Back in the ’90s, when this editor was a newspaper reporter, the local university sent us a book of contacts to use if we ever needed an expert’s perspective on a story. The practice has certainly switched to the internet, but it’s still the same: If a reporter needs a quote for a story, she can always find an expert who’s a professor. This time around, NBC News has turned to Pawan Dhingra, a professor of American studies at Amherst College, to react to “problematic” comments “Home Alone” actor Macaulay Culkin made on Joe Rogan’s podcast back in 2018.

See, Culkin is married to Brenda Song and told Rogan that with mixed-race children, he’d be able to “make Asian jokes because I have an Asian girlfriend kinda thing.”

In a ridiculously long piece, NBC’s Kimmy Yam reports:

The past statements, which resurfaced Monday, have now elicited criticism from many who pointed out that he had “fetishized” his own children.

Pawan Dhingra, a professor of American studies at Amherst College, told NBC Asian America that Culkin’s comments are problematic as they objectify his own family.

“More than anything, he’s exoticizing his partner, and the babies, who were at that point not even born yet,” Dhingra said. “I think that’s a problem in and of itself — when you are turning a person into an exotic object because of their race, or their biracial heritage.”

A couple of tips from a long-time journalist: never trust university professors, and always question reporters’ use of the word “many.”

He’s been walking around since 2018 without repercussions for these statements. White privilege.

Wait, it’s not just tweets; NBC News found another expert for this really, really long piece:

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the nonprofit National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, said the misconception that white parents will understand the struggles of their kids of color often comes from a well-meaning place, but a misguided one. But Culkin’s comments, she said, make it seem as though he’s using his relation to “the struggle” as a “passport to make Asian jokes and basically use your children as an excuse to dehumanize Asian Americans.”

We love Culkin’s response to the “controversy” in a statement to NBC News Asian America: “Mother, Father and Baby are all healthy and happy. We are overjoyed.”


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