I am convinced those people got into that white house state dinner because they are white. I attended a state dinner during the Clinton administration and they did such a thorough background check before I was even allowed to RSVP that I was coming I thought they were going to ask me for a stool sample – we are talking DEEP BACKGROUND – and I am fucking famous. And I was fucking famous then. White people always look more INVITED than non white people.
Posts Tagged ‘In The News’
I remember Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, just newly and surprisingly married, standing backstage at the 1994 MTV music awards. It must have been Radio City Music Hall, but when I think about the stage, somehow it doesn’t seem like it was there. Memory is funny how it changes places and details and names to protect the innocent.
He was dressed in black, in the effete military style he’d always been known for, a five star general in a glitter glam army, and they were both beautiful, in the way the incredibly rich and famous always are. I was neither rich nor famous, and maybe not yet beautiful then, not yet anyway, and standing stiffly in a too tight neon pink satin Betsey Johnson miniskirt and black Lip Service vinyl corset top and chunky heels, I waited backstage as the newlyweds kissed for millions upon millions of viewers. My manager at the time also represented Michael Jackson, and I don’t remember why I was there really except that I was part of a very, very, very extended entourage, like an extremely distant relative by marriage, at the kiddie table of fame. When I was younger I tried to go to any kind of awards show or gala. It felt like what I imagine a royal ball must have been like to attend. It was very princess adjacent, and I got to watch the true royalty brush by me, and it seemed as if they were almost real.
He had lipstick on his face, and he was seized with a bad case of giggles. It would have been adorably cute, if it were not so surreal. Maybe our eyes met. I couldn’t tell behind the dark glasses. He was pale and lean, but still gorgeous, not yet oddly disfigured by countless surgical procedures, not yet completely demonized by a relentless and seemingly heartless media. This is when he was still a man and not yet a myth, not yet a showbusiness allegory turned rotten and lurid, not yet a morality lesson on what not to be, what not to become. This was a time before all the talk of the young terminally ill boys, the dark and sinister rumors that became synonymous with his music and turned the legacy of the once fantastical and dreamlike majesty of the Neverland Ranch into something unspeakable and evil.
He loved his chimp. He loved the elephant man. He was in love with Elvis’ daughter. And when I saw him, I held my breath, and the scent he left behind was like vanilla and honey and the laughter of angels. I had loved him so as a child, playing my LP of “Off The Wall” on my Mickey Mouse Club record player until the grooves ran smooth and the songs skipped. I love him still.
A little West Memphis Three news:
I am so glad they walked out. John Fogleman is the last person who should be seeking an office like this.
From the Arkansas News:
More than a dozen protesters, unhappy with the way John Fogleman prosecuted three men for the 1993 murders of three West Memphis 8-year-olds walked out of a news conference Tuesday in which the Crittenden County circuit judge announced his candidacy for the state Supreme Court.
Fogleman made his announcement in the Old Supreme Court chambers at the state Capitol.
Fogleman announced to a crowd of about 50 that he plans to run in the May 2010 election to fill the seat of Justice Tom Glaze, who retired last year. Arkansas Appeals Court Judge Courtney Henry is also running for the seat.
The protesters, who took off their shirts to reveal T-shirts that read â€œAbuse of Powerâ€ or â€œWest Memphis Three,â€Â silently walked out of the room while Fogleman was discussing his candidacy and reasons for seeking the office.
I am very concerned about Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the American journalists for Current TV who just got sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor camp. It’s alarming and terrible. I could easily see myself in their position. You are trying to do your job and then you get caught up in something huge and unstoppable.
Whatâ€™s so messed up about this particular situation is that because they are Asian American, I worry that North Korea feels less guilty about punishing them. They wouldn’t ever have the courage to do this to white journalists, especially white male journalists. Since Lee and Ling look like their own, they feel they can treat them like their own – and in North Korea, this is not a good thing. And since Asian Americans are not as easily defined as “American” I’m afraid that these two will get lost in the shuffle. It’s the strange rootless consequence of Asian American identity played out to the worst possible conclusion. Could you imagine the same thing happening to Anthony Bourdain? He could have negotiated his way out with a bottle of Crown Royal and some Marlboro reds. If Andrew Zimmern went there to eat live octopus and was nabbed by Kim Jong Il, he’d be free before the tentacles stopped wiggling in his mouth.
But this is a serious situation. I am not sure if people see Euna Lee and Laura Ling as American, but they are just as American as the notion of freedom of speech. Let my people go!
I am never surprised when Hollywood takes a story with Asian characters and casts white people instead of Asians. This is so typical and happens with such frequency! I always thought that in order to make our presence known in entertainment, we should be writing, bringing our dreams and realities to the cinema, but now even telling our own stories isn’t even enough.
Why is it better to have white actors play the roles of Asians? I don’t understand. Because it sells more tickets? I am not white and I have had no trouble selling tickets. Maybe the powers that be should ask me what to do. I would tell them. “The Last Airbender” is the last straw to a lot of people:
—— Forwarded Message
From: Boone Adkins
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 13:51:36 -0400
Subject: Racism Against Asians in the casting of The Last Airbender: Would you help us?
I love your standup! Your comedy is as deep as it is hilarious, and touches on a lot of issues I feel strongly about. I’m a college student who is Asian American (I’m half-Thai) and who is involved with the LGBT community as an ally, so I feel I can relate to you from two angles. I’m emailing you to inform you of a controversy that you may not be aware of, and to get your support.
It boils down to this: The hugely popular Asian-themed (as opposed to European-themed) fantasy Avatar: the Last Airbender is being adapted from animated TV to a live action movie by Paramount Pictures. The fantasy world of the original series is very well researched and very ASIAN – kung fu throws fireballs, people wear kimonos and hanboks, the art style is influenced by traditional Chinese painting and anime, and everybody eats with chopsticks and writes in Chinese. There is also a heavy Inuit influence in the design and culture of the Water Tribe.
And yet the producers of this movie thought it would be best to forgo talented Asian kids and cast three WHITE actors in the leading roles! Even with Asian actors in supporting roles and as extras, it sends the message that ‘Only white people can be heroes. Asian people can’t save themselves – they need white heroes to save them.’ There are stories about Asian kids who auditioned who now think their race isn’t okay, that they have to be white to get a role. Possibly to try to soothe angry fans, Paramount recast the main villain with an Indian actor and several supporting villains with other dark-skinned actors. So the message is still that ‘Only white people can be heroes,’ but it adds another message that ‘The evil Fire Nation are dark skinned, so dark skinned people are obviously evil.’ It’s offensive to Asian Americans like myself, damaging to our children, and hurtful to fans of the original series.
I beg you to lend a hand. There’s a small grassroots movement protesting Paramount’s casting decisions. Just a few words would do so much! But don’t take my word for it – more information can be found at www.racebending.com (especially http://racebending.com/youcanhelp.php) and http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com/.
Boone Jaisard Adkins
From: Crystal Knoll
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 02:02:20 -0700
Subject: the last airbender
I’m a big admirer of yours and a longtime fan.
I was wondering if you had heard about the new M Night Shyamalan film, The Last Airbender. It’s based on a recent Nickelodeon children’s cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was an amazing series set in a feudal fantasy world of magic – but unlike most fantasies that are based on European legends and culture, it was based on a variety of Asian cultures and ideas. All the characters in the series were Asian or Northwestern Aboriginal/Inuit inspired, as well as all the architecture, clothing, a lot of the plot structure, etc.
The movie adaptation has started filming, and originally cast all four lead characters (three heroes and one villain) with white actors. The white actor playing the villain (Jesse McCartney!) dropped out and was replaced by Dev Patel, so now we have three white heroes and one brown villain. Did I mention the villain came from a nation of genocidal tyrants? Yeah.
Anyways, you blogged once about 21, and how that was white-washed. Maybe that was worse because it was based on real events, but since this movie is aimed at kids there’s a lot of us that think this is pretty egregious too.
If you want to know more there is a great website set up at http://www.racebending.com/
http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com also has great posts about it,
and is the home of a letter-writing campaign. I understand you’re on tour just now and probably very busy, but we’d love to hear what you have to say about it!
Lots of love,
From: Min Yang
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 23:10:43 -0800
Subject: We Need Your Help! The Last Airbender Racist Casting
Hi Margaret, First of all I would like to say I am a big fan of you. I think you are a great role model for Asian-Americans and I am so impressed by what you have accomplished. I am not sure if you have heard about this controversy over the casting of the Avatar: Last Airbender movie.
I am not sure if you have ever seen this Nickelodean cartoon, but it is mega popular cartoon that features a world that is heavenly inspired by Asian cultures. The main characters practice martial arts that give them the ability to control four different elements: air, water, fire and earth.
M Night Shyamalan is directing the live action movie and they recently cast the four main characters of the show. In the cartoon, the four main character are clearly Asian and Intuit/Native American, but for the movie… they cast 3 White actors to play the parts.
I am part of a large and dedicated group of fans who are trying to raise awareness for this clear case of discrimination. We are wondering if there is anyway you can mention this issue in your next video and please help us spread the word on this injustice!
You can read about all the issues and the letter writing campaign and demonstrations at the following sites:
1) Letter Writing Campaign
2) Blog by award winning Asian-American graphic novelist who is rallying industry professionals and other blogs
3) San Francisco Chronicle Column on the subject
4) Heated debates on the IMDB.com column… the amount of ignorant and racist comments you see here are shocking
5) Facebook group
I appreciate anything you can do!
Thank you so much,
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OK, this is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. The name she had a problem with was Ko. What part of “KO” do you not understand? - Is it the “k” or the “o”? It’s Ko, dummy. You do not need to learn Chinese to say it. Just open your dumb mouth and with your dumb voice say “Ko.” See? It’s easy dumbass! This is ridiculous. And she is a politician!!! I don’t understand when people have trouble with my name! Like they say “Chow? Chow? Margaret Chow? Chow?” There’s no “w”! And why is it so hard? It’s just one syllable. Many Asian names are just one syllable!!! This shithead needs to resign for reasons of inexcusable ignorance, racism and straight up stupidity!!!
I am thinking about how straight white men have it so easy. They really do! When watching the Billy Bob crazy interview I was struck by how much entitlement he had! He felt he could be a complete asshole to the interviewer because he didn’t think he was being treated fairly. I have endured countless radio interviews where DJs have been completely racist towards me – mispronouncing my name, which should be totally easy (and also I have been in the public eye for coming up on two decades so they should have at least heard someone say my name at least one time, or they could venture a guess….hmmm, CHO…..now that wasn’t that hard was it?!) and haven’t lost it completely because I didn’t want people to get the impression that I was a loose cannon or overly defensive – because I wanted people to come to my shows and no one likes an angry comic – unless they are straight and white and male!!
I have had interviews where I have been told to my face that I was “ugly” and “fat” and asked, in real seriousness, how I dealt with that! I have been introduced with chinky music playing in the background I don’t know how many times! People think it is ok to be racist and ignorant toward me because it is generally perceived that I am ‘cool with it.’ I am not cool with it but we live in a society where racism isn’t viewed as such when it is directed at Asian Americans. How do you deal with this kind of stupidity when it’s so rampant?
This latest incident with Betty Brown, the lawmaker from Texas, is such a prime example of the duhduhdumbness that flourishes in our culture and I am completely sick of it. She needs to resign out of sheer inability to accept that Asian Americans are valid human beings with the right to have names that she cannot pronounce because she’s such an idiot.