December 8, 2006 / / Uncategorized

by guest contributor Michelle Leung

mastercard meet the familyIn one of MasterCard’s recent commercials, initially titled “Meet the Family,” a white/Asian couple celebrates their engagement and makes arrangements for their parents to meet each other. With all deep racial-psychological implications aside, I initially loved the MasterCard commercial, just because an interracial couple (especially white/Asian ones) was finally featured in a commercial, and I found it to be “cutesy” and reminiscent of my own interracial relationship.

However, after reading several comments from other readers on Racialicious, I realized that I did have a major bone to pick with the commercial. It also led me to somewhat understand certain people’s view towards white men dating Asian women: that Asians/Asian women, even if born in the US, will continued to be viewed by the mainstream media/society as “exotic” and un-American/foreign.

(By the way, judging from priceless.com, the site of MasterCard’s commercials and photos, the commercial’s title has been changed to “Meet the Japanese Parents.”)

Now the commercial started to incense me a bit, based on how the Asian mate in the commercial, once again, just has to be from a foreign country (Japan), whereas her white fiancé’s family is from Chicago. This reinforces the mainstream media’s view that white = American. Once again, Asians are condemned to having to answer questions of our possible un-American birthplace of origin for the rest of our lives.

Judging from my personal observation, black Americans who grew up in a predominantly white community like myself (while they obviously have other serious racial issues to contend with) don’t have to worry about feeling un-American. They don’t have to deal with questions from so-called well-meaning members of the majority. Questions like: “Your name’s Jane Smith? But you’re Asian!” to an Asian adoptee. To a US-born Asian who lacks a foreign accent, “You speak English so well!”. And the worst one: “Where are you really from?” Read the Post Mastercard’s ‘Meet the Family’ commercial promotes perpetual foreigner stereotype

December 8, 2006 / / Uncategorized
December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized
December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized
December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized
December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized
December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized

by guest contributor Christopher Chambers, originally published at Nat Turner’s Revenge

One of the more ignorant late-night DJs on a local DC hip hop station said something like: “Who is that dude from the Mariah Carey video [Grammy-winning “We Belong Together”]? He’s on Prison Break? They say he went to Princeton but no brothas go to Princeton…”

Prison Break is one of the hottest dramas on network television, and is one of only a handful non-juvenile Fox shows (best is House, which also has a Princeton connection, being set in the town and using the Frist Student Center as “Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital”). In 2003, “Prison Break” ‘s star, former Tigertone and Daily Princetonian cartoonist Wentworth Miller III, ’95, was cast as “young Coleman Silk” in The Human Stain, based on the bestselling novel by Phillip Roth. Little did anyone know that he was more fit for the role than on the strength of his audition.

He had an intense personal connection to this light-skinned black character, played as a 70 year old by Anthony Hopkins (the cast included Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise). Not only did Miller possess a similar racial background, but he also caused a controversial incident during his time at Princeton, when he was mistakenly believed to have written a derogatory remark about African-Americans, similar to the situation with his character in the movie. The movie is set in 1997 (around Clinton-Lewinsky affair and the pinnacle of the “politically correct-sexual politics” milieu). In the film Prof. Coleman Silk, lecturing on The Iliad, remarks about two students who have habitually skipped his 9a.m. Lit class: “Are they real, or are they spooks?” The two students, it turns out, are black. Silk had been passing for white since he was a teenager in the 1940s, following the death of his father, a Pullman porter. Student groups and a petty department head demand Silk’s head. (FYI, the love scenes between Kidman and Hopkins are a little weird, so say the least. Nicole looked good post Tom).

In 1994, Wentworth Miller drew a cartoon for the Prince featuring Cornel West, who was then a Princeton professor but had announced his hiring-away by Harvard (and of course he comes back with Kwame Appiah in tow thanks to then Crimson President/Dickhead-in-charge Larry Summers). The cartoon depicted “Muffy,” a prep-school-bred white Harvard student, imagining her first class with West, who is saying, “Today’s lecture is entitled, Rhythm–Why None of You Have It, and How You Can Get It.” It also described West as “newly purchased,” which is an innocent and oft-used academic term akin to free agency in sports. Of course, “newly purchased” was taken as a reference to slavery. Wenty, you should have known better… Read the Post Stranger than fiction: Wentworth Miller’s real-life “Human Stain” experience

December 7, 2006 / / Uncategorized