What Kind of Asian Are You? … Ramble

I just read Charlene Cheung’s account of deflecting the racism she deals with on a regular basis using comedy on XOJane.com.  She said she’s not a great comic, but I think in future she might aim for something like this:

If you haven’t read my blog before I’m Eurasian, which the census poll does not count as Asian.  I have to check the “two races of more” box if there is one and if there isn’t I have to check the “OTHER” box. Other. Ick.

Recently one of my lifelong friends told me that she didn’t know Eurasian was considered it’s own race. So, hmm I have two or more races but I don’t have a race? It’s not that she’s racist, it’s just that she doesn’t have to deal with racism on a daily basis and so she doesn’t even think about these things, the way I have throughout my life. And yes she’s 100% Irish to put her POV into context.

I’ve worked at some huge global brands and had several bosses and co-workers who thought it was okay to make jokes or call me rasict names to my face. Hmm….makes me think some of the follow-up comments to the above “What Kind of Asian Are You?” video might be from them:

Three weeks ago I went to a bar with two friends for a Slurry Bee (shots are taken before each round of spelling). Afterwards, we were talking to a group of guys who had come from playing soccer down the street. I play in a league on Wednesdays and they were looking for more women for their Tuesday night games so it seemed like a good idea to join their team. That’s when Mr. Kentucky sat down and told (it wasn’t a question) me and my friend Tina – “Let me just be racist for one second here.” I counted to one. That didn’t deter this drunkard.

He went on to let us know that he grew up as a ‘white priviledged guy’ and he’s an engineer. He has a Eurasian cousin who he never thought about being different…ok, until someone pointed it out to him. He also let us know that until the late 80’s the state song of Kentucky contained the word “darky” and it was a visit from a foreign Japanese diplomat that pointed it out and it was removed. Sorry buddy, you got that wrong- it was Carl Hines, the only African American of the House of Representatives who was present when visiting Japanese students singing the song  pointed it out that it was removed several days later (what about the word ‘coon!?’ pretty awful crap!) , but whatever you were offended such things could still be around so recently.

The best was yet to come though. Now, clearly more than one second went by while this guy was telling us his lifestory and edu-ma-cating two clearly non-white women about racism. He told us until he moved to NY he never knew how much “white-on-white” racism existed- you know between Catholics & Jewish people. He also could not believe there was a divide between different Latin cultures when he lived in The Bronx. I told him to rent “West Side Story.” It also freaked him out that whenever anyone at work would ask him where he was from and he said Kentucky, elitest New Yorkers thought less of him, despite him being an engineer. He now works from home.

We all have our crosses to bare.

Well, Charlene, I use humor to deflect racism, it prevents things from escalating to a danger level. I don’t mock my Asian roots the way you do, I more ‘Asian up’ and embrace the special things about that part of my ethnicity. Humor helps to diffuse but I don’t use it as a way to make excuses for how I drive, that would be because I’m a WOMAN, not because I’m two races or more (it is more I am also a bit Welsch). Bwahahah! Ok, my driving is a result of a) being rear-ended 3 times while stopped at a stop light b) lead foot after watching “The Fast and The Furious Part Six”!

Here is my sister Erin’s speech that also uses a lot of humor to deflect the racism she deals with in casting and this speech left some actors in tears. It also left some younger actors telling her afterward no way am I going to go on this career path- some skin is tougher than others:

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Crush of the Week: Scott Fujita…Ramble

You might be scratching your head wondering if Scott Fujita is the ultimate Eurasian– Caucasian first name, Japanese last name and he is a professional linebacker. If you’re not a football fan but you do watch the Superbowl you probably scratched your head when his photo and name seemed to be a little at odds.

Well, Scott was adopted by a mixed couple. His father is Japanese and his mother is Caucasian. He does consider himself Japanese and was raised to be so, thus his YouTube show ‘Who Dat Fish.’ Basically after each Saints’ win, Fujita makes a Sushi role in honor of a member of his team. It’s an adorable idea that shows off the fun side of the players.

Why is he my crush this week? While Fujita was part of The Saints winning the Superbowl, he just signed a new $14 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns. Need more reasons for a crush on this fellow? He speaks out and goes on record as being a liberal supporting both a woman’s right to choose and gay rights, and gives back actively. Mr. Fujita you are a fine person indeed.

(P.S. sorry ladies, gawk all you want at this good-natured Californian, he is married with two adorable little girls.)

The Piano Teacher is my Highlander…Ramble

What is it about the allure of bookstores? It’s like Target where you go in for one thing and walk out with a stack of ‘essentials’ and down easily $100. Of course, being a recession, I don’t go into bookstores as often as in the past and I have limited myself as I’m the Highlander and there can be only one!

I was tearing myself from table to table reading book jackets and skimming first pages to decide. As my stack grew, the books battled each other until I came across Janice Y. K. Lee’s The Piano Teacher. Game. Set. Match. Highlander decimates the rest in one swing of a sword (aka the word Eurasian.) I had meant to read this book for a year.

When Will Truesdale first appears in the small social circle of Hong Kong, Trudy Liang an effervescent socialite claims him. Trudy is half Portuguese and half Chinese. Trudy is so vividly described she swept me under her spell as she did Will. She reminded me so much of my dear friend Jamie I thought Ms. Lee must know her and taken notes.  It added another layer to the story that is already glamorous, captivating and riveting on its own.

The Piano Teacher set in Hong Kong in two eras with the Japanese invasion and then a decade later its reprecussions and how they have effected those who survived it. As the ‘how’ the characters survived the war unfolds, there is a cinematic feel as each intrigue takes place. Although I’ve never been to Hong Kong in my extensive travels, I could see the color of the ocean the prison faced.

It was fascinating to read the opinions of those who were friends with that outlandish, colorful Eurasian femme fatal when it was fashionable and then showed their true feelings in the war. Unfortunate that Eurasians never fit into one world or another. I have sometimes felt that way– not Asian enough for the Chinese, not white enough for the Irish side.

Ten years after the war we meet Claire Pendleton, a yet-to-bloom English rose, hired as a Piano Teacher for a prominent Chinese family The Chens. Will is their driver. There are mysteries to unlock and all the while you are falling in love with the jet set and wondering how fast you can book your ticket to Hong Kong but unable to put this book down late into the night just to know what happens next.

It will take a lot to knock my Highlander choice from the spot it now holds in my head and heart. If you like historical novels The Piano Teacher is a must read.

p.s. just for fun a little Corey Hart ‘Eurasian Eyes’ – audio isn’t the greatest on the video. Watch the second one for better audio, but not the original video.

Better audio: