Master of None

Reversed racism, recently I saw this standup comedy show of reversed racism and it changed my entire perspective of revered racism. I always thought there was a possibility of reversed racism but I recently realized that you cannot create systematic racism of white people. There may be some racial commentary, but you can’t have racism towards them, there isn’t systemic system that enables them in anyway. I feel bad for the new generation of white people, but I don’t know. What do you think?

In this episode of Master of None, it was about brown faced acting roles. Similar to Asians or all the minorities, there are acting roles that exaggerates the culture of the race and I find it very offensive. In Master of None, it was awesome how he brought this brown faced issue up. It’s these tye f shows that creates the right representation of racial groups. I enjoyed this show very much because it deals with current issues that this society does not like to face. And this on of the many episode that deals for social issues.




Hello Cultural Appropriation!

Ever since we were shown Avril Lavigne’s music video named “Hello Kitty” in class this past Tuesday, I can hear her voice when I think of the words hello kitty in my head. I have always been a fan of Lavigne’s music and I have never come across this video. I have all these mixed feelings about the video. I still struggle to fully comprehend what it meant (to her as well), what was even happening, and why this happened. This has a lot to do with my relationship and understanding of Hello Kitty.

Growing up, my older sisters were very into Hello Kitty. I also grew to like it because it was cute but as that age, I did not fully grasp what she stood for. I didn’t find meaning in a relationship with her. Honestly, I didn’t even know she was from Sanrio’s world. During my teenage years, I have grown to adore other Sanrio icons much more than Hello Kitty. I wasn’t a collector of the sort since my family nor I cannot afford such consumption. Hello Kitty was never a huge deal for me.

When we watched the Gwen Stefani video, I also didn’t really know how to feel about it. I definitely felt that it was wrong and what she did was very offensive. But the thing was, I never really know in context the intentions behind the lyrics, the specific group of Japanese girls, and the word “Harajuku”. In her book, Pink Globalization, Yano clarified for me that Harajuku is a commercial mecca of the street youth culture in Japan, where it exhibited an overload of cuteness. I can’t believe she also had a period of her career where these girls followed her everywhere she went. I wonder if she has ever come to terms that what she did was appropriate this culture.

As Yano also points out, there does seem to be shifting meanings of goods – which are depended on where they are being distributed. It is obvious that Hello Kitty and Harajuku girls (Asian people in general) were made an accessory to these white celebrities. The message was loud and clear. The only time Asian culture would appear trendy or on the big screen, shown to this side of the world, is if it becomes an accessory founded by white people. With all of this in mind, we can easily come to the conclusion that this is cultural appropriation by Hollywood celebrities at its finest. This makes me sick to my stomach.

When we were discussing cultural appropriation and who really owns anything in their culture in class, I was pretty upset. Taking something from someone’s culture, without no acknowledgement of the culture itself, and trying to stake the claim on it is essentially stealing. No, that is not ok. Credit should be given where it is due.

Princess of Asia

On Tuesday in class, we discussed cultural appropriation specifically in music. During class, we watched several music videos including, Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty,” Gwen Stefani’s “Harajuku Girls,”A Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girls,” and Coldplay’s “Princess of China,” Our discussion for Coldplay’s video was cut short as class ended, but I continued to think about it.
I have been listening to Coldplay for the longest time and had never seen the video for “Princess of China” before. When Mylo Xyloto came out, Princess of China easily became one of my favorite songs because I enjoyed listening to it (aka not for special meanings, etc). Because of that, I never really looked that closely at it — looked up the lyrics or saw the video, etc. After watching that video, I am very confused for several reasons. The first reason is what we discussed in class – this song is called “Princess of China” which should mean that the video should take place in China and have Chines characteristics, right? Well, while the video does include those things, it also includes things from other Asian cultures. Isn’t this song about China?
After I got out of class, I listened to the song again and tried to listen more closely to words to try and get some closure. I could not, however, because I could not hear anything that talked about China at all. I looked up the lyrics just to make sure I had not missed anything and could still not find anything related to China directly in the lyrics.
My next step in this investigation was to go online and try and search for the meaning of the song. Maybe I was missing something deeper. The best that I could find was that this song about was a breakup where she was his princess because of how much he valued her and how in love they were. The China part possibly comes in from the idea that China dolls and plates, etc. are very fragile and easily damaged, just like his princess. This is a very subtle reference, but in a way it reminds of the lotus flower image of Asian women.
One of the things that also struck me about this video is the that Rihanna and Chris Martin are presented. The way that Chris Martin was marching/walking with such purpose as he was going up to the “castle” in a way sort of reminds me of Orientalism in the sense that he is the White man going to take away or save the Eastern princess (Rihanna).
At this point, the song and the title now make a little bit more sense… However, I feel now like the video was very forced, where they have the word “China” in the title so they need to do something in the video that relates to the idea of China-ness… except then they added so many other cultures so it becomes very confusing – especially when adding in Rihanna’s sex appeal considering she is supposed to be this delicate, fragile China doll.
In the end, the song ended up making sense to me, but the way in which the music video was executed, which is supposed to be bring the story in the song to life, makes no sense leaving the viewer very confused.
@Coldplay, pls explain.

Cultural Appropriation in Media

After watching various videos on cultural appropriation in class this week, I’ve become even more aware of the contents that are going around in the media throughout our daily lives. This connects to several weeks ago when we were discussing the same issue with using the oriental as props. Even though a lot of the videos include Asian Americans, those Asian Americans still aren’t given the chance to speak up nor to break out of the stereotypes. In the videos we see, Asian Americans are usually the backup dancers who look identical to each other and with no facial expressions. Just because some of the lyrics are related to or the singers want to convey the extent to which they’re interested in the Asian culture doesn’t mean they should go ahead and incorporate those aspects that they associate Asians/Asian Americans with in their videos. By doing so, those singers sound more oblivious toward the offensive contents that they’re producing.

Take Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty,” for example – when I first heard the song a year ago, I simply thought it was weird; now that I revisited it in class, I couldn’t look past the video’s attempt in making the Japanese backup dancers look identical. If the video were truly about embracing Japanese culture, then what were the reasons for having four backup dancers to look the same? Furthermore, why were those dancers dancing in the background with straight faces? They look more like moving dolls – merely decorations in the music video compared to actually being in the video.

Yes, sometimes, it may be difficult to define the fine line between what’s offensive and what’s not. Yet, other times, the extent to which people don’t see offensive materials when the media is presenting those right in people’s faces is just downright surprising.