Asian student groups on campus are condemning a local radio station after one of its shows were accused of using racial slurs while discussing the Sept. 15 incident that involved two University students allegedly urinating on two Asian students.
In a Sept. 23 segment of the “Drew and Mike in the Morning” show on 101.1 WRIF, the show’s hosts inserted audio clips in their discussion of the Sept. 15 incident and of the low wages of Chinese autoworkers, that said “Me no speak Chinese” and “I must go toilet,” in fake accents.
Leaders of Asian student groups on campus submitted a letter to the radio station last Wednesday, saying the Asian community was outraged by the radio segment and demanded the release of the audio tape of that segment of the show. The Asian students also requested a meeting of the WRIF management with Asian representatives from the University.
But 101.1 WRIF denied the allegations of promoting racial harassment that the United Asian American Organizations and the Asian American Association have made. The radio station has yet to officially respond to the letter from the Asian community.
Tom Bender, the regional general manager of 101.1 WRIF in Detroit, defended the show’s unpredictable style, adding that the accusations of racial slurs used on the radio show were false.
“The style of the show is very casual, irreverent and sometimes sarcastic,” Bender said.
Bender added that the show often uses “drops” or short pieces of audio from TV, movies, news clips or records to enhance the radio segments.
“Over the years, Drew and Mike have amassed a large number of these, which can occur at any time during the show, with or without warning,” Bender said.
But Denny Chan, an LSA sophomore and the external chair of UAAO, said that sarcasm and casualness could not justify the racist behavior demonstrated on the radio show.
“Regardless of whatever context they’re in, they are very insensitive to the (Asian Pacific Islander American) community.
Chan recognized that WRIF was in fact condemning the Sept. 15 alleged incident involving the two Asian students, adding that, “I think in general they’re supportive, but at the same time, the statement cannot stand alone and be unchecked.”
American culture studies Prof. Scott Kurashige said he was also outraged by the dismissive attitude that the hosts had toward the alleged urinating incident.
“The ‘Drew and Mike Show’ is certainly lowbrow, but I question the morality of anyone who would find humor in the allegation of a serious hate crime,” he said.