Asians in the Library

Alexandra Wallace, what exactly were you going to gain by posting this video

There has been a lot of hubbub in the Asian American community about this virulent video (I say “Asian” because just about every non-asian person I’ve talked to had never seen the video, or maybe some of them have “heard” about it) – at first I was pissed when I saw this but then after a while, I decided that this woman was just another misguided, uneducated Blonde Barbie doll. 

Let me talk about the pissed off part first.  Obviously, I, Wendy F. Maruyama (some folks know my middle name), being the proud Asian American that I am, with all that my parents and grandparents had gone through to provide opportunities for my generation and those thereafter, felt the sting of racism in this video,  especially when Miss Wallace goes through her “ching chong” routine.  I remember Mira Nakashima telling me about the taunts that she suffered, where white kids would take their fingers, slant their eyes upward and taunt “chingchong chinaman”.   But this is a college kid from UCLA, one of the top ranked universities “in the world”.  and in 2011, no less. Have the American people regressed again?

I could choose to stew for several days, no let me stew for another year over this, stacking another soapbox upon the one I’ve already been standing on — but wait. I thought about my Dad.  Dad has always been the funny guy in our family, not just in our immediate family but the extended one as well.  He has an uncanny ability to diffuse tension by saying something funny.  Not always properly but funny no less and then everyone ends up lauging.   I suspect that in his young life, it was a subconscious survival tactic that somehow made him so popular amongst his farming community back in Rocky Ford Colorado – he was friends with the white sheriff, the fellow Mexican American laborers that he picked cantelope with, and his card-playing buddies.  Having a sense of humor is the one gene I inherited from him that keeps me from getting ulcers and allows me to deal with other stressful issues in my life.

Jimmy Wong responded to Alexandra’s video with a real classy one where he seranades her – I watched this and immediately all the anger completely melts away, and you end up thinking – why get worked up over this blonde bimbo??  My Dad would have done this.

The AngelieVaudville on You Tube did a complete parody of this video, and it pretty much sums it up.  Oddly, its not much different than the original, the only difference is the Asian actress in a blonde wig, and the hilarious props on the wall behind her.   It amplifies the absurdity and her performance emphasizes Wallace’s stupidity to a level that supersedes the original.

At the end of the day, humor saves lives.

Anyway, this is the end of my ‘rant’, “and have a nice day”.



Why relive the past? (2)

SB1070.  Need I say more?

In a land where nearly everyone is from immigrant stock, and the only native peoples of the US are American Native Americans (and I will get to that some other day), here is another law which can be easily misconstrued and pretty soon, anyone who is yellow, black, brown, red, will have to show IDs.  It was bad enough only 25 years ago when I went on a field trip with a group of other artists to Canada via Niagara Falls (we were all artists in residence at Art Park), and coming back into the US, we got stopped, and I had a flashlight shining in my face, and the US Border Patrol asked my companions (all of whom were white) if “she could speak English” and if “she was from China”.  I was infuriated, and I told him “listen, I can understand English and why are you asking them questions about me?”   Needless to say, the ride back home was quiet, not sure if they were all in shock that this actually happened, or if they were just mulling over the reality of this thing that just happened.  The thing was, he didn’t even bother to ask for my ID at the time and I just can’t imagine what might have happened if I did not have my driver’s license with me.  I also didn’t know how I could even prove that I was a US citizen with only a drivers license. 

Fast forward to 2010, I just can’t imagine driving through Arizona and having to show papers everywhere I went.  And dealing with the questions, even if my great great great grandparents came off the boat, and having to defend my citizenship would be bad enough.  I can imagine that daily routines of even LEGAL immigrants, and American-born people would change – I know that after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, my grandparents and their fellow Japanese American friends avoided walking out at night, they made sure that their activities was during the day, and in the company of sympthetic caucasian friends.  Despite their careful behavior and putting up with constant slurs, they were still incarcerated in the camps.  

How can SB1070 NOT be about race?  What about European immigrants from, say, Russia? Why aren’t they singled out?  Why it must be because they look like “them”. 

Why relive the past? (1)

WWII is long over.  Why relive the past?  Why do we want to revisit the effects of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which prompted the removal and incarceration of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans who happened to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time”?

Because its all about “peace and freedom and justice for all Americans”.

In today’s news, it was reported in that   “…a protest of a Muslim fundraising event in Orange County last month devolved into chants of “Muhammed was a pervert,” “you beat your wife and rape your children,” and the like, according to a new video of the demonstration.  The Feb. 13 Islamic Circle of North America event aimed to raise money to fund women’s shelters and fight homelessness in the area. 

Still the ripples of hate, stirred by the events of 9/11, are alive and well, and led by politicians and elected officials, no less.