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The Murdoch Fallacy”

Jan 25 2015
By: Cat Ye
Categories: Blog
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It isn’t every day that I have the opportunity to name a phenomenon, so I’m taking full advantage of this chance. The Murdoch Fallacy is henceforth defined as the erroneous reaction to a tragic event in which the race, gender, or other identifier of the instigator is used as a vehicle to place blame that entire race, gender, or member of the other identifier. As an example, Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-American business magnate, tweeted the following message, which has since become viral:

“Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.” (https://twitter.com/rupertmurdoch/status/553734788881076225)

 

This kind of statement is the blood and bone of the Murdoch fallacy. The entire Muslim population worldwide is, according to Mr. Murdoch, responsible for the actions of the few extreme Muslims–the cancer, so to speak. Despite his ‘allowance’ that most Muslims are peaceful, and never mind that peace activists everywhere, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have denounced the actions of these extremists, he still holds this peaceful majority accountable for jihadist attacks.

Nevertheless, let’s allow this leap of logic, just for one moment. Let’s make it acceptable to blame the many for the actions of a few. So then, Mr. Murdoch, if you’re a White Australian, why didn’t you stop the genocide of the Aboriginals? You’re Christian, why haven’t you done anything about your cousins-in-religion, the Westboro Baptist Church folk? Aren’t you also American? Why aren’t you held accountable for the slave trade, for killing my people with internment camps, harsh working conditions, hate crimes? You’re also a man, Mr. Murdoch. What have you to say about your brothers forcing my sisters into child prostitution, for the countless rapes in India, for the fear I feel when I walk alone? Why are we excusing you? Why are you allowed to be a White, Christian male and not be held accountable for all the crimes that your parts have committed?

Because of privilege. To be a White, Christian male means that you live and breathe in an unrivaled position of privilege. You have no need to be afraid of race hate crimes, religious persecution, or a potential rapist around every corner. You simply are not that vulnerable.

When a White man shoots up a school, he is not a terrorist, or a jihadist, or an evil man. He is simply a shooter, a gunman, maybe a misunderstood fellow with some mental disability. When a Christian militant blows himself up, there is no need for a mass movement like #illridewithyou, because no Christian anywhere has to worry for his or her safety. And, certainly, no non-Christian will ever be seen as a Christian just because of outward appearance. While there is stigma attached to all rape, a man will not have to worry about an unwanted pregnancy, about being slut-shamed because he was violated, nor about being seen as ‘damaged’ and unfit for love.

So for shame, Rupert Murdoch. To take the words of Aziz Ansari, I suppose that the existence of the Murdoch Fallacy (all the way back to any jihadist attack ever, any rape ever, and anything ever like the Japanese internment camps) is, without a doubt, #RupertsFault.

 

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I Watched The Interview.

Jan 17 2015
By: Miranda Canilang
Categories: Blog
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I’ve read the negative reviews and articles:

(and the Sony email leaks, a totally different story on race in the film industry): Here’s a timeline of the Sony Hack

 

Yet this winter break, I found myself actually wanting to watch The Interview. I had watched the earlier trailers last summer and found them funny. I was also binge watching similar stupid comedy films like 21 Jump Street and We’re the Millers over winter break and was in the mood for more. I am also a fan of Randall Park (side note: can’t wait for Fresh Off The Boat!) who played Kim Jong Un in The Interview. I had to see the film.

Before watching the film, I knew it would mostly likely confirm its already criticized racism, sexism, dualism, and other unpleasant –isms. I knew Seth Rogen and James Franco films were usually ridiculous. I also knew that some people who read the reviews and articles before watching it would never want to watch it, some people would want to watch it as an “act of freedom of expression,” others, like me, were curious to see for themselves.

…And did it live up to my expectations?

Yes. I have to say that this isn’t Seth Rogen and James Franco’s best work. The funniest parts were the parts cut into the trailers. The rest is, quite frankly, what I would call “bromance comedy.” I’m just glad I watched it so I could create my own opinions. It was difficult to put all prejudice aside after reading the reviews and articles before watching, and spotting the blaring –isms throughout the film slightly detracted from my enjoyment. For example, there is an obvious contrast between the way Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters both treat Lizzy Caplan’s character, a righteously strong, independent woman, versus Diana Bang’s character, a crazy weird Dragon lady with some quirky shy Lotus Blossom stereotypes mixed in. Not to mention that the other Asian women who appear in the film are hyper sexualized.

What does it say about mainstream media that the APIA women in the film were so stereotyped? What if the actress is knowingly portraying her own racial stereotypes to an audience who still sees some of those stereotypes as true (see Margaret Cho in Golden Globes skit)? I’m sure no Asian girl wants to grow up to be any of the Asian characters in The Interview. Does that make Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters offensive to White people? I’m also sure that no White boy would want to grow up to be Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters. Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters may be offensive to some White people, but that does not matter because there are millions of other films portraying White people as admirable beings. To this day, the continuous lack of diversity in Hollywood makes any representation of a person of color in a movie important to viewers of color.

Pretty much all of the characters in The Interview, regardless of race, were there for comedic relief (in this case, the forced comedy was not very funny). The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not we always have to be so politically correct because comedy rarely is.

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The Real Asian Man

Jan 10 2015
By: Cat Ye
Categories: Blog
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Since I documented my experience with real Asian women in my previous post, I felt it only fair to document my experience with real Asian men. While the trope of a strong Asian woman (Dragon Lady) does actually exist, there is no such male counterpart–instead, Asian males are seen as nerdy, unathletic, and, in their own way, submissive. But rather than be submissive to the opposite gender, they are instead submissive to the Caucasian and White American members of its own, that Asian men underperform, are socially inept, and are irreparably geeky. While this trend has seen a welcome reversal in recent months with the “discovery” of sexy Asian men, there are still misperceptions that should be corrected. After all, most Asian men are not singularly in either the nerdy or sexy category–as with every other race, there is no need to fit in one particular box. All humans fall along a spectrum scale, and Asians are no less deserving of this same distinction.

A real Asian man is a son, a father, a brother, a grandfather, a best friend, a boyfriend. Like every other man, Asian men are strong, ambitious, creative and heartfelt, caring and sometimes a little thick-skulled. Without any further ado, here are my experiences with real, brilliant Asian men, within my family and my own inner circle.

My father has been my inspiration for most of the decisions I’ve made in my life. The only one among his siblings to come to and stay in America, he has successfully made a life for himself as well as for the rest of his family. Plowing ahead despite the challenges, his steadfast and headstrong manner is something I’m proud to say I have gotten from him.

My brother is, in a word, persistent. Exercising excellent discipline and demonstrating iron will, he has shown maturity much greater than his teenage years. He is both tough and sensitive, with an innate tendency towards leadership and befriending shyer classmates.

My grandfather is a youthful spirit in a wise, old body. He learned how to type after he was already a grandfather, teaching himself even later how to use the computer, navigate the web, and effectively utilize a smartphone. Our home is filled with countless of his inventions and ingenious devices–I still have the board game he made up for us out of bottle caps and an old piece of cardboard. He weaved a wire fence by hand for his balcony to keep the pigeons from the potted plants he nurtured from near-death with his miraculous green thumb.

I am lucky enough to be able to also call my best friend my boyfriend. His sense of humor and patience have pulled me out of many a dark mood, and he never ceases to surprise me with how affectionate and thoughtful he can be. He is passionate about the things he loves and full of new ideas.

It is not enough to look at the outer shell of a person and presume to place him or her in a category without delving further. Physical appearance may be the first thing you see, but there is so much more to Asian men than the worn-out tropes and well-trodden stereotypes, as there is to any man, and to any member of any race. I am blessed to have these people in my life–these are the real, genuine Asian men, free from airbrushing and crude caricatures.

Reflect on the Asian men you know and consider again whether there is any truth to the stereotype set forth by Hollywood and Western netizen culture. It’s easy to see that, when compared to real life, the clichés simply hold no water.

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Nothing Lasts Forever: Archiving in the Digital Age

Jan 03 2015
By: Miranda Canilang
Categories: Blog
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Paper will not last forever. Neither will a plastic container of leftover ramen and arts and crafts from previous years passed on from year to year to the next club president. The plastic will fall apart, and shreds of scrap paper will line the bottom. Despite not being very effective, this is how my school’s Asian American Students Association has been doing it for the past couple years.

But as 2015 rolls in, one of our goals is to revamp the official club website (which started in 2009 but has been inactive between 2010-2012 and 2013-2014 for unknown reasons) to create a permanent institutional memory database and to uncover the history of our own club. Many college clubs also converting physical archives to digital archives thanks to a rise of interest in digital humanities. Digging through “the sisterhood of the traveling plastic container” and whatever else has been handed down to me, the new co-president of AASA, is like digging through a bottomless treasure trove of information.

 

Some may wonder: Why is it important to record what happened in the past?

For one, you do not want to repeat the same organizational mistakes committed in the pastespecially when planning a big event like the annual culture show. For example, it would have been nice to know how many programs we should print out based on previous attendance numbers instead of printing too few. We learned the hard way this year and were short by about 100 programs. Once the culture show was finished, the two co-heads wrote reflections and a manual to better prepare future co-heads for the job. All documents were uploaded and saved onto the club executive board Google Drive.

It is also important to be aware of previous incidents of racism on and off campus. It’s another learning from and understanding your mistakes so you never do it again type of thing. As students pass through college and move on with life, it is easy for the next leaders to forget significant events of the past when they are not properly passed down and remembered. This can also lead to time wasted repeating the same mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are avoidable had there been proper basic history/psychology/sociology education such as diversity training. A recent incident of a student hanging up a Confederate flag in a public space at Bryn Mawr sparked a renewed interest in creating a mandatory diversity training program for students, faculty and staff. The administration responded with the creation of multiple diversity councils assigned the task of creating such a curriculum when, in fact, the curriculum had already been started by a specific dormitory leadership team years ago.

A good record of previous events and executive boards also creates a network of alumni. Bryn Mawr does not have an Asian Alumni Group yet (Wellesley has one and bigger schools like Yale even host annual Asian Alumni reunions). However, I uncovered the names of some previous members of the Asian American Students Association through posts on the formerly outdated blog and Facebook group (AASA had a Facebook group before transitioning to a Facebook page in 2011). From here on, it should not be difficult to contact them and perhaps invite them back to Bryn Mawr to speak to AASA about their accomplishments and involvement in their communities.

 

Archiving is a lot easier these days with constant technological advancements and an eager force of tech-savvy millennials. All you need is basic knowledge in html/CSS and an eye for design, both of which are easy enough to self-learn from the internet. This leads to another challenge:

Is a strictly digital archive enough?

As accessible as a website can be, nothing can replace the “original cathedral of learning”– the library. (Recognize that access to internet is still a privilege for those who can afford access to a computer or wifi.) A typical college library serves a million purposes other than a book collective these days. These purposes includes a computer lab, printing station, study space, writing center, gallery, special collections, museum, and digital archive (Bryn Mawr uses Tripod). So I also should look into whether or not the library wants the original arts and crafts made to represent Asian American identity. I don’t think the quality of art is high enough to make a gallery or museum exhibit on, but I just don’t want them to rot inside our “sisterhood of the traveling plastic container” in my dorm room. In the meantime, I’ve taken pictures of all the art works and plan to upload them to the AASA website as a digital art archive soon.

Other college clubs have had unsuccessful attempts at paper archiving. The Swarthmore Asian Students Organization has a space in a filing cabinet of manila folders dating back to the 1990s in Swarthmore’s Intercultural Center, but they say that no one really checks it. Bryn Mawr AASA has tried to keep a binder of meeting minutes and posters in the plastic bin, but over time we became lazy and never updated it, opting for Google Drive instead. While I do think it is important to have easy, unrestricted access to a club history database, I wonder who would actually read a physical record of documents stored in a public place like the school library. While I am unsure of the effectiveness of physical archiving, I am certain about the need for digital archiving. The best chance of preserving institutional memory for now seems to be to have both digital and partial physical archives, and that definitely takes time and effort to maintain.

 

2014 was an eventful year.
Save some of it. Here are some popular tools to get you started:
Generating views to your website:
  • Posted your website on the school website
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • School Radio Announcements
YOU have the power to save, share, or self-destruct cultural history.
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Political Artistic Expression: An Alternative Approach to Activism

Dec 19 2014
By: Miranda Canilang
Categories: Blog
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On a rainy Friday night, my friends and I took a break from the student life and went to see Camille A. Brown & Dancers perform excerpts from Mr. TOL E. RAncE, Black Girl, and New Second Line at Bryn Mawr. Through beautiful choreography and music, the dances deconstructed Black mainstream media representation and confronted particularly timely issues of race, identity, and celebration of culture. Unique to other dance concerts, at then end of the show the dance company opened up a conversation for audience members to express their immediate thoughts and reactions to the pieces as well as inform the audience on the inspiration and intent behind each of them.

dance

While peaceful marches and public demonstrations that have been going on for the past couple months are important outlets to voice support and opinions, Camille A. Brown & Dancers shows us that there are alternative, yet equally important, approaches to activism. 

I feel like it’s my job to show… what are the things you think of when you hear the word ‘black girl’. —Camille A. Brown

Black women are trapped in the roles of angry black woman or strong black woman. —Camille A. Brown

I want people to see beyond race. I know it’s called Black Girl, but I’m also a girl, also a human being.  —Camille A. Brown

It’s also about challenging how we view the work as well. —Camille A. Brown

It’s me trying to reconcile myself with my idea of “Black girl-ness” outside of what the media is doing. It challenges you to confront your own complicity in identity.  —Dancer

When people treat Black Girls badly it feeds off onto all girls of color. —Audience member

The media doesn’t show our culture for being open and collaborative, only the arguing housewives. —Camille A. Brown

The last piece, New Second Line (2006), was inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina and drew from New Orleans spirit and culture. This was my favorite piece artistically. The dancers came onto the stage dressed in black with umbrellas, representing the grief after Hurricane Katrina. As the piece moved on, dancers confronted the more positive strengths of persevering. What made the most powerful impact on me as a viewer was when the dancers ended the dance piece with their hands up in the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose. The lighting of the piece was also red, and as they lights went down on the stage it would be impossible not to connect the pose to the recent injustice in the Michael Brown case and Eric Garner case.

It saddens me that while many of these issues (racism, stereotypes, etc.) represented in the dance pieces are rooted historically, these issues are still reoccurring and are ever so relevant in today’s society. #BecauseIAm not part of the Black / White binary, it is easy for me to take a complacent role. However I recognize my privilege as an Asian American woman at a private elite institution and therefore strive to make my voice of support heard (or physically shown through dance) as an ally. It is not my place to lead marches or chants. Sometimes I feel that as an Asian American, it is my role to be the token Asian American present at rallies and events to show that Asian Americans do care. I know it is wrong to think that, and while I go to events for my own reasons, I sometimes wish there were more fellow Asian Americans there. I have expressed my support in other ways such as talking about the court cases with my family and friends and educating myself on the issues. Even by just attending the dance concert and supporting the arts, I have learned by listening to more opinions and interacting a different set of perspectives I would have not had access to in my personal environment. I am inspired to get back to dancing in the Spring semester with fresh enthusiasm for the intersections of the performing arts and social justice.

 

Other Artists Respond:

A group of artists started this Facebook event calling for submissions for Artists Against Police Violence: https://www.facebook.com/events/1507356286217003/

Musicians write songs protesting the non-indictments: http://www.wnyc.org/story/we-need-new-dylans-new-public-enemys-new-simones-new-de-la-rochas/

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On Ferguson, Part I: 99 Questions

Dec 04 2014
By: Celeste Chen
Categories: Blog
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In light of the events in Ferguson and the most recent non-indictment in the Eric Garner/Officer Pantaleo case –and the ensuing reactions –this isn’t going to be a very policy-heavy series posts.

 

In terms of Ferguson, if my newsfeed looks anything like yours, you’ve already been inundated with statistics about how often grand juries indict, transcripts of Darren Wilson’s cross-examination, Facebook statuses revealing the location of the next protest, videos of rallies in and around your city, and the list goes on and on and on. If not, then I highly suggest that you go and read and spend a few hours digesting all of this information.

 

Instead, this series of posts is going to be a combination of my personal response, a  dialogue about why what happened to Michael Brown and Eric Garner matters to Asian Americans (i.e. Vincent Chin, LA riots horizontal oppression, Asian American and African American relations), and a brief examination of the public policy that runs through the events in Ferguson.

 

First things first: I had been on a 10-hour trip from DC to Boston when the news broke that the St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. I did not find out until the next morning, and this is going to be my first point. If the community was asked not to protest in the evening of the grand jury’s decision, then why was the announcement made at 8pm?

 

It’s such a great example of the sort of half-baked decisions that officials in St. Louis are making: There is no way they would not have known that of course there would be riots in the evening following the grand jury’s decision. If they had wanted to avoid the scale of protests that went long into the night, then why not announce the news the morning after, or perhaps even just a few hours earlier than 8pm?

 

Moreover, the sensationalism of the protests is disappointing. Many news outlets have labeled the protests and rallies as “riots,” and while it is true that local stores were looted (more on that soon enough), the media has done a less-than-stellar job of reporting on the number of peaceful, nonviolent protests –not just in Ferguson, but in cities around the country and the world.  Consider this: It becomes a phenomenon wildly accepted–even anticipated–for sports fans to loot after their home team wins or loses. It even becomes a humorous story when the so-called rioters loot the surrounding area after a pumpkin festival?, etc.

 

Simply put, the news media covers and labels the actions of a community in mourning and anger in a wholly skewed manner. Why is a whole community demonized? Why are its residents labeled as “rioters”= rather than “protestors,” when elsewhere their white counterparts become the object of gentle humor, rather than an unquiet contempt?

 

Perhaps even more important, I find all the “devil’s advocates” creeping out of the woodwork incredibly disheartening. You may have seen a handful of posts like this, where black officers have shot white men, where terrible things have happened to white/non-Black people on account of a black man/black men.

 

This is not to say that one should disregard those lives and those deaths. But the thing is, that is neither here nor there. Being outraged that the response of the white/whole community to the death of a white man at the hands of a black man is not equivalent to the way that the nation reacted to Mike Brown’s death is foolish at best for simply the following reason: The death of a white man at the hands of a black officer is an exception, whereas the death of Mike Brown at the hands of a white officer is commonplace. That is something about which so many are enraged: the product of a flawed justice system, the many black lives and deaths that are swept under the rug, the frequency with which a whole community suffers the loss of its men and women.

 

There is no need to “whitesplain” away. If you may be outraged and irritated over the “big deal” that people are making about Ferguson, why are you not also outraged that this happens everyday? Do you not also have outrage for the death of a teenager? Do you not also have outrage for a community that has been so often oppressed that parents must teach their children how to dress and act and try harder than their white/non-black counterparts so as to avoid being shot? Why is there not also outrage over his death and his death and her death and his death? If there is outrage over the money lost due to looting and damage to property, why is there not also outrage over the incredible loss of life?

 

At the end of the day, there is no need for a “devil’s advocate” in this situation, simply because this is not a conceptual or philosophical argument. That is not allyship or “furthering the dialogue” or “raising innocent questions.” We are not arguing over whether or not it would be morally ethical to assassinate Kim Il-sung if time travel were possible. Rather, we are talking about a community that has borne a history that perpetuates racism: zoning policies that segregate along race and class lines, segregated housing projects that favor one race over the other, redevelopment projects that shift “ghettos” rather than clean up slums, and “denial of adequate municipal services” in ghettos, maintaining the status quo and preventing slums from improvement. Michael Brown’s death was the last straw.

 

We are ultimately looking at a problem that is systematic, where oppression and racism is not found only on an individual-by-individual basis. Nonviolence is surely necessary, but citing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on peace and nonviolence in order to criticize or in an attempt to direct the way that the people of Ferguson are expressing their rage is not conducive to anything at all; rather, it’s incredibly patronizing.

 

There is no space for moral podiums here. I don’t see that right now; I see people writing off the events of Ferguson and being frustrated with those who are protesting. I can already count up the many who have already decided to ignore the events because “too much has happened” and they see it as old news. That’s privilege right there: having the ability to ignore something that will not ever be a personal concern or that won’t infringe upon one’s daily life. For many in the United States of America –from the black community to our undocumented immigrants –the events of Ferguson cannot be ignored. They cannot ignore it because when the grand jury decided not to indict, our justice system told our brothers and sisters that their lives will not be taken seriously. Our justice system showed that, for some Americans, the police force will be favored over their communities and their lives.

 

Ultimately, this is not a conceptual exercise; it is a reality, and steps should be taken to heal this community and meet them where they are. Instead, we see 12 year old boys playing with toy guns being shot by police officers. We see serial killers like James Eagan Holmes walking away alive after gunning down twelve people, but boys like Tamir Rice shot for waving a toy gun. We see those tasked with preserving and enforcing the law instead taking advantage of it. Look at what happened to Eric Garner. We see statistic after statistic after statistic.

 

And on that note, Happy Holidays.

 

 

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ECAASU Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Nov 30 2014
By: daniel.hoddinott@ecaasu.org
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Blog, Official Statements
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Following the announcement from the the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri to not indict Officer Darren Wilson, the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) issues the following statement:

As a social justice organization, ECAASU is extremely disappointed that no indictment was brought against Officer Darren Wilson for his shooting and killing of Michael Brown. We believe that this decision brings no justice, no peace, and no accountability for Michael Brown and his family. We urge that a further investigation be done by the Department of Justice. We believe that police violence and racial profiling have no place in today’s society. The unarmed shootings and violent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other individuals by those who have been responsible for our protection and safety are unfortunate reminders of the daily injustices faced by People of Color. The system of justice has once again failed us and we are calling for change.

Until change comes, we will continue to serve as allies and stand against racial injustice, and stand in solidarity with our fellow Americans for whom racial injustice is an everyday reality. We urge people to continue to protest the decision peacefully. We want to continue to honor what The Brown family said, “Let’s not make noise, let’s make change.”  We urge the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to come together and work with other communities to make a difference in preventing these tragedies from happening again.

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"There's A Fine, Fine Line Between" Art and Racism

Nov 28 2014
By: Miranda Canilang
Categories: Blog
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Watching the 1961 Rodgers and Hammerstein Flower Drum Song musical film over and over again was an activity I automatically associated with my childhood visits to my Gong Gong and Po Po’s (Grandfather and Grandmother in Cantonese) house. My Gong Gong even went so far as burning the soundtrack on a CD so I could go home and sing “Chop Suey” whenever I wanted to, or pretend I was half as pretty as Nancy Kwan.

It wasn’t until college when I asked my Chinese American friend if she liked Flower Drum Song too that I learned there were racist undertones. Among these racist stereotypes portrayed in the musical are the Dragon Lady (Linda Low) and Lotus Blossom Baby (Mei-Li). Not to mention the political incorrectness of a “glamorous” Chinatown and illegal immigration issues.

Heartbroken by this news, I wondered if it was possible to reappropriate these old school musicals created by non-Asians and turn them into something worth appreciating. Flower Drum Song was written around the time of the Civil Rights Movement, where heightened racial sensitivity may have partially played a role in its initial flop at the box office. It is important to recognize that Flower Drum Song brought together an almost all-Asian American professional cast, a great feat at that time when non-Asians portrayed Asians and most films did not feature Asians as leads at all.

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The Real Asian Woman

Nov 23 2014
By: Cat Ye
Categories: Blog
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This piece was inspired by recently by revisiting my favorite YouTube comedian David So: In his v-log 113 (“Asian Women Are Submissive!”), he tackles the common Western stereotype that Asian women are…well…submissive. While this is a trope that has been talked to death and back again, he adds a layer to the conversation by contributing his experience as a(n Asian) male with Asian women. “My mother ran a business, made that guap, fed me kimchi, and still had time to whup my motherf*cking *ss, and if that’s not the definition of strength then I don’t know what is.” And this is why I love David So, ladies and gentlemen. Not only is he genuinely and effortlessly hilarious, he makes incredibly valid points in a way that makes an impression. One such observation is the following: “If you are going to base your perception of Asian women from a film, why not Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? Asian women kick ass!”

But we’re not here to talk about how great David So is. We’re here to talk about the real Asian woman–the one who fed and coddled you, who pushed and scolded you, who, throughout it all, never stopped giving you her love. So in a great comedian’s words…1 2 3, son, let’s get it, leggo!

The real Asian woman is a daughter, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a best friend, a classmate, a girlfriend. Like every other woman, she holds grace and poise, is full to the brim with strength and resolve, is unrelenting and ambitious in her endeavors. Like David So, I can only share my personal experiences, and here goes–my own experiences with the women from my own family, my own inner circle.

My mother, from my first conscious memory, has been the strongest person I know. Leaving behind security in China for myriad possibilities in the States, she then proceeded to make the biggest sacrifice she could–her career for our (her children’s) cohesive family life. Over the years, she’s been nothing but supportive, and nothing short of incredibly inspiring.

My grandmother, in one word, is resilient. Coming to a foreign country at her age, speaking little of the language, with the rest of her kin back in China, was horribly daunting. Yet she faced it with the determination and stubbornness that runs in all the women in my family–and all the Asian women I’ve met in my life.

My aunt embodies the concept of inner drive. Despite all the setbacks in her life, she charges forward, her personality and passion blazing paths before her. She takes no one’s bullsh*t and knows exactly what she wants from life–and takes it.

My best friend has a heart of gold. She will be everyone’s pillar of support, selflessly giving so that she may be another’s strength. She has been there for me through thick and thin, without skipping a beat in her career and academic goals. I could not be prouder of or more grateful for her.

As for me? I’ve learned from the women in my life all the qualities above. I am happy to say that I am independent but not averse to collaboration, persistent and stubborn but willing to compromise, focused and determined but still multi-faceted as an individual. I am inspired daily by the strength and ambition of the Asian women in my life, from Juliet Shen to Lucy Liu, to my flatmate and even to everyday strangers encounters.

Reflect on the Asian women you know and consider again whether there is any truth to the stereotype set forth by Hollywood and Western netizen culture. It’s easy to see that, when compared to real life, the tropes simply hold no water.

pc: Peter Ou

 

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#BringBackSelfie

Nov 16 2014
By: Alice Tsui
Categories: Blog
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By now you must have seen via #BringBackSelfie on Twitter that ABC decided to officially cancel the show. #epicfail on ABC’s part just as Selfie was finally on the upswing, so let’s recap the latest episodes.

Episode 5: Even Hell Has Two Bars

Two bars of what you ask? Cell phone service. Henry and Eliza are invited to spend the weekend at the lavish estate of their boss, where there is absolutely no cell phone service to Eliza’s dismay. Henry has been preparing for this moment for years with horse riding lessons, but Eliza seems to ruin all his plans to talk about himself and being promoted when she keeps spontaneously suggesting more “fun” activities like tanning and celebrity watching, since there is no chance for her to update Instagram. Through Eliza’s efforts to chill out Henry, the two get into an argument… but that doesn’t last for long when Henry finds out that his boss promotes him since he was indeed able to let loose. At the end, Henry sees Eliza trying to find a signal while walking around in the woods and comes riding up in a horse. A bit of flirting ensues, only to result in the two pulling out their phones when the somehow at that moment, cell phone signal is revived.

Episode 6: Never Block Cookies

In an unrelated next episode, “Never Block Cookies” features Eliza and Charmonique teaming up to get Henry laid in order to relax. The two ladies try to help Henry out by trying to initiate a spark between him and the barista, and then setting up a mixer of single women for him. There was even a scene where Eliza tries to give Henry tips on dating and Henry pulls Eliza in by the waist. Up. Close. But, Henry claims to be looking for the real deal and in comparison to the previous episode, the ending is a little forgettable.

Perhaps the order of the two episodes should have been switched to leave the audience with a stronger, more impressionable ending to the night. Regardless, there’s no real save for the show now. With only one definite episode left to air, we are left wondering why ABC pulled the plug so fast on a show that captured genuine moments from our everyday lives – both awkward and sweet.

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