reappropriate

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cerebrogenesis (3)

  • Visions of Harold and Kumar: A Plea for Better Coverage of the Asian Man, an article laying out the reasons for wanting more images like Harold and Kumar in mainstream media. While the article is a pretty decent primer, my main beef with it was (surprisingly) how it was written: Huang just doesn't sound like he means it. Huang sounds like a middle-aged Asian dude roped into seeing a teen flick and now saying something he thinks the community wants to hear. While it is refreshing to see some underachieving (although not really) Asian Americans, where is the counter-argument? Where are the politicized Asian Americans who articulate the important point that Harold and Kumar, rather than being heralded as an anthem, should be taken with a grain of salt? After all, what message are we sending if the movie we deliver accolades to as re-defining our community was written by White screenwriters for a White audience?
  • Open Letter to Well-Meaning, Upper- Middle Class Families Considering Adoption by Kulturfluff. An excellent post on why White families should reconsider their reasons for adopting Asian babies.
  • Evil Woman!, a post over at Absorbacon which discusses whether women are less believable then men as villains. What's most interesting about this post is the comments thread which expanded to near-epic proportions over whether or not one should believe "scientific evidence" suggesting an encoded difference between the way men and women think. This thread single-handedly prompted me to volunteer to lead the discussion on sexual dimorphism in brain development and function in my upcoming Neurophysiology summer course.
  • Black Women Don't Give Head and Other Lessons Learned From Essence, a wonderful post by Mixed Media Watch that breaks down stereotypes of interracial relationships evidence in a recent article by Essence magazine.
  • Diversifying DC#1: The All-New Atom. This article by Loren Javier discusses first reactions upon faced with the new, "Korean-American" (but not really) Atom. He is much more forgiving than I, but I think we both agree that it remains to be seen whether DC is able to capture the full potential of a character like Ryan Choi.
  • Does Race Matter When Pastoring?, a post by Bruce Reyes-Chow about his experiences as a person of colour and a pastor. While I disagree with the assertion that class "trumps" race, it is interesting to read how being a racial minority colours ones experiences as a person of faith, and how this might affect leading a congregation who sees you as ostensibly different.
  • How to Spot a Jap, an old comic strip from 1942 released to military personnel detailing "racial differences" between Chinese and Japanese people. The comic strip was illustrated by the same artist who drew "Terry and the Pirates" (infamous for having popularized the "Dragon Lady" terminology for sexually predatory and untrustworthy Asian women). For those of you who are surprised by the existence of such a comic strip, please keep in mind that such "educational materials" were commonplace during WWII, and published everywhere from newspapers to magazines. They were not limited to comic strips either -- I have archived somewhere a picture using a real Chinese and Japanese person illustrating the supposed differences that was published in an old newspaper ad. It was propaganda like this that further underscored the tension between Chinese and Japanese Americans.

7 Comments:

Anonymous CVK said...

Thanks for the link! :)

7/10/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does it seem like the writer of that female villians in comics piece is a bit sexist?

"It's been my observation that, on the whole, women are not nearly as likely to be idiotic as men."

7/11/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

lol, it's not just you -- the entire comments section is basically filled with people accusing him of just that. :)

7/11/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous gatamala said...

I wish someone or Kulturfluff would expand on that article. I hear people talking about Chinese girls like they talk about cheap electronics (& plus, they don't have to "deal with" the community like they may with black "crack" babies). I love the point he makes about the parents - themselves - having NO frame of reference for the feeling of otherness (hmm I wonder what transracial adoption experiences are like when the parents are NOT white..hmmm). Often these parents get so hung up on the I'm-doing-you-so-much-good-because-they-would-have-killed-you-over-there narrative that they can't get beyond their self-congratulation to really give the child what she (or he) needs.

7/11/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I agree, and what irritates me the most is the sheer number of adoptive parents who descend upon adoptees who resent their lack of racial identity growing up, chiding them on not being "grateful" enough. There's no need for adoptive parents to try and shut down the dialogue going on that is helping shape the adoptee community.

7/11/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Loren said...

Yeah, I tend to be forgiving about first issues. And, after hearing Gail Simone on Word Balloon and being such a big fan of her work, I'm giving her the benefit of a few issues before I really try to see how Asian or Asian American this character is turning out to be. Also, despite DC Comics' "Noah's Ark" style of adding diversity -- one Asian American (The Atom), one Latino (Blue Beetle), one African American (Firestorm) and one "lipstick lesbian" (Batwoman)-- I have to give them props for at least attempting to diversify their world with characters that are well known in their universe.

7/11/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Mmm, I guess I am just so excited to finally be able to see the new Atom that I'm eager to document all of my reactions to him off the bat. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things shape up, though. After all -- a total of about 30 pages of a character isn't really enough to develop the kind of nuance to give a character of colour quality treatment.

Your "Noah's Ark" comment made me laugh, Loren. I agree -- it's good to diversify the world, but, as you've basically said, I worry that the approach is more Legion of Superheroes, redux, than Grace Choi.

7/11/2006 05:50:00 PM  

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