@ChrisRock, #OscarsSoWhite, and Asian Jokes

Reviews have been mixed to negative on Chris Rock’s performance as host of the Oscar’s on Sunday night. And while there are a number of critiques that break down Rock’s performance well (see here), I want to give the spotlight to two articles in particular.

First, Grace Ji-Sun Kim — an associate professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion — over at Time magazine put out a quick piece highlighting the failure of Chris Rock to break out of the black-white binary. And in the process, perpetuate the same kind of tokenism and racism that so many black people are upset at hollywood about directing towards them.

In one skit, Rock brings out three Asian children (KIDS! CHILDREN! BABIES!) whom he refers to as his accountants (get it, because all Asian people are successful and good at math) — and then, kicks it up a notch by telling the crowd that if they had a problem with his jokes they should tweet about it on the phones that were also made by those kids (get it, because child labor is fucking hilarious). (more…)

Chinese Lunar New Year: Food, Family… and Basketball!

Monday February 8, marked the Chinese lunar new year, an event celebrated by Chinese all over the world. Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel across the globe to reunite with families (In China, there is even a specific name for this travel season, Chunyun, which describes the extremely high traffic load around this time of year), to participate in what has been called the largest annual human migration in the world. And while there are slight differences in the zodiac, this same lunar calendar cycle is also shared by Vietnamese, Tibetans, Koreans, and Mongolian peoples.

[You can read more about the Chinese zodiac here]

Lunar calendars — that is, any calendar based on the cycles of the moon — trace back millennia to the Ancient Chinese, Greeks, Babylonians, and Jews. In fact, there are many cultures around the world today, such as the Islamic Hijri Qamari Calendar, Chinese Calendar, Hebrew Calendar, and Hindu Calendar, that still mark their calendars by the moon, and each follows a different lunar phase for determining the start of their annual cycle. There are also many who use the Gregorian calendar for everyday use but use the lunar calendar to determine holidays and festive occasions. (more…)

The Civil Tube: Asians Eat Weird Things (Music Video)

We’re in a music kind of mood over here at the Civil Word. This week’s Civil Tube comes by way of the Fung Brothers who created this spoof to showcase the wide range of cuisine eaten across the Asian diaspora. And yes, the lyrics are strong and the production level is quite high, but the really the reason this video is so special is because it promotes good ole-fashioned pride. Asian-Americans and traditional Asian cuisine are otherized and exoticized to an remarkable degree — and videos like this are an exercise in reclamation. Gotta love it. Lyrics below the fold.


Friday News Round Up!

Get ’em while they’re hot!


Washington Post: Sotomayor accuses colleagues of trying to wish away racial inequality

Slate: OKCupid and race- is it racist to date only people of your own race?

Colorlines: Wanted- disgruntled Asian American to attack affirmative action

Bitch Magazine: Net neutrality is a feminist issue- here’s why.

The Civil Tube: What kind of Asian are you?

I think we could all use a Civil Tube double-dose (the second video’s after the fold).

So… What kind of Asian are you? Where are you really from?

For many Asian-Americans having your heritage examined and put on display is just a part of life here in the United States. No matter if you were born in Phoenix, Arizona or the Phuket Province these types of questions serve no other purpose but to remind you that you are not seen as really being from here. In the video below, watch as Stella Choe flips the script and gives her own hilarious response to the age-old question of “What kind of Asian are you?”