). This is my side journal to learn and think about racism, using the TV series Doctor Who
as a starting point. (I have a lot of "workbooks" like this - for me, it's a good way to learn stuff.)
THIS IS A NO SNARK ZONE. Disagreement and debate are welcome, but lecturing, bitching, and eye-rolling aren't. POC be warned: you may encounter frustrating white people here. Please consider them my problem, not yours. Erm, especially if they're me. :-)
The letters page of one of the local newspapers is hosting a largely predictable series of letters complaining about immigrants. Most of it's just comparatively harmless whinging - "loud, animated conversations in foreign languages" in the food court, OH NOES - which don't really clamour for a response.
One consistent note, though, struck me, because I can relate to it. From one letter:
"I do feel like an alien in my own country when I go to Eastwood and so, therefore, I avoid shopping there... I feel out of place and intimidated."
I've been visiting the nearby suburb of Eastwood for over a decade, mostly to see various doctors, but also to pillage the Asian supermarkets for vegetarian and foodie ingredients (and, more recently, stationery from Morning Glory). Over that time, it's fair to say the suburb has become more conspicuously Korean and Chinese - more signs, more shops.
Despite so many visits, I still occasionally feel a bit peculiar as I rummage through the dumplings. Do I look like an idiot as I slowly trawl the aisles? Do I seem like - am
I in fact a Koreaboo, a fetishist, a fake? Am I intruding on a space which is usually comfortably free of the not always welcoming surrounding culture? Do I, in short, stick out like a sore thumb?
The thing is, in all these years, not one person has ever made me feel unwelcome - not one shopkeeper or random person on the street. A couple of weeks ago I summoned my courage and stepped into a Korean restaurant for only the second time, to be greeted by the whole staff with a hearty "어서 오세요!", and given helpful explanations of some of the more mysterious side dishes.
But for the most part, no-one bats an eyelid at me. My feelings of awkwardness or alienness are just that - my
feelings. So while I can sympathise with other Anglos who feel intimidated, for me, Eastwood is, well, fun.
(I started writing this in dreamer_easy
, then realised it really belonged here. Over there, I'm making weekly postings about Australia's continuing mistreatment of refugees
I'm trying to post a weekly roundup of links at my main lj, dreamer_easy
- lots of news about asylum seekers
, especially with an election coming up in Australia later in the year. There's always much more than I can find time or energy to post, but I saved up a few for seeingred
, so here you go - three opinion pieces from the Australian papers, and one blog posting from the US:So much for a balanced diet
argues that Australian reality TV "could do with a little less white meat".
In Is there such a thing as 'Asian privilege'?
, Candice Chung ponders why the media have explained US fashion designer Alexander Wang's success as not the result of talent but of ethnicity - and why this sort of explanation is so common.
Australia is in an odd position geographically and culturally - a white British outpost next door to Asia. Referring to the lengthy racist tirade
endured by an ABC presenter and his two year old daughter on a Sydney bus, Do we change ourselves or 'the other'?
argues that "Fear of otherness in the Asian Century is something young Australians will want to avoid." Rather, the exploding economies in Asia will create opportunities for Australian students with a grasp of Asian cultures and languages.
Finally, for those who don't already know my shame, last year I became hopelessly obsessed with Kpop. (At least this was before Gangnam Style
.) It's not just about pretty, pretty Korean boys, though: I soon realised that (a) Korea's culture and history are absolutely fascinating and (b) I know next to nothing about them. So I found On South Korean 'Superficiality': We Are Deeper Than You Want To Know
highly relevant to my interests. It offers challenges for any Westerner trying to understand (South) Korean society, especially someone like me whose primary point of contact is through fashion and beauty: "The US has essentially 'branded' the very concept of a free, tolerant society and manages that brand meticulously."
Here's a list of resources I consulted, but in the end didn't cite. Very many of these were thanks to Google Books, which hugely extended the reach of my research; in those cases I'll link directly to them.
btw, I've just finished (skim-) reading Anglo-Chinese Encounters since 1800: War, Trade, Science, and Governance
by Wang Gungwen (Cambridge University Press: 2003) - a short and lucid outline of the recent histories of Britain and China. Don't be fooled by any of this into thinking I've suddenly become an expert; I only found out (from reading Professor Wang's book yesterday) where Malaya is, and that Singapore is a whole country. *脸 手掌*
Bickers, Robert A. Mr Wu and Fu Manchu. China Now
140 spring 1992 pp 28-29.
Richard Condon. The Manchurian Candidate
Ian Fleming. Dr No
Barry Milligan. Pleasures and pains: opium and the Orient in nineteenth-century British culture
. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.
Parker, David. "The Chinese Takeaway and the Diasporic Habitus: Space, Time and Power Geometries". in Hesse, Barnor (ed). Un/settled multiculturalisms: diasporas, entanglements, transruptions
. London; New York: Zed Books, 2000.
Wu, William F. "Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan". in Wu, William F. The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American fiction
, 1850-1940. Hamden, Conn. : Archon Books, 1982.Thomas Burke's Dark Chinoiserie: Limehouse Nights and the Queer Spell of ChinatownEncyclopedia of Asian American Issues TodayHollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Horror Films from the Genre's Golden AgeScreening Asian AmericansWriting Manhood in Black And Yellow: Ralph Ellison, Frank Chin, And the Literary Politics of IdentityDope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug UndergroundOriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the EastDouble Agency: Acts of Impersonation in Asian American Literature and CultureLesser Breeds: Racial Attitudes in Popular British Fiction, 1890-1940The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture: US Popular Print Culture 1860-1920Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries of China and Chineseness( Yet moreCollapse )
Here's a list of the books and journals I cited in my essay
for Doctor Who and Race
(excluding the Fu Manchu books themselves).
Sue Adamson et al. Hidden from Public View? Racism against the Chinese Population
. London: The Monitoring Group, April 2009.
Benton, Gregor and Edmund Terence Gomez (eds.), The Chinese in Britain, 1800-present: Economy, Transnationalism, Identity
, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Stuart Brown et al, Eclipse: Developing strategies to combat racism in theatre
, London: Arts Council England, 2002.
Kathryn Castle. Britannia's Children: reading colonialism through children's books and magazines
. Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press; New York: St. Matin's Press, 1996.
Clarke, Alan. "Interview with David Yip, the Chinese Detective"
. Marxism Today, October 1983, 19-23.
Thomas J. Cogan, "Western Images of Asia: Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril", Waseda Studies in Social Science
, 3,2 (2002), 37-64.
Hamamoto, Darrell Y, Monitored peril: Asian Americans and the politics of TV representation
, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Bill Hornadge, The Yellow Peril: a squint at some Australian attitudes towards Orientals
, Dubbo, NSW: Review Publications, 1971
Kingsbury, Karen, "Yellow Peril, Dark Hero: Fu Manchu and the 'Gothic Bedevilment' of Racist Intent", in Ruth Bienstock Anolik and Douglas L. Howard, eds., The Gothic Other : Racial and Social Constructions in the Literary Imagination
, Jefferson, NC : McFarland & Co, 2004, 104-119.
Lovell, Julia, The Opium War
, Sydney: Picador, 2011.
Ng, Maria Noëlle. Representing Chinatown: Dr. Fu-Manchu at the Disappearing Moon Cafe. Canadian Literature
163 1999, pp 157-175.
Parker, David, "Rethinking British Chinese Identities", in Tracey Skelton and Gill Valentine (eds.), Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Cultures
, London; New York: Routledge, 1998.
Steinmeyer, Jim, The Glorious Deception: the Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvellous Chinese Conjuror"
, New York: Carrol and Graf, 2005.
Cay Van Ash and Elizabeth Sax Rohmer, Master of Villainy: A Biography of Sax Rohmer
, Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972.
James L. Watson, "The Chinese: Hong Kong Villagers in the British Catering Trade", in James L. Watson, ed., Between Two Cultures: Migrants and Minorities in Britain
, Blackwell: Oxford, 1977, 181-213.
And a DVD documentary:Hollywood Chinese
. Dir. Arthur Dong. Deep Focus Productions, 2007.
btw, for an introduction to some of the issues, you could do a lot worse than the short documentaries included with the 2010 Talons
special edition DVD.
As I wind up work on my essay on The Talons of Weng-Chiang
for Doctor Who and Race
, I thought it'd be useful to share some of the resources I've used. Here's a list of links, in no particular order:Chinese Britons have put up with racism for too longOn Yellow Peril ThrillersBritish-Chinese Cinema: Expressions of an almost hidden communityThe Early Chinese Canadians: Racism in Law and SocietyYellowface: Asians on White Screens: Is Charlie Chan really dead?"A Certain Slant": A Brief History of Hollywood YellowfaceFather Knox's Ten CommandmentsLondon's Chinese CommunitiesChinese Lives: Chinese Community in NewhamThe Mixed-Race Families of Limehouse - Myth and RealityBritish East Asian artists lambast ‘racist’ British theatre for lack of acting rolesPassing from Light into DarkOne of Our Dinosaurs is MissingMatthew Sweet on how Hollywood used Anna May Wong to embody Oriental stereotypesQuestion about Festive Pantomime Racism
ETA:Blood of Fu Manchu, or Kiss Me, You FuThe Yellow Peril, Fu Manchu, and the Ethnic FutureThe Page of Fu ManchuBFI bio of Burt Kwouk
| Interview w/Burt KwoukFox's 'Banzai' Premieres to ProtestsI've proved I can handle serial killing; INTERVIEW: David Yip.
| David Yip - The Evolution and History of British Chinese WorkforceSo Sorry... A New Slant on CinemaThe Myth of the Opium Den in Late Victorian EnglandThe Lion Catches Up (The Talons of Weng-Chiang)Photoplay, April 1933: Loy's aim is OccidentalTwo Wongs
(ie, two Anna May Wong movies! Lots of info and screencaps from old Hollywood flicks at this blog.)Movie vs. Book: The Mask of Fu ManchuMickey Rooney upset about claims his 'Tiffany's' role is racistThe Missing Chink
- four funny and thought-provoking sketches from British Chinese comedians Paul Courtnay Hyu and Paul Chan.
Warning: unpleasant old stuff ahead.The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, by Sax RohmerDRUMS OF FU MANCHU (Los Tambores de Fu Manchú-1940)Loy & Karloff in "The Mask of Fu Manchu"Sax Rohmer - Meet Dr Fu Manchu
| How Fu Manchu Was BornThe Rockin' Ramrods' "Don't Fool With Fu Manchu"
. I was really hoping to get this into the essay somewhere!George Formby's "Mr Wu" songs
(if you saw the recent "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", one of these features in it).
And a little modern unpleasantness, from 2008: How China's taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried
. Thank you, Daily
Mail. (For a more thoughtful look at the issues, see Trying to pull together
and Lesotho: Anti-Chinese resentment flares
There are more links which I'll add to this posting later, so bookmark if you're interested. The Web proved invaluable, but as ever, I discovered a lot more at the library (I'll post a bibliography in a bit).
Researching the essay has been a hell of an education; never having studied history or politics, I basically had to absorb the whole concept of colonialism in one huge gulp! The world makes a lot more sense now. As there is a limited amount of paper in the world, naturally I had to leave out a huge amount of stuff - material for future postings and essays.
(I'd also like to note that trying to explain this stuff in a discussion of The Celestial Toymaker
was a useful reminder of why POC get so frustrated online. ;)