I was watching the Linsanity documentary on Jeremy Lin (obviously) and while I have very little interest in basketball as an entertaining sport, the documentary was well put together about Jeremy Lin’s life and his love of the sport and his struggle with facing such immense odds when being made into such an underdog by the media.
It struck me very vividly how nonchalant a lot of the commentary was about how racist the sport was, and how racist the fans of the sport were. It was very casual racism, and I somehow expected the documentary to have more progressive commentary on why that sort of racism was so wrong and how backwards the sports industry still is, but … nothing. I don’t have much experience with documentaries, but it was very factual: this was what happened, instead of an actual discussion on the issue.
But Jeremy Lin’s experiences and his struggle are perfect examples of how Asians (specifically East Asians) are stereotyped in America as the “perfect minority”. We’re seen as always doing well in school because we’re just “smart” or we “study all the time”. We excel in academia and very little else.
But then we get a shining star in an area that doesn’t fit the mold. But the media’s view isn’t because he’s excellent in sports or he’s great at basketball, it’s because the people he was matched up against wasn’t as good as everyone thought they were. His achievements were taken away so that he could be put back in the mold of mediocrity regarding sports. It’s not because he was good, it’s because the other guy was bad.
That’s also seen in the area of academia as well. So many times I’ve seen Asian students do well on tests or projects, and others will comment: “because you’re smart” or “oh that’s not surprising”. The stereotype prevents them from considering: “oh, you worked so hard to achieve this success”. The effort and hard work is negated by the stereotype.
The documentary was very well made and I loved it despite my indifference to basketball, but it definitely highlighted some very poignant things about the sort of subtle racism that still exists.
Respectability politics are so trash. Black men/Latinos in hoodies and baggy pants don’t deserve to be shot or mistreated just like women in short skirts don’t deserve to be raped. Any idiot with two brain cells to rub together would know that Martin Luther King was murdered in a suit and women in the 1800’s that were wearing long, complicated, thick ass dresses were still sexually assaulted. Stop that nonsense.
"Catching Fire" and People of Color: How the racist casting of "The Hunger Games" is why we STILL can’t have nice things.
To begin, let me say how interested I am to see that many members of the THG fandom have now come to understand that the casting of White actors for the roles of Katniss, Gale, Haymitch, and the Seam characters was a deliberate and racist action by the film’s executives.
Never mind that numerous PoCs in the fandom have been saying this since Jennifer Lawrence was cast, but obviously since a few White people on tumblr make posts about how racist the casting was suddenly it is now okay to be a dissenting voice; after all, you yourself will never suffer the direct physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of whitewashing, while PoC/WoC voices are still silenced and mocked mercilessly for saying the same thing.
With the impending release of information regarding the casting of Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair (among others), many people have voiced the opinion that, yes, these characters should be played by actors of Color. Yes! Non-White visibility from major characters that don’t die immediately (I’m looking at you, Rue and Thresh) is something desperately needed in cinema.
However, let’s look closely at the characters that fans are so eager to support as PoCs. Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason are complex and interesting characters; coincidentally, they are the characters that are the most hypersexualized and sexually objectified in the entire series.
some local radio hosts were discussing the washington redskins issue and their comments consists of “no one’s cheering for the redskins using hate” and “i think it’s flattering”.
Lucy Liu’s Elementary character is an Asian-American television anomaly. She is neither a fanatic fighting-machine nor a quiet, subservient woman — and sadly, that makes her revolutionary.
Well-rounded, dynamic, complex and just plain real Asian-American characters in American television and film are few and far between. We are accustomed instead to seeing Asian-Americans depicted as awkward nerds, untouchable geisha girls or oddball and a-sexual men — not to mention the growing prevalence of the “model minority” archetype.
The depictions are lazy and repeated ad nauseum; stereotypes used as punchlines. With 18.9 million people of Asian decent living in the U.S., Hollywood would be wise to retire the joke.
Top six Joss Whedon moments.
Oh, wow, you hate me. But not as much as I hate Joss, so let’s do this my way:
Top Six Joss Whedon moments, with links:
1). That one time that Joss said Spike was his favorite character and how his narrative arc was the greatest, showing where his actual ‘feminist’ interests are. Because he truly thinks that he gave more development and focus to a secondary male character in two seasons on a show titled after his female heroine than he did to the heroine in all seven seasons. And he doesn’t see a problem with that.
2). That one time when Joss Whedon tried to sell Firefly to networks and co-writers by talking about his female heroine of color getting gang raped by Reavers and how the experience was going to change the life of his white, male hero, who will then learn to respect women who are whores. Because he can’t respect a woman who chooses to have sex out of her own free will for profit, but he’ll kiss the hand of one whose CHOICE and CONSENT were taken away. It’s the taking away of Inara’s agency that makes her worthy of Mal’s respect.
3). That time when Joss said that Summer Glau kind of looked Asian, so we didn’t have to read her as white. Because white people can pass for every race, we don’t even NEED anyone of other races wasting their time in Hollywood. From what I know, he’s stated this fail opinion multiple times, in defense of his casting choices.
4). That time when Joss Whedon punished a woman for getting pregnant by ruining her character and then firing the actress, and then lying to her to bring her back in order to kill her character.
5). Those multiple times when Joss let white actors audition for roles he had written to be played by people of color. And how they, of course, ended up being race lifted and being casted as white. Except! Sometimes, you’re supposed to pretend they’re Asian, so that’s progress, according to Joss.
6). That time when Joss Whedon made a Dollhouse episode (Spy in the House of Love) where Sierra infiltrates an institution by replacing an Asian woman in her work place, and NO ONE notices that it’s another woman. Because all Asians look the same?
I really don’t think we’re going to end racism by joking about it. Like i’m glad that the white liberals feel like they are less racist because they can joke about people who are more explicitly racist but that actually does nothing to help people of color
It’s very inconsistent to be so proactive in equality and anti-racism with Black Americans and not Asian Americans. Asians (esp East Asians) are viewed as this (dangerously submissive) ideal minority and that Asians don’t have anything to be offended about. With Black Americans, the history of racism is apparent, so WhIte America is eager to say NO NO NO RACISM IS BAD WE HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD but they don’t view the forgotten racism against Asians in the past and present as a problem. “It’s satire, you just don’t understand satire.” It may be satire, but it’s still problematic.
I don’t expect Stewart and Colbert to be perfect because no matter how liberal their thinking, they are still privileged by being a white dude in America and sometimes they don’t think about or realize how offensive their jokes are. But I do expect them to apologize and own up to it and grow from their mistakes, especially when they’re forced to face them by the community in which they have slighted.