Anonymous asked: Hey, i'm really sorry to bother, but can you help explain Yellowface a bit more? I dont really understand how white paint is yellowface since it isnt yellow but my reading isnt good because i have autism im sorry
Yellowface is another example of the racism prevalent in American culture. Yellowface means more than a white person wearing make-up to look Asian. It also describes the systematic bias against hiring real Asians to play Asian roles shown by white producers, directors, and others who control the depiction of Asians in popular culture through casting decisions and the propagation of racist Asian stereotypes and caricatures.
Racist Asian Stereotypes
When Asian immigrants first arrived in the United States, they were welcomed as cheap labor. But after the California gold rush brought a flood of Asian immigrants to California, the cheap Asian labor began to be seen as a threat. What began as neutral or amusing stereotypical caricatures of Asians soon took on more negative connotations.
The “Coolie” stereotype originated with Chinese laborers in the 1850s as a means of preventing Chinese from entering the skilled trades. The lowest-paying unskilled jobs were called “coolie labor” or “n****r work.”
The “Yellow Peril” or pollutant stereotype began to take hold in 1890s California. Asians were viewed as alien and a threat to wage-earners, and a movement began that had the goal of making California racially pure.
The “Deviant” stereotype was a response to the movement of Asians from common labor to household servants, laundrymen, and operators of opium dens, and the importation of women for prostitution.
Asian women have often been portrayed as cunning “Dragon Ladies” — aggressive or opportunistic sexual beings or predatory gold diggers. Non-threatening stereotypes include servile Lotus Blossoms, China dolls, and Geisha girls.
The “Gook” stereotype originated with the US Military during the Korean War as a generic term for Asians, and became more popular during the Vietnam War. A gook is an invisible and powerful enemy with superhuman endurance and ability to absorb punishment.
The “Model Minority” stereotype originated in the 1950s as a representation of successful assimilation of Asians that was contrasted with the less successful assimilation of Blacks and Hispanics.
As a trickle turned into a flood, (between 1850 and 1930, about one million Asians from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India came to the United States) a backlash soon developed.
"Yellowface" portrayals date to at least 1767 in the United States, when Arthur Murphy’s theatrical work The Orphan of China was presented in Philadelphia.
Whites in Yellowface have a long history on screen, beginning with Mary Pickford’s Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly (1915).
A phenomenon wherein white actors are cast to portray what were originally non-white characters is called “whitewashing.” Instead of using yellow face makeup, the film makers change the race or origin of the characters.
The most blatant contemporary example of Yellowface in Western European media is a character created by Dutch TV and later adopted by Danish TV called Ushi; a caricature of a Japanese woman, but played by white women.
In 1997, The National Review magazine published an illustrated cover of then President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, in stereotypical Oriental garb and featuring caricatured features, buck teeth and slanted eyes.
I wanted to write this post to clear up any miscommunication that may be happening around the past weekend. For those of you who haven’t been following me closely on social media, last weekend I went to Ferguson, Missouri for the weekend of events called Ferguson October. This was a weekend of events such as protests, forums, acts of civil disobedience, marches, and many other events. This ‘Weekend of Resistance’ was put together by many different organizations like The Organization for Black Struggle, Hands Up United, Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment and Color of Change to protest the death of Michael Brown. For those of you who don’t know, Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson despite being unarmed and having his hands up. There are many different accounts of what happened that day and none of us can truly know what happened. After Mike Brown was murdered, Darren Wilson went on paid leave and has yet to be charged (he is still currently on paid leave).
Now I’m not here to convince you that Darren Wilson committed murder that night. But I am here to tell you that police brutality is all too common these days and it is unacceptable. Police brutality can take many different forms like excessive force, false arrest or imprisonment, unreasonable search (think Stop and Frisk laws), racial profiling, sexual assault, etc. The statistics on how often black people are killed by police is disgusting. Some studies (Operation Ghetto Storm) suggest that every 28 hours a black man, woman, or child is killed by someone who is employed and protected by the US government (mainly police officers). The pattern of police killings of black people is appalling. But beyond the black community, police brutality affects everyone. Police brutality is an American issue. I had white friends who stood in solidarity with me over the weekend who were beat by policemen and treated like scum while we were in jail. The reality of the black community is that we have no one to call when we are victimized and abused by police officers. The police have no accountability system and they are essentially above the law. This isn’t just an issue for the black community to focus on, we need everyone. The beauty of the Ferguson October movement was that it was such a diverse group of people seeking a common goal: justice. Young, old, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, clergy, LGBT, Palestinian, black, white, yellow, whatever. We were all there together fighting for justice.
As for my arrest, I went to jail for unlawful assembly. Essentially, 18 other protestors and myself were arrested for an act of civil disobedience. We performed a sit in at a QuikTrip by sitting on the ground in front of the gas station and locking arms, refusing to move. We were ruthlessly beat by a riot team. We were maced, hit with batons, tear gassed, and painfully forced into zip ties. Jail wasn’t particularly pleasant considering the contempt that the police officers showed towards us but it was worth it in the end. We found civil disobedience to be particularly effective because:
- Our protests were peaceful.
- The act of civil disobedience garnered public attention.
- Mass media, live streamers, and any random person with a camera captured pictures and videos of police brutality.
- We showed the police officers, media, and those around us that we were willing to be jailed to stand up for what we believe in.
Jail is a whole other conversation that I’m not wanting to post online but if you want to hear more about my experience in jail come talk to me. Like I said, I was arrested with 18 other people and we are known as the QuikTrip 19. If you want to look up more about us search #QT19 on Twitter. The exciting thing about the QuikTrip 19 is that the average age of those arrested was 23. We recognize that we have influence and that we can use that to effect change; our age will not hinder our mission. The sad thing is that St. Louis County has continually been posting high, cash only bails for protestors which are almost impossible to pay. Posting high cash bonds effectively says that the government wants to silence us and won’t allow us to have a voice.
If I’m being honest, coming back to school has been very difficult for me. This was one of the most impactful weekends of my entire life and I’m struggling to step back into everyday life. I’m earnestly searching for ways that I can stand up against police brutality against the black community (and other communities as well) back in Minneapolis. I have connections after this weekend and am hoping to wake people up to realize that police brutality is real. Another struggle for me is the fact that many Bethel students are clueless to the reality of police brutality or they simply are apathetic about it. Many people haven’t experienced police brutality but I’m here to tell you that it is very real. Hear my stories.
In conclusion, I want this post to create room for conversation around race but I also want people to wake up to the realities of police brutality towards black people (and all people). People are making history and advocating for change, don’t get left behind. Being apathetic towards a situation only perpetuates the injustices that are already happening:
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr.
I’d love to hear your opinions on race, privilege, and police brutality. Even if you want to disagree with me that’s fine, I want to hear all opinions. All viewpoints are valuable. So much more has happened this past weekend that this post hasn’t even touched on so come talk to me.
I WAS THINKING WE COULD DO A KNITTING/DONATION DRIVE FOR THE FOLKS PROTESTING IN FERGUSON. THE WEATHER’S GOING TO GET COLD AND I AM SURE THEY WOULD APPRECIATE HATS AND MITTENS WHEN THEY’RE OUT THERE.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN FERGUSON IS IMPORTANT AND I WANT TO LEND A HAND. IF EVEN A FEW OF YOU COULD HELP OUT WE COULD MAKE A SMALL DIFFERENCE.