Was Seinfeld a Racist Show?
by Ravi Shankar
Seinfeld was the premiere television show on NBC’s Must See TV line-up just a few years ago. Though hilarious, and like NFL referees, upon further review, if we look in-depth at incidents and characters that occur in episodes of the show, we find the underlying possibility of racism and stereotypes. Doubt it, you say? Well, read on, followers of Kramerica Industries!

To begin with, many African-Americans have voiced their problems with the show because none of the four main characters ever had a relationship with an African-American on one episode of the nine season run. The closest things to such a relationship was, first, the episode in which George convinces an African woman, who works for an elderly gentleman Jerry is supposed to spend “quality time” with, and speaks no English to rub his bald head with baby oil. Nonetheless, it wasn’t much of a “relationship” as we see a topless George at the end of the episode with oil on his bald head and “voodoo” music playing in the background. Hilarious?! Not bloody likely!!! The lack of African-Americans continued in a later episode where Elaine dates a man who she is unsure of what race he is. She eventually believes that he is African-American (finally, a glimmer of hope! One African-American boyfriend/girlfriend on the show!), but alas, it turns out he is white. He thinks she’s Hispanic, so they’re both disappointed, and go to The Gap. Yeah, pretty lame. But, once again, no African-American boyfriend or girlfriend ever.

Next, let’s move on to the episode entitled “The Cigar Store Indian” which primarily focused in one way or the other with racism. Jerry is very interested in one of Elaine’s friends, Winona, but offends her by purchasing a cigar store Indian as a gift for Elaine. Later in the episode, Jerry attempts to ask a mailman where the nearest Chinese restaurant is. The mailman turns out to be Asian, and responds, “Ohh! You ask Chinese man where nearest Chinese restaurant is! Oh, American man, where nearest hot dog, hamburger stand?” Obviously, this is hilarious, embarrassing for Jerry, yet stereotyped in general all across the board. Later on, the term “Indian giver” is used. In the end, nothing works out for Jerry, and he ends up being a victim of looking at races from a stereotypical standpoint. Though this seems pretty tame and you can give a little harty-har to, look at the shocking facts that continue.

When it pertains to Asians, incorrect perceptions can be made. First, there is “The Chinese Woman” in which Jerry meets a woman over the phone whose name is Donna Chang. Jerry says to Elaine, “I’ve always loved Chinese women.” Elaine responds, “Isn’t that a little racist?” Jerry says, “It’s not racist if I like them.” Good point, Jerry. But, I have a question for you. Why didn’t you ever have an Asian girlfriend in any episode then? Well, it’s possible their fathers wouldn’t let them date “the white man,” eh, Chikan? Regardless, George did date an Asian woman in one episode who soon found Jerry’s “dark and disturbed” persona to be attractive. Anyway, it all ended badly, and she doubled the damages against Elaine in the lawsuit. Ahh yes, now to the lawsuit, in which Chinese delivery boy, Ping, sues Elaine because she walked in front of him causing him to crash and injure himself. What does this all mean? That Chinese people are reckless bike riders and when their attorneys come after you, they will get all your money from you. Hide, whitey, hide. Also, there was the episode with Elaine and the Korean women. It also had stereotypes galore as the Koreans kept speaking in their native tongue in the nail salon, thus making Elaine think they were badmouthing her. They were, thus continuing the stereotype of Asians talking shizzat in their language and owning nail salons. Then, there was the great “The Chinese Restaurant” episode. It was funny, but it made it seem like you could not get a table at only Chinese restaurants. Not to mention stereotyping a Chinese restaurant host (played by the talented James Hong) by making him completely lost in a sense. At one point, Elaine says, “Where am I? The Twilight Zone? Well, Laney, I guess all you white people think Chinese restaurants are exotic, crazy places where weird things will happen. Hey, now you know how it feels for everybody else to live in your white world.

Okay, now on to Hispanics. Remember that episode with Ramon the pool guy? Well, yeah, Jerry found him annoying and didn’t want to hang out with him. Later on, Ramon’s pool guy friends at the health club are pretty stereotyped and talk to Jerry. “So, we heard you hung out with Ramon?” Jerry says, “Well, I just happened to be at the theater as well. Anyway, I got to get going now.” And, they say, “To see Ramon?” How idiotic. Are we supposed to believe all these crazy ass pool guys act like this and they’re all Hispanic or some type of non-white? Well, whatever. By the way, Ramon is Ramon, not the great Razor Ramon. Or Snafu Ramon. Anyway, there were only a couple other Hispanics I could think of. First, Manny the landlord in the early goings of the show who didn’t really speak English. That’s always a plus for stereotyping. Then, of course, there was that Hispanic hoodlum who stole Elaine’s armroire with his white hoodlum friend, and then got angry at Kramer at the AIDS rally and Puerto Rican day. He was a lot like the Jesus, only not cool and not wearing purple all the time. Okay, so you got all the facts, pendejo? Let’s move on then.

Now, on to just “foreigners” in general. First, “The Soup Nazi,” who we would later find out in the final episode is Yev Kazem. So, anyway, his accent just shows he’s a foreigner, and then a very angry man. So, yeah, foreigners are always angry and act like Mussolini when it comes to soup. “No soup for you!” = High Nielsen Ratings! Next was the episode where the gang goes to India for Sue Ellen Mischke’s marriage. Yeah, great depiction of India. And the Indian immigrants say “Don’t go to India. It’s a horrible, horrible place.” I’ve never met a person from India say that. Maybe I’m talking to the wrong people. Or, maybe, just maybe I’m on the right track with all this stuff. Also, was the foreign guy (assumed to be Indian) at the parking lot, who wouldn't let George get his car back after he found a condom in it. He says, "In the city, anything gets on your shoe, and suddenly, 'Oh!' condom in your car." Wow. So, we're left to believe that Indians who run parking lots allow prostitution to occur in their cars. As if it's some sort of huge vehicle brothel/orgy! And, then there was Babu Bhatt, whose restaurant hopes were bashed in by Jerry. Later, Babu got deported because his visa renewal form ended up in Jerry’s mailbox while he was on vacation. Sad. Sad indeed.

So, can this all be explained? Why is it that people of other races are so misrepresented on one of the greatest American shows of all time? It seems like any person of any race who gets near these four individuals gets their lives destroyed. But it seems like minorities get especially screwed over. I mean, come on, Babu got deported cause of Jerry and Elaine! Well, it’s all nuts. Well, I have firm faith that Jerry Seinfeld himself is not a racist nor is Larry David…well, maybe Larry David is, as thought of by an African-American lady in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. But, we can only sit and ask the question is the show racist? And sit and wonder what if Elaine Benes got married and became Elaine Patel or if George didn’t want to marry Susan, but wanted to marry that African maid? Nah. We’re living in a dream world. The Seinfeld writing team wouldn’t allow that. Racist bastards.

"And the Jews steal our money through their Zionist occupied government, and use the Black man to bring drugs into our oppressed white minority communities." So says George in the episode entitled The Limo, an episode in which George is confused to be a white supremacist, which he is not. Or...was Kramer right and Jerry's stand-up comic job is an act, and he's O'Brien! We'll never know. What I do know is this is a really long caption.