led to Clarke’s father abandoning the family to be with his new family in the Philippines. Her story was made into an animated web series and featured on PBS’s This American Life.
Despite the depressing nature of Clarke’s family history, it is being made into a “family friendly” sitcom by a major television network.
Not only does the show encourage racist and sexist Asian stereotypes, it also normalizes an industry that violates the human rights of women and children.
Human trafficking is no laughing matter. The men who order brides from undeveloped countries are exploiting the situation of destitute and desperate women.
While the women are seeking financial security, the men who purchase them are often seeking obedient, subservient wives.
Gabriela Network, a woman’s advocacy group based in the U.S. and the Philippines, approximates that 5,000 Filipinas are married through international marriage agencies each year, according to The Radical Notion.
After the U.S. occupation of the Philippines, former president (and dictator) Ferdinand Marcos marketed Filipina women as exotic, promiscuous sex workers after he ruined the country’s economy.
Filipina women make up 70% of all Asian mail order brides and 70% of these marriages end in divorce, with domestic violence as a main contributor, according to a 2008 report.
Estelita Villa Reeves, a Filipina mail-order bride, was murdered by her husband in Texas. An investigation discovered that he had two previous mail-order brides who both died mysteriously.
Knowing the facts, why would NBC pick up a show that promotes human trafficking and blatant misogyny? Even if the show is about the negative consequences of such an arrangement, it normalizes the industry and puts the men who support it in a sympathetic light.
After Chris Rock paraded a group of oblivious Asian kids to stage only to make them the butt of a cruel joke at the 2016 Oscars, many were left wondering why society continues to dehumanize Asians.
Mail Order Family is just another stark example of how it’s Ok, if not encouraged, to make fun of us. Hollywood would never dare produce a sitcom about ordering slaves from Africa, yet they have no qualms when it comes to demeaning Asians
Although the days of Mickey Rourke playing Mr. Yunioshi are over, moments like these prove that racism against Asians is alive and well – if not thriving.
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