Systemic Racism: White Jokes

So with all this talk about systemic racism and how Brock Turner had his court sentencing lenient because of his white male socioeconomic privilege, it leads me to talk about how systemic racism works when regarding racist jokes. I believe the concept of white privilege and systemic racism exists but many times, it doesn’t apply depending on the situation and I think it can often be abused and overused. Where it for sure does apply, however, is when the matter concerns racist jokes. My white friend once told me, “There are white jokes but it’s really only jokes that uplift white people.” He’s right. There are barely any jokes that demean white people as a whole. You can search the internet and there will be scores of racist jokes for  “dog-eating, bad driving, funny-accent having” Asians,  “illegal, gang-affiliated” Hispanics, “thieving, loud, ghetto” Blacks, etc. But when it comes to white people jokes, they reach farthest to the extent of “Why do aspirins work? Because they’re white.”See, that’s so uplifting and demeans other minorities at the same time. There is also hillbilly jokes but even then, they play off the satirical character of an ignorant white person from Alabama who hates black people and sleeps with his cousin. But you see, that stereotype is rooted in hatred for people of color. Prove me wrong with a hilarious joke, but I highly believe that racist jokes perfectly fit the framework of systemic racism.
I think I felt the urge to share this because as many people know, I am addicted to puns and I love jokes and comedy in all forms and I often debate whether systemic racism applies in certain situations.


Early #ThrowBackThursday Article

Here is my article from Khmerican back in 2014. It was an honor to write for Rithy Panh’s movie. Very touching, very inspirational, very creative. I hope to write more articles like this in the future.

By Sidrich Chhour

Long Beach, CA — At the Art Theatre on Saturday, local moviegoers were given the opportunity to meet Rithy Panh, director of the Academy Award-nominated film “The Missing Picture.” The event also included a screening of the film, a follow-up question/answer session, and a dance performance by the Khmer Arts Academy.

mp2Misery, horror, historicity, and even reminiscence about the pre-genocidal Cambodia are themes carried throughout Panh’s latest film. Panh was 13 on April 17, 1975, the fateful day when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forced Panh, his family, and the rest of Phnom Penh’s inhabitants to flee to the countryside. Through clay-figure animation, historical archival footage, and eloquent French narration, Panh’s story comes to life. He describes how his family was starved to death in the labor-intensive camps where Pol Pot sent the upper and middle classes for “re-education” and execution. Along with depicting Panh’s family, another focus in the film is remembering the history of the Cambodian genocide to educate those unaware of it.

After warm applause at the end of the screening, there was a brief panel discussion. Panh, Randall Douc (the film’s narrator), Catherine Dussart (producer), Mark Marder (composer), Chhom Nimol (lead singer for the band Dengue Fever), and PraCh Ly (Cambodia Town Film Festival co-founder) participated in the Q&A session.

In response to one of the questions, Panh said, “One of the main reasons I made this film is because the war and killings are such a touchy subject for people who went through the tragedy. But the truth is that we cannot hide our stories. Our young people question and they want to know. That is why we cannot hide our story.”


As more questions proceeded, Panh also noted the importance of political history: “To understand the genocide in Cambodia, we cannot just blame the Communists. That is too simplistic. We must understand Karl Marx and the ideologies that influenced the rise of Communism.”

Toward the close of the event, Caylee So (co-founder of the Cambodia Town Film Festival) presented Panh with an honorary plaque for his production of The Missing Picture. “I was so touched at how the Cambodian community in America can relate to the film. And when Caylee handed Rithy the honorary plaque, I almost cried,” said Panh’s wife, Agnès Sénémaud.

The Missing Picture is in contention for this year’s Academy Awards. The film has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. In fact, it is the first Cambodian film to be nominated for an Oscar. Whether or not Panh is officially recognized, he will still be considered triumphant to those who have seen The Missing Picture, and to the Cambodian diaspora community as a whole. For a chapter in history so tragic, Panh has crafted a creative yet deeply moving representation of a lost period in history as best as he could.

The Missing Picture will be shown daily until Thursday, March 6 at The Art Theatre in Long Beach.

Sidrich Chhour is currently a student at Cal State Fullerton majoring in Communicative Disorders.

Shared Article: Students encouraged to share their uniqueness at autism awareness event


Cal State Fullerton students filled up a board of puzzle pieces at Titan Walk on Wednesday to answer the question, “What makes you unique?”
The puzzle was part of a booth that aimed to raise autism awareness on campus by encouraging students to reflect on how individual differences and identities intersect in the community. The motif for the event, a blue puzzle piece, symbolized autism awareness.

The event was hosted by the CSUF Center for Autism and the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. The Center for Autism’s mission is to “improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families through research, teaching, clinical service and community involvement,” according to its website.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and the center hopes to celebrate uniqueness and encourage students to support their peers who may be “differently-abled,” according to an event flier.

Sidrich Chhour, a senior speech language pathology major and a member of the campus club Autism Speaks U, hosted the booth to inform students about the services available.

“If anyone from the community needs a referral for their child, or a family member or any loved one, we’re right there to help as best as we can,” he said. “(People with autism) want to be treated like everybody else and they’re usually classified as normal.”

Chhour said that, judging from his experience, he does not call autism a disability.

“I would just call it a unique character trait,” he said. “We all have unique character traits.”

Senior art major Rachel Landin visited the booth to add her puzzle piece to the board. While she said that she thinks the club is doing a great service to the community, she admitted that she does not have a full understanding of autism.

“I don’t know that much about it. All I know is that for many people who have autism, it’s a spectrum. Not everyone is the same and not every case is the same,” she said. Events like the puzzle display are helpful, she said, because people who know someone with autism may not know where to begin to look for information.

Brittany Simmons, a senior communications major with an emphasis in advertising, stopped by the display because, while she said that she is not personally afflicted with autism, she suffered from a speech impediment as a child and was harshly bullied for it.

She said that she wanted to encourage those who are directly affected by autism.

“Don’t worry about what other people say about you,” Simmons said. “Just accept who you are and use it to better yourself and better the community, and even further the world.”

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that approximately one in 68 children in the United States was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2012.

The CSUF Center for Autism is hosting a fundraising event, “Night at the Bar for Autism,” on Thursday, April 21 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill located at 110 E. Commonwealth Ave. in Fullerton.

From a Cambodian: Thanks Kent State

What’s quoted below is the textual component of my post to Khmerican back in 2014. It was relevant when the shootings took place and relevant today. The Cambodian Genocide is often overlooked in the high school history books and for some reason, I never heard mention of the Kent State Shootings. The two strongly connect and for that reason, I think that is why I was never taught about Kent State in high school. Is it safe to say that Kent State is kept under the water in history books much like Nixon’s decision to bomb Cambodia is?  Many protested across universities in the States. I always wonder what could have been had the protests (including Kent State) went in the favor of the student protesters. How much would it have lessened the chances of Cambodia falling to Pol Pot? As a Cambodian American, I will always be thankful for these Kent State students at the time along with the hundreds of other students who protested across college campuses in 1970. The Vietnam War was a tragic time for both the States and Cambodia. #RememberKentState

From May 4, 2014:

“By Sidrich Savang Chhour

Today marks the 44th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre. This was an event in history where 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard. Kent State students along with many other students around the country held protests against Operation Menu, a codename for the bombings of Eastern Cambodia that lasted from March 18, 1969 until May 26, 1970. Despite the protests ending unsuccessfully with Nixon ultimately carrying out the bombings, Khmerican takes time to commemorate those who died for trying to prevent the bombings of Cambodia.”