Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is Rochester racist?

Angry Asian Man calls our attention to a public high school in Rochester, NY (my hometown! delightful!), East High, whose mascot is apparently the "Orientals."  For reals.

Angry writes,

When I first saw this, I thought it had it be a joke... but it's true. The actual mascot of East High School in Rochester, New York is the Orientals. Not the Tigers, or the Mustangs, or the Wildcats. The Orientals. So, say, during football season, or basketball season, opposing teams play against the East Orientals. You can even get your East Orientals apparel here. However, East's mascot is an eagle. What?

Some Googling reveals that there's another East High School in Akron, Ohio -- also known as the home of the Orientals. I'm not making this up! Believe it or not, their mascot is Chang the Dragon. Seriously. To top it all off, the school's website is wonderfully adorned with our favorite faux Asian font. They've apparently been the Orientals for many, many years... and everybody's cool with it. I love America.
Me too.  I'd also like to note the inspirational description of East High's student body from its Wikipedia page, which notes: "The ethnic make up of East High School's student population is roughly 65% black, 25% Hispanic, and 10% white. The diversity of the school's student body is one of its many strengths. The student body is well known for the many multi-racial friend groups that have become well known in the school and in the city."  That sounds nice.  I think we should start an official "Multi-Racial Friend Group" on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is the orientalization of cosmetic rice paper racist?

Alert reader Cassie asks, "Is it racist to continually associate Asian peoples with rice?"  The culprit:

—a product of a company that, Cassie notes, is actually based in Hollywood, Florida.

Monday, April 27, 2009

And I'm still not over the unselfconscious embrace of religious "crusading" down here.

I attended a wonderful "Arabian Night" event last Friday, hosted by the Arab Students Association, that featured dancers, musicians, and the best spread of food I've ever seen on campus.  It was both well organized and well attended. 

And at the reception, I noticed a (white) kid hanging out with his (Arab) friends, wearing a Cru (i.e. "Campus Crusade for Christ") t-shirt. 

I swear I am not being glib.  Is this okay?  Because I seem to be the only person around here who is uncomfortable with the historical implications of "crusading" for Jesus.

Also, the Family Christian Store up near the mall stocks "Crusader Teddy Bears" in its kids section.  D says it's probably not as racist as, say, "Infidel Teddy Bears," which were not in evidence.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Are "Heritage Assemblies" racist?

Thanks to Laine for the following item, reported at Teacher Magazine's Web Watch:

Race-Based Rallies

In an attempt to motivate students for standardized testing, administrators at Laguna Creek High School in Sacramento, Calif. held racially segregated pep rallies, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The "Heritage Assemblies" were designed to aid teachers in talking about test scores, which are measured in racial subsets, without making any one group feel singled out. Students could attend any of the five rallies but the rooms were allocated by race: African Americans in the gym, Latinos in the multipurpose room, Pacific Islanders in the theater, and so on.

"Is it racist? I don't believe it is," said Laguna Creek principal Doug Craig.

However, the school-wide segregation was troubling for many parents and students. Tracy and Herbert Houston, a mixed-race couple, were angry that their child was asked to choose. "My son texted me and asked me which one to go to. He didn't know where to go because I've never raised him to be black or white. …I tell my children they are part of the human race."

Laguna Creek 9th grader Kevion Claiborne said, "We should all go together. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, or any race."

Race-based assemblies are becoming more common in California schools, according to Sharroky Hollie, a professor of teacher education at California State University, Dominguez Hills. "I think schools are trying really hard, but not having success," Hollie said. "...they are not addressing the students' culture instructionally, instead waiting until two weeks before the test and doing heritage rallies."

Is it safe to say that any school event that puts a mixed-race kid in an impossible position is a bad idea?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More racist teabaggers.

Thanks to Amy H. for this gem from Gawker:

The sign over Sean Hannity's right shoulder reads: "STOP WASTEFUL SPENDING. IMPEACH THE KENYAN PIRATE AND HIS CREW."

It really does.

Teabagging is racist.

In addition to being hilarious, the Republican teabagging initiative yesterday was also, apparently, racist.  From Matthew Yglesias:


Thanks, Cell Member, for the link!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is "mowing the lawn" racist?

Astute reader Ramey observes of Schick's notorious "mow the lawn" commercial:

I thought it might be racist that the Asian woman in this commercial is the only woman trimming a bonsai-esque shrub and she doesn't even get to sing in the wider group shots!
Racist?  You decide.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Betty Brown "You're in America Now" Name Generator.

God bless Angry Asian Man.  Not only did he promptly cover the news that Texas Rep. Betty Brown (R) is catching some heat for suggesting that Asians adopt more American-friendly names for bureaucratic purposes—in her words, "Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese—I understand it's a rather difficult language—do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?"—but he has gone the extra mile to provide an official Betty Brown Name Generator to help all of us, of whatever exotic heritage, better fit the American mold.  He writes,

Is your name too hard to understand? Pesky Asian heritage got you down? Change your weird, unwieldly, foreign Asian name into a more digestible name that Americans can "deal with." Betty Brown Approved! God forbid anyone would have to deal with un-American sounding name, or anything other than Smith, Jones or Brown.

Granted, the name generator isn't very sophisticated. I've entered a number of names and just keep getting variations on "Billy-Ray 'Chicken and Dumplings' Brown." But hey, according to Betty Brown's standards, the simpler the better, right? Don't want a name that's going to trip up "Americans," like those difficult Chinese names.

You can access the name generator here.  For the record, my American name is LaVerne "Lynard Skynard" Brown.  Make a note.

[X-posted to the Procrastination Salon and Is It Racist?]

Monday, April 6, 2009

Racist maternity fashions?

Derek found this awesome vintage maternity clothing catalog, which A. features models who do not look even a little bit pregnant and B. includes this fascinating piece inspired by those clever devils, the Chinese:

Also, what are "strong China colors"?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On The Bus

The Western Union ad reads "Can I send money to Africa without paying a lot?"

While driving down the streets of Chicago I saw this bus going by, so I took a picture of it with my camera phone. I just thought that I would share this because it caused me to think. What do I think about it? I have no idea. As an advertisement it definitely got my attention, but I wonder if it is for the wrong reason. I wonder if other immigrant groups, ethnic groups, etc. have similar ads directed at them?