Thursday, November 18, 2010

File under "really"?

Every Day Should Be Saturday reports that Auburn lineman Ryan Pugh made a recent appearance thus:


And that's all I have to say about that.  Submitted by Derek.

Is King Chin racist?

Jenn writes that while registering for her upcoming nuptials, she and her betrothed happened upon these kitchen gadgets at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and had to ask the question.

King Chin Spice Grinder by Alessi - Yellow

King Chin Spice Grinder

In signature Alessi style, this eclectic spice grinder will add contemporary style to your kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of Asian culture, this hand-painted grinder is reminiscent of a wooden soldier or porcelain doll. Constructed of thermoplastic resin. Grinder measures 6" H.

Mr. Chin Kitchen Timer by Alessi - Red

Mr. Chin Kitchen Timer

In signature Alessi style, this captivating kitchen timer will add contemporary style to your kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of Asian culture, this hand-painted timer is reminiscent of a wooden soldier or porcelain doll. Constructed of thermoplastic resin. Timer measures 2 1/3" H.

Jenn adds, "Can anyone tell me what 'Asian culture' is?"  Anyone??

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yes it is.

Just echoing Jezebel's helpful clarification, in response to a Macleans article about how some Canadian universities are "too Asian," that yes, calling a school "too Asian" is racist.  The Macleans piece is really mindblowing; its central argument is that white Canadian students are being cheated out of a fun time at school by excessively Asian student populations that set the academic bar too high.  No, for real.  That is actually what the article is about.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just 'cause you didn't mean it don't mean it's not racist.

I'm proud to say that we've already featured a few of these images here on IIR? ("Black Kid's Computer Desk" just never gets old, does it?), but a visit to HuffPo's slideshow of accidental racism is still full of rewards, including an adorable cake for "the best daddy in the hole white world" and directions to "China-Manville."

 Submitted by Sheyda.

Racist or delicious?

Nancy asks, "What exactly is 'oriental flavor'? And more importantly is it racist if it tastes really good?"  These are indeed the things that keep me up at night.

Is JT-face racist?

Dwyane Wade dressed up as Justin Timberlake for Halloween.  You gotta follow Got ‘Em Coach

Dwyane Wade dressed as JT for Halloween, courtesy of Got 'Em Coach.  Submitted by Derek.


If this were a joke, it would be a racist one, right?  But it is a real thing, and part of a patriotic series that also includes "Chia Washington," "Chia Lincoln," and "Chia Liberty."  Which may simply be surreal.  Submitted by Sheyda.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is your taste in "portable valets" racist?

Discovered on a friend's wedding registry by ever-alert Stephanie and Dolly.

Is Das Supertalent racist?

Via Bossip, this story out of the world of German reality TV:

Das Supertalent, the German X-Factor ripoff that brought us such spectacles as the lady smashing beer cans with her boobs, the man who farts on cue, and the guy who paints with his dick (NSFW/L), has stooped to a new low. On Saturday’s episode they featured a white dude in blackface who did a cringe-worthy impression of the black judge on the three person panel, an American-born model named Bruce Darnell who also used to judge on Germany’s Next Top Model. It was embarrassing and racist and not funny at all, particularly since the guy repeatedly mocked Darnell’s effeminate walk.

Darnell took it in stride and just said that the impression could have been better. He then got up on stage and posed next to the impersonator, who took off his shoes to show that he’d even painted his feet black. Then the guy got out some red stiletto pumps and put them on to sashay around the stage. You could tell that it made Darnell uncomfortable, but he continued to coach him and critiqued his technique, even hugging him afterwards and joking that he’d make him a star.

When it came to whether the guy would stay on the show, Darnell agreed but his voice got squeaky when he said “ja” and it was clear he was just trying to be a good sport. The other two judges said “nein” thankfully.

Bossip also shares this video—the audio is useless, but the visuals really say it all:

Submitted by Shelia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Is hipster retro-porn racist?

Wendy calls our attention to this post from Japanistic, which addresses some kind of new hipster porn thing called "Jacques," which, frankly, interests neither Japanistic nor me in and of itself, though apparently the New York Times finds it newsworthy. Here is Japanistic's real concern:

My issue is this, quoted from the NYT article today: “The Fall 2010 issue, which will reach newsstands this week, has an Asian theme and includes articles about massage parlors and martial arts.” YES-it actually says this!! WTF!

The Asia Issue includes such riveting articles as Kung Fu Cinema, and Sex in Asia. Cutting edge stuff, I know.

Here’s what I can comfortably show you of the cover of The Asia Issue:


Yup-Geisha face, and a half-worn kimono. Truly the face of Asian women today, don’t you think? “Real Beauty of Real Women”? I don’t think so.

It’s nothing new to recognize that Asian women are fetishised. But that’s the problem with it. This is STILL happening? Does retro-styling mean that we have to employ old imagery and stereotypes? Is this the only option available to us?

It’s something we talk about a lot at Japanistic. In fact, we jokingly say that Japanistic is “cool Japanese stuff, without the porn.” When we compare what we’re doing with a lot of the other Japanese product sites, it’s fair to say that many of them employ that same fetish-based imagery.

It’s upsetting to see that a new group of hipsters is doing this too. (Need I mention that the husband and wife team behind Jacques are not ethnically Asian?)

And you know what NYT? You are equally guilty here for lauding the work of folks who utilize this vision of ethnically Asian women. Nothing about what is being done here is clever, edgy or cool. It might be retro, but sometimes, retro just sucks.

Our astute submitter Wendy sees this as a larger problem with "hipster" culture, to the extent that such a thing can be said to exist. "My question is," she writes, "are hipsters (and not just their hipster porn) racist? The Asian issue of this retro hipster porn mag reminds me of the Korean American hipster grifter from last year. A big part of her con involved playing up the exotic, Oriental thing (e.g. one of her pick-up lines was something like, 'I am Korean Abdul Jabbar.' Do hipsters have an Asian fetish? And are they trying to avoid the racist label by calling it 'retro'?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is your attempt to eschew racial terms paradoxically racist?

Jackie shares this tidbit of (our) local news reportage from CHML news radio:

Niagara Regional Police are looking for two men after an LCBO Avondale combo store in Vineland was held up

Police say the suspects grabbed a quantity of booze around 7:30 last night and took off in a brown minivan.

A citizen was struck by the van and received minor injuries as he and a store employee gave chase.

The minivan was found abandoned later.

One of the suspects is non-white and 20 years old, the other is white and 17.

The only reason I can think of for using the (not at all helpful) adjective "non-white" to describe the first suspect is a desire to avoid using an actual racial adjective.  Unfortunately, this calls attention to the whole problem, i.e. that he is "racial."  Oy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yes it is.

On his blog, Roger Ebert points out this rare delightful moment on Fox News, when some GOP "strategist" who hates the US Post Office gets called out by Fox's token "liberal" (read: not totally insane person) and then by Senator Al D'Amato on, and I quote D'Amato, his "racist bullshit."

Note that the host dubs this rare moment of truth on FoxNews an instance of "going postal."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is your improvisational cocktail party performance racist?

Dolly inquires about the marketing of this dress from Studio 5050—which suggests that Soho shoppers might appropriate Masai wedding traditions to their own urban leisure activities:

interactive dress

The copy reads:

Masai dress

Inspired by Masai wedding collars, this dress salutes both our global provenance and our desire to create our own soundtrack as we move in mysterious ways. With every step, strings of hand-formed silver beads that hung from the collar brush against conductive threads sewn into the dress, generating a series of sounds. A leisurely walk or a night at a cocktail party turns into an improvisational performance.

A long asymmetrical swoop in the back of the dress recalls Balenciaga’s famed wedding dress – an homage to a maestro that visually and aurally blends cultures, traditions and emotions. The dress comes in a luscious deep-sky blue silk jersey and white nourishing Sea-Tiva (75% cotton, 25% algae).

A dress that heals body and soul.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are Jewly Bandz racist?

The Consumerist poses the question, "Why is there a DOLLAR SIGN in the Jewly Bandz Chanukah set?"

Apparently the company's owner offered this explanation to TheGloss, who originally broke the story:

The dollar sign in the set is there to symbolize the "Chanukah-Gelt" - which is an old Jewish tradition. During Chanukah Jewish children all over the world are given coins or chocolate coins (to symbolize the real coins). The Dollar sign in the set comes to remind us of that. By the way, they were created by Rabby Moshe Rabin. Maybe it is not the best choice, but this is what the manufacturer chose for that symbol (probably if he would have tried to show coins it would just be a round silly band - and that would defeat the purpose).

Submitted by Will, who offers the alternative interpretation, "(it's funny b/c jews love money!!!)."

We all love them, but let's be clear: Museums of Natural History are racist.

John and Nancy submit this photo, from a recent trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York:

Says Nancy, "I like the part where you can keep going straight for 'Asian mammals.'"  Where does one draw the line?

What are you? Racist?

One of the benefits of being ambiguously racial (like me) is that you get to entertain the perpetual question from people who don't know you of "what you are."  My favorite formulation to date was from a guy I met back in my high school open-mic coffeehouse poetry days who approached me outside Java Joe's and declared, "YOU—you are definitely some kind of culture."  I would like to extend that observation to the lady gracing this product, found by Cassie at Fred's ("a Dollar General type store," she explains):

"Calypso," Cassie writes, is a "line of products meant for African American hair.  On some product, there's a woman who is clearly 'ethnic.'"  Exactly.

Is "taming the beard" racist?

Chad submits the following:

He notes, "So the magazine is for metro-Muslims, but I love the article tag line that is 'Tame that Beard,' which is kinda racist."  I myself am a bit concerned about the advice dispensed under "Black and Can't Get a Wife?"

Are your tea towels racist?

Shaun and Dolly found these delightful tea towel patterns while out and about at the local fabric store:

I have been assured a complete set is in the works.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is Asian Ken racist?

Dolls of Color invites us to consider the new Asian Ken:

japanese ken

Oh, and his sidekick, Asian Barbie:

japanese barbie & ken

I...just...*sigh*  Submitted by Susanna.