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"Shit white guys say to Asian girls"

I really don’t think we’re going to end racism by joking about it. Like i’m glad that the white liberals feel like they are less racist because they can joke about people who are more explicitly racist but that actually does nothing to help people of color
Annie (a pseudonym) is a Chinese-American, straight, female university professor. While she was in graduate school, she found it difficult to receive medical treatment due to the perceived psychiatric condition of simply being Asian and female: “I went to a doctor at the university because I had recurring abdominal pain. The doctor listened to my description, but rather than doing a physical exam, he explained to me that it was normal for Asian women to be anxious and stressed out, and anxiety was probably causing my abdominal pain.” But surprisingly, the doctor didn’t treat the anxiety either. He just said there was nothing he could do.
Orientalism & Yellow Peril in 2014: Food & Cars

(image source: bisnispost.ga)

Yesterday I had to educate people about the reality of MSG and its deep connection to a half century of racist socialization against Asians.  

You all realize that there are no real adverse reactions?  If you are having headaches and indigestion from knowingly eating MSG, it’s called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” and it’s the literal connection between how racism can affect people physically and psychologically.  

The National Institute of Health has noted that despite several studies even dating back from the 1960s, there have been no proven connection to these reactions and MSG.

When people claim that they have negative bodily reactions to MSG and consume it unknowingly, nothing happens except that they enjoy a savory meal.  MSG is meant to be a form of salt and preservative that enhances a food’s already savory flavor.  It was originally discovered by the Japanese and the flavor it gave off was labeled “umami.”  I’ve had it almost all my life.  And I’m sure you’ve even had it most of your life too, and you just didn’t know it.  Even if you had been avoiding Asian food due to a fallacious fear of MSG, I know you probably still had it.

Oooh, yes.  Yakisoba. (Japanese)

I love tom kha. (Thai)

Salivating for bibimbap. (Korean)

Heck yes to dim sum! (Chinese)

Mmm, pho! (Vietnamese)

100% here for Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese)

banh xeo! (Vietnamese)

Sushi, oooh, girl. (Japanese)

These are some foods that normally have MSG in them and if you’re too busy being racist and/or having a weak, close minded palate, then it’s more food for me to enjoy. (Not targeting you if you’re one of the extremely few people in the entire world who is majorly allergic to MSG or have some other condition that prevents you from eating Asian foods.)

The number of actual people who are really allergic to MSG is so minuscule, but based on the widespread of people who claim that we all have to be careful of Asian foods because of MSG and its unclean and unhealthy nature, I would think otherwise too.  But every international and national food safety institution will tell you it’s bullshit. 

That doesn’t stop large movements and petitions that exist today with a goal to make sure MSG is banned from the United States.  You’ll also notice, if you do the research, that it’s all white people backing these petitions.

The majority of Japanese people eat MSG every day with their meals, and they’re recorded as people with the greatest longevity in the world.

This ridiculous phenomenon with MSG and Asian food is a result of decades of Orientalism and Yellow Peril.

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. (See: YELLOW FACE AND ORIENTALISM IN THE MEDIA: CONTROLLING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ASIAN)

Yellow Peril (or Yellow Terror): When the term originally was given birth, it was specifically regarding the Japanese military expansion then broadened to include all Asian groups.  I mean, even though this term came out in the early 19th century, we still see it in today’s media.  One prominent example would be in the movie Red Dawn (2012), white people vs. Asian occupation.

(image source: frontpagemag.com)

(Notice how all the good doers in this particular film  [and the majority of films] are white.  I also know several of the Asian extras that were in the movie.  They’ll defend the film and their involvement in it, but they also got a pretty good deal out of perpetuating a long time racist notion of Asian people.)

History has shown us real life applications of what Yellow Peril looked like when the West created devilish caricatures of Asian people as people of cheap labor, dirty, opium addicts, etc.

(image source: wikipedia)

Over the years, the phrase grew into being used to describe the fear that Asians would take over western jobs and wages and way of life. (Sounds familiar, right?)

Orientalism others Asian people and makes their culture monolithic in a western perspective of exoticism.  At the same time Yellow Peril promotes fear of Asian culture & people. These concepts are practiced even today when people around us continue perpetuating the idea that Asian products, while exotic, are dirty and inferior and will completely destroy American jobs and way of life.

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Muslim women’s fashions have been interpreted and overanalyzed by the Western world as some sort of profound assertion of political identity or religious stance. Yes, there is an element of that in there, but the bigger truth is that Muslim women wear what they do, including what’s on their heads, because of how it makes them look and feel, just like all women around the world, and it takes on the cultural overtones of the milieu in which they live. There’s no need to survey this or pathologize it: there’s certainly no point in turning it into a value judgment. If people truly care about the autonomy and agency of Muslim women, as this survey seems to imply, they should just leave the wardrobe choices to Muslim women themselves, and find a better medium through which to express their concern
Iwasaki was one of several geisha author Arthur Golden interviewed while researching his novel Memoirs of a Geisha. According to Iwasaki, she agreed to speak with Golden on the condition that her involvement would be kept confidential, but Golden revealed her identity by mentioning her name in the book’s acknowledgments as well as several national interviews. After Memoirs was published, Iwasaki received criticism and even death threats for violating the traditional geisha code of silence. Iwasaki felt betrayed by Golden’s use of information she considered confidential, as well as the way he twisted reality. She denounced Memoirs of a Geisha as being an inaccurate depiction of the life of a geisha. Iwasaki was particularly offended by the novel’s portrayal of geiko engaging in ritualized prostitution. For example, in the novel the main character Sayuri’s virginity (called mizuage in the novel) is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Iwasaki stated that not only did this never happen to her, but that no such custom ever existed in Gion.
Part of Iwasaki’s displeasure with Memoirs may have been because the character Sayuri seems obviously modeled on Iwasaki, with many of the book’s main characters and events having parallels in Iwasaki’s life. These people and experiences are often portrayed negatively in Memoirs, even when their real-life counterparts were positive for Iwasaki. Iwasaki later gave public interviews citing that many established geiko criticized her interview with Arthur Golden, causing a rupture with the geisha tradition of secrecy to the outside world. Furthermore, Iwasaki has mentioned that she had lost some friends and relationships due to the scandal of her being known due to the book, along with certain inconsistencies and fallacies about Gion which were mentioned in Memoirs of a Geisha.
Iwasaki sued Golden for breach of contract and defamation of character in 2001, which was settled out of court in 2003.
—  Why You Should Stop Romanticizing Memoirs of a Geisha. 
  • white feminist:creepshot pages are so wrong!! we need to take them down!
  • white feminist:*reblogs creepshots of asian girls on her ~kawaii japanese~ blog*
  • asian girl:can you stop fetishizing us, thats racist
  • white feminist:omg how is that racist?? people on tumblr are so sensitive!! how would it be different if it was a white girl??!

Bedouin Girl (1891). Luis Ricardo Falero (Spanish, 1851-1896). Oil on canvas.

Falero specialised in paintings of sensual, voluptuous women, usually in a fantasy setting. Also, he was skilled in orientalist subjects, such as Bedouin Girl, and he had a gift both in the female form and the oriental clothing.

Just a Few Thoughts About Tumblr

I’ve tossed all caution to the wind, and I’m very aware of how some people may perceive this somewhat unpopular opinion, but if any one of you like to be more aware of the existence of different perspectives in this world, you can read.

I will keep this short and sweet.

It’s very recent, but I can’t understand Tumblr’s sensitivity to things anymore? I still understand their causes, and their (mostly) good intentions, and I do advocate for further human rights and the dismantling of the view that anyone different than the desired is non-human. I’m after all, a female-identifying if in most matters agender, non-religious, demisexual poc person living in a third world asian country (I don’t view myself as labels but Tumblr requires them to validate an opinion, which is sad), with its own set of problems.

My dissipating understanding arises from how awfully myopic and Western racism is viewed here. I’ve other issues but racism is my major point since I as a POC and a resident of an Asian country experience it, but not in ways anyone expects. I’ll explain later but hear me out on my opening sentence first:

I am uncomfortable with how racism is viewed here. As what Western advocates call an ‘oppressed’ minority, (as I mentioned before: not conforming to gender/sexual binary, no religion, being a woman, living in a ‘developing’ country), as one of the ‘minority’, a lot of you are consumed by your fantasies. The cause is right, good, and rooted in reality, but the way it’s being handled is ridiculous.

The popular view of racism on Tumblr is that racism = whiteness. Which is true in a lot of ways, especially in a white-majority country, but it is NOT the truth. Many of you forget that racism exists among POCs too. Oh dear god, how horrifying.

It must be strange to think that racism exists outside the white man’s head. It exists in the POC’s head too. And no, the POC’s racist target is NOT exclusively the whites, but other POC as well. That’s because racism transcends more than just who colonises who.

Berating the white person for racism is NEVER the only true fix-it all solution to racism. Ironically you’re putting power on the whites to fix what they apparently created for you. Which is kinda the opposite of what fighting racism is: giving power to EVERYONE to fix it.

Racism is just as powerful in a POC country. Any race can kill another race if the circumstances made it possible. Take for example, my country’s 13 May Incident, where some “POC Asian” Malays had a blood battle with “POC Asian” Chinese. This situation also turns Tumblr’s view on racism upside down because 1) white privilege NEVER existed in Malaysia since WWII  2) the Malays are a minority in Asia compared to the Chinese 3) the Malays apparently killed the Chinese by virtue of their race because the former thought the Chinese people were stealing economic opportunities and stealing ‘their’ country even though the previous oppressive system the Malays were in were created by our white colonists and upheld by the government in that time.

Yet look, this is a case of racism. Everyone in Malaysia knows this.

Since that event, the government tried to subvert this issue so that it will never happen again. You know how they did it? They just switched who got the oppression. Now it is everyone else but the government’s idea of ‘Malay’ who is devoid of the benefits of meritocracy, and it’s been like that for 40 + years.

Hello friends it’s racism again.

My whole gist here is that racism has no face, and ironically, no race. Racism is a concept inbred for centuries and its main cause is HUMAN FALLACY. It is not skin colour that creates racism, but hatred, greed, power, politics, egoism, insecuity, self-motivated manipulation: qualities that exist in all of us. Racism is nothing more than a political tactic which seeks to manipulate us into believing false ideas and making us believe that it’s natural or that’s how it’s always been. It turns us against each other. It’s plain old manipulation. Plain old manipulation from people in power.

The more accurate view of racism should be racism = people who perpetuate racism. And by people, though we recognise their race because for one thing it’s surface and also it’s part of the racism thing we all share, I mean, any soul. Strip away our skin and we are all similar-looking muscled beings who all die one day arguing about nothing at all. Racism is just not one group’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem.

So where does Tumblr’s weird sensitivity come up in this?
The obvious: DIE POC SCUM (always viewed as a white person even though it can be any other POC group directing this against another)

The other obvious: DIE WHITE PEOPLE SCUM (always viewed as a POC)
OR white people can only be racist


I’m annoyed by this hatred in Tumblr’s battle against racism. It’s unnecessary, it’s vapid, it’s unhelpful. It also shows poor understanding of the realities of racism, experienced in both Western and non-Western countries. The other thing is when someone unknowingly says a racist thing, whether or not they are racist, unaware of sensitivity, or just pitifully ignorant, a lot of people jump down on their throat flinging curses and insults but NOT educating the perpetrator on why their actions are harmful.

Interacting with people (with the wrong, sometimes harmful ideas) is very complex and needs to be viewed case-by-case. You must never accept crap that harms but at the same time you have to understand that you live in a world full of people with so many understandings and opinions about one topic. It can’t be helped that education has made us this way. It can’t be helped that the authorities made us this way.

Racism needs to be tackled from the top down rather than the ground up. Racism is first and foremost the poison of those people in power. And by focusing our energies on where it matters, the people in power, we can implement non-racist policies, non-racist education and finally a diverse government, where it can govern a non-racist community.

Further reading:
Orientalism (the main cause of racism)
The 13 May Incident (this explains further on Racism as a Political Tool in Real Life Events)Another
The New Economic Policy and Its Effect on Interracial Relation
(this is the Inverse Oppression I was talking about)

*this is all based on my experiences with racism, an experience very different than the default Western racism. I’m not invalidating anyone’s experience. I am just expanding on it. The world is bigger than the West.

*knowing Tumblr I may get ridiculous threats and messages all because someone decides to read a thing that is of almost no consequence to them whether or not they read it but hurts their ego anyway, so whatever. It is YOUR learning experience, not mine.

8

“In Anansi or Ivy, supine black bodies fuse together into sculptural oddities that are borne out of a soluble relation to the earth. And yet a certain ironic dissonance is produced by the whiteness of a shirt in shadow, or the presence of England’s Three Lions on a pair of shorts. The antinomies of blackness and whiteness, of the earthly and the intellectual, the savage and the saviour, are here overt structuring elements of the image. But such tensions as these contrasts evoke do not trouble a long history of ethnic degradation – they reinforce it as a further instance of the theatrical acquiescence we have come to expect from subservient, primitive blacks. (…)

Sassen claims to “focus on the process of addressing the viewer,” arguing that her portraits are “about the gaze of the viewer and about my own perspective” as opposed to “some truth about the photographed subject.”

We are thus invited to consider the extent to which these images, in their repetitive subjugation of nubile black bodies, might expand our sense of ourselves or of the photographer’s perspective – that is, we are invited to consider ‘Africa’ as an expression of the West. On this logic, Africa’s representational function is purely to mirror the pressing nature of largely western preoccupations. And so the bodies in these images exist purely to serve.”

— The Stilled Life of the Pikinini: Viviane Sassen’s Pikin Slee, just published at thegreatleapsideways.com