Miley Cyrus caught in “chinky-eyed” pose

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus with friends in a racist "chink-eye" pose. The photo is making the rounds on the Internet.

From Angry Asian Man: Miley Cyrus, the super popular teen pop star for her Hannah Montana song-and-dance act (she’s also the daughter of country singer Billy Ray “Achy Breaky Heart” Cyrus), is shown with a group of friends in a photo making the rounds online, pulling back her eyes in a “chinky” or “slanty-eye” pose.

It’s clearly a racial stereotype, the same kind of stupidity practiced in photos last year by the Spanish Olympic basketball team and the Spanish national tennis team team.

What kind of role model is that for young girls?

What’s a young Asian American girl supposed to think when she sees the photo? That she deserves to be the butt of racial stereotypes? Or a young European American girl? That it’s perfectly fine to make fun of people who don’t look like you?
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CBS’ Farnsworth & the Fox has a racist ‘yellowface’ puppet

Sept. 24 update: Good news — CBS appears to have pulled all of the Farnfucious clips off their YouTube channel.

It’s hard to believe that a major U.S. broadcast network can get away with it, but there it is on YouTube: “Farnfucious Say,” a regular (apparently) skit on the “Farnsworth & the Fox” show produced by CBS. The show’s co-host, “Farnsworth,” is a puppet a la “Sesame Street” and the “Fox” is (not surprisingly) a woman cast for her sex appeal.

“Farnfucious” — they couldn’t even spell the pun on Confucius correctly — is a puppet character with Fu Manchu mustache and traditional Chinese-looking garb, talking in a slimy broken Chinese accent the way white people like to parody Asians speaking. The puppet is introduced by a woman’s voice speaking in the same cheesy accent intoning, “And now, anothah episode… of Farnfucious!” and afterwards the outro: “Words of wisdom… from Farnfucious!”
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Why Harold and Kumar are important, as embarassing as they are

The characters Harold and Kumar, played by APA actors John Cho and Kal Penn, are like embarassing uncles who fart in public and cuss and tell stupid jokes. In fact, in lots of ways, Harold and Kumar are stupid jokes.

But like those uncles, you have to embrace them when you see them, even though you wince every time they walk in the room.

That’s because in their 2004 debut, Cho and Penn’s characters smashed Asian American stereotypes about being the model minority. Cho played Harold, an earnest numbers-cruncher by day who has the hots for a hot neighbor and has the internalized heart of a slacker; Penn’s Kumar is the slacker externalized. He’s a pot-hound and horndog and crude as he can be, always trying to drag Harold into his slackdom. Kumar is supposed to become a doctor, and it turns out he’s quite capable, except he’s pathologically incapable of following his ethnically preordained career path.

The two go on a marijuana binge and seek out a White Castle burger, or more accurately, a whole bunch of ’em, to assuage their munchies. (It helps to understand the plot if you’ve enjoyed the strange pleasures of a tiny White Castle “slider.”) Continue reading

There! Up on the screen… it’s … Super Asian Man!

When “Survivor” announced its just-ended season, I was one of the many critics who thought splitting up the tribes along racial factors was a stupid and potentially harmful idea. After just two episodes, the series mixed the groups.

On the season finale that just aired, an Asian American man, Yul Kwon, won. He is the Survivor.

How cool is that? In the end, it wasn’t race at all, but his smarts and his determination that helped him outlast the others. It probably didn’t hurt that he’s remarkably hunky, but isn’t everyone on the show?

He was quoted eloquently in the Contra Costa Times (and cited by Hyphen Blog): “’I wanted America to see Asian-American men as they truly are,’ he said while speaking about the under-representation of minorities on television. …’I want to be a very visible spokesman for talking about how we can get more minorities on TV.’” Continue reading