The yellowface of “The Mikado” in your face



Remember when someone pranked a San Francisco TV station into reporting that the names of the Asiana plane crash pilots were “Captain Sum Ting Wong” and “Wi Tu Lo”?

After the station KTVU realized its mistake, it fired three producers.

But in Seattle, at least one theater plans to spend the summer guffawing about how Asian names sound like gibberish.

“The Mikado,” a comic opera, is playing at the Bagley Wright Theatre from July 11 to July 26, produced by the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

Set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu — get it? — the opera features characters named Nanki Poo, Yum-Yum and Pish-Tush. It’s a rom-com where true love is threatened by barbaric beheadings.

All 40 Japanese characters are being played by white actors, including two Latinos. KIRO radio host Dave Ross is in the cast.

It’s yellowface, in your face.

“It’s a fun show. I personally have never heard any complaints,” said Mike Storie, producer of “The Mikado.”

Written in the late 19th century, librettist W.S. Gilbert wanted to poke fun at Victorian society in England by setting it in a place nobody knew anything about.

Storie says shutting down “The Mikado” because it offends our current sensibilities would be like banning historic books. “Should Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn be taken off library shelves?” he said. “Huckleberry Finn is all full of slaps on black people.”

Well, no, those books should not be banned. But a theater production of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” should be shut down if the character of Jim, an African American, were played by a white actor with shoe polish smeared all over his face.

I asked Storie if he would consider producing a blackface show, where white actors paint their faces dark to play caricatures of African-American minstrels.

“Not really,” he said. “It would depend on the context. If it was a historical production where it had some context, that’s fine.”

“The Mikado” is the same shtick, different race. A black wig and white face powder stand in for shoeshine. Bowing and shuffling replaces tap dancing. Fans flutter where banjos would be strummed.

The opera is a fossil from an era when America was as homogeneous as milk, planes did not depart daily for other continents and immigrants did not fuel the economy.

It’s especially disappointing in a city where “Black Nativity” is a Christmas tradition for people of all backgrounds, and families, gay and straight, lined downtown streets for a Pride Parade last month.

“The Mikado” opens old wounds and resurrects pejorative stereotypes.

The caricature of Japanese people as strange and barbarous was used to justify the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Bainbridge Island was the first place in the country where U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were rounded up and expelled.

To learn about that history, check out “Hold These Truths,” another play that will open this summer in Seattle. That play, produced by ACT Theatre, is inspired by University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied the internment order and went to prison instead. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Hirabayashi will be played by an Asian-American actor.)

There probably is a way to produce a version of “The Mikado” that entertains and makes sense in a contemporary society where difference is valued. The Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society could, for instance, partner with the Asian-American theater group Pork Filled Players to reinterpret the opera. That’s what Skylark Opera did in Minneapolis — worked with Asian-American group Mu Performing Arts to stage a modern “Mikado.”

But this production? This is the wrong show — wrong for Seattle, wrong for this country and wrong for this century. And I don’t mean wong.

Sharon Pian Chan’s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. Her email address On Twitter @sharonpianchan

That’s Kind of Racist, Dude

A Waiter at a Seattle Restaurant Serves Up a Microaggression That I Can’t Let Go Of

Ithought I could let this go, but I can’t. A few months ago, I was part of a group of Korean American authors who’d gathered for happy hour at a tony restaurant in downtown Seattle. We’d come to the city from all corners of the country for a literary conference, and we were happy to reunite with one another, feeling festive after a long day of panels and meetings.

When almost all of us were seated, our (white) waiter stood at the head of the table and addressed us. “So, is this your first time in the United States?” he asked our group. We burst out laughing. Several of us had already ordered drinks from him, had been exchanging pleasantries with him and telling him about the conference—speaking in perfect, unaccented English. After all, we’re all novelists and short story writers and poets who have published books—written in perfect, unaccented English. We assumed our waiter was joking, cleverly mocking the stereotype about all Asians being fresh off the boat. He couldn’t have been serious. But he kept talking, and it became apparent that he was.

Most of us were flummoxed. As Korean American writers, we have explored and recounted, in books and articles, various incidents of racism in our lives. We have tussled, over and over, with the issues of ethnicity and identity. Yet we have felt the need of late to start pushing beyond these subjects—not because America is now “post-racial,” as some would claim, but because we have said our piece and want to tackle other themes. Younger Asian American writers in particular are yearning to break out of the ethnic-literature box. Racism, though extant, isn’t as pressing a topic to us anymore as our primary literary focus. There may still be tweets like The Colbert Report’s that will call for the establishment of a “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” There may still be frat boys and sorority girls dressing in yellowface on Halloween. There may still be TV reporters who butcher Korean pilots’ names for a chuckle or make ill-advised puns about Jeremy Lin. But overt racism—slurs, bullying, discrimination—isn’t something we experience as much as we used to, particularly in big cities on the coasts, and we’ve been ready to move on. As writers, we’ve gotten kind of bored rehashing this stuff.

So this waiter surprised us. His remarks were an unexpected anomaly in a posh restaurant smack in the middle of Seattle, a liberal, cosmopolitan city where Asian Americans make up 14 percent of the population. In other parts of the country, we might still gird ourselves for people thinking we—an all-Asian group—had just stepped off a tour bus, but not here.

A couple of the writers at the table got pissed off. “I was born in the United States,” one woman told him. “I’m an American. We all are.”

But the waiter kept talking, walking deeper into it. “Oh. Well, I like to think of all of us as citizens of the world,” he said, and babbled on, making a further fool of himself. We looked at him, aghast. It didn’t seem possible, but he was exacerbating his initial faux pas.

I said, “Listen, I think you should stop while you’re still ahead.”

We ordered appetizers, more drinks. Once or twice, when the waiter returned, a few members of the group needled him about his earlier comments, but they did so teasingly, not (too) belligerently, and he played along, laughing. Others, including myself—fatigued to the point of resignation with these sorts of racial microaggressions—just wanted to ignore the whole episode, forget it ever happened.

fans of anti-asian racist movies holding a racist party in San Diego

If you’re in San Diego this weekend, you’re invited to take part in some racist bullshit known as the Asian Bar Crawl & Costume Party, described as “a celebration of modern Asian cuisine and the Mid-Autumn Festival in downtown San Diego.” Basically, it’s an excuse for folks to get dressed up in racist Asian shit and get drunk.

I can imagine how someone got the bright idea for this. They thought, you know, we’ve thoroughly exploited Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day… but there’s just still aren’t enough proper holidays to appropriate as an excuse to get their blind-ass stupid drink on. And if we can add racist costumes, even better.

What? Mid-Autumn Festival? That’s a thing? What is it? Never mind, who cares? Racist party time!

Five Ways To Fix ‘Dads,’ The Controversial New Fox Comedy From Seth MacFarlane

By Alyssa Rosenberg on August 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm



After the Media Action Network for Asian Americans asked Fox to reshoot Dads, a new comedy from Seth MacFarlane about two father-son duos that relies heavily on racial and sexual humor that would have looked dated at the Friar’s Club roast sixty years ago, the network declined. And Fox president Kevin Reilly and Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley are asking, as Reilly asked the Television Critics Association press tour, for patience for the show to develop.

“Do I think all the jokes right now are in calibration in the pilot? I don’t,” Reilly said at TCA. “If this show still low hanging-fruit jokes that seem in bad taste and haven’t been earned with intelligence, and the characters have not become full blown over the course of the next summer months — number 1, the show’s not going to work. And number 2, you should take it to task, and we’ll talk about that in January. But I really ask you on that show, in particular, let’s have the discussion in January, after we’ve produced a number of them, and not now, before we’ve even started.”

I’m not exceptionally sympathetic to the idea that people of color and women owe a network their patience. But let’s take Reilly at his word for a moment. If he really wants to get Dads right, here are five concrete ways to improve the show, working with the ingredients Fox already has.

1. Add a non-white character who’s male: One of the problems with the pilot for Dads is that all of the non-white characters who have lines are also women. I’m all for the representation of women of color, but in this show, having only women of color and no men sets up an unfortunate dynamic, conflating the show’s issues with race and gender. All the women on the show are hypercompetent and tired of the antics of the men-boys around them, meant to push back against an onslaught of racist and sexist jokes and behavior simply by rolling their eyes and sighing in exhaustion (or occasionally by broing up along with Eli and Warner). Dividing the show into a white boy’s club and a non-white girls team runs the risk that it’ll dig in harder on the dynamic of the pilot, siding with the bros and their antics against everyone else. There appear to be some candidates for a non-white guy who could be part of the boys’ team: a male African-American employee appears in the background of a shot at Eli and Warner’s office, and it looks like the gay employee in the office might be Latino. Either way, having a character who can blow up that binary and call out Eli and Warner without being tossed out of the boys’ club would make for a healthier conversation about race, if that’s really what the creators and stars want to have.

2. Provide a diversity of approaches to race: At the Television Critics Association press tour, Seth Green insisted that “And all of the best and successful shows that really prompted any kind of change in cultural thinking were provocative and offensive, shows that I grew up loving, like All In the Family or The Jeffersons, that explored issues of race relations or opposition to war or things that weren’t considered all that politically correct, this is the opportunity for characters to have that discussion in a way that most normal people can’t.” The problem with that comparison is that on All In The Family, Archie Bunker had a genuine foil in his son-in-law Michael Stivic. In the pilot, that sense of disagreement between the men of different generations doesn’t actually exist. In one scene, Warner gets upset with his father for saying horribly racist things about Chinese people and business. But he’s not upset because the sentiments are racist, but because they might scuttle a major deal. You can’t have a conversation with only one voice speaking.

3. Show actual consequences for racism: In the pilot, Dads is free of consequences for people who exhibit racist behavior. Warner and Eli make racist assumptions about their prospective Chinese business partners, including asking Veronica to dress up in an anime costume and trying to present Eli as some sort of motorcycle-riding badass, and instead of being insulted, the men appear to fall for it. Warner’s father appears to blow up the deal with his racist sentiments, but instead of hurting his relationship with his son, Warner ends up seeing him as a golden retriever and patting him with affection. When Veronica receives a nude photo from the translator for the Chinese business delegation, she and her employers make ugly comments about the man’s penis size, then use it to blackmail him. Eli and Warner joke about getting sued for sexually harassing Veronica, but they don’t seem to see it as a real possibility. If there’s to be some sort of growth narrative here, it would be nice to see characters who are racist incur some actual costs for the expression of their attitudes.

4. Aim jokes at the racists, not at the objects of racism: One of the basic rules of using humor to affect cultural change is to target people who have power, rather than people who don’t. Right now, Dads certainly sets up the older gentlemen on its show as somewhat hurtful bunglers. But it’s all too happy to laugh along with their lines about a “Punch The Puerto Rican” game, or to have them speculate along with their sons about the size of a Chinese man’s penis. This is a dull tour of ancient stereotypes that doesn’t constitute actual joke-writing. And it’s aimed in the wrong direction. Doing some of the things I’ve recommended above would help refocus the show into the kind of discussion the people involved with it claim that they actually want to have.

5. Focus more on gaming, on friends, and on family: The Bigoted Old Dad and Bigoted Young Bro schtick are a pair of routines with a limited number of jokes and dramatically declining concerns. You know what is rich territory? Video game development. Men and women working together on tech and creative enterprises! Interracial families! Friends in business together! Fathers who can’t let go of the dream of working with their sons! There is material for a good show in Dads, and even one that’s about issues. Provocative humor certainly exists. But provocation doesn’t actually seem like the show’s potential strong suit. So maybe make a family and workplace comedy instead, and take a slow road to make a good point instead of a fast and failed claim to social significance.

Opinion: The problem with “Devious Maids” goes far beyond Hollywood by Alisa Valdes

Latina author rejecting Hollywood stereotypes. latinos and latinas you have latino networks like univision, galavision etc. stop going to racist idiots in hollywood making movie deals with them.

Opinion: The problem with “Devious Maids” goes far beyond Hollywood

Six years ago, I had a deal with Lifetime Television to develop my bestselling novel, The Dirty Girls Social Club, as a TV series. It soon became clear that the relationship wasn’t going to work, when two executives insisted that my pilot outline “wasn’t Latin enough,” because it told of middle class, educated American women who happened to be Latina.

“This reads as if it were about me and my friends,” complained one executive in disgust.

I didn’t know how to respond, so I asked her what she’d prefer.

“Why don’t we make the girls debating whether or not to date men in prison? I know that’s what Latinas talk about, just like it’s what black women talk about.”

Right. Because all middle class, college-educated professional women talk about dating prisoners.

In her dreams.

I got out of that deal because of this idiocy, and never looked back.

Fast forward to two years ago. I get a call from my agent, asking if I’m interested in writing a TV series about “Latina maids and nannies in Beverly Hills.” He said a network wanted a story about “exotic” Latina maids who knew all about their employers’ vices. I declined the offer.

Unsurprisingly, Lifetime has now come out with a show about Latina maids in Beverly Hills, called Devious Maids. It was originally in development at ABC, but that network had the good sense to pass on it after seeing the pilot.

I am not the only Latina to be annoyed by the perpetuation of stereotype in Devious Maids. Tanisha Ramirez wrote a scathing critique on the Huffington Post, only to be attacked in return by the show’s co-producer, Eva Longoria. Cosmo for Latinas editor Michelle Herrera Mulligan responded to Longoria by diplomatically telling her she was a big fat sellout. The Devious Maids camp responded with the weak argument that the show puts Latinas to work in an industry with embarrassingly few roles for them, and that it is based on a Telenovela and must therefore be Latino approved.

Many of my readers have asked me to opine on the matter, so here is what I think.

It is not wrong to be a maid, or even a Latina maid, but there is something very wrong with an American entertainment industry that continually tells Latinas that this is all they are or can ever be.

My grandmother was a maid in Cuba; my biological grandfather was her employer. My father, never claimed by his bio-dad, was a janitor when he first began working in the United States, as a teen immigrant. My father went on to get his PhD, sort of a real-life Good Will Hunting, and became a leading sociologist. He raised me to believe in myself and my voice; I went to Columbia, and I’m a bestselling author Tom Wolfe called one of the most important social critics of our time.

We don’t see stories about people like me or my dad. Indeed, network executives say to my face that I don’t exist. That’s the problem.

Ten years ago, Mexican American actress Lupe Ontiveros lamented to the New York Times that she had been cast as a maid 150 times in her career. The astounding number of times this one (outstanding) Latina actress has been cast as a maid destroys Longoria’s defense of Devious Maids as “Latina maids deserving to have their stories told, too.” According to academic research on Latino roles in mainstream US film and TV, the maid is pretty much the only Latina story being told, other than seductress, whore, dying immigrant and gang member.

There is more to stereotyping of Latinas than laziness or lack of information.

Longoria and others like to try to brush off criticism by telling us we’re all giving Hollywood too much credit, or that we’re overly sensitive, or, worst of all, by trying to paint critics as anti-maid elitists. The thing is, this isn’t just about maids. And it isn’t just about entertainment.

In his groundbreaking work At the University of Texas at Austin, on stereotypes of Latinos in film, professor Charles Ramirez Berg explains that Hollywood’s stereotypical “construction of Latinos in this country [is done] to justify the United States’ imperialistic goals. U.S. imperialism was based on the notion that the nation should control the entire hemisphere and was willing to fight anyone who disagreed. For centuries, the precepts underpinning the Monroe Doctrine have been used as a rationale for the U.S. interference in the internal politics of Latin America. On the whole, Hollywood endorsed North American dominance of this hemisphere, and as often as it depicted that hegemony uncritically, movies helped to perpetuate it.”

It is no mistake, and it is not mere happenstance, that Lifetime refused to allow me to make a show for them about complex, nuanced Latinas, yet greenlit a show about Latinas as sexy domestic servants. It isn’t a matter of me being too sensitive and lacking a sense of humor, and it isn’t a matter of me not liking maids. It is about the way the Latina maid stereotype beautifully cleaves to the time-honored imperialistic way this country has dealt with its Spanish-speaking neighbors in the Americas. My vision of us – as autonomous human beings – is simply too threatening to be considered realistic. How else to explain that a business supposedly built around making money continues to refuse to make money off of people like me, continues to refuse to meet our demands in its supply and demand spreadsheet?

It’s not just that Hollywood sees Latinas as one-dimensional, subservient sex objects; it is that this is how our nation has historically viewed all of the native peoples in the Americas, including the vast portions of this country that were once part of Mexico and Spain. You cannot colonize or occupy the lands of human beings you respect or view as your equal; it is better to simplify them in order to dehumanize them.

Nothing determines how people are viewed more than pop culture. The US government has spent fortunes researching film and TV as tools of propaganda, discovering, to no one’s surprise, that what people see in movies or on TV is what they believe to be true about the world. There is a reason an editor was yet again surprised this week to learn that I, an American by birth, did not live my life in Spanish. Movies and TV never show him people like me; in film and TV, women like me always have a Spanish accent. It is no coincidence, either, that the New York Daily News, when writing about my books, accused me of bringing chick lit to “the third world,” even though I write for an American audience. I am strong enough to fight this nonsense off. But what about the untold millions of women who aren’t as pugilistic as I am? Who is fighting for them? Not Longoria. Not Lifetime.

Most disappointing is how several Latino rights organizations have jumped to defend Devious Maids, because Longoria, a contributor to their bank accounts, asked them to. They have all decided that telling stories of maids who, as the network describes it, “have dreams of their own,” is somehow a step up for all of us. We’re not just maids in the background anymore, they tell us, now we get to be maids in the foreground, with dreams of our own.

Oh, goody.

That executives, actors and others continue to view the stereotypes as inevitable, that they continue to construct them subconsciously, that they accept them as fact without any justification, makes the predicament all the more overwhelming.

Longoria’s argument conflates race/ethnicity with socioeconomic status; sociology tells us quite clearly that these are not the same thing.

Yes, Devious Maids was a telenovela before Lifetime borrowed it. But in the Spanish-language version, all of the characters – the maids and their employers – were Latinos. The telenovela, approaching Latin Americans, allowed for class distinctions among Latinos, something that is utterly unthinkable in the imperialistic paradigm of the English-language side of the industry. Latinos are never nuanced human beings on the English-language side, because in order to maintain the American exceptionalist status quo race, ethnicity, and class must be simplistically conflated and assumed to be interchangeable. In truth, they are not. But that truth is a Latin American and Latino truth, and to allow us our own truth is untenable. People like Longoria choose, cynically perhaps, to make a living within these narrow confines, to justify them in every way they can, to perhaps even lend humanity and depth to the roles of maids, and you cannot blame them; they are actors, not activists. But I am a writer. I don’t interpret the stories, as an actor does, I construct them. In today’s Hollywood, my story of us, my story of me, stories of Latinas with dreams of their own who aren’t maids, or hookers, or sultry in some dominated way, remains too damn threatening.

Hollywood is still choosing to remain clueless about how to reach the 60 million Latinos in America.

Again and again in Hollywood I have heard networks invoke “telenovelas” as what they are after. “We want an English-language telenovela,” they say. But they don’t actually want a telenovela, because they don’t know what that means. Telenovelas often have powerful Latina protagonists. Class distinctions among Latinos are not only present, they are required and fuel the narrative.

Hollywood doesn’t actually want an English telenovela, because I wrote one, and it was a huge hit, yet they don’t believe that I know what Latinas want, because my story is not stereotypical and, to their eyes, therefore untrue. Devious Maids is as much about mental laziness and fear as it is about stereotypes.

I am building an empire on a new paradigm, and hope you’ll join me.

After disappointing deals I’ve had with NBC, Columbia Pictures and, of course, Lifetime, I have taken control of my book. I’m producing it as an indie film. Watch. I will prove to Hollywood that the key to reach Latinos is in ditching stereotypes. Period. It’s time for a change. New technology is quickly dismantling the omnipotence of the old paradigm, making it possible for a writer like me to reach my audience without help of a middleman studio or network. I know my audience is there, because I’ve met them. In cities all across the nation, I have heard their stories, accepted their gratitude for being the first to give them characters they could relate to.

I used to view Hollywood’s insistent imperialistic attitudes as an obstacle, but then I realized something wonderful. They weren’t an obstacle at all, but an opportunity to build our own media empire, right next door to theirs.

There goes the neighborhood.

Interestingly, my decision to eschew the US mainstream entertainment industry comes at a time that global economists are starting to announce the decline of the United States as a global power, and the rise of a Latin America independent of it — a Latin America that, as we speak, has four female presidents within it, an accomplishment this nation has yet to achieve. Not a one of these president women is…a maid.

Writing for economic thinktank Project Syndicate this week, former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami had a piece whose headline read, simply, “Is the US Losing Latin America?”

“It is a mantra increasingly heard around the world: US power is in decline. And nowhere does this seem truer than in Latin America. No longer is the region regarded as America’s ‘backyard’; on the contrary, the continent has arguably never been so united and independent.”

The same could be said for the 60 million Latinos living in the United States. And we’re ready for our own movies now.

If you understand what I’m saying, and you want to be part of this new empire, please visit my Kickstarter campaign to support my film, and tell everyone you know about it.

Alisa Valdes is a novelist of mixed Cuban, Mexican, Spanish and European descent. Her first book, “The Dirty Girls Social Club,” earned critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. Her eighth book, “The Feminist and the Cowboy” was released earlier this year. She resides in New Mexico.




The Five Worst Quotes From Devious Maids
“If you don’t stop screwing my husband, I’ll have you deported.”

“You need to wear this [maid’s costume] because those people, in that house, need to be reminded of what we do.”

“I love waiting on you. I’m eager to learn how to cook you French toast.”

“I was seduced, repeatedly. She’s the most exhilarating woman I’ll ever know!”

“I am not designed to be alone.”

Tiger is the tip of the iceberg: Fried chicken, monkey chants and bananas in sports

by Stefen Lovelace | May 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM


By now you’ve heard the comment. A noted PGA Tour veteran made an off-color joke about Tiger Woods, referencing fried chicken. After the incident, and the subsequent backlash, the professional backtracked, said he meant the comments in jest, and claimed there was no racist intent. The golf and national media examined the golfer’s comments and motives, and Woods – almost begrudgingly – accepted the golfer’s apology.

The incident I’m referring to happened in 1997, when Fuzzy Zoeller’s poor attempt at a joke led him to say that Woods would serve fried chicken and collard greens at the annual Masters dinner. Sadly, the description also applies to an incident that happened on Tuesday – more than 16 years after Zoeller’s racist comments – when Sergio Garcia cracked that he would serve Woods fried chicken if he had him over for dinner.

These two racist moments – so far apart in timing yet so similar in meaning and context – showcase just how little progress has been made in changing racist perceptions in sports.

Thursday, George O’Grady seemed to make the Garcia episode worse by claiming that most of the golfer’s friends are “colored athletes in the United States.” The Tour has accepted Garcia’s apology.

Other sports are guilty, too

These stereotypes exist in sports such as hockey. The number of black players competing in the National Hockey League is small, but the number of racist incidents seems to grow each season. Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds is often the victim of the more heinous acts.

In a 2011 preseason game in Ontario, Canada, a fan threw a banana onto the ice as Simmonds was attempting a shot during a shootout. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman went out of his way to say that the act was done by one individual and was not representative of Ontario or the millions of other hockey fans.

Yet just sixth months later, Washington Capitals winger Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal in the 2012 Stanley Cup first round playoffs against the Boston Bruins. He didn’t get much congratulations for his performance. Instead he was peppered with racial insults and threats by angry Bruins fans on social media.

And while we’ve made such little progress in the States, overseas the racism towards black players is even more horrifying. Simmonds now plays in the Czech Republic, and in his third game with new team Liberac, he was subject to “monkey” chants by the opposing team’s fans.

Hockey is considered tame in comparison to the national racism that goes on in soccer. Garcia’s comments rightfully dominated the American news cycle this week, but an underreported story happened on Monday, where several top Italian teams are being fined for their fans racist chants at black players. When the vice president of the team that a star black player plays for is making public racist comments, I think it’s safe to say that the sport has a racism problem.

Racist episodes not going away

All of these incidents – most happening in just the last couple of years – showcase a trend of racism in sports that shows no signing of going away. Often black athletes are forced to take the higher road. They accept apologies, say they’re used to this type of abuse, and try to use it as fuel to be better.

But they shouldn’t have to. It’s 2013 and a 33-year-old golfer is still making blatantly racist comments about the most popular golfer in the world. On one hand, it’s deplorable that a thought like that crosses his mind. On the other, it’s shocking that he would even have the audacity to actually voice that opinion publicly.

Woods response to Garcia was perfect. On Twitter, he rightfully called the comment “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate” but offered Garcia a lifeline by saying he was “confident that there is real regret that the remark was made.” He’s doing his best to condemn the statement, but also begin the process of moving on.

Woods showed incredible grace throughout the whole episode. It’s the type of grace that comes from having to deal with similar situations like this throughout his entire career.

This wasn’t the first time Woods has heard from a colleague that he likes fried chicken because he’s black. And if history holds true, it probably won’t be his last.

Lucy Liu On Racial Image And Romantic Comedies


“I wish people wouldn’t just see me as the Asian girl who beats everyone up, or the Asian girl with no emotion. People see Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy, but not me. You add race to it, and it became, ‘Well, she’s too Asian’, or, ‘She’s too American’. I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.”





City Agency Creates Bizarre, Totally Racist Video Mocking Asians

another day more news on the war against Asians


The city’s Department of Public Works created a totally bizarre and definitely racist video about—of all things—reclaimed water.

It features a white dude dressed up like a geisha, mimicking a Japanese accent. Why the Los Angeles Department of Public Works needed to make a video about reclaimed water in a Japanese Garden in the first place is not quite clear (and the video has since been taken down). But based on clips we watched via CBS Los Angeles, it’s obvious the video went way off the rails.

Like that notorious video by former UCLA student Alexandra Wallace it makes fun of Asians and mocks their accent—except that this video was created by a city agency and funded by taxpayer dollars, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The video was created as part of a program called L.A. CityWorks that airs video on the city-owned Channel 35. The project costs $48,000 a year in taxpayer dollars. Some of the videos, like the “History of Trash” and “L.A. CityWorks Rap” can be viewed on YouTube, too.

Once CBS brought up the video to the city agency, it was yanked down from YouTube and an agency spokeswoman apologized. Cora Jackson-Fossett, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Public Works, told CBS Los Angeles, “We apologize profusely that we missed the mark totally. We made a mistake. We’re extremely sorry. It was an attempt at humor that failed.”

The agency says all the videos that get made on the taxpayer dime are going to get more scrutiny.



Mountain Dew Under Fire for “Most Racist Commercial in History”



Picture a grim police line-up with five young African American men in stereotypical “thug” garb, and a goat. That’s just the opening shot.

PepsiCo has announced it is pulling their new adfor Moutain Dew after a storm of criticism this week. Social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote on his blog that the spot was “arguably the most racist commercial in history.” He continues, “Mountain Dew has set a new low for corporate racism. Their decision to lean on well-known racial stereotypes is beyond disgusting. This doesn’t even include the fact that the company has put black men on par with animals.”

The one-minute ad shows a badly beaten blonde Caucasian woman approaching the line-up on crutches. A white male warden says, “We got ’em all lined up, nail the little sucker.” The goat, in a raspy male voice bullies her with phrases, “keep your mouth shut, I’m going to do ya when I get out,” “ya better not snitch on a playa’,” and “snitches, get stitches, fool.” The woman becomes hysterical and runs from the room. As the ad ends, you can hear her screaming off-screen.

The spot is one of a series featuring an intoxicated goat called Felicia created by Tyler, The Creator, leader of the hip-hop collective One Future. Ironically
AdWeek called an earlier video in the series the “Best Ad Ever.” Tyler has also pulled the spot from his YouTube channel.

PepsiCo hasn’t replied to Yahoo!Shine’s request for an interview, but a spokesperson from Mountain Dew released a statement on Wednesday that said, “We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended. We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.” According to Jen Ryan, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, the ad was not slated to run on television.

This isn’t the first time PepsiCo has been at the center of a controversy about racial insensitivity: TheEmmet Till Foundation recently campaigned to have the corporation drop its sponsorship of rapper Lil Wayne for what they said were his offensive lyrics on the song “Karate Chop.” Back in 2002, they dropped Ludacris after being pressured by Bill O’Reilly who called him a “thug rapper…who espouses violence, intoxication, and degrading conduct toward women.”

Mountain Dew is also being called out for its off-handed depiction of a battered woman. A Twitter user, Danica, tweeted, “that mountain dew advert is so racist and offensive to women who have been abused/assaulted how was this even approved in the first place.” Felsull added, “racist+sexist. there are no words. oh wait, there are words. they’re all expletives.” In 2009, PepsiCo apologized for promoting an app that gave men pick-up lines targeting certain “types” of women.

It is somewhat mind boggling that in this age intense scrutiny through the Internet and social media, corporations are still releasing ads as-or more-offensive as those from the “Mad Men” days. But the list goes on.

Recently, General Motors announced it was killing a commercial that has been airing since early April on Canadian TV and on European websites for its Chevrolet Trax SUV. Critics say it promotes a negative stereotype of East Asians. The jingle includes the lyrics, “Now in the land of Fu Manchu/the Girls all do the Suzie-Q/Clap their hands in the center of the floor/Saying ‘ching-ching, chop suey, swing some more.'” The South China Morning Post explains, “Fu Manchu is a stereotypical Chinese villain, the embodiment of the ‘yellow peril,’ who has been described as one of the most racist characters in literature and cinema.” The sing-songy nonsense of “ching-ching, chop suey” conjures up stereotypes of crafty-yet-childlike Asian bargirls.

Not to be outdone, last week, Hyundai pulled an ad depicting a man trying to commit suicide in his car by running it in a closed garage. Ford apologized in late March for picturing the Kardashian sisters bound and gagged in the trunk of an SUV.

There is an old quote, “any publicity is good publicity,” which may be what some of these corporations are going for. However, if companies continue to be tone deaf to allegations of racism and sexism, they may be faced with the underlying reality of another saying: “money talks.” Regarding the Chevy Trax controversy, the South China Post points out that China is a key market. As are people of color, as are women.

GM pulls ‘racist’ Chevrolet ‘ching-ching, chop suey’ ad




Referring to China as “the land of Fu Manchu”, where people say “ching-ching, chop suey”, might have been considered acceptable, even amusing, when the lyrics were originally penned in the US in the 1930s.

But the distinction between modern norms and those of the swing era seemed to have been lost on General Motors’ advertising executives, who featured the lyrics in a worldwide marketing campaign for its new Chevrolet Trax SUV.


The giant carmaker is now pulling the advertisement from worldwide markets, saying it had received complaints about the “offensive content”.

The TV spot for the Trax, which had been running in Canada since early last month and was posted to Chevrolet’s European website, disappeared from Canadian television screens about a week ago, and was replaced with a new edit of the ad without lyrics.

China is a key market for GM, where it sold more than 2.8 million vehicles last year and where it has 55,000 employees.

In response to queries from the South China Morning Post, GM Canada communications director Faye Roberts said the advert “received some negative feedback regarding the lyrics in the commercial’s soundtrack”.

“Once the issue was called to our attention, GM immediately removed the offensive content from the commercial,” she said by e-mail on Tuesday. “As the goal of advertising is to engage an audience and draw their attention to a featured product and it is never our intention to offend the audience, we made a decision to edit the advertisement.”

Videos including the lyrics can no longer be found on websites devoted to any of Chevrolet’s English-language markets. However, they were still visible yesterday on Chevrolet Europe’s website and the Chevrolet Quebec YouTube channel, as well as elsewhere on the internet.

After receiving the Post‘s questions, Roberts said the ad would be removed from all Chevrolet sites worldwide. Chevrolet parent GM had previously made no public comment about the advertisement.

The retro-styled advertisement, titled “After Midnight”, features the toe-tapping song Booty Swing by Austrian “electroswing” musician Parov Stelar. The lyrics go:

“Now, in the land of FuManchu,
The girls all now do the Suzie-Q,
Clap their hands in the centre of the floor
Saying ‘ching-ching, chop suey, swing some more'”

Booty Swing is based on Oriental Swing, recorded by Lil Armstrong and her Swing Orchestra in 1938. That song’s lyrics also refer to Arab sheikhs in their harems, and Japanese geisha girls who want to “swing it like Amelicans [sic]”.

The incident comes at a sensitive time for Chevrolet, which is rolling out the Trax around the world this year after its launch at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. It is Chevrolet’s first compact SUV.

Car websites reported last October that GM had applied for patents for the Trax in China, but Roberts said there were no plans to launch the Trax there.

The Trax hit roads in South Korea, where it is being manufactured, in February. It is arriving in Europe and Canada this spring, then Australia. It will not be sold in the US, where it would have competed with existing mid-sized GM models.

Before the original ad disappeared from Canadian screens, it had been released in multiple versions in Europe. The UK version muffled the “Fu Manchu” lyrics while the Italian version, for instance, did not. Roberts said that to her knowledge the offending version had not hit television screens outside Canada.

Roberts said: “As a company, we are reviewing our approval processes for advertising to ensure that it is appropriate for airing in multiple, global markets.”

“Fu Manchu” is a stereotypical Chinese villain, the embodiment of the “yellow peril”, who has been described as one of the most racist characters in literature and cinema. He was created by British author Sax Rohmer, who wrote a series of novels based on the depraved master criminal, beginning with 1913’s The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu.

The 1932 film The Mask of Fu Manchu features the villain, played by Boris Karloff in slant-eyed “yellow face” make-up, telling his followers to “kill the white men and take their women”. The character was played for laughs by Peter Sellers in 1980 in The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu.

The films are rarely screened on television because of concern about their racist content. But the Fu Manchu character has inspired similar Asian villains, including Ming the Merciless from the Flash Gordon comics, James Bond’s nemesis Dr No, and The Mandarin of Marvel Comics.

GM’s brands include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Opel, as well as the Chinese badges Wuling, Jiefang and Baojun. It says it has been the leading global carmaker in China, by sales volume, for eight consecutive years.

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on May 01, 2013 as GM pulls racist ‘ching-ching, chop suey’ ad GM withdraws racist SUV advert

White and Yellow: Overcoming Racism

By Grace Ji-Sun Kim




I was heading home from speaking at the Presbyterian Church in Canada, Synod of British Columbia meeting when a short incident on the plane ended a rather wonderful and fruitful trip on a sore note.  It was a long flight home from Vancouver to Philadelphia.  My eleven year old daughter, Elisabeth, and I had to get up at 5 am to catch the early morning flight back home.  We left Vancouver around 7 am, transferring in Dallas to get to Philadelphia around 9 pm. It would be another hour’s drive before we got home.

On the flight from Dallas to Philadelphia, I was seated in the second to the last row with Elisabeth.  There was an elderly white couple seated behind us in the last row of the plane. I have traveled enough times by plane to know the etiquette of deplaning. The first rows begin to move down the aisle, and everyone else waits their turn to follow them. It is important that this is a unique situation. There are no choices. There is only one way out for everyone, unlike lines at a supermarket or doors in a sanctuary.

One person violated this rule when the plane opened its doors in Philadelphia due to more than thoughtlessness or rudeness. Thoughtlessness is based on oversight. Rudeness is asserting oneself in a situation just to feel a momentary state of power over another. This case was more hurtful in that it invoked the notion that this person was fundamentally better than us.

As we got up from our seats and stood in place to enter the aisle, the white woman behind me stood next to me in the aisle and was determined to gain the place in the line ahead of me. Elisabeth was standing by her seat in the row beside me, and the woman’s husband was standing behind us in the aisle.

We stood a long time, as it seemed to take longer than usual for the passengers ahead of us to file out of the passengers’ cabin.  When it became closer for our row to exit, the elderly woman beside me started walking ahead and somehow got three rows in front of us.  I am not sure how she managed that, but she did, leaving her husband behind us. So far, we have simple rudeness.

As she left the plane, she was about eighteen passengers ahead of me on the ramp.  So, when it was my turn to walk out, I asked her husband if he wanted to go ahead of us, and he politely said, “Please go ahead.” So, my daughter and I stepped from the passenger cabin.

As we passed the elderly woman on the terminal ramp, she had an angry look on her face as my daughter and I emerged from the door ahead of her husband.  She was waiting for her husband in disgust.  Her displeasure was written on her face, and as we walked past her, she said aloud to her husband, “I can’t believe you allowed the Chinese to get ahead of you!”


more at this link



Customer Sues CVS For Writing Her Name As “Ching Chong” On Receipt

latest episode in hollywood’s inspired war on Asians:






How many times do we have to tell the cashiers of America to STOP PUTTING STUPID AND OFFENSIVE NAMES ON CUSTOMERS’ RECEIPTS? Sorry we had to go all-caps on you there, but after all the stories of idiotic name-calling that have gotten employees fired and retailers sued, you’d think people would stop. And yet here we have the story of a CVS customer of Korean descent who is suing the drugstore chain after allegedly being labeled “Ching Chong Lee” on her receipt.

According to the lawsuit, filed earlier this week in a federal court in Camden, NJ, the customer had placed a photo print order online, using her own name. But when she went to pick her order up at the store, her name had been changed to the aforementioned “Ching Chong,” which her lawyer describes to 1010 WINS radio in NYC as “a very pejorative, racial slur meant for Asians. That is not her name.”

When the woman took her issue to CVS customer relations, she was told the employee in the incident would be “counseled and trained.”

“There’s no amount, in my opinion, of training from CVS or any company that’s going to stop this kind of hate and bullying against someone’s race,” the attorney tells 1010 WINS. “To me, this is something that deserves psychological counseling, not CVS counseling.”

The suit seeks $1 million in damages.

Regular readers of Consumerist are very familiar with moronic comments left on customers’ receipts. The one that comes immediately to mind is the incident at Chick fil-A in Dec. 2011, in which two students were given the names of “Ching” and “Chong” on their receipts. Then of course there was the New York Papa John’s that described a customer as “Lady Chinky Eyes.”

Or the Pizza Hut where a customer was dubbed “BIGBLACK,” or the Domino’s that not only dropped the N-word on a customer’s pizza box label but also assumed the customer wouldn’t tip because of the color of his skin.