Let’s Not Call The “Gooks Of Hazzard” Tee Hipster Racism, Or Racism Against Asians, Let’s Just Call It Racism

August 3rd, 2012 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Baker Skateboards’ “Gooks of Hazzard” t-shirt, featuring two of its sponsored professional skaters, Don Nguyen and Daniel Shimizu, seems like one of those ideas that started out as an inside joke between friends, got elaborated upon over a few bowls–Let’s make the General Lee a street tuner! And call it the “General Li,” he he–got further elaborated upon, within an inch of its life–More wordplay! Let’s call ‘em “good orr boys” since Asian accents are funny! And this shirt is funny! And we are oh-so-clever!–got approved, inexplicably, as a t-shirt design exactly one minute later, and got printed onto a baseball tee and pushed to market for $18.99 before Visine ever hit the clouded eye.

It’s a shame Baker didn’t spend more time fleshing out this idea–no pun intended–because it seems all they left out in the execution of this tee was only the most important figure in this familiar cast of characters–and of course I’m talking about the racist corollary to Daisy Duke and her short shorts. I mean, just think of the possibilities. Lazy Gooks, anyone?!

The Asian American Justice Center has issued a statement protesting this shirt that said, in part:

“Baker Skateboards, and the outlets that sell this shirt, should be aware that use of the term ‘gook’ on their apparel is offensive and quite simply amounts to racism for sale. No one should seek to profit from racism.”

Media reaction, however, has been limited and, I’d venture to say, highly forgiving. TMZ, Continue reading Let’s Not Call The “Gooks Of Hazzard” Tee Hipster Racism, Or Racism Against Asians, Let’s Just Call It Racism

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Vagina Whitening (That’s Right, You Heard Me)

April 13th, 2012 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

One year I vacationed in Mexico and spent the entire time in the water, body surfing and boogie boarding. My skin got really dark, which I don’t care about one way or another, though I am afraid of sun damage and skin cancer, in that order. I made one mistake that trip though, and it wasn’t forgetting sunscreen (always, always remember sunscreen). My mistake was going to see my grandmother right after. The first thing she said, once she got over the shock, was “How did you get so dark?!” For the rest of the visit, she introduced me to her friends as “My Granddaughter-Who’s-Normally-Not-This-Dark.”

Light skin is still prized in Asia for a number of reasons that have to do with longstanding notions of race, class, and gender. Good thing then, that there’s a booming market for skin whitening creams, many of them manufactured by Western companies! And good thing the companies who make these creams also make commercials, because quite a few of them–beyond their creepy, disturbing premise–are kinda hilarious.

1. Skin Whitening For Young Girls

There’s this commercial for SkinWhite Teens, produced by Filipino company Splash Corporation, a skin whitening product designed specifically for young girls:

Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Vagina Whitening (That’s Right, You Heard Me)

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Marion Barry’s Yellow Peril

April 6th, 2012 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

After winning the DC city Council’s Ward 8 primary Tuesday, former mayor and current Councilman Marion Barry said some fantastically creepy and racist things about Asians that harkened straight back to 19th century America’s Yellow Peril, when unemployment was blamed on Chinese immigrants and slogans like “The Chinese must go!” became a political rallying cry, leading to violence committed against Asian workers and businesses.

In his speech to supporters, he stated:

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Marion Barry’s Yellow Peril

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DISGRASIAN OF THE SUPER BOWL! Pete Hoekstra’s Racist, Anti-Chinese, “We Take Your Jobs” Ad

February 7th, 2012 | 10 comments | Posted by Jen

Soooo much happened during the Super Bowl. And, no, I don’t mean with the football. That was a lot of low-scoring farting around, too many lame field goals, a last-second Hail Mary not-so-full-of-grace, and supermodel Gisele Bundchen being delightfully, pettily un-super while cameras captured the whole thing. The game itself kinda felt like a bad drunken hook-up with a dude you’re not that attracted to that just won’t end. (Not that I know anything about that. Ahem.)

What I’m really talking about of course is this crazy racist campaign ad that aired in Michigan during the game for U.S. Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra (R), directed by the same guy who got Christine O’Donnell to publicly confess, “I’m not a witch”:

The ad for Hoekstra–a hot mess of Vietnamese mise-en-scène standing in for China, California Girl-speak poorly disguised as bad Engrish, and some requisite chinky background music–managed to piss off Dems and Republicans alike with its creepy, unabashed Fear of a Yellow Planet storyline. (Though everyone’s favorite race-contrarian Michelle Malkin didn’t seem to mind it. But this is the same person who defended the internment, so, you know.)

And let’s not overlook the website that goes along with the ad! It makes the TV spot look Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE SUPER BOWL! Pete Hoekstra’s Racist, Anti-Chinese, “We Take Your Jobs” Ad

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! 2 Broke Girls’ Creator Michael Patrick King

January 30th, 2012 | 10 comments | Posted by Jen

With “February sweeps” right around the corner–one of the “sweeps months” when networks pull out all the stops to juke ratings so that, based on those increased viewership numbers, they can set ad prices for the rest of the year–I wanted to talk about the recent dustup over CBS’ new hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which will resume airing new episodes next week.

Michael Patrick King and the 2 Broke Girls at the TCA Event

A few weeks ago at the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) Winter Press Tour, 2 Broke Girls‘ co-creator Michael Patrick King, who’s best known for his work on Sex and the City, became defensive over reporters’ questions concerning the broke-ass racial and ethnic stereotypes on the show.

If you haven’t seen the show, the stereotypes in question involve the show’s secondary characters who work at the same diner as the two broke girls. There’s Oleg, the pervy Ukrainian cook; Earl, the black, jive-talking cashier; and Han Lee, the diner owner, a Korean immigrant who speaks in heavily-accented Engrish and is frequently the butt of jokes because of his “foreign-ness.” Andrew Ti, the razor-sharp mind behind Yo, Is This Racist?, describes Han in a Grantland post as a “tiny, greedy, sexless man-child.” Most of the questions that appeared to anger King at the TCA event concerned the particularly offensive portrayal of Han Lee.

Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! 2 Broke Girls’ Creator Michael Patrick King

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Racist “Manchurian Candidate” Video Released By Ron Paul Supporters

January 6th, 2012 | 6 comments | Posted by Jen

Michele Bachmann may have dropped out of the Republican presidential race this week, but there’s still plenty of crazy left among the remaining contenders and their supporters. Take this YouTube video put out by Ron Paul devotees “NHLiberty4Paul,” which paints Republican rival Jon Huntsman, former ambassador to China, as a “Manchurian Candidate,” a socialist, a supporter of Chinese “values,” and, ultimately, un-American, all because he–gasp!–speaks Mandarin and has an adopted daughter from China (and India):

So, basically, if you speak Chinese, look Chinese, have ever had an interest in the world Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Racist “Manchurian Candidate” Video Released By Ron Paul Supporters

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Mini For Target Collection

November 11th, 2011 | 4 comments | Posted by Jen

I know, I know. It’s just a clothing line! Lighten up! And it’s so kawaii as the ads keep telling me, forcing the word on me like a pacifier to the lips of a crying, reluctant babe. (Wouldn’t be surprised if Gwen Stefani had tried to trademark the Japanese word for “cute” some time in the last 5 years or so. She’s already pretty much got “Harajuku”–the name of a Tokyo neighborhood–locked down legally.) And look, the Harajuku Mini for Target children’s clothes collection, which launches Sunday online and in stores, is “kawaii,” in a “What if a little panda cub who was part skater-punk threw up and it looked like lollipops and rainbows?” sorta way.

But, you know, I can forgive, but I can’t forget. Wait, who am I kidding? I can’t forgive either! Because when I see this ad plugging Gwen Stefani’s latest business venture…

…all I see is this:

Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Mini For Target Collection

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Forever 21 And Its “Oriental Girl” Necklace

November 4th, 2011 | 6 comments | Posted by Jen

Forever 21 committed another “Allergic to Algebra”-type gaffe this week when fashion bloggers discovered the Korean American-owned company was selling an “Oriental Girl” necklace.

For anyone hoping to buy an Oriental Girl on the cheap–only one dolla fifty!–you should know that the item has been pulled, or it’s “out of stock,” as the Forever 21 website now states.

When the Forever 21 “Allergic to Algebra” shirt came out, I had to wonder what kind of Asians would sell such a dumbed-down, regressive and ultimately cynical product to the masses. Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Forever 21 And Its “Oriental Girl” Necklace

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Oakland Mayor Jean Quan And The Police Response To #OccupyOakland

October 29th, 2011 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

I don’t know how local politics in Oakland work, but I do know after this week that politics in Oakland ain’t working. On Tuesday before dawn, the police raided the Occupy Oakland encampment in Frank Ogawa plaza, using tear gas and bean bag-rounds to clear out protesters. Later that night, Marine and two-time Iraq War vet Scott Olsen was critically injured during a protest march when a police projectile–most likely a tear gas-canister–hit his head and fractured his skull. Olsen remains in the hospital ICU in “fair” condition.

During the first incident, Mayor Jean Quan, who’s been in office less than a year, was on a plane to D.C. She later said she hadn’t been involved in the planning of the sweep and didn’t “know everything” that had happened. Quan maintains City Manager Deanna Santana and interim Police Chief Howard Jordan were responsible for the sweep and that she didn’t even know when the eviction would take place.

As for the second incident, which was reportedly much more confrontational than Tuesday’s early-morning sweep, the Oakland police, like Quan, have also denied responsibility for their actions. According to the Washington Post, police have denied using rubber bullets and flash-bangs on Tuesday night’s protesters, even though “many” photos and videos have emerged to the contrary. One Occupy Oakland protester who came to Scott Olsen’s aid after his skull was fractured by that police projectile told the SF Chronicle that after Olsen fell, the police threw another tear-gas canister at them and refused to help Olsen, who by then was bleeding from the head.

So if Mayor Quan and the Oakland police aren’t responsible for suppressing the Occupy Oakland protests, then who is exactly? Who is ultimately accountable to the people of Oakland?

The silver lining to all of this: Occupy Oakland has become an “international symbol of resistance,” gaining the support its own city officials have failed to provide from people around the world.

[photos via WaPo and Boing Boing]

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! 2 Broke Girls’ Han “Bryce” Lee

September 23rd, 2011 | 10 comments | Posted by Jen

I watched the pilot episode of 2 Broke Girls this week, even though multi-camera sitcoms really aren’t my thing. (Give me one hour dramas with teens or monsters or, even better, teens and monsters, any night of the week.) The CBS sitcom is about two women who form an unlikely friendship waitressing together at a greasy spoon in a not-cool neighborhood in Brooklyn.

And I liked it. Mostly. Beth Behrs is appealing as Caroline, the suddenly broke daughter of a disgraced Madoff-like figure, and Kat Dennings, who plays snarky Max, is infinitely watchable.

The same can’t be said for the show’s other characters, who are little more than a collection of broad, hacky, outmoded–even for network television–stereotypes, like Oleg, the pervy Russian Ukrainian cook who hits on the girls all day long, or Earl, the old, black wisecracking cashier who appears to be bound to his chair in the corner, or, worst of all, Han “Bryce” Lee, the Korean immigrant owner of the diner.

Han, who changes his name to “Bryce,” so that, as Dennings’ Max puts it, “people [can] take him even less seriously” than they already do, is a clueless, little man who spreaks Engrish and has no grasp of American culture. In an earlier draft of the pilot, he was actually named “Rice Lee,” so I guess that’s progress?

No. Not really.

It being 2011 and all, shouldn’t “ethnic” characters be more by now than just the butt of jokes made by pretty girls?

[CBS.com: 2 Broke Girls]

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Eye-Taping Is So Candy-Ass

September 9th, 2011 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Last week, a YouTube video surfaced of former plus-size model Crystal Renn–no stranger to controversy vis-à-vis physical transformation–taping her eyes back in what appeared to be an attempt to look Asian during a Vogue Nippon photo shoot.

While Refinery 29 wondered if eye-taping wasn’t akin to blackface, a disturbing phenomenon that’s reared its ugly head in recent photo shoots, Renn tried to clear things up this week in an interview with Jezebel, maintaining that eye-taping is a model trick frequently used to achieve a “straight brow” (as opposed to an Asian eye):

No one told me at the shoot to tape. It is something that I often do to add to the look of the character if I feel that the look makes sense, and often I suggest it. I have very heavy brows, and they’re more curved than straight, and sometimes when you’re doing a character it might require more of a straight brow. Which sounds like such a small detail, but it can completely transform the face. Lots of actresses do this, models do this — I don’t know how willing models usually are to do it, or if other people suggest it, but I am willing, and I even bring [tape] it in my own kit.

Even though Renn seems sincere, since eye-taping was employed for so many years as a way to make white actors look Asian–in the place of actually hiring Asians–I’m not sure it can ever escape its racist connotations. In fact, in the same interview with Renn, Jezebel points out that eye-taping isn’t even a thing of the past.

So what’s a would-be eye-taper to do?

What Asians have been doing for decades to achieve a, ahem, “curved brow.”

Yes, I mean eyelid surgery, but reverse-engineered:

Crystal Renn + Liu Wen = CRYSTAL WENN

Extreme, sure. Though people will be too awed by the commitment this sort of body modificasian requires to ever think it’s racist. And it may be expensive, but think of the money one could save over a lifetime on tape!

Or, you know, Vogue Nippon could just hire an Asian model with a naturally “straight brow” the next time and avoid this sticky situation altogether.

[Refinery 29: Is Taping Your Eyes To Look Asian The New Blackface?]
[Jezebel: Crystal Renn Wasn’t Trying To ‘Look Asian’ In That Eye Tape Shoot]

Special thanks to Helen for creating “Crystal Wenn”!

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! This Wack “How To Be Asian” Tutorial

August 12th, 2011 | 8 comments | Posted by Jen

Here’s a video on “How To Be Asian” by some chick named Nicole. It’s supposed to be funny or something? Apparently it’s an inside joke and part of an ongoing schtick of Nicole’s that involves putting shit on her face to become another race (black, usually) and maybe being self-satirizing about it but also maybe just being lazy and racist.

Taped eyes? Yellowface? Ching chong? Yawn.

The real tip on “How To Be Asian” that’s missing from the vid? If you want to be Asian, rule number one is Don’t Suck. I don’t know if this video was supposed to make me laugh or give me an outrage boner but neither happened. It just kinda hung there like a stale fart waiting to be collected in a glass jar and ushered out of the room so the rest of us could carry on. It was meh, it was mediocre. Mediocrity, of course, is failure, and failure isn’t Asian.

[LA Weekly: How to Become Asian: Alexandra Wallace Wannabe Takes Video Racism to New Low]

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