Some WIPs of what I’ve been working on for the New York Historical Society exhibit!
Some WIPs of what I’ve been working on for the New York Historical Society exhibit!
I’m at a cafe with my bf right now and the racism is incredible
Ah, I’ve been wondering when I’d get this question. I admit that I’ve not been very vocal about my feelings on this book because as a fellow author, I don’t feel comfortable speaking negatively about another author’s book. But at the same time I have developed a growing angst over this subject and I will try to put it into words for you. When I first heard of the book, it was through friends who thought I’d be interested in the portrayal of a half-Korean boy. Of course I was! I bought it right away for my daughter. It sounded like a perfect teenage love story. I even recommended it to a friend of mine (non-Korean) who loved it. But then another friend of mine asked me if I had any problems with the depiction of Park and his mother and I hurriedly picked it up before my daughter could read it. Here’s the thing, it IS a lovely little teenage love story. But all I could keep thinking was, Damn it! Why did he have to be Korean? Why did this boy, who is so filled with self-loathing and contempt for his heritage, have to be Korean? Why did his mother with her sing songy broken English have to be Korean?
And because of this, I ended up giving this book away to someone I felt would enjoy it better, a non-Korean. Because I didn’t want my daughter to read this and get that same icky feeling I did. That same humiliating sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve stumbled across an awful stereotype of a Korean and you cringe that this is all that anyone takes away. And why oh why of all books that could possibly have a diverse main character did it have to be this one that hits the NYT list? Why did Rowell have to include the worst racist comment in the world in this book and think it is okay? Because when Eleanor thinks it, she also at least recognized it was racist. I’m sure that’s why she thought it was ok to include the most racist comment against Asians. But I flinched when I read it. I was so angry when I read it. I hated Eleanor after I read it and I never ever forgave her. No, Asians don’t see things smaller because our eyes are smaller. That is racist. It’s an interesting point to make that you can fall in love with a person of a different culture and still be racist. That’s ultimately Eleanor.
But Park and his mother are more problematic. His mother is described as a chinadoll - a slur in itself. And Park just hates the fact that he doesn’t look more white like his brother. He is filled with self loathing to the point where he even says Asian men are not sexy. SAYS WHO?!! There was a period in my life when I was younger where I pushed away my culture and wished I wasn’t Korean. This was in direct correlation with the amount of racism I endured at the time. So I could understand Park, I could relate to him. But then I FOUND myself! I found my respect and love and pride for my culture. And I recognized just how important my Korean heritage was to me. Park never has that moment of self-discovery. And that is the greatest failure of this book. Because Rowell did not take the opportunity to really understand what it means to be multi-cultural. She wrote a character purely from a white person’s view, never thinking about how a minority person growing up in this country truly feels. The anguish of racism and the complexity of living between two different cultures was never explored. Instead, we are left to believe that Park goes through the rest of his life filled with contempt for his mother’s heritage. A person who wished he was white instead of Asian. And I find myself desperately wishing he’d been white too.
A really interesting post. Yes to so many things—to the China Doll description, to the pain of seeing Park hate part of himself, but especially to the part where Oh never forgives Eleanor for using/thinking in slurs. I think that’s a really authentic—and necessary—response. It’s real—just like Eleanor is for having those thoughts. Because, let’s face it, lots of people who we may or may not ever think of as racist have these moments where horrible, terrible, hateful ideas creep in. Because what we grow up with is often hard to shake off, even when we want to.
But I also think it’s ok to like Eleanor without ever forgiving her, because how many of us have people in our lives that we love, even though they say or believe hateful things? How many of the people we are or know have these deeply conflicting ideas about race and culture and what that all means? Life isn’t neat. Love isn’t neat. And sometime the people we love the most are also the people that we are most ashamed of.
But I do take exception, a bit, when she says Rowell wrote without thinking about how a minority person growing up truly feels… It is absolutely true that it wasn’t explored in any depth. E&P certainly isn’t a YA version of WOMAN WARRIOR or THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER or BONE. But I don’t necessarily think that YA writers need to show what teen characters will become, because I don’t believe that people stay they people they are at 15. I didn’t read Park and believe he continued on wishing he’d been white. I read him as a snapshot of a moment, and imagined that he could grow and change the same as any of us. I don’t think 35 year old Park would be just a larger version of 15 year old Park.
But seriously—a great and interesting post. These sorts of discussions are so vital, so important.
I actually believe that you can be a fan of problematic things and I do understand why people love this book. And as an adult, I can hope that Park grows out of his self-loathing. But this book is aimed at young people - teenagers. And I have to ask, what do they take away? Will they have the maturity to say “he’ll grow out of it” or will their take away be Park would rather be white?” Because that was my take away and that was why this book hurt. And I don’t think my criticism was about showing what Park’s character would become in the future. It was based solely on who he is in the book - a self-loathing boy who would rather be white. I could have accepted this if he had had even a moment of recognizing his cultural roots. (I had mine at 16, the same age Park is in the book.) But he didn’t, and as a mother of Korean American girls who are battling their own feelings of cultural confusion, it is unacceptable that she left it like that. If an author is not going to address what is a fundamental issue for POC kids growing up in this country, then the author should reconsider writing POC, because writing POC comes with a responsibility to get it right and be respectful.
Punk trash witch looks
Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San Francisco
Written by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria Lo
Chinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.
If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.
This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.
This makes me so incredibly happy. Power to all the grannies and grandpas out there!
Aspire to witchiness every day
Redid my goth girl selfie bc lighting aw yeah
High school aspirations unlocked
anonymous asked: What is Lucy and why is it racist?
lucy is a movie, coming out this summer in 2014. here’s the trailer for it.
anonymous asked: can you please explain how lucy is racist - i’m not saying it isn’t, i just havent seen the film yet or heard anything about it being racist. I was really excited to see it because it’s an action film with a female lead without an unnecessary love interest motivation…
lovely anon, i was so excited about the movie too. i love scarlet and it looked really amazing (apart from that stupid 10% brain thing, i don’t really like that trope) but then i started to realize how racist this movie is. we’ve only seen a trailer, couple of minutes and there are so many racist undertones.
this really says it.
people really see this movie “Lucy” as a step in the right direction to more representation because somehow it’s revolutionary to have a white person as the (anti)hero killing people of color? People really think that one has to see the whole movie in it’s entirety to say that it’s shit? Other than swapping a white man for a white woman, it’s the same shit of invoking negative tropes and cliches against Asian men in modern movies that we’ve been seeing in the past couple of years since the Red Dawn remake. (source)
because, lets be honest, it’s true. i am all in for female lead in super heroes, and i am not the one who is angry because she’s not a POC. the way everyone else is portrayed, the way how it still hold onto those stupid tropes of asian/POCs as villains just disgusts me. maybe its even worse for me because i’m asian i dont even know.
the upcoming movie lucy will feature the age-old racist narrative of pure white woman (scarlet johansson) being violated by scary, brown men. and the new white feminist trope of women gaining their power by violently eliminating brown men. who needs the white male savior when we now have white female saviors, taking it into their own hands to save their whiteness from all that non-whiteness. so radical. (source)
feminism, hell yes. only white feminism? no. i am not here to see white female saviors kicking POCs ass, who look like they’re really poorly written. did someone who was involved with this movie even made effort?
let’s have a look in this picture. we see the white female lead and the asian antagonist. we see chinese writing in the background.
I just asked a family member to translate this. They came back with “Keep Clean. Apple, scallop & ginger, orange, tomato, grape” (source)
can this be even more ridiculous? just make your fucking research guys. do they think it looks fancy to have chinese writing on the wall? because its not??? its stupid and it makes me angry and/or wants to laugh.
Okay but why the fuck is this movie set in Asia, filled with Asian villains, with a white female protag? Yes, wow, the lead’s a woman, fantastic, but apart from that it’s not really any different from the other movies made in a long history of having white people kicking the shit out of exclusively Asian villains.
Really, seriously. I just want to know why they had to set it in Asia with a white woman lead. Why not set the damn movie in the US if they want a big name yt actress that badly? Or, why not just cast a Taiwanese actress if they want it to be set in Asia that bad?
Or maybe not do those things to avoid another Orientalist shitshow because those are exactly the thematic cues they’re going for with a vulnerable white woman being abused by morally corrupt Asian men. OH BUT FEMINIST SUBVERSION! THE VULNERABLE WHITE WOMAN KILLS THEM ALL INSTEAD, YEAHHHH GO FEMINISM!
Meanwhile Asian cultures continue to be portrayed as backwards, Asian men continue to be portrayed as vile predators, but hey go feminism right? Nevermind that Asian women get thrown under the bus with this too. (source)
i agree on this so much. just dont motherfucking make that movie in taiwan? and then we have all those white “feminist” who are like: “okay, this movie is amazing, has a female lead in a action/superhero movie and u all still find something to complain about, just shut up”
no. i dont care that she’s a woman if it’s racist. just because you have a female lead doesn’t make the movie amazing. and it sure doesn’t excuse the fact how racist it is. if you really are a feminist, you should know, that feminism not only includes white women. it includes POC women. feminism includes so many more than just that. don’t call yourself a feminist if you can ignore all these things and still watch this movie because *yay female lead*.
what is even worse is this scene:
white woman literally kills an asian guy because he can’t speak english. LITERALLY. how should i feel as an asian woman? this guy could be so many other people i know in real life who can’t speak english. i could imagine it be my father or other people i know. but no, it’s okay, because she’s a woman. because it looks badass.
she isn’t even in the USA or any other english- speaking state. bUt nO OF COURSE YOU ALL HAVE TO SPEAK ENGLISH. not everything revolves about you. SHE’S the one who is in a foreign country, she should be the one adapting to it and not the other way round. i dont go to USA and shoot people because they can’t speak vietnamese.
that’s just fucking stupid why even.
for once i’d like to be able to post a trailer for a movie i’m interested in because of the female lead without feeling like a sack of shit afterward because someone needed to take a minute and really dissect every scene in the trailer just to outline how offensive it is. (…) we’re taking baby steps here, people. (…) so can’t we just take a minute to sit back and support an actress we like while enjoying an action film? /not sourcing this one because i am not an ass/
how can i enjoy a movie when i am offended.
how do you suppose to want me enjoy a movie when my people are thrown back down so you all can have your female lead
people say that this might take a step. that having this movie will open the doors for WOC. are you serious? do you want us to always be on the second array? do we have to sit quietly back and be all happy that you finally have a movie so we “might have one later too”?
I just found out about this short film called Love Express that takes place in Queens, on the 7 line, between two Chinese/Chinese American characters, and takes its color scheme from 90s Hong Kong cinema
In other words, a film that is utterly and completely after my own heart and could not appeal to any more of the things that I love if it tried
Here are interviews with the director, Patrick Chen, and actor Tim Liu. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter just two days ago, and I will be so happy if it’s playing at the Asian American International Film Festival this summer!
THIS IS EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED I AM SCREAMING AND RENDING MY FACE TO SHREDS
"Working Witch" is up and free to read for those of you who missed MoCCA and the zine!
poor Sage— magic doesn’t actually make her life easier, sadly enough!!!