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27
May

A new TV spot is creating a firestorm of racist accusations on social media. Here it is: a black man […]

A new TV spot is creating a firestorm of racist accusations on social media. Here it is: a black man and a Chinese woman are flirting, wherein she thrusts a detergent capsule in his mouth and bundles him into a laundry machine, sits atop the machine as the man spins and screams inside until out pops a handsome Chinese man dressed in a clean, white t-shirt.

You can watch it and read the commentary on CNN.

Fortunately for the U.S., it’s not an American ad. It’s running in China. Which doesn’t make it okay. But it does expose some interesting and shocking realities about racism in Asia. Specifically anti-black racism, and even more stunning, a pro-white bias.

From CNN:

This wouldn’t be the first time ads in China have been accused of racial insensitivity, there was considerable criticism online after the Chinese posters for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” seemed to downplay black actor — and co-lead — John Boyega.

While a large number of Africans live in China, particularly in southern Guangdong province, many have complained of facing discrimination and prejudice from locals due in part to a widespread stigma against dark skin.

That stigma also exists in other Asian countries, a Thai beauty company was forced to withdraw an ad and issue an apology after it released a commercial saying “just by being white, you will win.”

You have to wonder if this was an epic blunder, or whether the ad makers were tapping into some deep prejudice in China. Either way, ew.

 

 

23
May

“Expat” vs “Immigrant”

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED nationalism, race

A commentator in The Guardian poses a great question: Why are white people living abroad called expats, while people of […]

A commentator in The Guardian poses a great question: Why are white people living abroad called expats, while people of color are immigrants?

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

The commentator comes around to the point that most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. This is from a worldwide perspective, but can easily be applied just to the U.S.

One person in the comments section – yes, we know but the Guardian’s comment section is better than most – says that it’s not jut about race but about class:

I think it’s probably to do with economic dynamics, immigration is usually perceived as poverty driven. For example, relatively poor Bulgarians moving into France or the UK to work for better wages are considered to be ‘immigrants’ (although they are white). And a rich Qatari oil Tycoon living in a ridiculously luxurious flat in London is not considered an ‘immigrant’ (although he is not white).

Poor people are ‘immigrants’. Rich people are ‘expats.’ Whether it’s economics or race or both, it’s important to remember that language matters.

How would it look if there were more Asian actors playing lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters?   You may have […]

How would it look if there were more Asian actors playing lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters?

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You may have seen actor John Cho in the Harold and Kumar comedies (he’s the uptight Harold who’s friends with the stoner Kumar). But have you wondered what John Cho would look like in bigger mainstream action movies? Check out the #StarringJohnCho website. A 25-year-old digital strategist William Yu, who’s Korean, Photoshopped Cho onto a collection of mainstream movie posters to draw attention to the fact that, as he says on the site, “whitewashing Asian roles in film abounds.”

On this blog we’ve pointed out the common practice for white stars to be cast as Asian characters, such as Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko Kusanagi in the dystopian crime story Ghost in the Shell, blonde and blue-eyed Emma Stone as Alison Ng in Aloha. Asian actors generally remain consigned to bit roles.

Cho is not affiliated with the website, but Yu did say on PRI’s radio show “The World” that Cho gave him an emoji heart.

Political insiders have wondered for decades how to motivate Latinos to vote. Now they have their answer: Donald Trump. Trump is […]

Political insiders have wondered for decades how to motivate Latinos to vote. Now they have their answer: Donald Trump.

Trump is poised to win today’s primary in Indiana, and if he does he will have a clear path to the GOP nomination for President, most political experts agree. The dawning realization that the Republican nominee will likely be Trump has led to a spike in voter registration for Latinos. And they’re not registering to vote FOR him either.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials, projects 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.

A whopping 80 percent of respondents in a poll of registered Hispanic voters in Colorado and Nevada said Trump’s views on immigration made them less likely to vote for Republicans in November. In Florida, that number was 68 percent.

The figures are sparking confident tones from Democrats, who think their party’s nominee will benefit from a huge advantage in the fall not only in the presidential race but also in battles for the House and Senate.

Many of the newly registered Hispanic voters are in relatively safe states for Democrats (California) and Republicans (Texas). But rising registration rates among Hispanics in swing states of Colorado, Florida and Nevada could make it easier for the Democratic candidate to capture them. If Trump proves especially toxic, even states like Arizona and Georgia could be in play.

It’s Trumps loud demands to close the border that have motivated Latinos, not just the policy itself (most wouldn’t be directly affected by it) but the ugliness of the rhetoric, including Trump’s most ardent supporters.

Does anyone want to take bets on whether Trump will double down on the rhetoric?

22
Apr

  This Vox video explains why things haven’t changed enough for Asian actors in Hollywood. In fact, they haven’t changed […]

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This Vox video explains why things haven’t changed enough for Asian actors in Hollywood. In fact, they haven’t changed much at all. From Louise Rainer winning an Oscar for playing an Asian woman in “The Good Earth” in 1937 to Marlon Brando playing Asian in “Teahouse of the August Moon” (1956) to Linda Hunt playing an Asian man in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” (1982) to Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan character in Marvel’s “Dr. Strange” (coming), Asians in Hollywood movies are invisible at best, and still, sometimes the butt of a joke.

And here’s the Washington Post with a list of 100 times (and there are more) a white actor played a non-white character.

There’s blowback from audiences now, but we haven’t yet seen studios changing their practices. After all, the whole point is bringing in people to theaters, and they need well-known actors who can “open” a film. And how many well-known Asian actors are there, at least in the U.S.? Kind of a vicious circle.

 

 

Have you gotten into an argument about politics yet this season? If so, you’re not alone. And if it seems […]

Have you gotten into an argument about politics yet this season? If so, you’re not alone. And if it seems like these disputes are becoming more toxic and mean, they are, according to a fascinating, though not surprising, essay in the New York Times this week.

The Big Orange One was not named in the article, and that may be due to the conclusion that Trump is just a vessel for simmering rage that has been boiling in the American electorate for some time.

While the percentage of Americans who identify as Democrat or Republican has gone down in recent decades, those with a strong party affinity are now farther apart from the other side than ever. And according to this essay, it’s largely based on racial attitudes:

The increasing alignment between party and racial attitudes goes back to the early 1990s. The Pew Values Survey asks people whether they agree that “we should make every effort to improve the position of minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment.”

Over time, Americans’ party identification has become more closely aligned with answers to this question and others like it. Pew reports that, “since 1987, the gap on this question between the two parties has doubled — from 18 points to 40 points.” Democrats are now much more supportive (52 percent) of efforts to improve racial equality than they were a few decades ago, while the views of Republicans have been largely unchanged (12 percent agree).

And with race and ethnicity front and center in the 2016 race, from Black Lives Matter protesters to Trump calling Mexicans rapists and murderers (“though some I’m sure are nice people”), the partisan split is even more pronounced.

 

Democrats are pulling out all the stops to woo the Latino vote – yes they say that every time, but […]

Democrats are pulling out all the stops to woo the Latino vote – yes they say that every time, but this time the competition is intense – and this year a civil rights icon is going head-to-head the actress and activist who played her in a movie.

On the Bernie Sanders side is Rosario Dawson. On the Clinton side is Dolores Huerta, the farmworker and labor organizer and lifelong activist who Dawson portrayed in the movie “Cesar Chavez.”

NBC News notes that the feud between the two women has not generated headlines and been well chronicled on social media, but show the fissures in the diverse Latino electorate that split  along generational lines (Bernie is winning under-30 Latinos, Hillary is winning over-30 Latinos and is crushing Sanders with the over-60 Latino electorate.

The Democratic race is getting testy – though not even close to the gruesomeness of the GOP race – and Dawson, 36 and Huerta, 85, and their fans have been exchanging barbs. Dawson has dismissed Huerta’s work in civil rights and being an “instrument of the establishment.” Fans of Huerta accuse Dawson of failing to show respect to a woman with years on her in activism and fighting for Latinos.

From NBC:

The Dawson-Huerta sparring began with an opinion piece Huerta wrote on Medium.com, titled “On Immigration, Bernie Sanders is Not Who He Says He Is.”

“I like Bernie. He’s a nice guy. I have no doubt he means well. Latinos matter in this election, and he knows it. But my question for Bernie is, where the heck was he for the last 25 years? … He was nowhere. That’s where,” Huerta wrote.

Dawson, co-founder of Voto Latino, responded to Huerta in an open letter published in Huffington Post, opening it with a quote from Huerta, a Clinton supporter.

Dawson acknowledged Huerta’s place in history and her work, but also said she had created a narrative that distorted facts and misguided voters.

“Dolores, I am surprised, dismayed, and concerned that you would do your legacy such a disservice by becoming an instrument of the establishment, rather than joining this movement to create a better America like you once inspired us to do,” Dawson wrote.

The blowback from the younger Dawson, against the older Huerta reflects the tenure of this election, in which being part of the “establishment” is a liability.

Millennials make up about 44 percent of the electorate, a larger share than the youth of any other racial or ethnic group, and the growth of the Latino electorate has long been fueled by its youth. Since Clinton last sought the nomination, some 6 million Hispanics were projected by Pew Research Center to have turned 18.

Donald Trump, the “Mexican illegals are rapists and murderers” candidate, is having an unintended effect on immigration in the U.S. […]

Donald Trump, the “Mexican illegals are rapists and murderers” candidate, is having an unintended effect on immigration in the U.S. According to multiple news outlets, Latinos are clamoring to get naturalized this year just to vote against him.

Figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show a 14.5% jump in naturalization applications in June-December of 2015 compared with the same six months in the previous year. Federal data does not break down those applications by race, but grass-roots organizations, like the Florida Immigrant Coalition, say their naturalization drives across their swing state are filled primarily by Latinos.

“They feel very unsafe with his words,” said Florida Immigrant Coalition spokesman Ivan Parra. “They want to be respected. For them, it is an emergency.”

We’ve been hearing about this trend from other states as well. And it shouldn’t be surprising. Remember that 2013 Republican party post-mortem, after Latinos shunned Romney in the 2012 election? With Trump at the top of the ticket, if he is, the Republican party could be looking at shutting out Latinos for a generation or two. What does it take to awaken that “sleeping giant”? Maybe a candidate as toxic and hostile to non-whites as Trump.

No wonder the GOP establishment is trying so hard to stop him. Well, good luck with that. Seriously, good luck.

  Here’s another political post, though really the interesting part is about the demographics of death in the U.S. The […]

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Here’s another political post, though really the interesting part is about the demographics of death in the U.S.

The immediate story is that Donald Trump’s margins of victory in the primary elections have been highest in states where the rate of deaths among middle-aged white Americans is going up. According to the Washington Post:

We’re focusing on middle-aged whites because the data show that something has gone terribly wrong with their lives. In a study last year, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton pointed out that mortality rates for this group have actually been increasing since the ’90s.

That fact becomes more alarming when you look at the context. Over the past decade, Hispanic people have been dying at a slower rate; black people have been dying at a slower rate; white people in other countries have been dying at a slower rate.

What’s most interesting, from a demographic perspective, is why  death rates for middle-aged whites are going up. The study mentioned by the Washington Post didn’t point definitively to any causes, but the researchers suggested  that alcohol abuse, suicides and the opioid epidemic have something to do with it.

The rate of fatal “poisonings” for instance — a category that includes drug overdoses — more than tripled among middle-aged whites since 2000.

Good grief. So that Make America Great Again slogan, to some ears might be “Help Us White People Stop Dying So Fast.” Doesn’t make a great bumper sticker though.

For more information on the demographic study showing higher middle-aged white deaths in the U.S., go here.

 

  Apparently, yes. For those who watched the Oscars last Sunday you were treated to a skit where he introduced the […]

 

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Apparently, yes.

For those who watched the Oscars last Sunday you were treated to a skit where he introduced the “dedicated, accurate and hard-working” accountants “Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz.” They were responsible for counting the votes for the night. He then welcomed the three tuxedo-clad kids, Kung included, holding briefcases. The funny part was that Asian (and Jewish Americans are model minorities who are good at math. Rock also threw in a child labor reference: “If anybody is upset about this joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids.”

Haha. Joking about child labor in Asia, which is a real thing.

The jokes fell flat. The irony is, Rock was on fire for his justifiable skewering of Hollywood excluding black talent not only from awards but from key roles.

Guess what? There aren’t very many roles for Asian actors in film either.

But about the skit. Is it still all right to make fun of Asian (and Jewish) Americans as the hardworking model minorities? Who doesn’t want to be known as hardworking and dedicated and good at numbers, right?

Well, certainly not when the butt of the joke is a real person, a kid who wasn’t in on the joke. Public Radio International has more about that:

The joke stung harder than it might have in years past, precisely because the trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which emerged because it was the second year in a row where all the acting nominees were white, forced Rock and the Hollywood elite to confront their biases. Prior to the ceremony, celebrities including Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the awards show. Directors Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler chose to hold #JusticeForFlint, a fundraiser for the Flint water crisis, on the same night. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced its goal to double its diverse members by 2020.

So when Asians still seemed to be the butt of the joke — it didn’t help that presenter Sacha Baron Cohen would later make a joke about “hard-working little yellow people with tiny dongs” — even celebrities like Constance Wu, Daniel Dae Kim and Jeremy Lin weighed in on Twitter.

Let’s imagine an Asian version of Chris Rock – Margaret Cho comes to mind – hosting the Oscars. Hard to imagine her green lighting a skit where African Americans are the butt of the joke.