reappropriate

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cerebrogenesis (8)

  • Senator George Allen calls Asian Indian "macaca". Senator Allen was caught on video calling a volunteer in Democratic opponent, James Webb's campaign "macaca", and welcoming him to America. The volunteer is Asian Indian, and his name is S.R. Sidarth. Allen shows through his flippant use of the nonsensical word "macaca" to refer to Sidarth that he not only doesn't care to distinguish between Asian Indians, but he is perpetuating the "savage" and "Perpetual Foreigner" stereotype by off-handedly welcoming him to America, supposedly to illustrate how out of touch Webb's campaign is from real Americans. What's truly frustrating is how the Allen campaign, after initially responding to protests that the word "macaca" was a racialized term that seemed to reference macaque monkeys with expletives, is now claiming that the usage of the term was not, itself, racist. True, we don't know what "macaca" means, but I do know that you wouldn't catch Allen calling a blonde-haired, blue-eyed person that gibberish and welcoming him to America.
  • San Francisco officers sue, citing racial discrimination. Last year, several officers were suspended after a video was leaked onto the internet in which the SFPD officers made a racially and sexually charged video caricaturing a day on the force. The video included clips of a cop running over a homeless woman and other racist language and acts. The officers are now filing a lawsuit for over $20 million dollars, claiming that Police Chief Heather Fong didn't suspend four officers involved in the video because they were of "visibly Asian" descent, saying that for the other officers, it's an instance of racial discrimination that they were targeted over their Asian colleagues. I don't know why the four Asian officers weren't charged, but I can honestly say that this entire incident is despicable and needs to be put to bed. I certainly hope that these officers won't make a video like this and actually end up $20 million dollars richer.
  • The Wedding of the Century by Loren Javier, a column dissecting Marvel's motivations for pairing Storm with Black Panther in their much-hyped wedding of the century.
  • Untitled by WilliamBruceWest.com about "the Black Ghostbuster". Some light-hearted fare examining how a beloved character of colour gets a pretty raw deal when it comes to live-action cult classics.
  • Shoutout to Edward Said by Taking Steps, a post that articulates the blogger's response to my Mad as Hell post from ages ago. It is a great read, and particularly eloquent in considering the blogger's own tensions when it comes to outward perceptions of her authenticity because of her hapa identity. But I think she successfully nails the point that most Asian Americans have regarding Asiaphilia (one that I apparently failed to convey to the crazies in my own post) in this section:
    It's not about whether or not you eat tofu, kids, or study kung fu, or make curry for dinner, or enjoy anime. This point seems to have been lost on most of the commenters who got all indignant about how they just like green tea for their throataches, or, well, kimonos are comfortable, dammit, or, well, Japanese teenagers listen to hip-hop, don't they? It's not that you enjoy foods or apparel or schools of learning that come from my relatives, not yours, or my grandparents' country, not yours, or, for that matter, from some country y'all assume that I'm associated with because I'm funny-colored in a vaguely similar way to the people over there. It's not that you can go off about Japanese swordsmithing or Vajrayana Buddhism or the Daodejing. It's how, and I think a lot of people are awfully disingenuous about this distinction.
    I wrote my Mad as Hell post in a fit of frustration, when I felt so much like Man-Tan in Bamboozled wanting to just jump out onto a stage and scream about my rage (I could pretend that I was actually referencing Howard Beale in Network, and not referencing Spike Lee referencing Howard Beale, but who're we kidding? I don't know anything about pop culture before the 1990's, and a 1976 move is unwatchable to me because of the poor video quality.) I had encountered so much Asiaphilia in such a concentrated timeframe that I was fed up with articulating, rationalizing and reasoning; I had entered into what bell hooks would call "the killing rage". It wasn't so much that Asiaphilia exists (although I will admit that contributed to my anger, but how angry can you get when Asiaphilia is as widespread as it is?), but the fact that so many Asiaphiles pick and choose their awareness of Asian and Asian American issues, perpetuating so many ignorant and racist political views that disenfranchise the pan-Asian identity as they simultaneously fetishize our pan-Asian culture (without discrimination as to what cultures they appropriate). As Taking Steps wrote, it's not that but how.
  • How Not to Comment on Comments by Lorelle on Wordpress, a post that offers some handy advice on how to comment on posts in a way that is both respectful and interesting. This blog, thankfully, doesn't have too much of a problem with bad comments, but it's definitely worth reading, if only to get the juices flowing on bad habits we all have when it comes to co-existing in this blogosphere.

9 Comments:

Blogger William said...

Whoa! I've been linked! Sweet! Thanks, Jenn =)

As far as the Storm/Black Panther wedding, I'm still not buying it. As mentioned on Loren's blog, it seems like Reed and Sue are the only untouchable couple in the MU, and that's mainly because Reed's self-involved and Sue gets what she needs from Namor. It's like they're married, but not, all at the same time.

Let's see...black chick dumps black dude with jheri curl for black prince from Africa. Sorry, but I already saw "Coming To America", so I don't need to read it. (I WILL, however, pick up any issue with T'Challa and Luke Cage working at the local burger joint!)

8/15/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous exangelena said...

Jenn - macaque is apparently also a French racist term for North Africans, which is interesting given that George Allen's mom is French from Tunisia and that he apparently speaks French.
Frameshop: 'Macaca' or 'Macaque'
George Allen speaks French and knows macaque

8/15/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Lorelle said...

>>>This blog, thankfully, doesn't have too much of a problem with bad comments, but it's definitely worth reading<<<

Thanks for the plug. The reason it appears that I don't have much of a problem with bad comments is because I won't allow them. I have a very itchy and fast trigger finger on the delete button.

Some blogs encourage open and free wheeling discussions. Some don't. That's why I encourage everyone to publish their comment policies so their users will know how their comments will be treated, especially if they cross the line.

8/15/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get all the hate over the marriage between Storm and Black Panther. I mean seriously, its like people have a pathological fear of seeing two black people together these days. How many situations are there in which there's two blacks paired together? Not many...and that's sad.

Andrew Kaikai

8/15/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

Jenn, I think you have exactly the right idea about the Senator Allen incident. So much attention has been focused on the word "macaca" and what he might have meant by it. But let's imagine for a moment that Allen had just used some other gibberish and said "welcome to America." That would be equally bad! Or even if he had used Sidarth's actual name. You don't "welcome" someone to America who was born here. Allen's campaign tried to defend it by saying that he was welcoming the volunteer to the real Virginia outside the Beltway, where supposedly James Webb would not visit. The apologies so far have been far short of what common decency would require. Besides, the "real America" or "middle America" just means "white people" and it's time that the mainstream media acknowledged that.

8/16/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

"I mean seriously, its like people have a pathological fear of seeing two black people together these days."

WTF? Soapbox, much? I don't like the idea of their wedding because it's contrived. And just because it's two Black people together doesn't give it more points in my book. As A Black man (had to say it so you'd know), I'm not big on bandwagons, i.e. "I've gotta stick by O.J. 'cause he's black!"

I don't like the wedding because it makes NO sense. Sure, they've always dangled the fact that BP and Storm had history, but that's what it was: HISTORY. Then, they announce the wedding before they even retcon their history into existence. Marvel's approach was simply "Storm and Black Panther are getting married; Don't worry, we're going to show you why!"

It lacked romance, suspence, or anything that would make it a good story. It's not like they reunited and realized their love. No, BP decided it was time to take a wife, remembered Storm, and then Marvel put out a slapdash 2-month initiative to make it all have some semblance of logic.

Now, I'll have to say that the Scott-Jean wedding took almost TOO long to occur, but we saw it was inevitable. But Storm had more serious relationships with MANY people other than BP. We watched those relationships grow. But in the case of BP and Storm, it's more of a "Look what you missed! We'll fill you in" situation.

And I believe that the backlash is BECAUSE they're two Black people being put together. Because, aside from the royal/goddess status, that's ALL they have in common. We don't NEED Blacks to be paired simply because they're Black. That's assbackward thinking. Sometimes Like doesn't get along with Like: Bishop, for example, had his shot at Storm, but she just didn't do it for him. He found more in common with both Deathbird AND Sage. Now, I'm sure there's someone out there lamenting, "They always pair Bishop up with Crazy White Women!", but that's what floats his boat. And those relationships have yielded interesting results. It'd be a shame if we'd missed out on those stories simply because the writers were waiting for Storm or Charlotte Jones's dance card to be empty.

I have to ask, Andrew, did you even READ the story? I'm finding that many people weighing in online have NOT read it. It had its moments, but the whole thing came across like one of those worn-out Zane paperbacks that some chick left behind at the beauty parlor.

8/16/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is 'some chick' the hypothetical comparison point for stupidity/low creativity?

8/24/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray for 'progressives' who stereotype.

8/24/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Jenn,
Thank you for your connection of Howard Beale's rage and bell hooks.

2/17/2015 02:29:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home