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On Yellow Face, Racial Parody, and White Denial

The fight over the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of The Mikado, that just closed it’s summer run, has been noisy and contentious. So noisy and contentious that it earned a special segment on the MSNBC show, Melissa Harris-Perry, this past weekend.

What’s all the noise about? Yellow face. Yellow face refers to a form of racist caricature wherein non-Asian actors wear stereotypically Asian costumes and styles, and speak in ridiculous accents for laughs. Yellow face is the anti-Asian version of black face.

The controversy went wide when Seattle Times columnist Sharon Pian Chan went after the …

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“How I Met Your Mother” is Part of a Bigger Problem

 

Like so many, I was dismayed to learn through this Twitterstorm of outrage about the latest yellow-face antics to show up in U.S. pop culture. It’s a long running, ugly pattern. The underrepresentation of Asian Americans in film and television is bad enough without white performers exploiting warped, racist ideas about Asian cultures. The show’s creators apologized, but it doesn’t erase the cumulative damage of historic anti-Asian racism

And TV and film are only the tip of the iceberg. Coverage of Asian Americans in U.S. political media is dismal too. ChangeLab started tackling this problem by analyzing mainstream …