CHICAGO — Are all white people racist?
That's what comedian Peter Kim aimed to find out when he took to the streets of Old Town to satirize an infamous segment that appeared on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" last week.
During that segment, Jesse Watters asked Asian Americans offensive questions, mocked the way they spoke and portrayed them in a stereotypical manner. The video has been widely condemned for being racist.
Kim's spoof of the "O'Reilly Factor" video instead took aim at white Americans, with Kim asking them where they were from, who they were voting for and asking them to tell him the "best type of Asian." He noted that the video had been "heavily edited" and most of the people he spoke to were "very sweet" in a post on Facebook.
"How does it feel when an entire group of people are HEAVILY EDITED to get lumped into one stereotype?" Watters wrote about his video. "Let's find out!"
During one part of the video, Kim asked a white man where he was from, mocking a question that's typically posed to people of color.
"I'm from Chicago!" the man said.
"Like, where are you from, from?" Kim asked.
"Chicago!" The man said.
"No, no, like where is your family from?"
The man, confused, said, "Chicago? ... Oh, oh, we're getting ethnic with it! The Asian's getting ethnic."
Watch the video:
At other points, Kim asked white people to tell him the "best type of Asian" or asked them to choose between Chinese people and Japanese people.
"When is the last time you felt uncomfortable because of your skin?" Kim asked one white man.
"Never," the man said.
At the end, Kim joked that he would "get letters about this one," mocking O'Relly's complaint that his namesake show would get letters about the offensive Watters segment.
Kim told DNAinfo Chicago he wanted to make the video after seeing the O'Reilly segment and realizing there was no way to be racist against white people in the United States. Instead, he decided to "paint a broad swathe and say, 'Are all white people racist?'"
"I wanted America to see what it feels like to ... Asian Americans," Kim said. "I'm hoping people understand the gravity of what Jesse Watters did to a subsegment of Americans. I'm hoping that people will see how unfair it was and how mean it was to portray these people by dehumanizing them."
Kim chose to film in Old Town, a neighborhood he wsa familiar with because he used to work there. He has "Dealt with a lot of racism in that neighborhood," which he described as being "predominantly straight, white." He wanted to face people directly, he said, and asked them questions people of color have faced — including the question about where people are "really" from.
"It's something we experience all the time," Kim said. "White Americans ask Asians, 'Where are you from?' And when we say New York, they say, 'No, no, where are you from, from?'
"That's an example of a micro-aggression, basically saying, 'You don't look white so define where you place of origin is,' whereas white people never have to do that."
One of the women in the video reached out to Kim, saying her appearance had distressed her and she wanted to be cut out of it because she didn't think people understand the video was a joke. He listened to her concerns and is figuring out how to respond.
"The difference between me and Jesse Watters is I am willing to listen," Kim said.
Kim typically performs his comedy live and performs Mondays at Second City.
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