The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Yellow is the new white

More evidence that Asian-Americans are functionally white comes in the form of a piece of humour in Details magazine (reproduced here): full-page photo of a young man of apparently East Asian extraction [1], casually dressed, tourist or student, with the text beside him.

The editorial starts:
One cruises for chicken, the other takes it General Tso-style. Whether you're into shrimp balls or shaved balls, entering the dragon requires imperial tastes.

There's a lot more in similar vein. References to ladyboy fingers and bonsai ass.

Seems to me like trying much too hard.

But - imagine a gag like that featuring a young man of African descent: the guy dressed as a blaxploitation pimp or gang member; pointing out his nappy hair and thick lips, for instance.

Never gonna happen. Same goes, mutatis mutandis, for MEChA men of La Raza or the Indians once called Red.

Razz a white guy as much as you like in magazines and TV: the storyline of whole swathes of TV advertising (in Britain, at least) depends on a moronic man clueless in a domestic setting - unable to work the washing machine or look after the kids for five minutes - who has to be rescued by his woman. Violence against men is often made a joke of; prison rape gags are legion.

But, as, stereotypically, in prison, the punks are all white: no deadbeat dads of colour sell washing powder or breakfast cereal.

(It is some consolation that these commercials send viewers away wondering: can the Superwomen who married these cretins be quite so Super after all?)

If the Details gag is anything to go by, Asian men are now cleared to compete with the white guys for klutz roles in TV spots. That, added to being clobbered by affirmative action in college applications, tends to put them clearly on the white side of the colour line.

Or is that fence? Or wall? Or barrier...

  1. Chinese, Japanese, Korean - I can't tell which. But then, I'm a gringo. I seem to recall that proud Japanese fathers would (still do?) put shamuses onto their daughters' fianc├ęs to ensure that they were truly sons of Nippon, and not Korean interlopers. So I'm thinking it's not only gringos who have trouble telling them apart. (All of that from memory, prone to unreliability. [Memory to Ed: And the net is 100% guaranteed genuine kosher?])

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