Addicted to Race 119: Annie Le, Gospel Tours, Fractions, Street Harassment

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s podcast about America’s obsession with race. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find in this episode:

What role did race play in the media coverage of Annie Le’s murder? Gospel tours bring in much-needed revenue for black churches, but is it worth it vis-a-vis the racial tourism? What’s wrong with calling a multiracial person “half” Chinese? What role does race play in street harassment of women?

Carmen Van Kerckhove, Tami Winfrey Harris and Jen Wang discuss; and Angry Asian Man Phil Yu and Racialicious Special Correspondent Wendi Muse make surprise guest appearances!

Addicted to Race is broadcast live every Sunday afternoon at 12 pm Eastern. You can listen live on our BlogTalkRadio page and call in by dialing 347-996-3958.

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This Documentary Would Go Well With…

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

Restore FairnessHere’s a summary of my thoughts on im/migration so far:

  • Short of 1st Nations people, everyone living in the US emigrated—whether by choice or force, whether the im/migrant is themselves and/or their ancestors or current family members—from somewhere else. And we’re squatting on 1st Nation lands.
  • For those who want to argue that the Black people who came to the US cannot be immigrants in that Ellis Island/American Odyssey Mythology sense because that group were forced by white slave traders and slaveowners to be on these shores: no, we—and I say “we” because I’m the great-granddaughter of an enslaved Africans and African Americans, so I’m of that group–didn’t see Ellis Island. That does not negate that we moved or “migrated,” albeit involuntarily, from one part of the world to another—which is the definition of an “immigrant.” Or that we don’t have our own American Odyssey. That’s also another post for another day.
  • The US government needs to give undocumented people amnesty and broader roads to citizenship, if that’s what they seek, instead of assigning inherent criminality to them based on some racialized rhetoric. They don’t have papers, usually because the system is so labyrinthine and expensive that it’s discouraging. Or they’re trying to get residency and/or citizenship and are stuck in the process. And the reality that’s clouded by the vitriol is, among other things, that undocumented immigrants not only contribute to this economy—sometimes endangering their health in the process–they also contribute to the economies of the places from which they moved.
  • Thanks to the nasty racialized rhetoric, people who have US residency, of not citizenship, are getting caught in the dragnet to catch “those people” who, according to the heuristics, allegedly look nothing like the people spouting the rhetoric. (And, to the clear, the folks spouting the rhetoric aren’t always white, either—my mom and uncle will hiss about the “Mexicans” taking “our” jobs and trying to have children in the US so the parents can stay in the country and “take advantage” of “our” public services. Like I said, allegedly.)

My pro-immigration stance isn’t radical or revolutionary; honestly, I think it’s quite middle-of-the-road, compared to writers and other creatives who have extensively and award-winningly written on the topic and advocates who tirelessly work on this issue.  (Usually, these groups overlap.)

But my middle-of-the-road thoughts don’t stop me from wondering if an advocate seems to be doing a bait-and-switch for the cause.

Case in point: Restore Fairness, a campaign spearheaded by Breakthrough, a human-rights organization which is, according to its website:

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Bound Japanese Women: Violence or Sexual Liberation?

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Last night while I was browsing the Sociological Images website, I saw this:

Sociological Images explains that the ad is for Swiss company Max Shoes, to advertises its sturdy laces.  The ad made me immediately think of these cell phone charms that my bf’s friend brought back from Japan:

Called Oshibari Girls (does anyone know what “oshibari” means?), the cell phone charms come in six different styles, including school girl, office lady and police officer.

The sight of a bound East Asian woman hanging from a cell phone upset me deeply, but I didn’t know how to articulate that to my bf’s friend in a way he would understand, especially not over Saturday drinks on a summer night.

But the commenters on Sociological Images’ shoe post had an interesting take on the tied-up Japanese woman thing:

Some people enjoy bondage, and she has a stereotypical but realistic come-hither look on her face. The Kimono is a bit much, but I don’t find this violent at all.

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Identity Crises: The Racialicious Review of ‘Heroes’ 4.1 + 4.2


By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Heroes’ season premiere was two hours long. It only felt like four.

While accomplishing what it set out to do on a technical level, “Orientation” and “Jump, Push, Fall” failed the series’ most important objective: doing so while making the series seem fresh again. Instead, we got yet another lumbering opening salvo, where we learned that The Benetrellis & Co. are divided, and about to be conquered yet again.

The devil they know, Sylar, still doesn’t know he’s not really Nathan, but Sy’s old powers have started manifesting six weeks after the events of “An Invisible Thread,” which understandably makes the “Senator” freak out, and Angela freak out even more. Unfortunately for her, a guilt-ridden Big Matt won’t do her a solid and “upgrade” the mental block he installed [insert your own Microsoft Tech Support here, dear readers.] Of course, Matt still won’t tell anybody with experience dealing with metahumans that Sy has started appearing inside his mind at the most awkward times, including an unintentionally (?) hilarious turn at Matt’s rehab meeting.

Even the usually reliable HRG is slipping: he’s too creeped out to even face SyNate and even further estranged from Sandra. He even goes so far as to confess to Danko a desire to “cash out,” before the lawn gnome’s long-overdue murder starts pulling him, Peter and Tracy into contact with a devil they don’t know.

samuel1Enter The Mysterious Carnival, led by The Mysterious Samuel. Sam’s Mysterious eulogy for his Mysterious Dead Brother Joseph. As part of his Mysterious Plot – “a line was crossed,” he tells reluctant henchman Edgar – Sam cozies up to Hiro while Edgar jacks Noah (told you he was slippin’) for a Mysterious Compass.

Hiro’s run-in with Samuel comes at the worst possible time: faced with impending death following complications from his powers, Hiro’s increasing desperation (and continued de-evolution) leaves him easy prey for Samuel’s pitch – go back and “right the wrongs” of his life. Hiro’s Bucket List kicks off with something seemingly innocuous: he gets in the way of a slushee that had his sister’s name on it, re-writing canon history so that Kimiko falls for Ando instead of thinking the boys are goofballs – because how could she have gotten that impression, right?

Apparently the only person safe from these messes, is Claire, now studying under her real name at Generically Nice University – thanks, we’re told, to good GED scores. In this case, Annoying Roommate Annie is right on in calling bullsh-t. But as we all know, questioning Claire’s privilege comes with consequences: Annie is found dead not long after kicking ass at Guitar Hero. But as Claire and new uber-creepy would-be bff Gretchen prepare to investigate, we see she, along with Peter and Sylar (?) are next on the Mysterious Samuel’s hit-list. Claire-Bear’s in danger? Matt’s being an idiot? Hiro’s getting duped? Must be September.

The Racialicious Scorecard
Hiro & Ando:Their argument over Hiro’s condition, even with the hand-waving (we still don’t know exactly what damage Hiro’s powers are doing to him), was a nice moment, as was Hiro’s latest encounter with his younger self. But even if he’s distraught, it’s still disheartening to see Hiro can’t know enough to see that when a Hot Topic wash-out knows your name, only bad things can happen.

Mohinder: Who? Just kidding. But his only “appearance” was a name-check from Peter. Rumor has it, though, that he will show up later in the year and that things will get “hairy” for him.

The Haitian: Now we’re talking – his appearance was the only genuine surprise of the whole premiere, a true “OH HELL YEAH” moment. But in true Heroes fashion, he literally disappeared after mind-wiping Danko, which made HRG’s Al Green speech to Tracy look really, really weird. Look, Noah, if you want the rebound, that’s one thing, but don’t pretend your best partner hasn’t been out there watching your back.

Nail Salons in Oakland

By Guest Contributor Momo Chang, originally published at the Hyphen Magazine Blog

Recently learned that the city of Oakland is trying to make it a lot harder for people to open nail salons and laundromats, via an emergency ordinance. What is that, you ask? The gist of it is that if you want to operate a new nail salon or laundromat, you’d have to apply for a major conditional use permit, which costs around $3,000, which means that many mom and pop owners will think twice about opening a nail shop in Oakland.

What do we know about nail salons? A lot, and also not a lot. In the latest issue of Hyphen, I wrote about the trend of green nail salons. For years now we’ve known and suspected that the chemicals used in nail salons are not good for the workers, or for consumers. We also know that upwards of 80 percent of nail shops in California are owned and run by Asian immigrants, mostly Vietnamese. It is a popular field for new refugees/immigrants because you don’t need good English skills and there is whole existing community to help new people get into the field (cosmetology tests in Vietnamese, Vietnamese cosmetology schools, Asian-owned shops, etc.).

According to the city’s resolution, this additional barrier would be “necessary to preserve the public peace, health, welfare, or safety and to avoid a direct threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the community….” At first when I read that, I thought they were talking about the health and safety issues of the workers in nail salons because of the chemicals issue and lack of proper ventilation. But no, the reasoning behind it is because nail salons are not attractive, and would deter more high end businesses from moving in.

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mark dacascos dances to “kung fu fighting”

By Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

This is a video clip of Mark Dacascos and his partner dancing the cha cha cha this week on Dancing With The Stars. Longtime readers know that I can’t stand the song “Kung Fu Fighting” — and I loathe any movie trailer, scene or commercial that features the song. I wish it would just go away.

I won’t say much about this particular routine’s use of the song and the ridiculous martial arts theme they’ve got going on… except that it made me really really sad. Granted, it’s Dancing With The Stars — the cheese factor is already dialed up to eleven. But really? Did it have to be “Kung Fu Fighting”? (Thanks, Corinne.)

Are Comments of this Photo of Taiwanese Shaved Ice an Example of Culinary Racism?

By Guest Contributor Ernie, originally published at 8 Asians

This week, popular food blog Serious Eats put up a Flickr photo of a popular Taiwanese dessert hongdoubing, or shaved ice with condensed milk, red beans and flan. It was meant to be taken as food porn, but to a couple of the commenters it was anything but: “That looks terrible to me,” said one. “Looks like someone had a bad bowel movement … if that ever came out of my [ass], I’d head straight to the emergency room,” said another.

I didn’t grow up on sweet red beans and shaved ice, so the dessert looks a little intense to even me, but at what point does someone’s objections to food start getting offensive? Another commenter put it best: “There’s an interesting dichotomy in the comments. This stuff is delicious, but I kind of feel like I do when they use ‘weird and crazy’ Asian food on Fear Factor after reading [these] comments.” Balut, anyone?