Let’s Give the Kids More Info and Opportunity to Learn about Racial Prejudice
As I read the replies and comments to the news story about UFC‘s Ben Henderson (Lightweight champion), I was dumbfounded and saddened by quite a few racial slurs. He was the son of a Korean-American mother and an African-American father. He wanted to come back to Korea to feel that he’s a part of the Korean collective.
Such instances of racial discrimination are not isolated… the comments to the news article about a TV comedy ‘Sebakwi’(‘Three Wheels’), showing a parody of blackfaces, also revealed prejudices.
“Why should we apologize? Don’t they make fun of Asians in America, too?“, some kids asked while others would say, “They were only comics dressed up as a black-faced, thick-lipped cartoon characters performing in a comedy like SNL.”
I fully understand that the acts portrayed were not meant to intentionally defame nor antagonize black people , and such comic scenes appeared on many other comedic sketches on both network and cable TV.
However, I think it’s time we should let the kids learn on what’s the right thing to do, and what’s wrong and what not to do. I think we should try to provide them with enough information and opportunities to change their minds regarding racial prejudices.
Racial discrimination and prejudices used to exist in any country throughout the world. But now the world has shrunken into a small global community. Korea is currently enjoying attention around the world with the K-Pop phenomenon along with other human resources.
If we learn a little more about the history of Africans, we could understand why it’s not right to present them as the comic objects. Because it contains a lot of pain, deathly revolution, and struggles to regain their human dignity.
As you may well know, African slavery is a history that’s quite tragic and recent in the grand scheme of things. Not too long ago in American history, they couldn’t even share the same restaurants, buses, and even rest-rooms with other races! They could not even appear in Hollywood films, they were only treated as comedic objects derided by white people.
Racial discrimination exists in the sports world, too, but heavy punishment follows such actions. Sony Music also had to pay a high price, for releasing records by their artist that contained racial prejudice.ESPN had to immediately punish their employee for the headline with a racial slur about American-Asian basketball sensation Jeremy Lin. The wrong choice of the words and actions can put a huge damper on things. The words that drew an outrage all over the world was, “Chink in the armor.”
Korea hosts many K-pop concerts and music award shows overseas. We need more support of the people of the world, not only from music fans but also in many other fields as well.
A movie director for the successful “Tower Heist” was banned from the Academy Awards for his remarks discriminating against homosexuals. I hope our journalists put extra effort to enlighten the young kids to learn more about the flow of the people of the world, and about racial equality and justice.
How does a white woman claim to be the victim of yellow fever? I know, it’s so absurd it’s funny. But she manages it, by denying the impact of racism, and replacing it with a spiteful sense of competition. She doesn’t criticize her boyfriend’s race-conquest. She doesn’t flinch at his weekend tally of Asian indulgence. Instead, she basically protests that Asians took my boyfriend.
In selecting this story This American Life poses two subtexts: that white women are the natural objects of sexual attraction, and that people of color are a threat. It nurses a wound that whiteness was overlooked, and makes a fresh contribution to the Jezebel accusation of the racial temptress–”over-sexualized” Black women, “spicy” Latinas or “bellydancing” Middle Eastern woman.
For East Asian women or gay men, yellow fever isn’t a triumph, it’s a trauma. The fact that her boyfriend is a cheater is half as noxious as the fact that his casual sex is raced. But in this story, somehow, the white protagonist has managed to describe herself as oppressed by, well, Asian oppression.
ARGH. I don’t listen to NPR (which I would only be able to get in podcast form anyway) but this made me want to flip my desk, for all the reasons articulated in the essay. On the upside, there’s some excellent discussion going on in the comments section, with clarifying information and a diversity of viewpoints represented, each with good points.
After ESPN called Jeremy Lin a “chink” in an article headline and KPOP songwriter Jenny Hyun argued for genocide against black people, race scholar Dr. Sarah Jackson tweeted about things that blacks and Asians in the US share:
On the real though there is a lot of love and history between Black folks and Asian folks no matter what these individual a-holes do/say.
So I will now tweet some facts in the name of Afro-Asian love. #spreadlovenothate
(click on the link to read more!)
I have many feelings about this.
On the one hand, yes, absolutely, we need to remember the histories of black and Asian peoples working together in cooperation, that we benefited from relationships with each other long before white supremacists came to fuck shit up and before many Asians started drinking the whiteness Kool-Aid. We need to remember those histories because they give us a point of reference to move forward with, and also to help us envision what solidarity looks like.
I also feel it’s necessary to recognize the systemic privilege that Asians benefit from, even as it’s from a Model Minority position, especially those of us who are of East Asian descent (and as ardhra reminded us yesterday, those of us who are upwardly mobile and affluent). Not just within the U.S./Canada, but elsewhere as well, where in Asian countries, black peoples face racism, and colorism/shadism further complicate and drive in the divides.
There’s room for both sets of conversations, right?
^^ Yes to THIS!
I really don’t have much to say about Jenny Hyun. There’s nothing to be debated and nothing to be added or adjusted; what she said is wrong, and if it was the public backlash that led her to return to treatment for her mental illness, so be it. Education is the most appropriate response.
Oh boy. Obviously, it’s completely impossible to talk about Jeremy Lin without talking about race. Mindful of the other Asian players who’ve played in the NBA, I think it’s still safe to say that Lin is the Asian player who, through a combination of circumstance, luck, timing, and some monster performances, has captured America’s admittedly infantile and famously fickle imagination.
But the true testament to how rare a phenomenon Jeremy Lin is in the NBA is this: NBA fans have almost no vocabulary with which to talk about him. As with any Asian person in popular culture, people’s first resort is a torrent of pan-Asian racist gibberish: If it has anything to do with any country, food, product, concept, or stereotype involving Asia, the rule is basically, “Make any association or equivalence you want, whatever….”
The case of Lin, however, brings out another issue unique to basketball, summed up fairly succinctly in this Tweet, from @itsGQ: “Where tha fuck this Jeremy Lin nigga came from??”
And with that, we have a bit of unpacking to do.
I have to admit that I’ve been pulled in by Linsanity, or at least reading every news article and thinkpiece I come across. In part it’s because I’m looking to groan at a writer who gets it wrong when talking about him and/or his race (the same impulse that keeps me reading the comments sections of online news stories). Despite being neither Taiwanese nor American, I definitely have felt the “one of our own” pride that many have described, which is maybe what keeps me reading.
What I’m really hoping for, I think, is that this is the beginning of a dialogue about how we talk about Asian people, and especially North American-born Asian people. This piece demonstrates that the current vocabulary is fairly limited, and that for Asian-Americans, in the public mind, what comes before the hyphen is the only thing that matters, so much so that it’s a surprise when what comes after the hyphen is demonstrated to any extent. As Edmund Lee writes at Capital New York:
The connection Luo describes [in the New York Times] is real and it’s one I feel too, but I also can’t help but feel it’s a reaction to the reaction as much as anything else. We Asian Americans are pointing to the TV screens and the Twitter streams and saying, “See, see, as long as you see what I know, then we’ve won.” Meanwhile, really, I know that Jeremy Lin is as distinct from me as anyone else on the court.
We are not Jeremy Lin. Rather, the triumphal narrative here is that the rest of the world now has some small clue about our own miscellany, our own idiosyncrasies and beliefs. We are not all Tiger Mom cubs. We are not so uniform and so blind to feeling and emotion and that we can’t swagger and sway. We’re not merely silent strivers. Some of us can dunk and drive and smile like everyone else.
why are you surprised that a korean woman can speak english? and then after she says she was born in america you said “YOUR…ENGLISH…IS…REALLY…GOOD.” the fuck are you doing?
props to fany for sassing him back. ily<3
This exact exchange (at 3:48) happened to me once - I told someone English was my native language, and two minutes later he complimented it. It was unbelievably irritating and it hurts to hear it being said again. (And then he goes into the “I learned some of your language too” thing! Though as a Canadian it’s not like I was unprepared for Howie Mandel being obnoxious.)
Some have tried to cast Tiffany’s sarcastic response as uncalled for, saying the group was being presented as a South Korean group and so it was normal for Mandel to assume they were all native Korean speakers. But guess what? His assumptions about Tiffany’s identity don’t change her actual identity, and she has every right to be offended that he doesn’t treat her as a (linguistic) equal when she really is. If anything, her “turn this into humour” response is accommodating, not confronting. I guess his repetition of “Your English is very good” is meant to cover up his mistake by turning it into a joke before she does (“I’m going to act like I’m complimenting you anyway, rather than just straight-up being racist”), but honestly I’m not that eager to make excuses for him.
i was already disappointed at the way they reacted when they learned they were going to be taking care of multicultural babies, and then this happened
also really disappointed at how hard seungho laughed when mir said this
i was watching it unsubbed at first, and was really confused. i had hoped what i had translated in my head was not what i heard.
but it was worse -.-
I was really hoping MBLAQ wouldn’t end up doing shit like this.
And Mir has really been pissing some people off with his words lately.
I am really disappointed right now.
i am so fucking pissed off and hurt that idk if bothering to attempt to watch the rest is even worth it.
i think i’ll probably still end up watching it to see how everything pans out, i guess. i’m really angry though, jesus. and the voice over guy was talking about how this season of hello baby was going to “erase” cultural differences. just…no. fuck no.
Well, this is disappointing, and I haven’t even watched the full episode yet. I would still like to follow it to see how the children who are on the show will end up being portrayed, but so far the multicultural thing is seeming less like an educational opportunity and more like just a shtick, and the producers have a very naive/typical attitude toward how to portray cultural differences.
In which “yellow fever” means “East/Southeast Asian fetish” and/or refers to the thing some men (usually non-East/-Southeast Asian men) say they have when they have found themselves attracted to an East/Southeast Asian-looking woman (women considered “yellow”). They also say they have it when they’re trying to attract an East/Southeast Asian woman, and for some reason, they sometimes try to use it as a pickup line. I refer to it here as if it’s actually a thing you can have for grammatical clarity. Well, it is a thing you can have, but its real name is “being ignorant and a racist jerk.”
Obviously this is not exclusively a men-who-like-women thing (actually, I’ve been thinking about this lately when I think about cross-cultural, cross-racial fandom in K-pop, and often in the case of women who like men), but I’m talking about men who like women here because I’m a straight woman and I want to talk from my own experiences.
It’s not all white men who have it. It’s not all non-Asian men who have it.
But before you go and declare yourself one of the “good guys” and pat yourself on the back, know that you are still responsible for not saying racist shit to the woman you are dating. Not exclusively dating women of one race (or, God forbid, exclusively finding women of one race attractive) doesn’t make you a hero and it doesn’t give you an automatic “pass”.
Also, know that if an Asian woman assumes you have it, it may be a defense mechanism, not as a personal attack on your character - it’s not about you, it’s about her. Personally I’ve encountered enough individuals with “yellow fever” that I find myself usually second-guessing and investigating others’ motives. I don’t like that I do it automatically - I’d love to assume that I am just an extremely desirable individual, obviously - but I’d rather not have fetishizing assholes in my life, and at this point I feel the need to ensure that I’m not involved with a fetishizing asshole. (At the moment, I am not.)
Saying “I love Asian girls” is not a compliment and should not be accepted as such. There’s nothing really wrong with the statement (aside from the usually racist intent behind it), just that it’s pretty meaningless. “The reason I like you is your ethnic background, which I assumed based on your appearance, and because my limited interaction with you has fit into the assumptions I made based on your ethnic background.”
Saying “You’re not like other Asians” (or “other Asian girls”) is also not a compliment and should no be accepted as such. “The reason I like you is because my limited interaction with you has not fit into the assumptions I made based on your ethnic background, which I assumed based on your appearance.”
The reason why, as a woman of East Asian descent, the term “yellow fever” and its associated statements (“I love Asian girls”, “I find Asians really attractive”, “I only date Asians”) is so off-putting to me is because it’s perceived as the man separating the Asian woman from “other women”, and at the same time stripping me of my individuality. When I hear that statement, I hear that I am 1. not “normal” or “usual”, to the point where it requires being stated; and 2. in that moment, only attractive because I’m Asian. The difference between “You’re beautiful” and “You’re beautiful. I love Asian women” is huge.
It may happen that you have only dated Asian women in the past. Up to this point, I’ve primarily dated white men. It’s entirely possible. But I would never say I have “white fever”, I would never invalidate my relationships with real people by referring to them collectively as some phase I’m going through, I would never refuse to date anyone but a white man, and I would never tell someone I find him attractive because he’s white. If anything, other people have told me, “You only like him because he’s white,” which is silly.
As long as it keeps happening this won’t be my final word on this topic, but it’s pretty much all the thoughts I have ever had about it. To correct/discuss further, just ask.
A recent incident highlights the mixed modern attitudes towards both “foreigners” and “other races” in South Korea (and sheds a little light on some attitudes on this side of the Pacific as well).
On Korean-language Internet sites, many called for swift punishment. Though there are few guns in South Korea and the incident lacked the bloodshed that might have played out in other places, for many it was still unsettling.
"Why are these people acting in such way in a foreign country?" asked one. Others reserved judgment. "I’ve seen many cases where Koreans act rudely to foreigners, staring at them as if they were some amusement," one commented. "Let’s look at ourselves and think of the foreigner, a black man living in Korean society. He probably has to endure a lot of stress."
Today, it’s not so much that foreigners are regarded as bad — on the contrary, many are heartily welcomed and at least outwardly respected as harbingers of economic success. But they are decidedly other. As workers and students from around the world take advantage of relatively lenient visa policies — more than half a million lived here in 2007 — there is an acute sense of who is foreign, and who is not.
However, Kos-Read’s attitude is, for me, questionable. He’s othering as much as he is (taking advantage of being) the other:
"It struck me how cool it would be to be that guy who speaks fluent Chinese, to be that cool guy. That was still rare enough then as to be almost nonexistent," he said. "I thought, ‘Hey, I could go to China and be awesome — to be the guy who goes to the weird foreign country and integrates himself into the culture and gets it.’"
I always approach Canada Day with some hesitance. On one hand, I have good memories of going to Queen’s Park with my parents (when we first immigrated to Toronto) and getting 25-cent hot dogs and paper flags.
Over the years, I’ve seen the annual celebration slowly change to better reflect our demographics. There used to only be English and French performances on the main stage, but recently there have been shows featuring other languages. The hot dog prices have also gone up, but that’s another story.
On the other hand, July 1 marks another significant Canadian event that far fewer people know about, but that has had tremendous consequences for certain Azn communities. On July 1, 1923, the Canadian government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which effectively barred East Azn* immigration until it was repealed more than 20 years later.
*Japanese people were sometimes subject to this Act because, y’know, we can’t tell ‘em apart. The Act could also be used to prohibit South Azns from entering the country, if they somehow got past another discriminatory piece of legislation, the Continuous Passage Act.
“The first federal anti-Chinese bill was passed in 1885. It took the form of a Head tax of $50 imposed, with few exceptions, upon every person of Chinese origin entering the country.” – Chinese Canadian National Council
The Act came as a response to public and political concern over the growing number of East Azn immigrants in spite of the head tax (which was increased from $50 to $500 in 1903, $500 being the equivalent of two years’ wages).
Between 1923 and 1947, when the Act was repealed, less than 50 Chinese people entered the country. Most who were already here were men, leading to the development of a “bachelor society”–one factor that undoubtedly contributed to the desexualization of Azn men we see in popular discourse today.
After WWII, people of East Azn descent still didn’t have the right to vote. Canadians of Japanese descent had been uprooted and sent off to concentration camps in the prairies during the war. Their now-empty properties in the Fraser Valley were conveniently given to white Canadian soldiers returning from overseas.
I could go on, but I think I’ve given you enough to understand why July 1 is known as “Humiliation Day” among some Chinese-Canadians. You probably didn’t learn about this in high school; I grew up in the Canadian public school system and I certainly didn’t.
Think about this as you’re celebrating “Canada” Day. And chew on the fact that we sing “our home and native land” in the anthem when, really, it’s our home ON native land.