Saturday, March 03, 2007

Once the Asians Departed, the film won best picture

Inferior Remake Wins Best Picture with White Actors

From what I hear, since my time on Earth is limited and I would rather be kicked in the head by the undead corpse of Barbaro than spend my time watching the Oscars, "The Departed" aka "White Infernal Affairs with White Racist Actors" won Best Picture.

At the Oscars, the film was described as "based on a Japanese film". That's right, they borrowed the greatest cop thriller in human history, produced in the world's capital for amazing cop thrillers, and couldn't even fucking figure out which country it came from? They took the world's greatest cop thriller but had to refilm it because the American public wouldn't appreciate the color of the incredible actors' skin? Moreover, they replaced one of the finest acting performances in the history of cinema with an actor who has a history of racist violence against people of color, including those of Asian descent.


He harassed a group of African American school kids with racist epithets, and when he was 16, again using racist language, he attacked a middle-aged Vietnamese man and left the man blind in one eye. Wahlberg was arrested for attempted murder, plead guilty to assault, and spent 45 days in jail.

And though the right thing to do would be to try to find the man and make amends, Wahlberg says, he admits he hasn't done so — but says he's no longer burdened by guilt.

And why the fuck would he be burdened by guilt? I mean the guy he attacked for being Asian probably has grown a new eye by now, right? Or maybe he's actually Forest Whitaker, one of the few people with a more successful acting character than Marky Mark Asian-Basher" Wahlberg.

But more than invective for Wahlberg, I want to point the figure at the media community we've created again. What does it say about us that they believe we would be more likely to go see an inferior film starring someone who beat someone within an inch of their life out of racial hatred than a superior film featuring something much worse: Some "slanty-eyed gooks" (Wahlberg's own words)?

I say we do find Emmett Till's killers and bring them to justice by nominating them for an Academy Award. Maybe they can star in the remake of "Raisin in the Sun".

What's wrong with "Gay=Asian"?

Epic Asian American community blogger/news service Angry Asian Man (AAM) links another racist incident at an Ivy League school here: Graffiti Found in Blair Hall.

The messages (one of which is captured in the accompanying photograph) "Dry Dorms=Gay" and "Dry Dorms are for Asians", were written as attacks on alcohol-free dorms at the institution.

Often when an incident of this variety occurs, the reactions are polar: "What is this racist/bigoted crap?" and "What's the big deal?"

The perspective gap that exists between the two responses is in many ways the very problem--it's less the actual incident and more the fact that many people, some with considerable power in society equate certain ethnic backgrounds or sexual orientations with a negative connotation. That's something that should be upsetting not only to members of those groups, but anyone who believes in the marketplace of ideas that is supposed to dictate our social discourse. When people are seen with a negative connotation before we even approach their individual character, it points to difficulties in our ability to create a merit-based society.

That's not to say that such speech should be censored. If those sentiments exist--whether they be with intentional malice or not--they ought to be voiced, as only with thoughtful discourse will our society and its understanding of these issues deepen.

But the strange dynamic of this era sees "anti-PC" people attempt to destroy this dynamic while masquerading as crusaders for free-speech. While everyone should have the right to voice their opinions--no matter how racist or bigoted--why do many "anti-PC" folks believe that they should be allowed to both speak their own ideas and be free from any critique or response from those who disagree? In a true marketplace of ideas, there is no place for speech protected from criticism. Why, of any speech, would people choose to spend their energy attempting to deny speech rights to those who wish defend themselves from what they see as bigoted ideas?

But there is another issue involved with the Princeton incident which is also similar to the 2004 Details Magazine "Gay or Asian" incident. There is a clear equation of "Gayness" and "Asianness". Many apologists responded by saying, "What's wrong with that? Do you hate gay people or Asian people?" AAM addresses this well:

The graffiti, written on a whiteboard and a wall in blue dry-erase marker, read "Dry Dorms = Gay" and "Dry dorms are for Asians." That's racist! And you know why? It equates Asians with inherently being undesirable losers. Because it definitely doesn't intend to mean "Dry dorms are for cool people."

He is discussing what is wrong with the equation of not drinking with being Asian, but the same principle applies. Words do not have some universal meaning, no matter what self-absorbed fools who wack-off to Webster's might insist. This is no-brainer. In the same way some might call their best friend an "Asshole" but probably wouldn't call a stranger walking down the street with a sledgehammer the same, context and intent matters.

Being upset has nothing to do with hating Asians or homosexuals. It has everything to do with being angered by hatred directed at either group. Members of Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY) explain here: Details Says "Gay or Asian". We Say Gay AND Asian.

At GAPIMNY, we were outraged by Details Magazine's "Gay or Asian?" feature. In it, writer Whitney McNally revived a history of stereotypical images of LGBT API peoples and thinly veiled racism, homophobia, and classism as humor.

So why does the "anti-PC movement" exist? Why would well-meaning people want to attack minority groups' opportunity to speak against bigoted speech?

My guess is "history". Historically, majority power groups have enjoyed the ability to denigrate others with impunity. Naturally, it would be a culture shock to wake up one morning and find that this cowardly way of artificially boosting one's lacking self-esteem is no longer received positively by large section of society. Think empathetically for a moment: You are unsatisfied with yourself for a moment, so you attack a minority group in a way that has always in the past gotten a laugh and little bit of positive attention, and suddenly you find yourself being attacked instead.

I can understand why it's so upsetting and disorienting for aversive racists, sexists and homophobes. Their world is truly falling to pieces. That's not to say we ought to humor them--their destructive values must be tested in the marketplace of ideas and ultimately they will fail the test.

But we have the ability to show empathy, even when we do not receive it. Let's demonstrate that ability.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chicago Politics

Daley won :(
I had another marathon day on Tuesday--a full five-class day plus two and a half hours of night school teaching. So I decided to vote before school when the polls opened at six. I never received a polling place notification card, and a lot of the locations have changed lately in Chicago, so I was a little worried. I ended up finding my place through the Channel 5 NBC webpage, and as luck would have it, it was the same place as last time.

When I got to the polling place, it was nearly empty, so the judges were just sitting around munching on some of the food. I went up to vote and was offered a paper ballot. It had a different system from the normal ballot, so one of the judges demonstrated how to vote to me.

"Here--if you want to vote for Mayor Daley, just connect this arrow here..."

Really, I'm not kidding. It reminded me of when I voted at the Champaign County Clerk's Office for the 2004 election and was told, "To vote for the President, punch here".

So I voted for Brown, Morfin (who was opposing Daley's crony, Solis) and some random person for the other office, and went on my way to work.

I got through the day and was supposed to meet before night school with my Japanese Club, but there was an emergency faculty meeting. One of our colleagues had been killed in her home. It was crushing--she was an incredible teacher and later, as the kids found out, everyone was pretty distraught. I didn't really know her, but I could feel the pain in the community.

Today I worked through until ten as I had after-school tutoring in the North suburbs. When I got home, my voter notification card had just arrived in the mail today.

I don't know. These are weird topics to tie together, but I'm just kind of writing to purge right now. I hope someone gets something out of it.
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