This week we looked at Asian American and their representation in pornography and how their roles have changed since the creation of this industry. It seems almost unbelievable but in the early 1920s when porn was just starting to begin as an industry, Asian Americans actually did not play any role in this industry. Literally, Asian Americans did not participate and it was another act of yellowfacing done by White Americans who portrayed “Asian” characteristics. This was done by a certain kind of make up, taped back eyes to make them look slanted, silk robes, chopsticks, and other absurd stereotypical traits tied to Asian culture. It makes me so angry but like literally y’all, Asian Americans were not physically in the porn industry but white people still wanted to portray them in the films. This all ties back to the idea of western imperialism and colonization and the west trying to conquer the east, the fear and mystique of the oriental, and this notion of American society dominating the racial relations with other ethnic groups displayed by White men sexually being involved with other women of color.
While many people may look down upon the porn industry, it is still important to have Asian Americans represent Asian pornstars and not have other people try to represent us. This relates back to if we want our stories told and do not want to be ignored as a group of people, we need to be the ones to tell those stories. We need to be the storytellers, the script writers, the directors, the actors, and the producers. Asia Carrera, a female Asian American pornstar, detailed how she started writing her own scripts, directing her movies, and found it as a form of self-empowerment. She was able to use her sexuality as a power to subvert the dominant paradigm. We need more individuals who are willing to take on those roles in order to tell the stories of a group of people who have historically been ignored and treated as invisible.
On another note, “People love black culture but nobody loves black people.” – Anonymous
This is a saying that has often been played in my mind as I dived into the issues of anti-blackness and what it meant for the Asian American community. I am going to get a little more informal for this part but allow me to speak my mind. The dialogue we had today in class was beneficial because I believe that having this conversation is an important step towards creating any type of change. As a person of color, I find it detrimental when communities of color cannot find a middle ground to become allies towards one another. However, at the very same time, I understand the systemic barriers and institutionalized racism that creates these same problems.
For the record, reverse racism does not exist. For those who do believe it exists fails to see the systemic oppression caused by racism and cannot even hope to understand the struggle people of color face as they deal with racism everyday in their lives. When movements like #blacklivesmatter surfaces, as an ally, we must all support this movement by acknowledging #blacklivesmatter and not turn it into #alllivesmatter. Those who change the movement fail to see the need to specify a certain community’s struggles and even tries to undermine and make their struggles seem less significant by changing the movement’s name. The image below explains perfectly what I mean by this.
Let us continue as scholars, as classmates, and as human beings to continue challenging the dominant paradigm and allowing our peers to find a space to voice out their challenges and if they cannot find this space then it is on us to help create and respect this space for them.