Do Chinee Wear Shworts’r?

Not to take a too hard line on it, but what’s up with the Dutch?

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A Shworts’r and Chinee walk into a bar…

It would appear that even their “Dutch” girl is not stereotype-proof, but why the urge to typecast others?

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Old recipes?

As it turns out, the Dutch or Deutsch are Germans who emigrated en masse to America’s high plains in the 1700’s.  These German “plains people”  then came to Pennsylvania to flee persecution and subesquently became the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Read David Laskin’s Children’s Blizzard for an indepth view of  how these emigres fared in the New World and how they lived through the harrowing 1888 blizzard.

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The International

Blizzards aside, I can’t find any good explanation for including weird off-color images of people in these old time cookbooks.  Is it because the Dutch lost their way when they landed here?  Did they forget what it was like to be on the receiving end of prejudice and persecution?  Many were indentured servants or sold off as slaves by “soul drivers” * who would march them through Pennsylvania towns to sell at auction.

According to independent food historian, William Woys Weaver, even their cuisine got lost: groundhog, yes; shoofly pie, no.

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Consider the groundhog

 

 

 

*explorepahistory.com

 

 

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Bad People

There is a myth circulated among families with young children, mostly white families, that cops only put “bad people” in jail.  I wonder how they’re choosing to define “bad” people–what do these people look like?

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Bad People

Do they look like former LAPD officers Koon, Powell, Wind and Briseno?  Because they look pretty shitty to me.

From what I can gather from media reports and various articles, the police seem very bad at math––four cops to subdue one Rodney King, forty-one shots in one Amadou Diallo, and six hands all around Eric Garner’s neck in what some cops refuse to admit was a chokehold.

According to a NY Magazine online article, cops anonymously posting on police message boards e.g. Thee Rant, PoliceOne on the Eric Garner killing are stirring up “racial, political and professional tensions, most of them quite ugly”.  Quel surprise!

Here’s one I found almost poetic.

SAPDMAS:

Again if Mr walking heart attack had simply put his hamburger shovels behind his back, he wouldn’t have had a heartbattackmfor over exerting himself. The NYPD did absolutely nothing wron. Tomthe guys slamming these NYPD officekrs, I and many here wouldn’t want any of you guys around us on a critical,incident. Hopefully you guys are desk jockeys.

 

Note the almost alliterative quality:  “his hamburger shovels behind his back…”  Not sure what all the extra letters are for, though.  Is it part of a cryptic message to his police buddies?

Cops are hard to like, but we are not supposed to like them.  They are an institution created by the rich to keep the poor in their place.  Mostly in jail and in squalor.  As in keep that swarm of swarthy foreigners away from my lily white family.

Yes boss.

 

 

Colored

Years ago someone asked me if I considered myself “colored” and I think about this from time to time.

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From the Dutch

The person asking was (and still is) herself black, and I wonder if she did not consider me to be colored because I’m not black. Not colored enough?  But all the nonwhites in South Africa’s apartheid era could have told her:  If you’re not white, you’re colored.

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It’s so fan

So, yes, I consider myself colored.  But more to the point I feel colored because America has not let me forget that I am not white for all of my life.   It also happens that being faced  with how the rest of the world sees you when you’re made up into merchandise is another clue that you’re colored.  Like a slit-eyed fan.  The manufacturers are Dutch.  You know, the Boer War and the slaughter of the Zulus.

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Et tu, Dr. Seuss?

Or how Dr. Seuss sees me: A slanty-eyed, conniving traitor.  Ouch, Theodor, what gives!  You know where you can shove your green eggs and ham.

Well Dr. Seuss was in his full adulthood (and race hatred) during the fifties when it was the thing to muck people up into carciatures without breaking a sweat.  He did so with blacks and Arabs as well.  I could go on, but read this good article on Dr. Seuss and his outdated books instead: Horn Book.

 

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What’s her excuse? San Juan, PR

And don’t forget about the people who coopt your identity for their own selfish commerical purposes, like this girl trying to get customers into her (or her boss’s) “sushi” resturant.  I’ll just have a hot dog, thanks.

 

However it is important to understand that Seuss Geisel, helped fuel that racism and war hysteria with many racist cartoons that he published during that time. His cartoons targeting Japanese Americans directly contributed to the public support of Executive Order 9066 (the executive order that incarcerated Japanese Americans). This is not an opinion, much like Hitler’s anti-Semitism is not an opinion, for Geisel’s hatred of Japanese is well documented, and is chronicled in American history books. Unfortunately our family has had a direct impact and has suffered directly from Geisel’s cartoons.

––Steve Wong, Curator, Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

Read his full letter here

 

 

James Beard & The Fu Manchu Syndrome

I’m not Chinese, but what the fuck James Beard?

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Which one is more fucked up than the others?

Why did James Beard and Alice and Martin Provensen think it was okay to fall into the lazy foot steps of stereotyping and demonizing a whole demographic into Fu Manchu?  Oh, with a foreward by Mark Bittman no less.

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What the fuck, James Beard?

Hey, I like fancy food just as much as the next person–who doesn’t want to eat raspberry and rhubarb together?  But why is his estate allowing these outdated racist images to remain in his book?  Like, doink, this is not the 1950’s.

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Inscrutable!

Though?  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s most likely due to our narrow-minded and ignorant Orange-American president that it feels like we’ve been set back 60 years so we might as well be in the fifties with all of its backward notions and nostalgia about things that ‘never was’ the way you thought it was.

Dig?

“Chinaman”!
“Laundryman”!
Don’t call me “man”!
I am worse than a slave.

Wash! wash!
Why can I wash away
The dirt of others’ clothes
But not the hatred of my heart?
My skin is yellow,
Does my yellow skin color the clothes?
Why do you pay me less
For the same work?

––excerpted from “Chinaman, Laundryman” by Hsi-tseng Tsiang

 

Immigrant

I ain’t your f**king model minority.

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Most generalizations about the Asian immigrants are flawed. New stereotypes, like ”hard-working” and ”obsessed with education,” fail just as badly as old ones, like ”inscrutable” and ”clannish.” Still, as you travel around the country meeting the new immigrants in their homes and on the job, a sense quickly emerges that, despite the problems that bedevil them, they comprise a powerhouse of drive and ambition that is likely to have a broad impact on the life of the country.

–NY Times Archive, (5/9/82). “The New Asian Immigrants.”

The plight of the immigrant in America is centuries old.  Remember the Middle Passage with its forced and brutal migration of black people into the Americas where they would become chattel and spill their blood for generations of seemingly lazy and entitlement-obsessed white people?  There are some people who want to forget the four hundred years of slavery and violence against black people, the genocide of Native Americans, and the ongoing war against poor and colored people, but that trick is getting old. Just because you don’t want to talk about it doesn’t mean these issues go away.  Things will get worse.

I know Society is super eager and excited to put the burden of “model minority” on my shoulders, but Society must shove it.  I am not going to play the “other” for Society’s sake. I don’t care that Society cannot find its place in time unless it subjugates and co-opts my identity.  I claim the right to be an asshole as much as any colonizer (without the plantation and slaves of course).

Oh to be an asshole, let me count the ways:

  • don’t hold the door for the old person behind you
  • fuck saving a seat for your lame-ass friend at the bar
  • eat the last hammantaschen
  • don’t compliment anyone on their hair
  •  don’t move to the middle on the subway
  • don’t give up your seat for the old or pregnant on the bus
  • tell your friend he’s fat
  • lock your sister in the bathroom

My list could go on.  But really, isn’t this just the normal stuff we do to each other?