Friday WTF? “Asian Girlz” Pisses Folks Off–And Rightfully So

By Andrea Plaid

Recall the previous post about Guante’s vid and its takeaway about being PC is really about not being a jackass. Well, this next pop cultural item is exactly why political correctness came into being in the first place.

Longtime Racialicious homie Angry Asian Man tweeted this:

Asian Girlz Tweet 5The shit he’s referring to is the latest anti-Asian vid called “Asian Girlz” by some band called Day Above Ground. Well, one person didn’t listen…

Asian Girlz Tweet 1Sis, I learned from your example. I listened and didn’t watch, but I did try to read the lyrics to understand why AAM said what he said. All I’m going to say is prepare yourselves for gross amounts of fuckery.

Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, You’re my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
Yes, my Asian girl, You’re my Asian girl

I love your sticky rice
Butt fucking all night
Korean barbecue
Bitch I love you
I love your creamy yellow thighs
Ooh you’re slanted eyes
It’s the Year of the Dragon
Ninja pussy I’m stabbin’

Asian girl, You’re’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
Yes, my Asian girl, You’re my Asian girl

Superstitious feng shui shit (what)
Now lay your hair by the toilet
I’ve got your green tea boba
So put your head on my shoulder
Your momma’s so pretty
Best nails in the city
Pushing your daddy’s Mercedes

Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, You’re my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
Yes, my Asian girl, You’re my asian girl

New Year’s in February (February?)
That’s fine with me (I guess)
Yeah, shark soup (What? Fuck it, we’ll eat it)
Oh, tradition, tradition, tradition, yeah yeah
Baby, you’re my Asian girl
You’re legally (best kind)
So baby marry me
Come on sit on my lap (right here baby)
Or we’ll send you back
And you age so well
I can barely tell
17 or 23?
Baby doesn’t matter to me

Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, You’re my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, She’s my Asian girl
Yes, my Asian girl, You’re my asian girl

Arcadia
J-Town
Alhambra
K-Town
Temple City
Don’t forget Chinatown
Get down
Happy endings all over
Bruce Lee
Toyota
Spicy tuny
Sashimi
Tasty Garden
Fried Lice
Sailor Moon
Wonton soup
Spring roll
Tibet
Foot rub rub a down down down
Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra
Tofu
All over you all over me

Suffice to say, I couldn’t get through the first verse. (And, no, I’m not going to post or link to the video. If you want to go find it, go for it.) And I wasn’t the only one…

Asian Girlz Tweet 2

One tweeter had this to say:

Asian Girlz Tweet 4

And it’s the randomness coupled with the extreme fetishization and ugly stereotypes that got folks mighty upset about this song and rightfully calling out the band’s racist ditty. Just from my own timeline:

Asian Girlz Tweet 8Asian Girlz Tweet 11

 

Asian Girlz Tweet 9

Racialicious pal Dr. Sarah Jackson summed up the vid’s pop-cultural wrongness best in 140 characters:

Asian Girlz Tweet 10

Of course, the band came back with some fauxpology about “intentions” and whatnot, according to Colorlines:

While the song has already generated lots of controve[rsy], the band defended itself on its YouTube page, writing the following note:

“We appreciate all the criticism and support. Our song “Asian Girlz” was not written with any malicious, hateful, or hurtful intent. We know it is racy and does push the boundaries further than other songs out there. Understand that we do not promote or support racism or violence. We love everyone no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation. Please respect our decision to delete any violent, insensitive, or hurtful comment and also one that supports racism. We hope that we can continue with our lives with much love and peace.”

Just because someone didn’t intend to be racist doesn’t erase the impact of their actions.

Pretty much.

Huffington Post reported that the video model, Levy Tran, did her own intention-based apology:

Asian Girlz Tweet 7Bless her heart.

I asked my reproductive-justice pal Alison Park Roh, who teaches Asian American Studies at Hunter College in New York City, her thoughts about the video and the ensuing controversy. I quote her at length:

People are throwing around the words ‘racist’ and ‘offensive’ to describe Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girlz” video. That’s letting them off easy. I think it’s true that their so-called ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humor is just giving words and images to how a lot of men and women of all races, including what Asian men and women internalize, perceive Asian women. That doesn’t make dehumanizing that group okay or ironic.

Joe Anselm, Drew Drumm, Steve Reese, Mike Tourage, Marcello Lalopu–the singers in this unfortunate and untalented bunch–are singing about stabbing p*ssies, statutory rape, deportation of immigrant woman, women’s bodies as food, and Asian people, cultures, and histories as interchangeable. That’s not offensive–it’s outright violent and misogynistic, especially considering there is hardly an Asian woman or young girl in the U.S. who hasn’t been subjected to some form of racist sexual violence that invoked the language that Day Above Ground is so fluent in.

Day Above Ground draws upon a centuries-long white European and American colonial obsession and misrepresentation of Asian sexuality, from Marco Polo to Miss Saigon, Full Metal Jacket to the Hangover Part 2. And not only are they misrepresenting us in a viral fashion, they are directly contributing to a pervasive history of white supremacist male violence against Asian women. That violence is rooted in the American government going to Asia to extract resources and cheap labor and American men going to Asia to restore their sense of a ‘lost’ masculinity–both at the expense of millions of peoples’ humanity, lives and livelihood, and a legacy that Asian American women have to live with to this day.

  • Chenyang Li

    “Day Above Ground draws upon a centuries-long white European and American colonial obsession and misrepresentation of Asian sexuality, from Marco Polo to Miss Saigon, Full Metal Jacket to the Hangover Part 2…”

    Good evaluation. The only thing I’d say is that I would not put “Marco Polo” into the same category as the other white male racist-sexists. From the perspective of historical materialism, this kind of “Asian fetish” was the product of Western colonialism and imperialism of recent centuries, there is nothing “culturally innate” about it. Therefore before the colonial era, such as during the times of Marco Polo, the phenomenon of “Asian fetish” simply didn’t exist. In Marco Polo’s time Asia was more wealthy and powerful than Europe was, and the armies of Genghis Khan reached as far as the eastern border of Germany. Race relations in those days were very different from how it became since the colonial era. European colonialism and imperialism in Asia began with the Spanish and Portuguese Empires in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Portuguese seized control of the Indian Ocean and took over the port of Goa in India and the port of Macao in China, while the Spanish Empire conquered the Philippines.

  • AndreaPlaid

    …or you can just go back and read it, since it was on the same day. Either way. ::whistles, walks away::

  • Quijotesca

    I have no idea why these guys thought the world needed an extended version of that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQp9PQm5Q3A&quot; target="_blank"MAD TV spoof of Gwen Stefani. If it’s supposed to be satire, it certainly does fall flat.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    This reminds me of the incident when the newsreader at KTVU-TV San Francisco read on the air those bogus racist supposed names of the pilots of the Asiana flight that crashed. I wondered then how many people saw those names before they made it on air. And, how it was possible that no one noticed there was a problem.

    Again I wonder how many people in production, at the label, record company, video director, video editors and in promotions saw this without thinking and saying this cannot be released.

  • Julie

    I feel sorry for the model. She wrote a longer apology on instagram. I think that POC actors are too often stuck between a rock and a hard place, where a lot of the time the only roles they’re being offered are these shitty racist ones. It’s easy enough to say, “Well, she should have had integrity and turned it down!” but if it’s between taking the role and not being able to pay the bills… well, I don’t know what decision I would’ve made myself. I greatly respect those POC actors who stay away from these roles, because that can’t be easy, but I am hard pressed to judge Tran too harshly in this case. I wish she wouldn’t have taken the role… but I understand why she did.

    And of course she was the one who issued an actual apology, while the white dudes of the band are acting like idiots.

  • Miles_Ellison

    The fact that stuff like this is still being created in 2013 shows that there hasn’t been a lot of evolution. What exactly is the point of this other than to be racist?

  • Michelle Kirkwood

    That song was full of shit—I’m not Asian-American, but yeah, I found those lyrics dub,immature,racist, and of course stupid—-just the usual old, tired, recycled stereotypes from people who like a lot of Americans, get their stereotypes about Asian-Americans (and black folks and people of color in general) from the media’s normally limited view. Made me think of that new documentary “Seeking Asian Female” which deals somewhat with the stereotypes about Asian women.

  • MauraFoley

    That last block quote, :slow clap:

  • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

    Argh.

  • HD

    Just reading the lyrics made me feel ill. I’m glad I was warned not to watch or listen. People will call up misogyny and supremacist thinking, fully aware that they’ll hurt people, just to gain attention. Then when they issue a nonpology they get to say “we’ll, we tried” and go back to feeling good about themselves.

    • happyappa

      The tweets (minus the last) basically put into words everything I was feeling.

      Non apology =
      Not our intention
      We love everyone
      We were just making fun of fetishes
      One band member was born in Indonesia

      Guess that means all is well (for them). I don’t want to know how many views they got, they are probably making money off of it.

  • Juan Miller

    “I didn’t intend to be racist” = “It never occurred to me to consider how people of color would feel when they saw this, because they are not even important enough to me to merit one passing thought”

    • AkiraAkira

      well fucking said sir

    • Sally Strange

      Exactly. “I don’t hate Asian people. It’s just that my apathy about their feelings and welfare is so boundless that it never occurred to me to consider them as real people.”

      • nicthommi

        Oh, don’t forget ” some of us have Asian girlfriends so we can’t be racist”…