Before they were stars: Masi Oka, aka Hiro on “Heroes”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Wow, great find by Angry Asian Man! Check out Masi Oka, before he became a household name with his breakthrough role as Hiro in the hit series Heroes. Loooooove that show, by the way. He’s the kid on the left with the dark blue shirt.

So what happened to all the other kids in the picture? If you know any of them (or heck, if you are one of them), let Angry Asian Man know! :)

I’m secretly hoping that all of them are now totally unsuccessful by model minority standards. Like, they’re tattoo artists or yoga instructors or something. Especially that girl with the glasses! Oh man, I had glasses just like that when I was her age. So glad I survived those horribly awkward years between ages 9 and 14.
hiro masi oka time magazine cover

links for 2006-11-23

A must-read: Reappropriate on Michael Richards and the racist fairy

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

kramer racist tirade n-bombIt’s no secret that Reappropriate is one of my favorite blogs. Jenn’s analysis is razor-sharp and she’s also funny as hell.

I urge you to head over to her blog right now and read her latest take on Michael Richards’ apology. Here are some excerpts:

Michael Richards was bitten by the racist fairy.

According to Seinfeld and Richards, who are both “mystified by what happened”, it’s like some Blackface Tinkerbell crawled up Richards’ ass and shot him full of that Strom Thurmond fairydust. Think racist thoughts, and you can make minorities fly — far, far away from you!! After all, Richards is absolutely shocked by what happened (it’s one of those “awful, awful things”, says Seinfeld) – he’s not a racist, he just came down with that racist funk.

I love the use of the passive voice here — racism didn’t just happen. It’s not like when you’re in bed with some girl and the condom just breaks: that’s just one of those “ooops” moments. No… here, racism didn’t just happen! This man did it!! Don’t tell us “what happened”… as if you’re an innocent bystander in some drive-by slurring.

Now, the opening part of Richards’ apology is abso-frickin’-hilarious (and, of course, the audience was laughing). Why? Because it’s like they drugged his ass and threw him in front of a camera! He looked lost!! Look at his eyes, that wide vacant stare! It’s like the Drop Squad picked him up after the Laugh Factory show, beat him to a bloody pulp, and forced him to watch hours and hours of classic African American — no, wait “Afro-American” — films last night. He’s been watching The Color Purple on repeat for eight hours straight, until he broke down into wracking sobs of “did you tell Harpo to beat me?!?”

I don’t think they let him go until they made him watch Roots: The Next Generation — where else do you think he got the term “Afro-American”? You know he just learned it last night! He was like: “I’m a racist! I can’t remember all these names they want to call themselves. Until yesterday, I thought the n-word was alright!”

‘Green Card’ energy drink marketed to undocumented immigrants

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

green card energy drinkWow, the energy drink industry has a pretty sick sense of humor. First there was a drink called Cocaine. Now they’ve got a new one out called GreenCard.

It’s obviously a marketing gimmick to create controversy (and it’s working, since I’m here blogging about it), but the CEO claims that he wants the drink to give energy to those crossing the border illegally.

From Convenience Store News, via VivirLatino:

GreenCard Energy Drink, made by Z CORP, markets its energy beverage to illegal immigrants on their way to the U.S. It claims that it will give energy to those looking to cross the border and potentially outrun U.S. Border Patrol.

“It’s a fact,” that people illegally cross the border, president and CEO of Z CORP, Jeff Weiss, told CSNews Online. “If they are going to come to the U.S., I don’t want them dying in the desert, I’d rather have them hydrated.”…

The drink will have a “brand loyalty unique amongst Hispanic energy drinks,” Weiss said in a statement, but told CSNews Online that he doesn’t feel it is offensive to the group it targets.

It’s tagline: “Papers, we don’t need no stinkin’ papers” — a clear play on a famous line from the film ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.’

YouTube Wire: Free hugs, Harajuku and The Pimp Chronicles

by guest contributor Luke Lee, Racialicious’s senior YouTube correspondent

If there’s one fad that doesn’t seem to die down in online popularity it’s blackface. Despite all those millions of Weird Al “White and Nerdy” views and iTunes purchases (seriously, it’s been on the iTunes top 10 for a while. People aren’t just listening to it once and laughing, they’re buying the song.) people still feel the need to perform BWTAB particularly when sandwiched with a popular hip-hop song or a stereotypical rap beat. The so-called “Kings of MySpace” come in with their video which, simply, it sucks.

And speaking of music and music videos throwing around weird racial representations, we have of course good old Gwen Stefani who comes in with her “Wind It Up” music video which features those creepy Harajuku Girls (but in blonde hair this time). People, we’ve got to free the Harajuku/Gwenihana four!

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Time machine: November 2005

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Here’s another installment of our Time Machine series… when we take a look back at what we were blogging about a year ago this month.

Why we need to drop the word “exotic”

padma don't call yourself easy!In this classic post, Jen comes across an article that applies the dreaded E-word to Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, who is of Hawaiian, Russian and Filipino descent. It leads her to discuss why the word “exotic” is so problematic.

What’s wrong with “exotic” you ask? Well…the definition is literally:

1 : introduced from another country : not native to the place where found
2 archaic : FOREIGN, ALIEN
3 : strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual

Mixed people being labeled “exotic” is simply one way that we continue to be othered. We are not all as alien as one would like to believe, though. When people say that I am “exotic,” I usually check them and explain that there are actually many out there that are just like me, ethnically — that I am not as unusual as the term “exotic” would infer. The reality is that we are not yet on everyone’s radars. When people call upon their notions of race, we don’t fit neatly into the existing/accepted categories…this is why so many continue to think of mixed individuals as “exotic” beings.

Dispelling misinformation about the Paris riots

paris burningThis time last year, the world was watching as civil unrest broke out in France. It started in late October in Clichy-sous-Bois, a working-class commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris after two teenagers, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, were accidentally killed. For the first time, we heard about the deep-rooted racial and economic inequities and tensions in France.

Ireland details the 30 years of government neglect, segregation, racism, and discrimination and argues that nobody should be surprised that it has come to this…

It seems to me that the larger issue here is that European countries are trying to hold onto the notion that they are essentially white countries, and that all non-white people are minorities or temporary residents. The French simply don’t recognize non-white people as French, and that’s clear from the terminology being used in the media coverage of the rioting.

New study: interracial relationships less likely to end in marriage

If you read between the lines, articles about interracial relationships often seem to have subtle cautionary messages. In this case, the message seemed to be, “It’s okay to fool around with a [fill in race] man/woman but don’t expect him/her to marry you!”

Newsday reports on a new study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania that says that while interracial relationships are on the rise, they are significantly less likely than same-race relationships to lead to marriage…

Hmmm… I don’t know if I necessarily agree with their interpretation of the findings. Isn’t is possible that people who date interracially may also have less traditional views on relationships and therefore don’t necessarily feel the need to get married? I think this emphasis on marriage as the ideal end-state is a bit archaic. To assume that interracial relationships are somehow “bad” because they don’t result in marriage – that sounds to me like a thinly veiled cautionary message against entering those relationships.

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World