Wong Fu Shines Light on “Accidental Racism”

Last year in May, a video called “What kind of Asian are you?” made its way into viral fame. With over 6 million views, this video portrayed something that many of us have had to experience.

In the video, an Asian woman is approached by a White male who comments on her perfect English and asks where she’s from. After telling him that she’s from San Diego, he responds, “Oh no. Where are you from?”

Truth be told, we’ve all probably gone through this. Admittedly, many of us aren’t actually bothered when someone inquires about our culture, but there’s definitely reason to be peeved with statements about English being “so good” even if English is a person’s first language. Let’s not even get into some of the obviously insulting statements that many of us have received such as “It’s great that you’re not like other Asians. You’re so American.” Right. Because that doesn’t sound like an insult at all.

 

While it’s easy for us to roll our eyes at some of the insensitive statements thrown at Asians, we have to remember that Asians and other people of color are certainly capable of making ignorant statements as well.

Wong Fu Productions has decided to highlight this with their new short “Accidental Racism.” The short is able to remind us of two things: everyone can work on being more culturally aware and sometimes, though they may need to work on the way they phrase their statements, some people are just genuinely curious about a culture.

 

)

Cruel & Racist Statements Told To Asian Adoptee Children

Kim Kelley-Wagner never married, but she always knew she wanted children. So when she saw a story in Time Magazine about Chinese adoptees, she suddenly found herself looking into adoption.

After taking some time to be sure of her decision, she made the leap. In 2001, Kelley-Wagner adopted 10-month-old Liliana. Later, in 2008, she adopted 2-year-old Meika.

Adopting two daughters didn’t make Kelley-Wagner feel any less of a mother than the women who gave birth to their children. Being adopted didn’t make Liliana or Meika feel less like daughters. Unfortunately, many others didn’t seem to share their sentiments.

“The comments began right from the start,” Kelley-Wagner says. “We would be shopping, and cashiers or store clerks would say things like, ‘How much did she cost?’ or ‘You could have bought a car for what it probably cost to adopt her.’”

Some were so insensitive that they began attacking the younger daughter Meika who had a bilateral cleft lip and palate when she was born. People openly questioned why Kelley-Wagner didn’t choose a “perfect” child.

Rather than allow these comments to anger her and her daughters, Kelly-Wagner decided to turn this into a project. Hoping to teach other people about their hurtful comments while simultaneously providing an outlet for her daughters to express themselves, she came up with a photo project where her daughters hold up the comments that were thrown at their family.

Both of her daughters agreed to the project and agreed that it could help bring awareness to how hurtful  statements can be.

Rather than respond with anger, Kelley-Wagner encourages her daughter to instead make people realize what they’re saying. “My advice to them is, leave your offenders speechless,” she says. “I think people are curious and don’t know any better.”

The daughters seem to be following their mothers footsteps. Kelley-Wagner recalls a woman who said she could not truly love someone she didn’t give birth too. Liliana then responded, “Oh, did you give birth to your husband?”

kkw 1 kkw 2 kkw 3 kkw 4 kkw 5

kkw 6 kkw 7 kkw 8 kkw 9 kkw 10 kkw 11 kkw 12 kkw 13

kkw 14 kkw 15 kkw 16 kkw 17 kkw 18 kkw 19 kkw 20 kkw 21 kkw 22 kkw 23 kkw 24 kkw 25 kkw 26 kkw 27 kkw 28

 

(Source 1, 2)

RACISM ALERT: University of Illinois Chancellor Gets Cyberbullied For Not Giving Students A Snow Day

People are now starting to call the University of Illinois one of the world’s most racist, sexist and spoiled universities. How did something like this happen? It all began this past Sunday evening when the university chancellor Phyllis Wise sent an email to the students saying that Monday, January 27th, would not be a snow day.

snow day email

With temperatures reaching 30-below, we can understand why some students may have felt a bit grumpy about their missed snow day, but we certainly didn’t expect students to begin cyber-attacking chancellor Phyllis Wise.

The hashtag #fuckphyllis quickly began trending as the students poured all the blame on their chancellor. Because blaming your chancellor for the cold weather is logical right?

Although mean-hearted, the tweets began rather innocently. The students simply seemed aggravated that they had to attend class in such conditions. This quickly escalated to cyber-bullying.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.45.08 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.20.17 PM

 

Much to our annoyance, the tweets began targeting her race and gender. Here are just a few.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.50.00 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.50.09 PM

AAB Banner Square

A number of fake twitter accounts were made for Chancellor Wise in an effort to further her cyber-bullying attack. Luckily, as the #fuckphyllis tag got more and more intense, the amount of people sighing in disappointment increased as well. Many people pointed out that if the students were so upset about the lack of a snow day, why not just skip class? Why do they have to publicly insult an individual using racist and sexist words? Others have pointed out that the students are privileged to attend and afford a college education. The uproar simply seems childish.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.22.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.22.40 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.22.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.24.02 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.57.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.57.20 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.57.30 PM

The student body president Damani R. Bolden has released an apology on behalf of his fellow students. Unfortunately, the university has not been able to avoid the public backlash towards their insensitive comments.

Racist frat parties, blackface music videos, racist youtube rants and now this? Can anyone really say racism is only something of the past?

(source)

Did HIMYM Go Too Far OR Have Asians Become Hypersensitive?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversial episode of How I Met Your Mother. If not, lets get you caught up.

The newest episode “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra,”  continued an on-going joke throughout the show where Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) humorously slaps Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Segel’s character explains that he went through training in Shanghai, China to perfect his slapping skills. The show then reveals his three “masters” who turn out to be the other main characters sporting Asian attire, hair accessories, and even a  Fu Manchu mustache.

As you can expect, most of the Asian American community felt that all the “yellowface” used was a personal slap to our face. The episode angered so many viewers that  the hashtag  #HowIMetYourRacism blew up on twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.21.53 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.22.16 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.22.26 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.22.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.22.50 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.25.17 PM

 

In response to the massive backlash,  How I Met Your Mother co-creator Carter Bays tweeted his apology.

Hey guys, sorry this took so long. @himymcraig and I want to say a few words about #HowIMetYourRacism. With Monday’s episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved. But along the way we offended people. We’re deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it. We try to make a show that’s universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that this week, and feel terrible about it. To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill. Thanks. @CarterBays@HimymCraig

— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014

This is the point where opinions begin to divide. Some of the Asian community pointed out that while the apology is appreciated, something so obviously offensive never should have been aired. They have pointed out that we have had to hear this apology too many times and you would think that people would know to not use a culture as a costume. Angry Asian Man spilled out his sentiments by writing:

I appreciate apologies that acknowledge wrongdoing and avoid placing blame on the offended. People make mistakes. But this apology sounds a lot like the really really nice guy who hates it when people are mad at him. We get it, you feel terrible that we were offended. You feel terrible that you messed up. So how about actually addressing what you did to mess up? Aw, hell. I’m nitpicking at lackluster apologies.

Really, you just wish they’d had the sense to avoid this bullshit altogether. Obviously, as usual, that was asking too much. Now we all have that image of fu manchu’d Ted Moseby seared into our souls.

But then others in the Asian American community are disagreeing with the backlash all together. They claim that the apology is sincere, they acknowledged their mistake, and as a community, we are slowly opening the eyes of others. They point out that it’s a process and we need to allow people to see, acknowledge, and change their mistakes. This opinion can be seen with CNN host Don Lemon interviewing the popular Vietnamese comedian Dat Phan on his thoughts towards the controversy. Watch it below.

 

 

So now we turn towards the real question. Did How I Met Your Mother go too far? Are we tired of hearing all the excuses given to us when all we’re asking for is respect for our culture? OR is Dat Phan correct in saying that we have become hypersensitive and not everything concerning Asians should cause offense?

Watch the How I Met Your Mother clip below and tell us what you think. 

 

Audrey’s Top Ten Stories of 2013

2013 was quite the year for Audrey Magazine. Not only did it mark our ten year anniversary, it was also the launch of our revamped website. While we’re more than excited to kick off this new year, let’s take a moment to look back on all the stories of style, beauty and inspiring Asian Americans of the previous year.

Ranked by which stories were the most popular of the year, we bring you Audrey’s Top Ten Stories of 2013!


Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.41.22 AM
1) Breaking The Asian Myth | Asian Hair
“If there’s one Asian stereotype we’re all very familiar with, its Asian hair. No one knows when this actually happened, but at one point people began thinking that all Asian women had the same kind of hair…”


pop-blackhead
2) Not For Weak Stomachs: Removal of a 25-Year-Old Blackhead 
“In September we showed you the results of sleeping with makeup on for an entire month and called it a horror story. Now we take that back. We take it all back. Apparently, that wasn’t a skincare horror story at all. This is…”


2013 c
3) Korean Twin Sisters Unrecognizable After Plastic Surgery 
“It’s no secret. In Asia, plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. In fact, double eyelid surgery is so typical that many girls have been known to receive the procedure as a graduation gift. Aside from these minor procedures, just how far has surgery entered Asian culture? According to some, surgery has become a very serious ordeal…”


2013 d4) World’s 15 Most Followed Asian Female Celebrities on Twitter 
“1. Indonesian entertainer Agnes Monica (@agnezmo) — 8,326,171 followers
2. Japanese-Swiss-Polish Brazilian TV personality Sabrina Sato Rahal (@sabrinasatoreal) 3. Indonesian singer Sherina Munaf (@sherinamunaf)…”


2013 e
5) Korean American K-Pop Star Embroiled in Nude Photos Scandal
“Korean American singer Ailee has been receiving enormous attention from the Korean media after nude photos of the K-pop star surfaced on the Internet. Allkpop, a popular New York-based K-pop website, published censored versions of the photos last night, igniting a firestorm of controversy…”


2013 f
6) The Ultimate Guide to EXO
“EXO is separated into two subgroups, EXO K and EXO M, which promotes in Korea and China respectively. But together? This boy band totals to 12 members. Overwhelming? Just a bit. As much as we wanted to get to know the line-up for KCON, was learning all 12 members worth it? YES. The answer to that question is a very enthusiastic yes…”


2013 g
7) False Rumor: Philippines Disqualified From Pageants For The Next Two Years 
“In the midst of all this good news for the Philippines, a strange rumor has begun to spread. According to The Adobo Chronicles, the  Association of Beauty Pageant Franchise Holders (ABPFH) has disqualified the Philippines from international beauty pageants for the next two years claiming that Filipina candidates had an “enormous advantage” this year…”


2013 h
8) Asians in Fashion | EXO-K for Ivy Club Autumn 2013
“With the rise of EXO’s popularity, we can confidently say that  Ivy Club made quite a good decision to have the boys model and endorse their Autumn 2013 look…”


2013 i
9) Extremely Racist Responses to Olympus Has Fallen
“Its no secret that we still face racism today. Every time I start to believe that I live in my ideal/equal world, acts like this bring me back to the reality that we still have a long way to go…”


2013 j
10) Where I Went and What I Bought: Seoul
“I took a dream vacation last month. Not to some tropical hideaway surrounded by crystal clear waters. Not to a romantic European capital overflowing with crumbling palaces and fine wine. No, I went on a shopping vacation. To Korea…”

 

Racist Cyberbullying Over Lorde’s “Scrawny Asian” Boyfriend

Much to our dislike, racist cyberbullying appears to be alive and well. Today’s victim is none other than New Zealand singer/songwriter Lorde and her rumored boyfriend, James Lowe.

Why the attack on the Grammy nominated, “Royals” singer? Apparently, a rumor has spread that the 17-year-old singer called Justin Beiber and the members of One Direction “ugly.” These statements were never actually confirmed, but that didn’t stop the teens who were angered by these rumors. Beiber and One Direction fans were quick to retaliate and focus their attacks on Lorde’s personal life.

Last week, bikini photos of Lorde embracing 24-year-old Lowe exploded on tabloids and the angry teens were quick to post their opinion of the couple on twitter.

Many of the tweets focused on Lowe’s race and pulled in a number of negative stereotypes towards Asian men. The tweets that didn’t focus on Lowe’s Asian descent were equally rude and shallow.

Lorde has not yet responded to her cyberbullies.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.33.20 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.34.35 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.35.31 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.34.53 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.35.14 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.37.43 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.37.59 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.38.13 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.38.28 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.38.46 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.40.42 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.41.05 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.42.04 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.43.08 PM


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.43.32 PM

(Source 1, 2)

Does Reverse Racism Exist? Comedian Aamer Rahman Has The Answer

Reverse racism. It’s the infamous term that has people everywhere disagreeing with one another. Some believe reverse racism grants minorities an unfair “pass” for any racist acts/words simply because they are minorities. Other believe that under the circumstances, its hardly possible to be racist when they are simply pointing out the differences in privilege.

Comedian Aamer Rahman has his own stance. The Bangladeshi Australian stand-up comedian is normally paired with Nazeem Hussain to create the comedy duo, Fear of a Brown Planet. For this piece, however, he takes the stage on his own.

After being criticized for his jokes about white people and after being accused of reverse racism, Rahman decided to speak his mind about the topic.

“I could be a reverse racist if I wanted to.,” Rahman jokes. “All I’d need would be a time machine, and what I’d do is get in my time machine and go back in time to before Europe colonized the world and I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and occupy Europe, steal their land and resources… In that time I’d make sure I’d set up systems that privileged black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity…”

 

Rahman had just put the stand up act on Youtube a few days ago and it has already generated well over 155,000 views. Clearly, Rahman is catching all sorts of attention. Check out the full piece below.

 

Mistreatment at Airport For Filipina Mom: Netizens Weigh In, Shed Interesting Light on Issue

An incident earlier this week at Seattle’s international airport, which resulted in the deportation of 63-year old Filipina Carina Yonzon Grande (pictured above, center, with future son-in-law Ken Shaw and grandson Josh), has sparked another discussion on the complex matter of immigration.

In an emailed statement sent to Philippine news outlets, Grande states she was on her way to the US for her daughter’s wedding, a trip that would mark her 13th trip to the States.  Upon arrival, was questioned, held (Grande claims without food or water) and later sent back to the Philippines by immigration officials.

Thanks to netizens, the talks surrounding issue have shown a wide variety of opinions.

Some claim the immigration officials were simply doing their job and practicing precaution:

“Bakit alam ninyo na ba ang reason ng kabilang kampo kung bakit nila ginawa yon? Baka naman may valid reason din sila…” [“Why, do you all know the reason why the other side (US immigration officials) did what they did? Perhaps they have a valid reason.” (JosWallace Jao-Farmer, ABS CBN News Facebook)

 

“Sorry po sa na experience nyo dito sa USA pero sa tingin ko may nakita sila sa papers mo na hindi ka talaga nila papasukin very strict sila...if kulang talaga ang papers deport ka talaga......” [“I’m sorry for your experience here in ths US, but in my opinion, they saw something in your paperwork that wouldn’t have let you entered. (sic) They’re very strict...if you have something missing from your paperwork, you have no choice but to be deported.”] (Coppick Pauldel, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Others accuse them of discriminatory behavior, viewing Filipinos as potential TNTs (tago ng tago, a Tagalog phrase for someone who will enter the country and become an undocumented resident or worker), a phrase that Grande claimed they used during her questioning.

“Some US immigration officers think that majority of Filipinos are liars whose (sic) looking for green pasture when they sit put at the mainland with no intention to return to motherland. (Benajmin Escano, GMA News Facebook)

But most notably, there are those that remind us that Grande’s experience is not isolated and reflects a larger issue of mistreatment and basic human rights.

“I understand that the US needs to be vigilant, but there is no excuse for the rude behavior and lack of professionalism. When I see how curt and rude they can be with me, a US citizen, I shudder to think of what is in store for non-natives. (Perlkherst, Reddit)

“Uhm I don’t think the other side of the story is going to be acceptable. We understand the rationale behind their jobs, but however way you put it, maltreatment is not acceptable. Everyone deserves basic human rights. (Katrina Dela Cruz Cacal, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Such comments remind us that immigration issues are ones that affect the entire global community and have a particular bearing and importance for the Asian and Asian American community.  With Asian Americans becoming the fastest growing immigrant population in the United States, incidents such as these undoubtedly raise a red flag for our community.  But not only is this concerning for Asian Americans, it is something that should cause concern on a national and global scale.

Because, as Katrina Cacal mentions, beyond the immigration debate, it’s heartbreaking to think that people, immigrants or not, are being subjected to poor treatment, particularly in a country that has long prided itself in being a place that has opened its doors to visitors and immigrants from around the globe.  While we do not know the whole story concerning the Grande case, as the US Embassy has refused to release a statement and no word has come from immigration authorities in Seattle, that should not overshadow the improper, dehumanizing treatment that Grande experienced.

Notably, this incident comes on the heels of a looming visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines, scheduled for October 11 and 12.  The two countries view each other as reputable allies, a relationship that has held strong for years due to the two countries intertwining histories and continuing diplomatic and military ties.  Though Kerry is said to be on the trip to “reaffirm the strong economic, people-to-people, and security links between the two nations,” it will be interesting to see if immigration and tension-inducing issue will be brought up in discussion — US-Philippine immigration was a planned topic for discussion for Philippine President Ninoy Aquino.

But whatever happens, we’re sure the netizens will definitely have something to say.

[Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

 

Top Five Reasons Miss America Nina Davuluri is AWESOME

For the second year in a row, the Miss America tiara went to New York. This year, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri took the title.

Unfortunately, this celebratory moment quickly turned sour when Twitter exploded with racist comments about the newly-crowned Miss America. So we should probably clarify a few things to these terribly mistaken individuals. For starters, they seem to be missing the biggest point of all — Nina Davuluri is awesome.

1) She is making history for Asian Americans, and she knows it.
nina dance

Born in New York to Indian parents, Davuluri is the first contestant of Indian descent to become Miss America.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said in her first press conference after being crowned Miss America. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

In fact, as Davuluri and Miss California, Crystal Lee, embraced each other right before the winner was announced, Davuluri told the host, “We’re both so proud. We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian Americans.”

 

2) She proud of her roots: she performed Bollywood.

Although she missed her cue (sound was apparently poor for those on stage), Davuluri’s performance was one not to be missed. For her talent performance, Davuluri performed a classic Bollywood fusion with “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” as a platform. Although she has 15 years of training in Indian dance, Miss America traveled to Los Angeles to train with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan for the performance.

This is the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage.

 

3) She doesn’t bash other Asian Americans.
juliechen

Coincidentally, Davuluri was asked about another Asian American woman, Julie Chen. The television personality was recently criticized for undergoing surgery to boost her career.

Rather than criticize her fellow Asian American, Davuluri commented that although surgery wasn’t her personal choice, we should not criticize others for it. She commented on the importance of diversity and being confident in who you are.

 

4) She’s “going places” in the future.
nina close

Not only is this woman beautiful, she’s also quite intelligent. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, and landed a spot on the Dean’s List, a Michigan Merit Award, and a National Honor Society Award.

With the $50,000 she earned from this pageant, Davuluri will apply to medical school and eventually hopes to be a cardiologist.

 

5) She dismisses the haters.
nina tweets

Although racist haters tried to bring her down, Davuluri decided to rise above the ignorant comments. She did not allow them to ruin a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

“I have to rise above that,” she said at a press conference. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Read more here.

(source 1, 2, 3)

 

How NOT To Deal With Racism: Bobby Jindal Talks ‘Hyphenated Americans’

Bobby Jindal, the current Governor of Louisiana and the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, recently wrote a story on race for Politico, an American political journalism organization.

“Scan the news on any given day in America, and you will invariably find multiple stories about race, racism, ethnicity, and race relations,” Jindal writes,  ”We can’t seem to get enough of this topic, and correspondingly, the media appetite for all things race-related is unquenchable.” I nodded my head to this. After all, when you write for  an Asian-American Women’s Magazine Publication, how can you not pay attention to race?

He then continued to point out that we ought to be judged by our character instead of the color of our skin. He notes that humans are shallow to think of others in terms of their skin color. Again, I found myself nodding in agreement. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve found ourselves angry at being associated with stereotypes simply because we’re Asian.

But then his opinion piece starts taking an abrupt turn. “Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc.” Jindal writes, “We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few. Here’s an idea: How about just “Americans?” That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our “separateness” is a step backward.”

Wait, what?

He ends his piece by stating, “We are all created in the image of God — skinny, fat, tall, short, dark, light, whatever. Who cares? What does it matter? It’s time to get over it. It’s time for the end of race in America. Now that would be progress.”

This is the point where we shake our heads in a very frustrated no. Our culture is a very very big part of our identity and its most definitely something we can’t ignore. Yes, I consider myself an Asian-American, or according to Jindal a “hyphenated American”, because I choose not to lose any more of my already blurry cultural identity. I choose to be a “hyphenated American” because even if we wanted to go along with the unrealistic belief that all Americans are treated equally, how can we possibly ignore all the racial slurs and all the racial stereotyping? How is ignoring a problem the solution to solving it?

While I agree that in an ideal world, judgement would be based on character as oppose to the color of one’s skin, the idea of being completely “color-blind” is not the solution. Is it not better to keep our eyes open, and accept all the colors none-the-less? We can’t pretend to be colorblind because ultimately many people are indeed treated a certain way because of the color of their skin. It is only by looking at the issue full-on and realizing that inequality is present that we can hope to address the problem.