Vietnam News

YouTube channels perpetuate discrimination against Vietnam’s minorities

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Ethnic minorities in Vietnam face prejudice and degrading jokes through distorted facts in many Vietnamese YouTube channels.

Such videos have recently mushroomed as some Vietnamese YouTube channels have focused on comedies revolving around ethnic minority groups, labelling them foolish, greedy or luddites.

According to the Vietnam Express, one of the most popular channels is “A Hy TV”, which has attracted over 720,000 subscribers with dozens of videos featuring A Hy, a character from northern Vietnam.

A Hy is often portrayed as lazy, naive, and harassing women with explicit jokes.

In a video titled “Ethnic Man Selling Flowers Meets An Easy Owner”, the main character gropes a woman’s breast, aiming to prolong the experience by obscene conversation.

He also forces women to change their clothes in public or use bras as face masks.

Smutty conversations and arguments among ethnic minority families are also among the main topics on “LS Vlog”.

“Muong Thanh TV” labels its videos “folk comedies” for portraying the supposed argumentative, dumb and sexually explicit daily lives of ethnic minorities.

According to the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (ISEE), these unacceptable comedy videos have a terrible impact on ethnic minority communities.

“Laughter based on distorted truths and hurt is unacceptable and should not be encouraged, especially as ethnic minorities already face large scale negative prejudice,” ISEE said on its Facebook page.

Dr Mai Thanh Son from the Institute of Anthropology under the Social Science Institute of Vietnam said ethnic minorities were weary of interacting with outsiders as they faced a lot of stereotypes.

Many ethnic community members agree these types of videos cast them in a bad light.

Le Thanh Hieu, 26, of Tay ethnicity in the northern province of Cao Bang, said he felt terrible since many netizens mistakenly think these videos correctly reflect reality.

“They are only putting more bricks into the wall of prejudice.”

According to experts, these comedy videos are driven by widespread distorted awareness on ethnic culture.

According to Nguyen Cong Thao, also from the Institute of Anthropology, a 2013 survey in seven provinces showed 57 per cent of respondents thought ethnic minorities are easily tricked, 63 per cent that they are naïve and backward, and 80 per cent that they are alcoholics and support deforestation.

Another survey by the organisation pointed out that ethnic minorities are usually described as backward, lazy, dependent and stupid.

Thao said these misconceptions are popular across social media networks.

In April this year, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs said that some comedy videos on “A Hy TV” violate the country’s constitution and listed nine videos from the YouTube channel smearing minority groups and causing a distorted understanding of Vietnamese in general.

The channel then removed all of its videos and changed its name to “A Huy TV”.

However, many videos had already been spread to other channels and platforms.

Many channels have also turned off commenting functions or deleted controversial content to avoid public backlash.

The New Straits Times (.my) – June 7, 2020

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