You’re in luck that I’m at least writing this letter to you in my best handwriting because I am very angry at you. Why should it not be prohibited to write ‘Neger’ in children’s books? One has to be able to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes. Because my father is Senegalese, and he is a very dark shade of brown; I am café-au-lait brown. Just imagine if you were Afro-German and lived in Germany. You’re a newspaper reader and unsuspectingly buy the ZEIT of January 17th 2013. Suddenly, you note the article ‘The Little Witch Hunt.’ This is when you read that the word ‘Neger’ is supposed to be deleted from children’s books, and that this would allegedly spoil the children’s books. I find it totally shit that this word should remain in children’s books if it were up to you. You cannot imagine how I feel when I have to read or hear that word. It is simply very, very terrible. My father is not a ‘Neger’ [lightning bolt sign] nor am I. This is also true for all other Africans. Right. That was my opinion. This word should be deleted from children’s books.
Ishema Kane, 9 1/2 years old
P.S.: You’re welcome to send me a response.
[more lightning bolt signs]
9 1/2-year-old Ishema Kane schooling the editors of the German newspaper ZEIT on their defense of the German equivalent of the n-word in children’s books. (via stoptalk)
Adding in more:
“the Unwritten Rules” is a web series based on the book, “40 Hours and Unwritten Rule” (Butterfly Ink Publishing, 2004). The series follows a Black woman’s, Racey Jones, journey in a predominantly white workplace with real situations, truthful thoughts, and honest reactions.
Needs $22000 in 50 days!
I’m really hopeful because from what I’ve seen, there’s been no transphobia, no homophobia, no racist bullshit (the show is about racism that woc, specifically Black women, encounter on the job/daily life, but you get what I mean), SHFIODHFIOSAHFIOHFIASODFHOIAFHOA.
Y’ALL. BLACK WOMEN DOING SHIT.
SHOWIN Y’ALL HOW WE GET IT DONE
BLACK WOMEN GIVEN POSITIVE REPRESENTATION IN THE MEDIA
BLACK WOMEN RUNNING SHIT
The Unwritten Rules, which I’ve written about before, is one of my favorite web shows. It’s about a young Black woman—played by Aasha Davis—working and living in white spaces, and it deals with the very real isses that we as Black women face, but in a funny way. Seriously, it’s hilarious! So much of the stuff we laugh about on tumblr is covered in this show, which makes me die even more. XD
Season two is gonna be on the way, but first they need some money!
Black women writing and representing us in a positive light. Women of color being given a voice that’s positive! And the best part? There is barely any problematic material whatsoever. I say “barely” because maybe something might have gone under my radar. But I can safely say that I only side eye’d once while watching this show, and that was in an episode that explored her feelings of displacement amongst white people and also amongst Black people (it addressed real insecurity, though; not being deemed Black enough. BUT. Maybe it was just me, but the portrayal of “Black Black” was over the top.)
But seriously, I flat out recommend this show to every single one of y’all.
Every one of their episodes is on youtube so you can watch allll of season one (12 episodes, each around 6,7 minutes long, but they get progressively longer. The longest is 12 minutes) here! (Link to the “Unwritten Rules Playlist on youtube. All of the episodes are there! The order is: Trailer, “What is the Unwritten Rules?” and then the show episodes. You can choose what to watch through the list on the side, though!) Just a heads up, though; for some reason, the playlist runs BACKWARDS. So be sure to scroll down and choose episode 1, lol.
To see Kim William (the creator of The Unwritten Rules) talking about the purpose of the show and why she created it, you can watch this short little clip here. This video is also included in the playlist.
To donate, check out the indiegogo page.
Black women gettin shit done. What say you?
I have been signal boosting this indiegogo page every day for the past week.
She needs 25k in the next month and a half.
Black voices need to be heard.
DONATE TO THIS CAUSE.
“Dr. Gregory House.” “Dr. Sheldon Cooper.” “Patrick Jane.”
I won’t lie. I love these characters. They are certifiable assholes. They are memorable characters. They make me laugh. I watched every episode of House M.D. when it was on the air. I am catching up on any missed episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I’ve seen every episode of The Mentalist.
Still though…keep their behavior the same and make them White women. Still lovable? Now, make them Black women. Still lovable? (Not even close to most people.) Sexism, racism, and white privilege says no.
“But it’s just TV!” - people who refuse to think
Actually no, it’s not “just” TV. Nothing in art or media is “just” anything. This came to mind as I thought about a great essay that I read a few months ago titled The Glorification of White Crime. It mentioned:…fictional white criminals get to have a deep fanbase who loves these white criminals, receive accolades and awards, get called amazing television that portray the complexities of human nature. Viewers of these characters see past the atrocious crimes and into their humanity, a luxury that white characters always have while characters of color rarely do.
This easily applies to any type of character, truthfully, even amidst comedy and dramedy. Not only would the characters I mentioned at the start of the post not be deemed lovable, as Black women, they would no longer be deemed nuanced, complex or having an anger that is relatable. They would be reduced to being both unlovable and simplistically bitter.
[Inspired by my Amplify associate, Karachi, and her post on Blackface, Slurs and Appropriation]
Yellow Face isn’t just the mere inauthenticity and a failure of aesthetics of white people dressing up, wearing make up, trying to be Asian, and/or playing the roles of Asians. No, it’s definitely more insidious and problematic than that. It is systematic racism and discrimination, refusing to hire Asians or forcing them to play as villains, or when they receive a major role, it is typically a stereotypical one (i.e., martial arts, ‘wise man’, ‘dragon lady’, etc). It simulates a crude idea of what ‘Asians’ look like, all the while perpetuating terrible stereotypes, controlling what it means to be Asian whether it’s in person, on the stage, or on screen.
Orientalism: It’s a dichotomy created by the ‘West,’ it builds a view of the ‘East’ along with many elements of this culture that becomes obscured and exotic. Making a whole group of people seen as something monolithic, creating an erasure of actual identities.
I’m not even going to try to bother with getting too in-depth about the obvious cultural appropriation, ethnocentrism, and orientalism (not too much at least). I’m not going to go into Yellow Face on stage, in whitewashing (too much), in Europe, nor will I take the time to go through political caricatures of Asians throughout history. [Not that it’s less important or there’s a lack of evidence.] These following examples and history checks should do enough for now in getting my point across. (Please find a friend in Google if you really want to educate yourself though! Thank you!)
So, why did Yellowface occur? Was there a shortage of Asian people to play these Asian roles during the times this practice was most rampant (19th and 20th century)?
Meet Sessue Hayakawa (Born 1889-Death 1973), the first Asian American leading actor. He was one of the highest paid actors of his time. His talents were definitely recognized by Paramount Pictures and was even considered a sex icon. But despite all of this, he still met discrimination and racism everywhere he went. He was always forced to either play “the exotic villain” or “the exotic lover.” He waited for his turn to be casted as a hero of color, but it never came.
This is Anna May Wong (1905-1961). During the 1920s-1930s, Anna was given many different roles as a contracted Paramount Pictures actress, but they were always either as a “dragon lady” or a “butterfly lady.” Despite all of that, she was still a household name and was considered a fashion icon.
She was the top contender for the leading role of O-Lan, a Chinese heroine for the movie The Good Earth (1937) by MGM, but that role was later given to Luise Rainer (definitely not Asian). MGM went to her and tried to give her another role for a film called Lotus, but it meant that she had to be the villain again, so she turned it down and left for Europe for more opportunities and eventually went back to Paramount Pictures.
Say hello to Philip Ahn (1905-1973). For the film, Anything Goes, Ahn was initially rejected by the director, Lewis Milestone, because—I shit you not, he said this to Philip Ahn—he thought Philip’s “English was too good for the part.” During World War II, Philip Ahn was often forced to play roles of Japanese villains. He even received death threats because people thought he was actually Japanese.
Other Asian actors/actresses: Barbara Jean Wong, Fely Franquelli, Benson Fong, Chester Gan, Honorable Wu, Kam Tong, Keye Luke, Layne Tom Jr., Maurice Liu, Philip Ahn, Richard Loo, Lotus Long, Rudy Robles, Suzanna Kim, Teru Shimada, Willie Fung, Victor Sen Yung, Toshia Mori and Wing Foo.
Merle Oberon can also be added to the list, although she was part white/part Asian. She had to lie about her origins and applied whitening make up to pass as fully white. Other Asian actors and actresses: Jack Soo, Pat Morita, Mako, Bruce Lee, Lucy Liu, Margaret Cho, B.D. Wong, Amy Hill, Jennie Kwan, Masi Oka, James Lee, Ming Na, Daniel Dae Kim, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Charlyne Yi, Miyoshi Umeki, Shin Koyamada, John Cho, Brenda Song, and George Takei. Click on this link to see a hundred more.
After going through the list, ask yourself why the majority of the actors and actresses here are either in some martial arts movies or some other stereotypical crap?
TL;DR this section: There definitely wasn’t a shortage of Asian American actors and actresses. And there still isn’t.
Very Few Examples (of Very Many) of Yellowface in History:
Nil Ashter as General Yen from The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
What Nils Ashter really looked like:
Harold Huber as Ito Takimura in Little Tokyo, USA (1942)
Interestingly enough, everyone who was a “bad guy” in this was portrayed as Japanese. Even more interesting, this was around the same time Japanese Internment Camps were happening.
What Harold Huber really looked like:
Katharine Hepburn as Jade Tan in in Dragon Seed (1944)
Katharine Hepburn just a few years after Dragon Seed:
Jennifer Jones as Dr. Han Suyin in Love is a Many Splendored-Thing (1955)
Another interesting concept found in this movie. “BEING WITH ASIAN WOMEN IS SO HOT AND EXOTIC. LET’S FETISHIZE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM.” Yup.
What Jennifer Jones actually looks like:
John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)
John Wayne, y’all:
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Mickey Rooney at that time:
Joel Grey as Chiun (Kung Fu Master, everyone—on the left) in Remo Williams (1985)
What Joel Grey really looked like:
Other cases I haven’t really taken the time to cover: Charlie Chan Series (Actors who played as Charlie Chan from 1931-1981: Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Roland Winters, Peter Ustinov) Fu Manchu, Madame Butterfly, The Teahouse of the August Moon, Shanghai Express, The Manchurian Candidate, Sayonara, Mr. Moto Series, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Short Circuit (1986 & 1988), The Party, Gunga Din, Broken Blossoms, The Year of Living Dangerously, etc.
I mean, I guess you could say, “But those movies were decades ago!”
Alex Borstein as Ms. Swan.
Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu (2007)
(Other actors who played the role of Fu Manchu starting from the 1920s up ‘til now: H. Agar Lyons, Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, Harry Brannon, Christopher Lee, and Peter Sellers)
Christopher Walken as Feng (2007)
Rob Schneider as Asian Minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
M. Night’s The Last Airbender (2010)
Well, the show was based on Asian and Inuit culture. But just look at the casting. The three protagonists are all light skinned while Zuko (played by Dev Patel in the movie) is dark skinned, and by default in this movie, the bad guy. Someone please just remake this movie. Please.
British Actor, Jim Sturgess, (rocking bad eye prosthetics) playing as a Korean in Cloud Atlas (2012)
Like I said - I continue to refuse to support media businesses which overtly show you they’re totally about segregation era- hiring practices - because how much more obvious can it get than…
“We wanted an asian character, but we hired a white person, and even though we say it’s about acting chops MORE THAN APPEARANCE, we decided to dress them up to LOOK ASIAN, so in reality what we’re saying is we wanted someone who ‘looked asian’ but we were too damn racist to consider giving that money to an actual asian so instead we spent lots of money on make up and CGI to instead, so that tells you how much money we’re willing to drop to make sure we don’t accidentally give any Asian actors a paycheck.”
did you know that when I was talking about yellowface on facebook, one of my acquaintances pretty much said that yellowface was necessary because the audience won’t be able to understand that the same “spirit/personality” is being reincarnated into different bodies and characters
the doctor’s been regenerated eleven times and you don’t see anyone saying they can’t figure out that the eleven doctors are the same person
demons possess different vessels all the time in supernatural and angels have taken various vessels and you don’t see anyone being confused about any of that
there are ways to be ~*artistic*~ and highlight separate characters as the same without resorting to racism
and your audiences
can pick up cues way more easily than you think
At this point, here’s where I’m at:
I refuse to support movies where they go out of their way to show me they’re using segregation era hiring practices.
When you’d rather spend a few million dollars to racebend someone rather than hire one of the many thousands of APIA actors in our country, you’ve shown to me how much you’re committed to keeping segregation going. Let’s call it like it is.
2012 or 1812? I gotta keep asking.
We don’t mean to be blunt… but we kind of do…
to be honest interracial relationships won’t solve the face of racism and in fact can be a product of racism. Almost anyone who is African American is not full African anymore by choice or forced. Most slave owners raped to ether show power, lustful intent, or to embarrass these people that were turned into slaves. They did this to all genders.
Interracial relationships also date back WAY back before American even existed Africa wasn’t just some sit on the mill animalistic place that white supremacy likes to paint it like here in America. Africa had kingdoms in several different countries and for at least 700 years the Moors ruled.
Greeks didn’t magically become the best archietects out of no where they got their info from Kemet (Egypt), Uganda, Ethiopia, etc. All these places had different names but several prominent African countries had kingdoms with working toliets, banks, artists, and anything else that is attributed to the Greek/Roman lifestyle.
In short so no
interracial relationships won’t solve racism
i’m responding to this cause this shit was all in the Black woman tag.
fyi for i get some shit I have nothing against interracial relationships as I have been in some myself. Before people want to come and shit on me.
But these pictures give a false sense of hope and fulfillment without actually tackling the problem of racism.
As a black woman married to a white man this shit pisses me off. People swear up and down making mixed babies solves racism, IT.DOES.NOT. It takes hard work, owning your stereotypes, and admitting how hard it is to live in this world as a non white person. When you have some level of consciousness you are constantly fighting against this silly ass way of thinking. Fuck this picture.
The more I see of these bullshit ass “kumbayah we’re all in love” kind of pictures, the more I realize that the underlying message they’re TRYING to convey is, “The true picture of love, is loving white people”.
Notice you don’t ever see two POC together as some sort of anti-racism ad.
You don’t hear the stories where the white person in the couple ditches the POC when they decide they want to “get a serious relationship”.
You don’t see the part where the relationship goes fine until the parents of the white couple pour out enough racism, and the white partner either decides to give up on the relationship (finding other “reasons” of course), OR, refuses to check their parents and just asks the POC to endure the unbearable.
You don’t see the part where the couple raises a kid and the white parent is ill-equipped to teach the child about what they need to do for survival against the bullies, the teachers, the strangers, the police.
You especially don’t see any part where this fucking magical kiss changes police violence, health care disparities, differences in pay rates, differences in hiring rates, differences in promotions, microaggressions, bank loans, murder rates, or incarceration.
But hey, a white person is kissing you, don’t you understand that the Heavens have parted, the Divine has come to Earth, the Good Word has poured forth and why would you worry about living safely, in health or wanting to be paid for work - shouldn’t you be grateful that THE WHITENESS HAS DEEMED YOU WORTHY?
As long as white supremacy is part of your idea of a relationship, you don’t have respect, or love, involved in any actual way.
Seriously, I was my ex-husband’s way to rebel & our son was a statement until he got darker than a paper bag & my ex couldn’t remember a word he said about what kind of father he was going to be, these days if it weren’t for the child support withholding order I doubt he’d acknowledge he has a kid at all. It’s been 10 years & I’m certain he never did check the grandmother telling stories about darkies at our son’s second b-day party, or step to his mother about her refusal to display any pics of kiddo once it was clear he couldn’t pass. Love doesn’t conquer racism, but it sure sounds good to people with no real investment in reality.