Thursday, November 25, 2010

Babylon & Beyond (L.A. Times Blog): Satirical video highlights racism toward African, Asian workers

Where is your Sri Lankan from?
It's a nasty old joke in Lebanon, one that gets even less funny every time a foreign maid or nanny is reportedly abused.
But activist Wissam Saliby turns this trope of casual racism on its head in a new satirical video he hopes will shine a light on the conditions of African and Asian domestic workers in Lebanon.
In Sri Lankiete Libnanieh (My Sri Lankan is Lebanese), the roles of madam and maid are switched as two spoiled housewives played by Asian women discuss the comparative laziness and stupidity of their Lebanese and Syrian maids, who are treated badly.
Picture 4 "I was trying to invert [these stereotypes] so that people would become aware to their own unconscious racism," said Saliby, who tracks worker abuse on the blog Ethiopian Suicides. He shot the video on a cellphone as part of an interactive workshop run by the producers of Shankaboot, a popular online serial drama.

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