Moshi — THE Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal has called on religious leaders to continue preaching peace, love and unity and warned those inclined to preach hatred to stop it henceforth, saying any breach of peace would cost the nation dearly.
Addressing Eid-El-Hajj Baraza at Jihad Mosque in Vuchama, Mwanga district in Kilimanjaro region yesterday, the Vice-President said the recent violence that erupted in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam was a result of unnecessary hate-speeches made by some Muslim clerics.
“For many decades, Tanzania has not witnessed religious-motivated conflicts. This will not be allowed to happen again. Worshippers need to know that conflicts resulting from trivial issues like fighting for ownership of a mosque are uncalled for. Chaos taints the good image of the worshippers,” Dr Bilal said.
He stressed that the government would take appropriate measures against the perpetrators of violence, saying it is easy to break peace but very costly to restore it. Dr Bilal reminded the faithful to read carefully the Holy Quran and treasure its many verses which teach about peace and unity and implored religious leaders to use the scripture to talk about peace instead of hatred.
“Our elders cherished peace and unity. They did respect individual’s faith. It is now our turn to pass the good deeds to the future generations,” he said. Vuchama people will remember Dr Bilal for a rare Eid gift. He contributed 5m/- for Vuchama Mosque Islamic Centre during a fund-raiser that aimed at collecting money for construction of a nursery, primary and secondary school in the area at an estimated cost of 4.3bn/-.
Speaking on the occasion, (Eid Baraza), Acting Mufti of Tanzania Alhajj Ismail Habib Makusanya urged the government to take action against all religious leaders and politicians bent on causing violence and hatred. He said the country has enjoyed peace, unity and stability for years but today some selfish people are using religion and politics to cause chaos.
“We are for peace and harmony. Total freedom of worship is our right,” Sheikh Makusanya explained. The Secretary of the Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) Sheikh Suleiman Lolila urged the government to conduct investigations into chaos instigated by a few individuals who he said should face justice. Eid-El-Hajj Salat led by Acting Mufti, Alhajj Makusanya was conducted at national level at Jihad Mosque.
Racist Hollywood continuing their war against non-whites by engaging in black-face choosing a light skinned mixed Latina dressing her up in prosthetics to make her look like Nina Simone the black female Jazz Singer. a similar racist yellowface movie cloud atlas is now playing in theaters.
pictures showing Zoe in blackface using prosthetics
Here is light skinned mixed Latina Zoe Saldana
She caused controversy when it was first revealed that she had been cast as Nina Simone, with many saying she wasn’t ‘dark-skinned enough’ to play the legendary jazz singer.
But in first pictures of Zoe Saldana on the set of highly-anticipated biopic Nina, the 34-year-old actress has shown she is throwing herself into the role whole-heartedly.
Zoe was seen wearing a black afro-style short wig and what appeared to be a prosthetic nose, clutching a folder believed to contain her scripts as she made her way to the movie set.
She also appeared to have some slightly darker make-up shaded along her cheek and jawline.
She wore a black dressing gown with white trim, teamed with a matching pair of slippers as she prepared to meet with the wardrobe department ahead of her day’s work.
The decision to cast Zoe as Nina was met with strong criticism with many in Hollywood, including Nina’s daughter Simone Kelly.
Simone took to her Facebook page to voice her concerns, writing: ‘Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.’
However, Simone then continued to say that she had no problem with the star’s acting ability, but added she would have liked to see a darker-skinned actress such as Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise take the part.
But other stars have come forward to back Zoe in the part, with singer and actress Jill Scott telling black women’s web site Hello Beautiful: ‘Zoe is an incredible actress.
‘I think that there should be some work done, like a prosthetic nose would be helpful and definitely some darker make-up.’
The synopsis of the motion picture so far only details that it is the story of the jazz musician and classical pianist, including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson.
The civil rights activist certainly celebrated women of darker complexions with her track Images (Of a Wayward Soul), which includes the lyrics: ‘She does not know her beauty. She thinks her brown body has no glory.’
Nina, which also stars The Help actor David Oyelowo as Henderson, is due for release in 2013.
the latest racism from a university
A University of Florida fraternity has drawn sharp criticism this week after two members darkened their skin and went to a fraternity party dressed in a style meant to represent African Americans.
On Thursday and Friday, social media sites were abuzz with news of the event as students and others passed around a photo showing two Beta Theta Pi members wearing “blackface” and donning thick gold chains, baseball caps and pants that hang so low they show their boxer shorts.
The theme of Wednesday night’s Halloween party, which was held off campus, was “Rock-stars and Rappers.”
Officials from the university and Beta Theta Pi’s national headquarters expressed disappointment on Friday. UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said administrators will hold a town hall Thursday about the issue and its effect on the Gainesville campus of almost 50,000 students.
“We recognize that what they did is hurtful and perpetuates racist stereotypes of African Americans,” Sikes said. “We work very hard to create a welcoming environment for all of our students regardless of race or ethnic background.”
Blackface, a form of theatrical makeup, was used for decades to demean blacks by representing them as caricatures.
“We are outraged about it,” said Stevenson Chery, a senior at UF who’s from Orlando and a former president of UF’s Haitian student organization. “Students should know that this is wrong.”
The fraternity’s president, Ethan McMahon, issued a public apology Friday for the actions of the two members.
“While their actions were not intended with any malice or ill-will to any members of our community, clearly they were offensive …,” McMahon wrote in a prepared statement. “Our brothers’ actions were wrong — as was the inaction of our other chapter members for not stopping it — and we are truly, truly sorry.”
commentary by Tommy Sotomayor
Angry Parents put a stop to school’s plans feed pupils barbarically, slaughtered halal meat
A TOWN primary school sparked outrage after announcing plans to serve halal meat in meals to all pupils.
But within hours it made a dramatic u-turn and sent a text message to parents telling them the decision had been reversed.
Lynnfield Primary School sent a letter to parents on Tuesday afternoon which revealed all chicken, beef and lamb dishes served in school would be prepared with halal meat after the half-term.
But just hours later at 8am yesterday, after complaints from fuming parents, the school sent out a text message revealing the changes would not go ahead as planned.
Relieved parent Stephen Lister, 33, described the proposed changes to the menus as “disgusting” and threatened to take his child out of the school if only halal meat was served to children.
But Rajab Malik, 45, who has one child at the school and three children who have now left Lynnfield, said: “The halal meat would have been ideal for all of the Muslim children and there is no problem for the wider community to eat halal meat.”
Forty of the 350 pupils at Lynnfield Primary School, in Grosvenor Street, in the town are of different ethnicity.
Muslim children at the school can only eat halal meat, which is killed by hand and must be blessed by the person doing the job in the name of Allah.
Marian Fairley, headteacher at the school, said the change was originally made with the aim of catering for pupils with dietary requirements based on their ethnicity.
Rajab, who is chairman of the Salaam Centre, in Murray Street, used to have to take his three older children home at lunchtime when they were at Lynnfield Primary and prepare meals for them himself.
He described the school’s u-turn as “a blow”, saying: “Quite a lot of children at the school are Muslim and I think food should be prepared halal for them.”
Rajab, who lives in Grange Road, in the town, said he now plans to discuss the issue further with the school.
But Stephen said he is “delighted” the school reversed the original decision.
The unemployed dad, who lives in Jesmond Road with his partner, Lynn Guest, 28, and who has two children at the school and another two-year-old, said: “What upset me was the fact it felt like it was forced on us, we didn’t have a say.
“I felt they were going out of their way to cater for the Muslim children.
“It felt wrong and I was pleased and relieved to get the text saying they weren’t going through with it.”
Mrs Fairley said: “Our proposed change to using halal meat in our school meals was based on the best of intentions, with the aim of catering for all our pupils including those with dietary requirements based on their ethnicity.
“However, we realise now that we should have consulted with parents beforehand and we apologise for not doing so.
“As a result of concerns which have been raised by some parents, we have now decided not to proceed with the change to halal meat and I will be writing to all parents to inform them of this.”
The school confirmed it had not yet made any arrangements to buy halal meat or specialist equipment.
Sharia law in action
|Hyderabad: October 24, 2012. (Abbas Kassar) A Christian girl Rebbeca who was kidnapped from Sukkur in Sindh on October 2, 2012, was produced before the high court Sukkur circuit bench on 22 October on application of her father Younis Masih was handed over to her kidnapper husband by judge of Sindh High Court rejecting appeals by her lawyer to send her to Darul Aman.
In the court the girl did not speak a word because she appeared to have been so frightened and terrorized that she continued to mince her lips in helpless manner but did not utter a word. She was accompanied with Mian Aslam son of politically powerful Mian Mithoo the Member of National Assembly of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party PPP who has been accused of kidnapping non-Muslim girls, keeping them in her Haveli for few weeks and then managing their marriages with his servants or followers.
Manzar Dahar a man who kidnapped her and later married her on force on behest of Pir Mian Mithoo also accompanied her and later took her to his home. Despite repeated requests by father of girl Younis Masih and his advocate Mukesh Kumar to send her to Darul Aman as according to them she was under intense pressure and fright but the judge Justice Naamatullah Phulpoto rejected their requests and allowed her to go with her kidnapper husband and adjourned the hearing to 2 November.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have said that Pakistan Peoples Party PPP leaders are involved in kidnapping and enforcedly converting Christian and Hindu girls to Islam in interior Sindh.
Nazir Bhatti said that if ruling PPP not expelled its Member of National Assembly from Ghotki named Mian Mithoo from his seat then Hindus and Christian from Sindh will launch move not support PPP in next general elections because MNA Mian Mithoo is protecting culprits who are kidnapping and enforcedly converting them to Islam and sells them to Muslim bidders.
Nazir Bhatti said that Christian and Hindu girls are kidnapped by tools of PPP MNA Mian Mithoo and later forced to be sex-slaves of Mian Mithoo and other PPP Muslim feudal lords and later sold to Muslim for marriage in Sindh.
“We appealed to PPP co-chairperson and President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to act against his MNA Mian Mithoo if kidnap and enforced conversion of Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari and others but he kept silent but no action was taken” added Nazir Bhatti
PCC Chief urged unity among Christians and Hindus to safe their self-respect and families from PPP Muslim feudal lords and like Mian Mithoo extremist Muslims in lines of ruling PPP.
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).” — Bukhari 7.62.88
Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.
According to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA ), a local NGO, RSC’s chairman Mohamed Osman Salih, made his endorsement of girl child marriage in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 17 October during a debate organized by the United Nation Fund for Population (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Sudanese Ministry of Religious Guidance on Girl’s Child Marriage.
SIHA reported that Salih argued that girl child marriage is an appreciative matter in Islam and has many advantages including the prospect of being able to produce many offspring.
The NGO recalled that in 2009 the RSC issued a Fatwa endorsing female circumcision despite much lobbying by activists to ban the harmful practice.
SIHA further criticized the fact that the Sudanese government has failed to amend the laws that allow girl child marriage, referring to the Sudan Personal Status Act of 1991 which contains an article allowing for the marriage of girls as young as 10.
“As women activists, women’s human rights defenders and community leaders across the Horn of Africa, we are saddened by the lack of progress Sudan is demonstrating and the lack of will to amend and revise the country’s laws and legislations towards respecting the human rights and dignity of women and girls” SIHA’s statement reads.
SIHA called on the Sudanese government to conform the country’s personal laws with international obligations and to immediately ban and criminalize the granting of marriage licenses for girls under the age of 18.
It also called for abolishing all legislation that seeks to undermine and violate women’s human rights.
This is the second part of a four-part Israeli documentary by Zvi Yehezkeli and David Deryi about the Islamization of Europe. It has been translated from the Hebrew and subtitled in English. The filmmaker is an Arabic-speaking Israeli whose appearance and flawless Arabic accent were sufficient to allow him to mingle freely with the Muslims in several “no-go zones” in Sweden and France, and to get an inside look at the Islamic mindset within the greater European community.
- Post-doctoral research project on religion in public education
- Parents say kids shown graphic and violent crucifixion material
- Anglican Church says curriculum does not mention hell, divorce, Creationism
- Should kids be exposed to the gamut of Biblical horrors, asks Tory Shepherd
PRIMARY school children think they will “burn in hell” and are tormented by gruesome images of Jesus on the Cross after having religious instruction classes, parents say.
Dozens of Queensland families have complained about the public school classes to Macquarie University researcher Dr Catherine Byrne.
One parent said their six-year-old child was shown “graphic and violent crucifixion material”.
“(He) suffered nightmares and anxiety about death for 10 months – he believed everything he was being told – including that he would burn in hell,” they said.
Another parent said they had tried to withdraw their child from religious instruction but their seven-year-old daughter kept being put back in. After learning about atrocities in the Bible, they say their daughter was told “the Jews had it coming to them”.
Another parent said the child of the religious instruction teacher told their son he would burn in hell before stabbing him with a pencil.
Dr Byrne is collecting stories from people who have made or are considering making a formal complaint. It will be compiled for a post-doctoral research project on religion in public education.
She said she’s spoken to about 24 Queensland families, as well as many more NSW families in the past, and that there are nation-wide problems with religious education.
“This is a national problem and a national disgrace,” she said.
“I would say these parents are just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of parents are frightened (about speaking out) because this is their kid’s school, they don’t want to put their education at risk.
“They’re not sure who to talk to about it (and) many parents would be completely unaware of what’s happening.”
The Anglican Church of Australia’s Brisbane Diocese, which trains some of the state’s religious education teachers, said its curriculum did not mention hell, divorce, Creationism or other contentious topics and that in its experience people going “off topic” were “isolated cases”.
“Specific training for teachers targets handling contentious off-topic questions and using language carefully to be inclusive of different beliefs,” a spokesman said.
“Whilst there may be cases of RE teachers going off-topic, the Diocese’s experience is that these are isolated cases.
“The vast majority of RE teachers are caring people only interested in ensuring a rounded education for Queensland children and young people. Such a rounded education includes the field of religion, a major shaping influence in diverse areas such as history, the arts and our communities.”
Dr Byrne’s earlier research in NSW found children were told that worshipping “fake gods” other than the Christian God was a sin, that other countries have “disgusting customs” and that “God gets angry at men who marry foreign women”.
There were reports in 2010 that Queensland primary school children were taught Creationism; that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together.
RI is optional in Queensland but parents complain that children who opt out of the classes are left unsupervised, that children are enticed in with lollies, and one family is considering homeschooling so they don’t feel “odd” for opting out of RI.
RI is separate to the Government’s controversial chaplaincy program.
Dr Byrne said children should learn about other faiths without being indoctrinated. She described Australia as “pathetically behind the times” because other countries can teach religion on a secular way.
“Public schooling is not for indoctrination,” she said.
“It’s about critical thinking, learning about the world around you, learning about kids who are different to you.”
She said she had met with government officials but they were “too frightened” about losing the Christian lobby vote to intervene.
Education Queensland told News.com.au that schools must allow religious instruction and that parents are free to withdraw their children from classes at any time.
“RI is only to be provided to students in state primary, secondary and special schools whose parents have nominated that faith group on enrollment or to students whose parents have given written permission for their children to attend,” Assistant Director General Marg Pethiyagoda said.
“State schools respect the background and beliefs of all students and staff by not promoting, or being perceived as promoting, any particular set of beliefs in preference to another.”
maybe the song sucks. being number 2 on the U.S billboard is proof of that
While South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has taken the world by storm, it has largely fallen flat in Japan—an anomaly viewed with grave suspicion by some in the singer’s home country.
Korean K-pop music is huge in Japan, but for one reason or another Japanese music fans have remained relatively immune to the seductive powers of Psy and his horse-riding dance.
In South Korea, there has been speculation that a bitter territorial dispute over contested islands may have caused Japanese fans to shun the song.
While the number has topped the UK charts and currently sits at number two on the U.S. Billboard ranking, it has only scraped into the top 30 of the Japanese iTunes chart.
To make matters worse, various Japanese music blogs have suggested that the video’s success on YouTube—530 million views and counting—was down to South Koreans using automated viewing programs known as “bots.”
Some even started playfully referring to the song as “F5 Style”—a reference to the keyboard key used to refresh the window of an Internet browser.
On Monday, the Korean Wave Research Institute (KWRI)—a non-profit body established in 2010 to “aggressively” promote Korean popular culture around the globe—hit back.
Denouncing the “conspiracy theories” of YouTube chart manipulation, KWRI president Han Koo-Hyun said the “outrageous” Japanese argument was “tantamount to doubting a world record in an Olympics marathon.”
Skepticism about the song’s worldwide popularity on YouTube “should be viewed as a primary school kid’s jealousy and envy”, Han said in a press release.
Not content with defending the success of “Gangnam Style,” Han launched a vitriolic attack on the only Japanese entry in YouTube’s chart of the 30 all-time, most-viewed videos.
Currently ranked 29th with more than 237 million views, the video shows a young Japanese woman engaging in the popular Internet meme activity of dropping some mentos candy in a bottle of diet coke so that it sprays soda everywhere.
Mocking what he described as the “most grotesque and preposterous content” on the entire chart, Han said it was “another lowly example showing the video-related preference of the Japanese.”
Several reasons have been suggested for “Gangnam Style’s” lack of success in Japan, including the fact that Psy didn’t follow the path chosen by most K-pop stars of releasing a Japanese-language version.
Colorado State bowing down to islam
Jasir Mayat was excited to move to Colorado from Pakistan a few months ago to attend CSU as a freshman in the College of Business.
When Mayat, a student in the INTO program for international students, read a statement on the CSU INTO website that said a dietitian would be there to work with students who follow a halal diet, he interpreted this to mean halal meat was served at dining halls on campus.
However, Mayat arrived at CSU and found that halal meat was not yet offered, despite other halal options such as vegetarian and seafood dishes. He sprung into action and approached CSU Housing and Dining Services about introducing halal meat to CSU dining halls.
Halal meat will now be served at the Parmelee dining hall starting Monday.
“We knew this was coming, given the INTO program,” said Peter Testory, senior executive chef for CSU Housing and Dining Services. “Jasir was the first student (to approach us), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t already on our program.”
Mayat explained that Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permitted” or “lawful.” Halal meat is the only meat Muslims are allowed to eat, based on their Islam religion. It refers to beef and chicken mainly, as pork is forbidden in Islam. Seafood is considered Halal, with some restrictions.
According to Mayat, an animal used for Halal meat must be killed by a Muslim, who is required to say an Arabic phrase that means “in the name of Allah” while slaughtering the animal.
The animal must be killed by severing the jugular vein so it becomes numb and doesn’t feel much pain.
“Because we go for the jugular vein it’s considered one of the most humane ways of slaughtering an animal,” Mayat said. “In Islam we have a very high regard for animals and we don’t like inflicting pain on them.”
For the meat to be Halal it also must be free from contamination from alcohol or pork when being cooked and all the blood must be drained completely from the animal before it is consumed.
“After I came here and found out there was no such thing (as Halal meat in dining halls) I was pretty worried about it,” Mayat said. “Especially considering there’s a lot of Muslims on campus, from all over the world.”
According to fall 2012 data from the Institutional Research Factbook, out of 1,133 total international students at CSU, there are 39 students from Kuwait, 165 from Saudi Arabia and 6 from Pakistan, all of which are primarily Islamic countries.
“I wanted to introduce Halal meat so other incoming Muslim students and Muslim students already here on campus would have easier access to food,” Mayat said. “I wanted to do something good for my community, for the Muslim community in general.”
To get Halal meat introduced on campus, Mayat was hired by CSU Housing and Dining Services to survey about 100 Muslim students to find out if there was enough demand.
“This student approached us and we reacted immediately by hiring him to work for us and help us find the need for it,” Testory said.
Mayat’s surveys found that 26 Muslim students on campus practice a halal diet. Many of the students responded that they eat haram (unlawful) meat currently because of the lack of protein options and that they would eat halal meat if it was available.
Housing and Dining Services felt this was adequate demand. Halal meat will be substituted into the regular Parmelee menu on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch and dinner, according to Testory. These days were chosen because they are the weekdays when there are no Halal seafood items already available on the menu.
Halal meals to be offered upon request in Parmelee include barbeque grilled chicken breast, cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, chipotle chicken sandwiches, sweet chili Asian chicken wings and more. The same outside vendors that provide dining hall meat also provide halal meat.
The Corbett dining hall also features halal options which currently do not include beef or chicken. Some of these options are mozzarella cheese sticks, red beans and rice, baked cod with lemon, grilled Portobello mushrooms and more.
“We’re pleased that this particular INTO CSU student was among those who made their dietary requirements known,” said Avery Waxman, senior director of marketing communications and recruitment strategy at INTO, in an email to the Collegian.
“And that CSU Dining Services has been able to respond in a way that not only meets their needs but also gives other students and staff even more options from which to choose,” Waxman said.
Testory said CSU Housing and Dining Services currently offer other religious food options. For Jewish students they provide apples and honey during Rosh Hashanah and matzah during Passover.
Fish is offered on Fridays during Lent for Catholic students. For the Islamic holiday Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, CSU Housing and Dining Services allows students a takeout container, two meal swipes at breakfast instead of one and late night meal swipes.
Viewer Descretion advised
in racist Hollywood Asian women only exist to be the sex slaves, sex objects, love interests, sex toys, etc for the white man
Balding hipster-nerd brings his demure girlfriend to his boys’-night-out poker game. Girlfriend looks like an easy mark. But as the game unfolds, she’s not what she seems. Shedding her prim blouse and headband for a tight tank top, sunglasses and headphones, she turns out to be a smooth operator. “Bah-zing!” she says triumphantly at the end of the spot, laying down a hand that wipes the guys out.
This scenario, from a new TV spot for Ruffles Ultimate chips, amusingly busts one stereotype (women can’t beat men at poker) but subtly reinforces another familiar ad trope. The boyfriend: Ordinary looking — and Caucasian. The girlfriend: Beautiful — and Asian American.
White guy and Asian American woman. Now where have we seen this before? Actually, a number of places:
●Chevrolet this summer featured an Asian American woman playing second fiddle to her Caucasian husband as he haggled with a car dealer (“Good job, baby,” she coos as hubby seals the deal).
●Heineken imagined an exotic date in a commercial last year that paired a Caucasian guy with an exotic companion (Samantha Rex, a Thai American model-
actress). Together, they cavorted through a nightclub filled with colorful characters.
●Apple touted its iPhone in an ad in which a white soldier watches rapturously via the phone’s FaceTime feature as his very pregnant wife (Asian American) undergoes a sonogram.
Asian Americans have gained a presence in commercials in recent years, with companies such as McDonald’s, Verizon, AT&T, Wal-Mart and others featuring them as individual characters and in a variety of settings.
But when it comes to depicting couples, the portrayal goes mostly in one direction: White guy and Asian American woman. The combination may be the most common depiction of mixed-race couples in popular culture; African Americans are rarely glimpsed with white mates in TV shows or commercials, for example. It may even be more common than an Asian American man paired with an Asian American woman.
And it’s a sore point among some Asian Americans.
A coalition of Asian American activists, known as the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, has “regularly” raised objections to the image in meetings with studio and network representatives, says Bill Imada, chairman of IW Group, a Los Angeles-based ad agency. “It seems to be okay if the man is white and the woman is Asian. The community thinks it typecasts Asian women as exotic or as playthings.”
At the same time, Imada says, “Asian males are just not viewed as being lovers, as being manly enough, or sexy enough, to carry a story or a commercial. The idea is that they’re not strong enough to woo a white woman. So they don’t get the roles” and are rarely paired with women of any race.
Ads featuring Caucasian males and Asian females play off a long history of such portrayals, says LeiLani Nishime, a professor and Asian studies scholar at the University of Washington. “I think part of the comfort with those images comes from the way they affirm a lot of stereotypes we already have about asexual Asian men and sexually available Asian women,” she says.
Such relationships have been the star-crossed heart of dozens of movies (“Shogun,” “The World of Suzie Wong” and “The Joy Luck Club” to name three), a recurring feature of numerous TV shows (“Ally McBeal,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Gilmore Girls” and the new “Elementary,” with Lucy Liu), and a theme of Broadway musicals (“South Pacific,” “Miss Saigon”). Decades earlier, it was even the basis of an opera (“Madama Butterfly”).
In TV news, the pairing of an older white man with a younger, Asian American, female co-anchor has become so familiar that some in the news business refer to it as “the Connie Chung effect.” Chung was the first Asian American female to co-anchor a network newscast (with Dan Rather) in 1993.
Depictions of white American men with Asian women increased with American military involvement in Asian countries, first during World War II and then during the Vietnam era, said C.N. Le, director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Movies typically presented Asian women as exotic and sexually alluring, he said, although the portrayal wavered between the dangerous and conniving Asian female (the so-called Dragon Lady stereotype) and the passive and submissive character (the geisha or concubine). Asian men, by contrast, weren’t just the enemy of the Americans; they were the oppressors of Asian women, who relied on the American as her “white knight.”
“It’s a very powerful media and cultural image, and I think Hollywood still runs with that,” Le says. “It appeals to a core part of the audience — white men.”
Le says that audiences more readily accept the Caucasian-Asian pairing than black-white romantic relations, which have a much longer and more fraught history in America. “There are still a lot of unresolved issues regarding” black-white relationships, he says. “The perception is that there isn’t as much of a drastic difference” between Asian Americans and white Americans.
Frito-Lay says it had nothing more complicated in mind than to create an entertaining commercial when it produced its “Bah-zing!” spot. The PepsiCo subsidiary markets the snack product primarily to young men, so it was natural for the ad to depict “some bros hanging out, sharing an epic experience,” as spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister puts it.
The boyfriend and girlfriend weren’t cast with any specific person or racial identity in mind, Kuechenmeister says. Instead, “we went with [actors] who brought the characters to life.”
Given that Asian Americans were once overlooked altogether in advertising, the current spate of Asian-Caucasian pairings may represent a kind of progress, Le says.
In fact, these contemporary interracial couples are different from those of the past, Nishime says. The key difference, she says, is that the relationship is presented as “normal,” without the prejudices and cross-cultural baggage of the past. Except for the Heineken ad — in which the Asian American woman is portrayed as part of a strange and exotic world — the women aren’t the foreign or “mysterious” Dragon Ladies, Nishime notes: “In most of these commercials, the relationships are fairly mundane.”
Imada sees change coming, albeit slowly. In the “Harold & Kumar” movies, he points out, the title characters (who are of Korean and East Indian descent) have non-Asian girlfriends. And on “The Walking Dead,” the post-apocalyptic drama series on AMC, a running plotline is a romance between a young Korean American man and a white woman over the objections of her father.
But Imada, an advertising man, thinks TV commercials, rather than movies or TV, will show the way toward more imaginative and broader representations of Asian Americans and other minorities. He sees an increasing number of non-white ad-agency creative directors and corporate marketing executives, and a strong business rationale: Asian Americans constitute about 5 percent of the U.S. population, a demographic that marketers will ignore only at their peril, he says.
A small but telling sign: McDonald’s this year aired a spot in which a young Asian American guy turns to his white, red-headed girlfriend and blurts, “I love you!” Seemingly stunned by the remark, she hesitantly replies that he’s “the Egg McMuffin of boyfriends.”
It was a rare instance, and may have been the first, in which a TV commercial reversed the usual Asian and Caucasian roles.
Progress, in any case, Imada says.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
for years before the latest RSC racist casting of the remake of Orphan of Zhao. East Asian British suffered racism in the theatre business.
British East Asian artists have decried the lack of acting roles and creative opportunities available to them through mainstream arts organisations.
They believe they are lagging behind other ethnic groups and have criticised the UK’s theatre industry for failing to nurture an “equal playing field” for performers. The practitioners are calling on casting directors to make bolder decisions when picking actors and want to see national newspapers employ theatre critics from diverse backgrounds, in order to improve the way East Asian artists are represented in the arts.
According to writer and actor Andy Cheung – who has worked for the likes of the English National Opera, Yellow Earth and Twisting Yarn Theatre Company – most Asian performers are only offered stereotypical roles and are overlooked when it comes to “colour-blind casting”.
“Putting it bluntly, it seems to be that white actors can play anything and to a lesser extent British blacks and British South Asians, but not East Asians,” he said.
“I get the feeling that stage directors are not confident in British East Asian actors being on stage in anything other than East Asian stories. As a British Chinese actor, I feel like a black man living in the fifties.”
Cheung’s comments were echoed by stand-up comic, actor and writer Anna Chen.
She said: “I write my own stuff because I realised ages ago that parts are not written for Chinese actresses and colour-blind casting is all well and good, but it is one-way traffic.”
Meanwhile, one leading director who wished to remain anonymous, branded the British theatre industry as “institutionally racist”. He said that it should not be left up to specialist companies to provide opportunities for East Asian actors.
The director added: “We [the East Asian community] pay our BBC licence fee, we pay our taxes. We don’t get anything proportionate back. We need more funding from Arts Council England to help the sector develop.
“At the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre you regularly see black or South Asian actors, and it doesn’t happen with East Asians. That’s got to change – we make up just under 1% of the population.”
The director warned that the industry would end up with “egg on its face” when trying to promote internationalism and diversity in the run up to the 2012 Games, if it failed to stop the tradition of “yellow face” in British theatre – white actors donning make-up to play East Asian characters.
Earlier this month, a run of Bryony Lavery’s More Light, produced by Under the Bed for the Arcola Theatre, caused outcry for not casting East Asian performers, despite being set in China.
The show’s director Catrina Lear said that the company of actors had existed before the play was chosen and added that if auditions had been held, no ethnic group would have been discriminated against.