Not So Smiley
February 13, 2009 § Leave a comment
I heard from LC yesterday morning that information surfaced recently regarding a woman from LA, Lucie J. Kim, who filed a lawsuit against Miley Cyrus regarding the controversial picture of Cyrus and a group of friends making offensive gestures. She is suing for $4 billion in damages, which is apparently $4000 x each person in the LA County who is Asian. While this is all very interesting, something else struck me as I combed through news stories about this situation.
Fox News is known by many as a very conservatively biased news organization, which is amusing because the subheading on their website says “Fair & Balanced.” In their story about the Miley Cyrus lawsuit, this is how they described the offending photo:
In the controversial photo, Cyrus, 16, is shown sitting on her boyfriend Justin Gaston’s lap surrounded by a group of friends all making a stereotypical gesture by pulling their eyes into a slanted position.
I was immediately curious as to why they would include the detail about Cyrus sitting on Gaston’s lap. Having been at the Journalism School for over three semesters, I know that news stories should not include extraneous or unhelpful information. So why would the news story inject that little piece of information? None of the other news stories I read chose to mention that aspect of the picture. It’s almost as if Fox News wanted to subliminally portray her a specific way to its readers. Hmm…
Anyhow, the comments that other people are making about this lawsuit are a little aggravating. Yes, $4 billion is a lot, but the naysayers are missing the point of this, which is that Asian Americans are no longer willing to put up with racist behavior being deemed as acceptable. There is a well-thought-out blog entry about this debacle here.
February 5, 2009 § 4 Comments
Where do pictures like this come from??
As you can see, all the white people in this picture are squinting their eyes [or even going so far as to pull them back at the corners] while the one Asian person is opening his as wide as he can.
The picture does not become less offensive because there is an Asian person in it. That would be like saying Girls Gone Wild isn’t degrading to women because the women are willing participants; that simply isn’t logical.
Roomie #1 suggested that maybe they had been having a complex discussion about race…I think she was joking. It definitely looks like they were drinking more than anything else; Miley and her bf look pretty trashed. I don’t think that situations like this can even occur without some trace of racism among the group members. It just makes me shake my head…
Put On Your Yellowface
January 23, 2009 § 1 Comment
Ever since Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films decided to produce a feature film version of the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, there has been controversy over the announcement that the cast would be all-white. According to Entertainment Weekly, even Jesse freaking McCartney was considered to play one of the characters. It doesn’t get any whiter than that, folks.
If you look through this series of images, it becomes clear that Avatar is entirely comprised of Asian characters [except, maybe, the weird girl with blue eyes], with a setting inspired by Asian and Inuit cultures. I used to watch this show with my brother when it was in its first season, and it was very enjoyable [except for that stupid crush between Sokka & the princess], containing action, comedy, and beautiful artwork.
This is basically the same thing that happened with the movies 21 and Dragonball Evolution. It’s as if there are no English-speaking Asian people that film producers can pull from what I’m sure is a teeming pool of actors just dying to get selected. What is probably closer to the truth is that those people simply don’t care how offensive it is to Asians and Asian-Americans that this movie will not be led by any Asian actors or actresses when it so obviously calls for them.
Cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim wrote a poignant piece on this controversy that I urge you to read. He draws an effective analogy to illustrate his point:
…but everyone is white.
Americans would simply not stand for that! People would complain, and things would probably change. But filmmakers assume that they can just bulldoze over the dignity of Asian-Americans once again without retribution. Well, we – and by we, I mean Asians and non-Asians alike – need to get angry. This instance simply represents how mute Asian-Americans have been as a group. If we don’t use our voices, what else do we have? So at the very least, don’t go see the movie. Please.
PS. Tom & Jerry are getting a movie? YES!!!! It’s going to be live-action/CG? WTF NO!!!