Kids today really have no idea of what would be considered politically incorrect or racist from a few years ago. Some of them are so "non-racist" that they do things that seem odd to older folks.
We had a girl who wanted to be Mel B. from the Spice Girls on "Dress like a celebrity day" at a high school I taught at. She was white, though, so she had to put on a lot of tanner. The grown-up teachers were appalled, but not the kids (even the black kids). It was like, duh, if you're white and you want to dress like a black celebrity, what else are you going to do? They had no reference to cruel, racist, black-face movies or whatever.
Gracie probably thought that's what it sounded like when Mao mentioned the sandwich and spelled in phonetically. She probably doesn't know about racist, hurtful stereotypes from years ago. It was good she deleted the tweet, but I doubt she has any bad intent.
I don't see Mao's accent being corrected here in this clip, and in fact, there is a sound quite similar to the 'l' sound in the Japanese language, so Japanese language speakers would not have that much of a problem with the 'l' sound as much as they have with the 'r' sound.
What can happen sometimes when a Japanese person is trying to master the 'r' sound is that their 'l' pronunciation starts sounding weird, like people who practice the lutz suddenly start having problems with the flip which they used to be able to do competently.
But in any case, I think Mao's and 'l's and 'r's are sounding quite okay in the original clip and in the practice clip.
BTW, I kinda feel sorry for the Shibs. They have been so savvy in their engagement with social media and have been doing such a great job with it, and now, their work has been marred by Gracie's most unwitty use of it.
Considering I've had 4 of them the answer to your first question is 'Yes' I've been around kids. And this incident has NO comparison to that whatsoever. This was a tweet making sport of a Japanese young woman's supposed accent in English. That was offensive in every sense of the word. Unreal that you would even compare that to something 'cute' a small child would say while learning to talk.
You might be right. But, see, that's where the issue of social media comes in. It would have been one thing if Gracie had joked like this privately to Mao alone, or even if she had said something like this on Japanese television. But she put it out there for the world to see. That tweet wasn't for Mao's eyes alone, it was also for her many followers, most of whom (I'm assuming) happen to be American.Mao is not an Asian-American and obviously a foreigner from Gracie's standpoint. English is just a foreign language for Mao that she does not need to speak daily. I don't think Gracie would have said something like this if Mao was someone living in the US.
The thing with inside jokes is that that stops becoming a viable defense when you say said jokes on a public platform. That invites scrutiny. You don't want the public to comment on your "joke", then you don't make the joke public. You take it to email or in a private tweet. Now, I think Gracie's young and she's grown up in the age of social media, so she hasn't yet learned how to do this yet. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, so many kids these days think nothing of splashing their every thought on places like twitter and facebook. The boundaries between private and public behavior are slowly eroding.
For the record, I don't think Gracie meant the tweet maliciously, and I don't think she needs to burn in the fiery pits of hell or anything, lol. But she definitely messed up here.
That said, I agree with the rest of what you said. It is amazing that despite being "native" to the technology, that they probably don't realize the power social media can have to make or break you.
It seems like you're blindly defending something which requires no defense, just because it's Mao. If Javier Fernandez had been the subject here and Gracie had posted some kind of riff on one of his cute dialect quirks, I wonder how many people would be viewing it in the same negative light.
1). I agree w/Mrs. P's on how social media invites scrutiny. One, it is speculation, no matter how seemingly well-founded, that this is an inside joke. Two, even if it was an inside joke w/either Gracie's Japanese fans, w/Mao, or both, the fact that she posted it on a social platform available to both Japanese and American fans does invite scrutiny. It's kind of like having a loudly spoken conversation in a public place, and then spinning around and accusing the bystanders of eavesdropping. Well sorry, but by utilizing a public forum-- Twitter-- you've also invited the public's scrutiny and criticism.
2). Personally, I do find this a bit offensive. I'm not saying I haven't poked fun at accents before, but there's a big difference imo, joking among friends who understand it as such and doing so on a public forum everyone can view. With my friends, there's an understanding and context; neither exist in the latter case.
3). I'm sorry but the "she's young!" comment honestly irks me. She's not a child, she's 18 already. I'm right around her age and while I won't claim that everything I've said has been perfectly appropriate, I've also never posted said sayings to a social platform. Also, I'm not a quasi-public figure like Gracie is. You don't need to be an intellectual or rocket scientist to possess a filter and some common sense.