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On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver spoke briefly about the little known story of six Chinese survivors of the Titanic, and how they were treated when they arrived in the United States.
“Here is something you might not know: There were actually six Chinese men who survived the sinking of the Titanic, but upon reaching U.S. shores, were not permitted to enter the United States to recover. Instead, they were forced onto another boat and sent away the very next day,” Oliver said. “Which isn't just racist, it's insensitive. Did it really have to be another boat? They had just been on the best boat and it f***ing sucked. Could you not put them on a zeppelin or something? At the very least, let's try and mix up the doomed turn of the century transportation methods here.”
Oliver went on to dispel the stereotype that Asian Americans are inherently successful and problem-free, known as the model minority myth. Oliver pointed out that Asian Americans have long been the victims of racist attacks when fear and ignorance turn to violence, like the Japanese internment camps during WWII, attacks against South Asian Americans following 9/11, and the rise in violence against Asian Americans since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.