There’s something in the air, and it stinks. Sniff, sniff, did you catch it? It sits just under that powerful stench of Mom, baseball locker room sweat, and rotten apple pie. It’s Anti-Asian sentiment.
That rotting apple pie smell is the open hate for brown-skinned people in our nation whose first language isn’t American-styled English, who worship other (read: heathen) gods, who do not fulfill the standards of the American dream as dictated by “true” Amrurikans.
STFU Conservatives covered the karma against Japan backlash. Anonymous Writer’s response covered what many of us Asian-Americans were feeling about Alexandra Wallace’sYouTube racist rant. Incidentally, Japanese Buddhists do not need lessons on karma. They understand the concept very well, doomo arigatoo.
The hate, fear mongering, and suspicious attitudes are primarily aimed at East Asia, not Asia as a whole. Most of the western world still views Asia as defined by China, Korea, and Japan. Mongolia, Laos, Turkmenistan, or Armenia are not the names that pop into westerners’ minds when conjuring the continent and its many nations, cultures, and languages. When Amanda Wallace spoke “ching chong” and mentioned the “tsunami thing” it (im)perfectly demonstrated the racist notions of “they all look and sound alike.” Maybe we do to many of you, those of you who haven’t gotten to know us, feel we’re too quiet and inscrutable, not friendly enough, because we don’t act Amurikan (or Canadian). Don’t you know how our people have been coming here since the 1800s, built your transcontinental railroads, established the lush agricultural industry of central California, volunteered our sons when our family members were locked up “camps,” submitted to your immigration laws that specifically targeted “Mongol” people? Doctors used to refer to Down Syndrome people as having Mongolism. Even the dictator of North Korea is prime for ridicule about his appearance and seemingly bizarre ways. Yes, he is off balance, despicable, and out of touch with the rest of the world, but why is he such an easy target? Yellow people are funny and scary.
This has been building up for a while. I noticed it during the midterm elections of 2010 with the China bashing messages by conservative groups and candidates. Canadian magazine MacLean’s questioned if their prestigious universities were becoming “too Asian”. Our appearances and actions don’t conform to the White standard, as dictated by the first colonists/immigrants of North America. You got here first, is that it? Our people “back home” aren’t plotting evil schemes for world domination a la Fu Manchu.
Those of us living in North America are still relegated (denigrated) to being the perpetual foreigner.
The previous decade there seemed to be a rising trend of celebrating Asian things. Bollywood, The Namesake, Kal Penn, and other “Indian things” (the whole Indian subcontinent was lumped as one, with very little distinguishing among the countries, regions, or politcs). Interest in “new age” trends such as “Eastern medicine” and feng shui. Remember that year of Chinese-y things with chi-pao inspired tops, chopstick-like hair ornaments, and satin fabric printed with tiny cherry blossoms? Chinatown stores were overrun. If you missed that Chinese junk, you can still satisfy your Oriental fetish by ordering from AsianIdeas.com and similar sites. I ranted about the problems with many of these items.
So what changed? Is it because our country is in debt to our eyeballs to China? We fear the rising economic power of China and South Korea? What’s going on? Are we regressing, dancing backwards?
It’s the return of yellow peril. Me no likey.