Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Asian American news briefing

1) From UConn's student paper, we have an op-ed about how Abercrombie and Fitch explouts not just racial stereotypes but its own workers in Asia, who are paid less than minimum wage and work in sweatshop conditions. Choice quote:
After the closure of the Saipan factories, Abercrombie managed to avoid controversy for a while - until they ran a line of clothing with cartoons that depicted Asians as fat, rice-eating, laundry washers under slogans such as "two Wongs make it white!" There was a massive backlash from the Asian-American community, which confused the folks at Abercrombie. "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt," said Hampton Carney, a spokesman for a New York communications firm working for Abercrombie. [emphasis mine.]
Right, because I've always wanted a company that caters to rich preppy white kids determining my tastes in clothes. Yup, A&F read my mind. I've always wanted to be a whitewashed Asian American who idealized and sexualized scantily clad white teens frolicking in nature's own good green juices, wearing shirts that demean my ancestors' history in the United States. A&F , with it s husky males and their prominent bulges, can tell me how to whitewash my own peoples anytime, and I'll willingly submit to their capitalistic, raptor-like gaze. I've always wanted to be a modelminority that suits up and complicitly models racist, self-hating slogans that are so catchy, so pulse of America, so edgy and right now that I . . .

Want to rip their fucking posters down and burn them.

They deserved the $40 million class action discrimination lawsuit, and the newer $2 million suit for overtime was a slap on the wrist. I never wore Abercrombie, and I never will. As Riley would say "Pay what you owe."

2) Cosmetic surgery: On the topic of objectifying Western standards of beauty, the SF Chronicle has an article about "ethnic correctness," a new movement in plastic surgery, especially epicanthelial (eyelid) and nose surgery, to keep certain ethnic looks.
However, there is a new "look East" movement underway -- a growing Asian social consciousness in the United States and Asia. Plastic surgeons have begun to develop techniques to preserve ethnic characteristics and retain their identity. The changes are more subtle: The nose is no longer as pointy, and doctors are not removing as much fat near the lower eyelid, in order to avoid the Caucasian look.
Cos that's a hell of a lot to pay to erase your identity.

3) Beware the yellow peril! Chinese spies abound - look all around you - that shifty-looking guy on the subway could be stealing state secrets while you snore away. Well, the official line is that "China's spying overwhelms US Counterintelligence" but another answer could be that they're understaffed because everyone got sent to Iraq.

A cynical person would look at the situation and say that they are already trying to set up the next scrapegoat, the next big terror since Americans are rapidly losing trust and faith in the bush administration's lies. So scare 'em straight, yeah?

Well, a cynical person might say that, but I'm obviously an optimist.

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