Pixar made a short with an Asian audience in mind and some white people just cannot
If you’ve gone to see The Incredibles 2 (which should be everyone at this point, TBH, and if not, get on that because it’s wonderful), then you’ve seen Pixar’s latest short film, Bao. It’s a sweet story that shows a lonely Chinese mom who misses her grownup son, when the food she cooks comes to life, and she starts raising a tiny, adorable bao dumpling as her new son.
Cute, right? Well, the short ends when (SPOILER ALERT) the bao tries to leave home with his new fiancée, resulting in a big argument with Mom, who then eats him. For Asian audiences, this is a sweet story that reflects the strained relationships many have with their parents as they’re growing up and setting off on their own into the world.
“Growing up I was that overprotected little dumpling for my Chinese mom,” director Domme Shi told My Statesman. “I was always so frustrated about being so coddled and overprotected and smothered by my mom. I never really understood why she did it.”
But for some white people, who apparently just can’t let other cultures have nice things, the short doesn’t resonate the same way. They’ve been all over Twitter, complaining that they didn’t understand the short. Some are even going so far as to call it funny or stupid, just because they don’t understand the deeply touching cultural relevance for a bunch of people who are not them. Classic white people stuff, you know.
Meanwhile, Asian viewers who understood and related to the short are calling people out left and right.
i guess white ppl didn't understand bao bc a casserole didn't come to life and ungratefully yell at their mom
— manang bid-ayeee (@czaeyang) June 25, 2018
Me when I hear people say they thought “Bao” was confusing and stupid vs. me when I realize their cultural insensitivity and inability to process basic metaphor makes the the short even more special for those of us that did resonate with it ✨
brb gonna call my mom now pic.twitter.com/R4eLDJ85tz
— Ariana Zhang (@ArianaZhang) June 26, 2018
Another problem with lack of representation: white audiences consume all art as if they are the intended audience because art was made for and by white people and when it finally isn’t, they ridicule it or can’t appreciate it because they can’t relate— Indu 🌙 (@_indusvalley) June 25, 2018
This Pixar short spoke to me and my family. Very touching. Not sorry if it forced folks to recognize that other cultural nuance exists aside from their own.— Larry Luk (@larryluk) June 25, 2018
Others are just appreciating the fact that Pixar made a short that puts their experiences front and center — that kind of representation is heartbreakingly uncommon in mass media.
when i watched bao i was like…that’s just me, like exactly. well anyway here’s my wonderful mom and me as a little bao pic.twitter.com/ydDxYtlAol
— Louie Zong (@everydaylouie) June 26, 2018
So people, it’s time to take a seat. Laughing and joking about this short is rude AF, and if you can’t appreciate something that’s beautiful to someone other than you, at least sit quietly and let them enjoy it.