RE: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox

Milos Stehlik (
Thu, 03 Jul 2003 06:39:20 -0500

I think that Joan has a big point, and I would suggest that someone talk to
NAATA first and ask to hear their views. I think the issue - that video
librarians are upset with their getting Fox to withdraw the Charlie Chan
films - is one they would (and need to) seriously listen to.

Censorship or banning films is never the right option, but they are a very
good organization which has fought hard and long for the inclusion of Asian
Americans on American television (including PBS) - something which is a BIG
issue. They have given support to filmmakers like Wayne Wang, Arthur Dong,
Rene Tajima and others, organized an annual festival of Asian American work
in LA, and fought hard to prove that there are voices and representations of
Asians or Asian Americans OTHER than EITHER Charlie Chan OR Jackie Chan. (No
offense to either, they were/are both great)

Obviously the perceptions of racial insensitivity in the Charlie Chan series
were/are real to Asian Americans. This can't be ignored. What we should try
to get NAATA to see (something which will hopefully have a more profound
effect than a petition to a mindless channel like Fox) is that there are
ways of programming and placing films with views that are anachronistic or
offensive into context so that audiences viewing them can LEARN rather than
remain ignorant of film history altogether. From the Charlie Chan series on
Fox, NAATA could have tried to create a platform for discussion. But perhaps
they tried this - we need to ask before ouorselves becoming guilty of
over-reaction and negative judgment of an important organization, which
librarians and others should support.

Milos Stehlik
Facets Multi-Media, Inc.
1517 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614 USA
Voice: 1-773-281-9075
FAX: 1-773-929-5437

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 6:32 PM
Subject: Re: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox

I am not a librarian, but a media producer and educator. I'm on this list
because I enjoy reading many of the postings. It is very important to know
librarians use and present the media that we struggling independents work so
hard to get to varied audiences. I also appreciate how librarians have been
outspoken on issues of censorship: like the attempted censorship of Michael
book or the legislation to make librarians spy on their patrons through the
Patriot Act.

I am chagrined reading the current spate of emails calling for petitions and
condemnations of NAATA as censor.

This is how I see it:
NAATA is a modestly funded PBS public service organization that advocates
inclusion of Asian Americans. FOX makes millions off of commercially
programs that fuel the flames of racism, violence and war.

The official goal of NAATA's work is to present Asian Americans as they see
themselves. Their video collection includes work that looks at the history
the movie industry and its depiction of Asians, including negative
NAATA's work also investigates trends in American history when Asians have
been vilely stereotyped, had homes arsoned, been beaten and murdered, locked
away in internment camps as alien enemies, treated like slaves on
and subjected to ignorance and xenophobia. NAATA is of essence an advocacy
organization as well.

As far as I know, NAATA is not an adversary of freedom of speech, and
librarians are in forefront of defending freedom of speech. Why not speak
someone at NAATA to try to understand their position before sending a

Is Fox really doing a public service by airing Charlie Chan films? Would
would be open to a televised lesson in media literacy or a panel of Asian
American detectives talking about their real lives following the show? There
many ways to preserve our country's cultural legacy, including the legacy of
racial stereotyping, so I am wondering why attack NAATA?

thanks for any clarification,

Joan Mandell
Olive Branch Productions

In a message dated 7/2/03 12:05:57 PM, writes:

<< The petition is a good idea, Gary.

But first, has anyone from Video Round Table talked with the leadership of

NAATA to find out the facts?

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