A long-time Brooklyn resident recently put up a video mocking Asian can collectors in the neighborhood. The main character in the video is a white woman wearing yellow makeup, carefully-drawn lip sticks and a straw hat to pose as an Asian.
This video may seem like a harmless parody, but some people are offended saying it’s disrespectful to people who are in a similar miserable situation that they have to survive by going through the trash cans every day. This You Tube video has received more than 2,300 views so far and more thumbs up than thumbs down.
“It’s nothing to do with Asian or homeless—it’s just what it is: a music video. All nationalities in all neighborhoods do it and they all are not homeless. There is nothing vicious in my video that is intended to offend homeless or Asian people—nothing is directed to them—it’s about granny’s. They shouldn’t be in dirty unsafe garbage cans and all hours of the night,” said the video-maker Maria Campanella via email in response to those who see the video as insulting to homeless people.
In recent years the demographics of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn began to shift from Italian-Americans to Asian-Americans. “It’s an epidemic,” Campanella told Brooklyn Paper. “I see them out at two, three, in the morning. And people don’t like it, because they’re coming onto people’s property.”
Though Campanella said the video wasn’t meant to hurt any feelings, some people in the Asian American community still find it difficult to see the humor in it.
“The way they present it is very disrespectful. I don’t think there’s any viciousness behind it, but I’m disappointed as a human being,” said Steve Chung, president of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn and a member of Bensonhurst’s Community Board 11.
Some of the lyrics in the video are:
Granny’s in my garbage can
Grannys in my trash can
grandmother in garbage can
She go lickey lickey lickey on the redbull can
She goes licky licky licky on that red bull can
Granny in the garbage can she’s not the sanitation man
Watch the Youtube video here and see for yourself if you think it’s funny.