Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are minority-themed amusement parks racist?

Derek submits the following story from the NYTimes on Chinese amusement parks based on the nation's ethnic minority cultures, but which cater to Han Chinese:
Yuppies from China’s boom cities arrive by the busload to take part in a wild frenzy of dousing and dunking and drenching with 100 Dai women dressed in bright pink, yellow and blue traditional dresses — “our warmest and sweetest Dai princesses,” as an announcer calls them.

“A lot of tourists want to come see this, but it’s only a few days a year,” said Zhao Li, one of the management office employees, who are virtually all Han, the dominant ethnic group in China. “So we decided to make it every day, so everyone can experience water splashing.”

As the story notes, "For a while, English signs [at one such park] read “Racist Park,” an unfortunate translation of the Chinese name."  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is this...what IS this?

Another long-overdue post.  Julie submitted the following:

Russia's Oksana Domnina, left, and Maxim Shabalin, right, perform their original dance at the ISU European figure skating championships in Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010.

Story at CTV; follow-up on their 4th-place Olympic finish submitted by Jenn.

Is Africa the new India? And is that racist?

AGES ago, Kathy L. submitted this story from the NYTimes on the fashion industry's recent obsession with "Africa":

Now another Afrocentric wind is rising. “Its beauty is in having crossed all sorts of racial barriers,” said Malcolm Harris, the creative director of Unvogue, a popular fashion-focused Webzine. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. People are incorporating bits and pieces into their wardrobes and their lives.”

That may be because in the popular imagination, African jungles, deserts and plains retain a near-mystical allure, which the reality of the continent’s political turmoil and poverty have never entirely dispelled.

“Africa has never become quantifiable or entirely knowable,” said Rick Carter, the production designer who helped to conceive the Edenic universe of “Avatar” with its obviously African elements. “It still suggests romance, and a sense of the abundance of life. Threatening or benign, it has something to teach us.”

To armchair travelers in the fashion world, many of whom are tapping the heritage of Kenya, Mali, Nigeria or Senegal in search of inspiration, Africa is playing the role that India had until recently, its themes embraced in the hope of making cash registers hum.

What is "Africa" teaching you?

Is Pizza Hut racist?

Via Best Week Ever.  Submitted by Emma.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is Atlanta's new "Yellow Line" racist?

From Gawker:

Residents of Atlanta's Asian enclave, Doraville, are thrilled to have their own MARTA train. They feel kinda awkward about it being called the "yellow line," though. [AJC] [Pic via]

Submitted by Amy.