Extra Blog Post 2: Reflection

I decided that for my last blog post I would reflect on my thoughts of this class. There is definitely a big difference between what I believed the class would be and what it actually turned out to be. On the first day, I thought I was going to be learning about the pop culture of Asian Americans. I was very excited about this since I have always had an interest in Asian cultures especially Japanese culture. It was a bit of a shock when I learned what the true intention of the class was and I didn’t know if I wanted to stay in it. The second class showed that many people shared my feelings when it was only about half the size of the first class.

I’m glad that I stayed in it, though, and I feel like the class really changed me. I started off a little skeptical of all the things taught in lecture. I didn’t really think that many of the “injustices” described in class were really true and it took me a while to believe them for myself. At first, I thought there were just less roles for Asian Americans because there were less Asian American writers to make roles for them. After hearing the lectures over and over, though, I began to look at the shows I was watching on TV with a more critical eye. I was able to see for myself all of the things that were being talked about in class. This was actually the inspiration for my creative project. I think that people won’t change the way they think just because other people try to make them see these issues. I think when these people are able to see the problem of underrepresentation on their own, they will better accept that these issues are real.

Jay Rayo Extra Blog Post#2

As i continuously watch Disney Channel shows i ask myself why is there a lack of Asians in these shows. I thought the production wants some diversity in their shows and its suppose to be kid friendly and promote friendship. but how can you promote friendship and diversity when all we see are white people and some hispanics. Theres probably only one Asian person portraying a role on Disney Channel from the show I Didnt Do it. After taking this class it really makes me realize why Disney put more Asians on their show when they so believe in equality. Putting one Asian on a show doesnt make it diverse, it actually singles them out because that is all we see, and being the only one stands out from the rest. Also, why is Mulan the only Asian movie they have ever produced. I thought Mulan did pretty and was accepted by the public. But why has it stopped? I mean theres Kung Fu Panda but thats animals even if the setting is Asian and they were portrayed as Asians. I mean MTV did that movie Better Luck tomorrow and thats the only Asian movie they have produced as well. Even though these two movies were successful another type has never been followed up. Is it because we dont want to keep giving Asians some glory and fame? I think the producers are scared that if we keep producing Asian themed films that Asians will instantly dominate over the rest.

Jay Rayo Blog #10

So this in Fresh off the Boat we see a different side of Eddie and Jessica. In the beginning we see her really admiring this new kid at school that Eddie has tour around and help out because he represents this good Chinese boy behavior; he plays violin and is intelligent. Eddie somehow gets jealous and doesnt approve of it but he doesnt want to be this good Chinese boy or behave the way his mom  wants to. I find it funny that his mom wants him to go listen to a Chinese rapper or Asian music. She adores him in the beginning but disliked him for leaving Eddie because disrespectful. Everytime something bad happens to Eddie or isnt treated right his mom is always there by his side to protect him and to support im which i find unsual in a way; most Asian moms would really blame the kid that its their fault thats why something bad has happened to them. Why couldnt the principal say Philip was Asian, was he just doing it so that Eddie doesnt turn down the job he is asking him to do? Why couldnt Eddies dad fire the new host? Isnt an implication that Asians are too nice to hurt people and they cannot be mean? I found it kind of racist the way the principal created a group explicitly just for Asians, I know he is trying to get his wife back, but singling out the 2 Asian people in your school is not cool; especially when the kids are not even heavily attached to their culture. Though Eddie sometimes rejects his culture im glad he still enjoys eating his Chinese food and somehow doesnt care anymore what people think about his stinky tofu. Its kinda weird that Eddie listens to the beastie boys which is kind of different on how is presented in the beginning episodes. So i did like this episode that even if Jessica loved and adored Philip she stood by Eddie and chose him no matter what.

So we watched a couple of music videos of artists representing some kind of Asian culture in their video. In Chris Browns video, it was totally off and the lyrics had nothing to do with the Asian culture. Is he trying to assimilate into her culture or is he actually playing an Asian person, and whats with the fighting in the background. Why is she walking into the forest, is luring him in and saying she is exotic and stuff? it was just a bad portrayal. In Rihannas video she plays a Chinese princess but the background and costumes were really totally off. Her performance made it very movie like because I saw crouching tiger hidden and flying daggers in there, it was like she was mimicking the lead character in the movies. I dont know i think these people need to do more research and make it properly because it becomes very offensive and can be considered racist and absurd if not done properly.

Japanese Soft Power and FOB Week 10 post -Ting Wei Yang

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Avril Lavigne one of the pop stars that we talked about in class. Her music video Hello Kitty, set in Japan, is using Japanese  people as props in her music video. She’s basically using Japanese people’ exoticism to pull people to watch her video. Apparently she really likes Japan since she put up this post about how much she loves Japan. The reason why Avril Lavigne loves Japan so much it’s because it is over loaded with cuteness. Yes! I mean Hello Kitty and Pokemon along with other thing such as K-ON cartoons, Sailor Moon, Rilakkuma plush toys and the most popular social network LINE. LINE itself produced so much hype because of the cute stickers that provide with the messaging application. This is Japan’s way of taking over the world and letting them be seen. Japan has this soft power, “the ability to indirectly influence behavior or interests through cultural or ideological means”, that they can use to take over the world.

This week in Fresh Off the Boat Eddie was introduced to a new friend, Phillip. I thought this episode was pretty racist. I personally think that when the principal of the school call Eddie in to his office and said that he’ll be a leading one of the new students. Eddie automatically assumed that this new student is Asian, and he was right. I thought that the act of placing the Asians together like they know each other is very racist and that they did not even bother asking Phillip, although we later figured out that he was adopted by a Jewish family and he is totally different from Eddie. The racist part was that everyone in the school assume that they’re best friends because they are both Asian, but in reality Asians come from different backgrounds and it should not be assumed. Like the presentation we had in class today, every person is different and every Asian is different.

Week 10 – Margaret

I am sad that this will be my last post. In turn, this will be a somewhat longer post. This week, we discussed Hello Kitty and cultural appropriation.

What is cultural appropriation?

As explained in the article “Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation?” cultural appropriation is the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture of subculture by another. It is generally applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture (1).

This “appropriation” often occurs without any real understanding of why the original culture took part in these activities or the meanings behind these activities, often converting culturally significant artifacts, practices, and beliefs into “meaningless” pop-culture or giving them a significance that is completely different or less nuanced than they would originally have (1).

Some examples of cultural appropriation are: “Hello Kitty” by Avril Levine; “Autumn Leaves” by Chris Brown; “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry (2013 AMA performance); “Asian Girlz” by Day Above Ground; “Entertainment” by Phoenix; and “Asian Swag” by Buckwheat Groats.

Each of the above examples culturally appropriate instead of culturally appreciate. These songs amplify Asian culture, but dehumanize Asians. In these songs, people of color are props, decoration, or scenery. In Professor O’Brien’s words, “Asians are no different from an Oriental rug.” This is unfortunately true in these music videos.

In contrast, “626” by the Fung Brothers is positive and affirms Asian culture. Though it does address some negatives and stereotypes of Asians, this song highlights and honors Asian culture. Similarly, “Bebot” and “The ALP Song” by Black Eyed Peas also highlight cultural differences. “The APL Song” narrates the story of a Pilipino elderly, which is rarely, if ever seen in popular music. Hopefully, more artists will appreciate Asian cultures instead of appropriating Asian cultures.

cultural-appropriation-rectangle

Fresh off the Boat “Philip Goldstein” (episode 8):
This week on Fresh off the Boat, the part that resonated with me the most was the ending. At the end of the episode, Eddie and Walter, the Black student who called Eddie “chink” during the pilot episode, make a connection. Interestingly, the two bond over a White Jewish band.

The narration (Eddie Huang): An Asian kid and a Black kid bonding over a White Jewish band. Only in America.

This again raises the issues of assimilation and racial triangulation. It is evident that both Eddie and Walter are trying to assimilate, since they are diehard fans of a White Jewish band. They attempt to fit in by adopting White culture.

Racial triangulation has two parts: relative valorization and civic ostracism. The issue of race brought up during the pilot episode returns as people of color who are lower in the hierarchy unite. In the racial hierarchy, Whites remain superior, while Asians and Blacks fight for the next tier. In terms of relative valorization, Asians are superior to Blacks. However, in terms of civic ostracism, Blacks are superior to Asians.

Overall, this episode was entertaining as usual. It was great to see another Asian kid at school with Eddie. Philip and Eddie do not have anything in common other than ethnicity, which illustrates that not Asians are alike. I mentioned this in a previous blog post (week 8): each ethnicity is special and unique, and unjust if each ethnicity were just thrown together and called, say ‘Chinese.’ Each ethnicity should be honored for its history and culture.

Source:
“Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation?”

Extra blog post 2 – Ting-Wei Yang

Exploring my Taiwanese American self identity

This past weekend has to be the weekend I actually identify myself as Taiwanese American. From March 5th to March 7th, I attended the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA) West Coast Conference (WCC). Being the president of Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) I feel the obligation to attend the conference. I did not know I would get so much out of this two day conference!

The theme, “To Infinity and Beyond”, seeks to inspire attendees to take the Taiwanese American identity and strengths above and beyond with our dreams and aspirations.

As we attend the first event as “space cadets” we enjoyed some awesome Taiwanese food then we had Dan Lin as one of our keynote speaker. Dan Lin is the CEO of Lin Pictures, a film and television production company with an overall deal at Warner Bros. Since his company’s formation in 2008, Lin has produced films that have grossed over $2.0 billion in worldwide box office sale. He most recently produced the blockbuster The LEGO Movie. Dan’s speech was very inspiring and the one thing I got from his speech is that jobs are not created for you, rather, you are responsible for making your own job in a company.

Dan Lin’s speech was only an inspiration that Taiwanese American has a space in the world. The workshops that we had during the conference are the tools that helped us with this Taiwanese identity.

For the first workshop session, I attended Karin Wang’s Advancing Justice: The Asian American history. This workshop was ran by students because Karin could not make it that day but I still think that it was very well ran. In the workshop, multiple incidents of Asians in America forged a new identity as Asian Americans in their struggle to recognize their human rights was posted on the wall in order and we were asked to comment on them. This workshop helped me recognize the social injustice that people face and that we should fight for our own justice.

The second workshop is making a zine. A zine is where one reflects on their experience and memories and in magazine form. I expressed myself by focusing on Taiwanese food and how they are delicious and not stinky.

Going through these workshops helped me figure out my Asian American, more specifically, my Taiwanese American identity.

Blog Post Week 10: Modification

This week we talked a lot about cultural appropriation. In many of the examples from class, there were westerners using Asian culture as their own in order to make a scene more exotic and earn money. Most of these were music videos but the theme got me thinking.

I love car culture and car culture, especially tuner car culture, is heavily influenced by Asian car culture with a big focus on Japan. Anything that is JDM, or from a Japanese Domestic Manufacturer, is considered to be much cooler than anything from a USDM. Most people that tune their cars with JDM parts copy the Japanese style of car modification. The Japanese style is usually very functional. When drivers damage their cars, they usually cheaply fix the parts with zip ties or duct tape. When modifying body panels to accommodate wider tires, drivers will cut out the fenders and bolt on aftermarket pieces with rivets directly to the metal. Other modification can be extremely wild and drivers in the US will try to copy these styles just to be “JDM as f*ck.”

Modifying cars has been a bid deal for a long time but people have only adopted the Japanese style recently. This is fine in my eyes but I believe if someone is adopting the Japanese style of car modification, they should also adopt the Japanese mindset of car modification. In the US, drivers modify cars based on what others think is the cool thing to do. They enjoy the Japanese style because they think they’re cool. However, in Japan, drivers modify their cars based upon their own tastes, not what other people want and I think that’s a good thing that everyone should share.