Mailbag – February 20, 2012

Arturo spotted some disturbing news from the K-pop world on Twitter: Jenny Hyun, songwriter for groups like SNSD and Chocolat, went on a long racist tirade about African Americans. According to Asian Junkie (which has the full tweet stream, but it’s a lot to deal with this early in the morning):

Yes, you read that correctly, she actually did call for the genocide of black people, which I don’t even know how to explain in words because it’s so fucking insane. Frighteningly, that’s only one of many out-of-this-world racist statements that she makes throughout the tirade. […]

So what sparked this rant?

Floyd Mayweather‘s tweet about Jeremy Lin.

    Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.

So yeah, she suggested the genocide of black people because a fucking boxer who is black suggested that Jeremy Lin is getting hyped more because he’s Asian and not black.

What Floyd Mayweather said is wrong, and his dislike for Asians is well documented, going back to his racist rant against Manny Pacquiao. However, being racist back (and disturbingly so) certainly isn’t the answer.

We checked in with contributor refresh daemon, who pointed out that Hyun is actually Asian-American, from California – she knew damn well the impact of what she was saying. The internet has also dredged up Hyun’s own stated history of mental illness, which may have led to her public outburst. At some point, I’m going to finish that piece around cultural appropriation, j & k pop, and the violence of revulsion, but until then, Asian Junkies is having an interesting debate in their comments section.

Reader Wen sent in a tip on a public conversation on racism and Australian television. Two prominent stars took to television and twitter to speak out against tokenization, marginalization, and underrepresentation. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Firass Dirani, who stars in new ABC drama The Straits, yesterday told Fairfax that major networks did not create roles for people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds.

And that prompted New Zealand actor Jay Laga’aia, recently cut from the cast of long-running soap Home and Away, to rail against perceived racism in Australian television, making his rage known in three angry tweets that included an attack on Channel Seven.

Jay Laga’aia, who is known outside of Australia for his role as Captain Typho in the Star Wars franchise, aired his displeasure on Twitter:

Ah, if only.

Reader Caroline sent in a poem from Chastity Gunn about racial microaggressions:

  • Anonymous

    Well, here I am being a necrophile, now…

    “If you don’t have an open mind, how can you expect others to? I wouldn’t
    go by what “many commenters” say, but investigate the evidence for

    Here’s some evidence.–blackface

    You’re requiring me, the
    offended one, to have an open mind towards a music scene that’s
    increasingly revealingly racist.  Come on, now… 

  • Helen

     South Korea and their blackface once AGAIN: I have a whole list of videos/audios of instances of racism and blackface. It has to end.

  • Jasun

    You’re joking, right? White folks, who aren’t Limbaugh, lose their jobs when they make racist statements.

  • Lisa

    Poor Jeremy Lin–all he did was go out and play basketball really, really well, and now all of these weirdos are letting loose all their racial hang ups.  His success is the current racial Rorschach test (that a lot of people are failing).

  • Mickey

    This reminds me a bit about the bigoted rant that Kelly Osbourne spewed when she discovered that her fiance was cheating on her with a transgender woman. And the Racialicious title spoke for itself: If you are a bigot when you are angry, you are a bigot all the time. Bipolar my fucking ass!

  • Anonymous

     Wow.  Great catch, there!

    So tired of white-supremacist people of color.  And so many commenters online have made the point that people in the K-Pop world have done racist things against black people before, and were never held accountable for it, so it means that she’ll probably get off scot-free, even if she’s American… Pathetic.  I feel like I haven’t missed much for not paying attention to K-Pop.  This has almost confirmed my suspicions that K-Pop is all about Asians who just want black music without, using Hyun’s own words about Whitney Houston, “all that baggage.”

  • Anonymous

    Where did that happen? The entire Asian Junkies article was a condemnation of Hyun, while they spent a scant two lines on Mayweather.

  • k.eli

    Re: Jenny Hyun

    Well, there’s a way to kick off my Monday morning. Sometimes someone comes along and says things so repulsingly racist that I’m at a loss for words. I think what scares me the most is that for all the people rightfully condemning her comments, there are still many people who actually agree with everything she said. Her website recently posted an apology of sorts by saying that she’s being treated for paranoid schizophrenia and that her long-winded, pro-genocide outburst was the result of heightened psychosis. The mental-health advocate part of me really wants to believe that but the cynical part of me wonders if it’s just a PR attempt to try to defend the indefensible; I don’t really know what to make of it.

  • Sharon Cullars

    The irony surrounding the appropriation (or rather, misappropriation) of black culture is the blatant disrespect that many appropriators have for the people who initiated the culture. K-Pop, her bread and butter, is basically derived from R&B and Hip Hop and yet she spouts that black culture is disgusting and that a world without blacks would be so much better. Haters often contradict themselves and this is one of the most stupid contradictions I’ve ever read about.