Ming-Ming the duck: racist? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Is it racist that the Wonder Pets duck is named Ming-Ming?
Yes, it's a stereotype 5 3.13%
No, what's racist about that 104 65.00%
This poll is stupid 51 31.88%
Voters: 160. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-22-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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ummmmmmm...just curious, is this supposed to be an educational program...??

i have a 1 yr. old, of course not watching tv yet...but reading about this show is making me nervous about what sort of crap is passing as children's shows these days.
My son loves this "crap", and I think it is pretty cute too. No, it is not educational per say, it is more about imagination and helping others.

Nobody has mentioned my favorite character! I'll give you a hint...

The skunk sprayed me, the skunk sprayed me, I...am....stinkyyyy.
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Old 06-22-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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I love the way my almost-2-yr. old sings, "The phone... the phone is ween-geeng..."
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:02 AM
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My son loves this "crap", and I think it is pretty cute too. No, it is not educational per say, it is more about imagination and helping others.

Nobody has mentioned my favorite character! I'll give you a hint...

The skunk sprayed me, the skunk sprayed me, I...am....stinkyyyy.
ollie! the bunny!
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:47 AM
 
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I voted this poll is stupid. I'm not kidding when I say the theme song makes my stomach churn...just thinking of it musters up the nausea. My son was obsessed with that show. I had horrid morning sickness with my last pregnancy. I'd lay on the couch to try and rest while being forced to listen to that theme song over and over as my son was parked on the floor watching the show. As soon as momma felt good, that show was banned.
As for Ming-Ming...him and his baby talk was the primary reason I banned the show. My son started to talk like him. His name...BFD!!! Seriously, do we have to nit pick and create racism where there is none?
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:53 AM
 
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I am so glad there are others who recognize the insidious statist propaganda of Thomas the Tank Engine for what it is! And my toddler is obsessed with "Ta-ta." Every train we see is now "Ta-ta." :
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:35 AM
 
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I love Ming Ming!


The phone...! The phone is ringing!... my kids and I sing this every time the phone rings.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:43 AM
 
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I love this show! I don't see anything racist about it.

It cracks me up that the turtle wears water shoes.
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:16 AM
 
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OK, the show is just stupid, I think we can all agree on that. Ming ming's character annoys me, b/c he (or she?) speaks with a speech impediment AND has an asian name, the combo of the two bothers me. To me, that seems racist. Why did they choose give the character with a speech impediment an asian name?
I don't think the show is stupid. I actually really like it because I think the characters are cute, and I enjoy the musical score. I would much rather watch it than Spongebob Squarepants. My 3 year old only ever wants to watch Spongebob, and will only agree to watch Wonderpets once in a blue moon, but she was really into it for awhile. She even made me buy celery one day when we were shopping because she recognized it from the show (I loathe celery so I don't ever buy it).

The duck has a speech impediment? She sounds like my 3 year old who has been pronouncing Rs like Ws every since she started talking. I thought she was just supposed to sound like a little kid. Oh, I just realize that is what the Wikipedia article said.

My child has never asked if Ming Ming was an Asian name. To her it's just a name no more unusual than Linny or Tuck or Spongebob. I wouldn't even necessarily think it was supposed to be Asian. I didn't specifically think the duck was supposed to be Asian either, and my children have never asked that. I also do not believe it is necessarily racist to portray a character of a particular ethnic background with a developmental delay or physical disability. Was Malcolm in the Middle racist because the wheel chair bound Stevie was black? I do get what you are saying about pidgin english, but this is far from that, IMO. I'm sorry if you feel that they are playing on stereotypes, though. I can see how that would be hurtful.

I feel that your comments about the speech impediment could also be hurtful. It's like you are making a value judgment about the worth of someone because she has a developmental issue. So Ming Ming has a normal speech pattern of a young speaker, but even if it did turn out to be something more serious, does it mean she is not as good as a "normal" duckling and only non-developmentally challenged ducklings should be used to portray other races? That's just how this is coming across to me.
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Old 06-22-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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ummmmmmm...just curious, is this supposed to be an educational program...??

i have a 1 yr. old, of course not watching tv yet...but reading about this show is making me nervous about what sort of crap is passing as children's shows these days.
Actually, that particular show, as silly as it was, would be GREAT for a potty learning kid. They talked about how the puppy had to pee pee and only little puppies go on paper and big puppies go outside. They talked about how *everyone* pees no matter who they are. A good lesson for a child that's PL and maybe afraid or something. I wouldn't call this "crap".


As much as I dog on the show, I do think it's catchy and kind of cute. I know all the songs and dh and I play-sing them back and forth in conversation.
The Backyardigans really is my all time favorite show though, I think I might enjoy it more than dd.

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Old 06-22-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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I'm with those that aren't getting the Duck = Asian racism connection. Am I missing something?

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Old 06-22-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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"Puppy, use the doggy door! Oh no! He doesn't know HOW!!!! This is sewious!!"

: I choked on a cracker when I read this btw - you nearly killed me!

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Old 06-22-2007, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel that your comments about the speech impediment could also be hurtful. It's like you are making a value judgment about the worth of someone because she has a developmental issue. So Ming Ming has a normal speech pattern of a young speaker, but even if it did turn out to be something more serious, does it mean she is not as good as a "normal" duckling and only non-developmentally challenged ducklings should be used to portray other races? That's just how this is coming across to me.
OK, I'm not really making a value judgement, I don't mean to be. I'm sure she's just as good as all the other ducklings. What I was trying to say is that Ming Ming is very different from the other animals, not just her name. She can fly. She has a markedly different speech pattern from Tuck and Linny. She has problems working with the team sometimes - I've seen a couple of episodes where it seems like she thinks she doesn't NEED the team (of course, that all gets resolved after 15 minutes, but I'm sure you know what I mean). And while the characters do seem free of gender in terms of the plot, the other two are clearly voiced by little boys, while Ming Ming is voiced by a girl.

I don't actually think there's some racist conspiracy on the part of the creators to equate Asians with lisping egotistical ducks. That just doesn't make sense. I'm very new to the childrens' television game, and I'm struck by what I perceive as some strange differences between Ming Ming Duckling and the other two Wonder Pets. It can actually be a pretty good show; ITA with whomever said they'd take it over SpongeBob any day. SpongeBob is very, very irritating (though, honestly, most childrens' programming is irritating; I've had nightmares about strangling Elmo for many, many years).

The whole point of this post was kind of tongue-in-cheek, anyway, but I guess that didn't come across. But for those of you who watch Wonder Pets with your kids, are you really telling me you haven't noticed that Ming Ming can kind of be the whipping boy (duck)? And honestly, I'm just wondering what the thinking was behind naming her Ming Ming, besides that it rhymes with Duckling.

: I'll take this to English class, I guess.
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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OK, I'm not really making a value judgement, I don't mean to be. I'm sure she's just as good as all the other ducklings. What I was trying to say is that Ming Ming is very different from the other animals, not just her name. She can fly. She has a markedly different speech pattern from Tuck and Linny. She has problems working with the team sometimes - I've seen a couple of episodes where it seems like she thinks she doesn't NEED the team (of course, that all gets resolved after 15 minutes, but I'm sure you know what I mean). And while the characters do seem free of gender in terms of the plot, the other two are clearly voiced by little boys, while Ming Ming is voiced by a girl.
I don't actually think there's some racist conspiracy on the part of the creators to equate Asians with lisping egotistical ducks. That just doesn't make sense. I'm very new to the childrens' television game, and I'm struck by what I perceive as some strange differences between Ming Ming Duckling and the other two Wonder Pets. It can actually be a pretty good show; ITA with whomever said they'd take it over SpongeBob any day. SpongeBob is very, very irritating (though, honestly, most childrens' programming is irritating; I've had nightmares about strangling Elmo for many, many years).

The whole point of this post was kind of tongue-in-cheek, anyway, but I guess that didn't come across. But for those of you who watch Wonder Pets with your kids, are you really telling me you haven't noticed that Ming Ming can kind of be the whipping boy (duck)? And honestly, I'm just wondering what the thinking was behind naming her Ming Ming, besides that it rhymes with Duckling.

: I'll take this to English class, I guess.
Actually, Linny is a girl, I have no idea if the person doing the voice is, but Tuck refers to Linny as "She" all the time. One instance i am sure of is in the episode where Linny is sick, and Tuck and Ming-Ming have to save the baby mouse.
I always assumed that Linny and Tuck guided Ming-Ming more because she is the youngest.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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OK, the show is just stupid, I think we can all agree on that.
No, no we can't. : I love it, personally.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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I think this thread kind of illustrates why there are so few identifiable characters of color in children's TV, actually -- it's a minefield! People are going to nitpick any decisions you make about how to represent that character, in a way that they won't for anglo ones.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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I don't know if it's racist, but I HATE that show. My DP thinks it's hilarious and encourages our DD to watch it.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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The voice actors on Wonder Pets are all girls.
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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It used to annoy me, now I'm OK with it. There are actually some smart little throw-away references to adult pop culture here and there, I always appreciate when kids' show writers put that in there for us.

Now, personally, I'm a big Lazy Town fan. That Robbie Rotten....who would have thought he was this hot??? http://www.imdb.com/gallery/hh/11332...tef%E1n%20Karl


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Old 06-22-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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Oh, I love Lazy Town! I think the nutritional preaching is too heavy-handed, but it's funny and the little songs are pretty catchy. And it's just so WEIRD -- that's always a plus for me.
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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But "frog" is a well-known ethnic slur for the French;
I'm obviously clueless because I've never heard of this. I've never heard of the duck=Chinese/Asian thing either. What else am I missing?
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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You need to read more English novels! The British have a slur for everyone.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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I don't think the show is stupid. I actually really like it because I think the characters are cute, and I enjoy the musical score. I would much rather watch it than Spongebob Squarepants. My 3 year old only ever wants to watch Spongebob, and will only agree to watch Wonderpets once in a blue moon, but she was really into it for awhile. She even made me buy celery one day when we were shopping because she recognized it from the show (I loathe celery so I don't ever buy it).

The duck has a speech impediment? She sounds like my 3 year old who has been pronouncing Rs like Ws every since she started talking. I thought she was just supposed to sound like a little kid. Oh, I just realize that is what the Wikipedia article said.

My child has never asked if Ming Ming was an Asian name. To her it's just a name no more unusual than Linny or Tuck or Spongebob. I wouldn't even necessarily think it was supposed to be Asian. I didn't specifically think the duck was supposed to be Asian either, and my children have never asked that. I also do not believe it is necessarily racist to portray a character of a particular ethnic background with a developmental delay or physical disability. Was Malcolm in the Middle racist because the wheel chair bound Stevie was black? I do get what you are saying about pidgin english, but this is far from that, IMO. I'm sorry if you feel that they are playing on stereotypes, though. I can see how that would be hurtful.

I feel that your comments about the speech impediment could also be hurtful. It's like you are making a value judgment about the worth of someone because she has a developmental issue. So Ming Ming has a normal speech pattern of a young speaker, but even if it did turn out to be something more serious, does it mean she is not as good as a "normal" duckling and only non-developmentally challenged ducklings should be used to portray other races? That's just how this is coming across to me.
Noooo, I am not saying that ppl with speech impediments are somehow less worthy. Not at all! Like I said in my original post, we all know that ppl who speak all sorts of languages can have speech impediments. I'm just pointing out that many ppl unconciouscly think of the stereotype of asians speaking with an accent or flawed english. The duck, whose name is asian, who may or may not be asian, IS going to make ppl think of asians.

Whether intentional or not, I do believe that this negatively portrays asians. They can make developmentally challenged characters of any race for all I am concerned. The name, "ming ming" gives you that idea the duck is supposed to be asian, b/c it has an asian name. I guess I am a tad annoyed with the speech thing, since it is such a big deal with asian stereotypes to begin with. If ming ming had other developmental challenges, I would be cool with it. I am annoyed with the association btwn asian and speaking non-perfect english with this particular character.

Yes, it is hurtful, even though many here probably think I am being too sensitive. I've grown up my entire life having ppl saying things like, "Wow, your english is so GOOD" or things like, "I can barely hear an accent." Wellll, that's b/c I don't have an accent, not even a regional accent, since I grew up in a region of the US that is accentless. The thing is ppl think, "asian" and they automatically think, "accent/can't speak english/not born here, etc.". That is why this particular combo of the ming ming's name and speech issue really rubs me the wrong way. If ming ming had any other disability, that would have been fine with me. It just bothers me that they went with the speech and asian name combo, when there is already such a negative asian stereotype associated with it. Even if they did not do it on purpose, I still do believe that stereotypes did play a role. Plus, I do agree with ktbug that ming ming is the whipping boy of the group and that part bothers me too.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Woohoo! Somebody understood! Overly sensitive or not, I knew there was something to it. I just started thinking about it because I couldn't figure out WHY they named her "Ming Ming" in the first place.

As for the "there aren't many characters of color on childrens' TV because everyone overanalyzes it ..." - do people nitpick Dora and Diego? What about Maria and Gordon on Sesame Street? I mean, is Dora a stereotypical or derogatory representation of a latina?
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Old 06-22-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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Ming Ming's little R speech issue is not a "disability". It's just a common mispronunciation (that in my mind, is WAY overdone) issue that many children have and outgrow by the time they're 7. Maybe if she was trying to sound Asian and then overdid the bad R thing, it would be an issue to debate about racism or stereotyping or whatnot. But it's just a kid overdoing a bad R sounding like W.

And I say this as a former child with speech disorders and a parent of four children who have all had various degrees of speech and language issues - some that are minor and some that are more of a developmental issue (we have articulation and phonological disorders and a child with verbal apraxia.)

I have to say, Ming Ming and Baby Bear bug the crap out of me with their little articulation issue. It's just bad modeling for them, to hear improper pronunciation of letters. They should hear good speech patterns - like on Mythbusters - the way Adam articulates so nicely when he asks if he's missing an eyebrow...
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Old 06-22-2007, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to say, Ming Ming and Baby Bear bug the crap out of me with their little articulation issue. It's just bad modeling for them, to hear improper pronunciation of letters. They should hear good speech patterns - like on Mythbusters - the way Adam articulates so nicely when he asks if he's missing an eyebrow...
See, ITA. Especially with all these mamas posting here that their children who didn't formerly have a problem with Ws and Rs suddenly imitating those speech patterns because they saw it on Sesame Street or Wonder Pets. It does make it "cuter", in the totally conventional sense of what is "cute", but it certainly doesn't do anything to make the show any more educational.
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Old 06-22-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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See, ITA. Especially with all these mamas posting here that their children who didn't formerly have a problem with Ws and Rs suddenly imitating those speech patterns because they saw it on Sesame Street or Wonder Pets. It does make it "cuter", in the totally conventional sense of what is "cute", but it certainly doesn't do anything to make the show any more educational.
My oldest had an articulation disorder - and I swear to you, my second child picked up all of the oldest's bad speech patterns. Even the speech therapist agreed with it. Once the older one's speech improved, the younger one's did too.
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:35 PM
 
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I don't think of Ming-Ming as having developmental challenges as much as just being a baby duckling. (Hence, the talking like a baby.)

The show is really dumb, but I have to confess, I really like it. I love the whole idea of a show that is a series of musical theatre shorts for kids. It's fun.

And my 2 yr old knows that the Eiffel Tower is in France, that Venice has roads made out of water, and that kangaroos live in Australia....
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