1. I’m 15 and for the first time in my life, a teacher calls me out on sleeping in class when I’ve been awake the whole time. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier, because kids have made fun of my eyes since preschool. Times are a-changing I guess. I’m the only Asian in my class, one of three in my entire high school, and people bring it up all the time for the rest of the year. I get it. It’s funny, that time our old, kinda-racist teacher thought I was sleeping because my eyes are small. My eyes aren’t even that small!
2. I’m 12 and my mom is teaching me how to smile so that my eyes don’t disappear. No one likes a squint. I’m 0 percent invested, so I don’t learn. I do know that the word for squint in Mandarin is mī, and it forms your mouth in a squint when you pronounce it, like a lyrical “me,” lips tight for the ‘m’ and barely parted for the ‘ī’. I don’t read much into that. It’s just a happy coincidence, like how “groovy” ends on a smile.
3. I’m 20 and sometimes my friend points out that my eyes disappear when I smile really hard. I think — I know — I think she doesn’t mean it in a shitty way (“I always forget that you’re Asian,” she’s also said), but every time I hear it, it burns red hot in my brain for the rest of the day. I’ve learned enough to know that when I was 15 and people said, “It’s funny because your eyes aren’t even that small,” they were also saying, “You don’t look that Asian.” I suspect this is the same kind of thing. Then I suspect that I’m doing a lot of introspection for a hang sesh with my friends. Keep reading »
“As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery. Look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Ice-T’s wife, Coco. Those girls aren’t African-American. But it’s actually a representation of our culture wanting to be plastic, and that’s why there’s bandages and it’s mummies. I thought that would really correlate well together… It came from an honest place. If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn’t be there, because I’m very sensitive to people. … I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it. I know that’s a quote that’s gonna come to fuck me in the ass, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”
As a pop star who has had more than a few accusations the racial insensitivity against her, Katy Perry was asked by Rolling Stone to explain herself. Unlike Miley Cyrus, at least Katy doesn’t seem to think she’s being persecuted for no reason. Instead, Katy just seems frustrated that parading around in makeup and a costume to look like someone of a different race isn’t seen as “appreciat[ing] a culture.” Keep reading »
This weekend, police in Brooklyn, New York, busted some folks who were grilling on the sidewalk — which, I didn’t know until reading this New York Daily News article, is illegal. But a “melee” broke out, with several of the parties resisting arrest. Now there are photographs being distributed by a community advocacy group which purport to show a NYPD officer with his arm in an illegal chokehold around a woman, Rosan Miller, who is seven-months pregnant. Keep reading »
Last week, Nicki Minaj released the artwork for her new single “Anaconda,” featuring the rapper in a squat position with her large posterior aimed directly at viewers. The image was met with mostly support from fans and critics but some questioned if the image was “too racy.” In response to those criticisms, Minaj tweeted several Sports Illustrated photos with White swimsuit models in similar poses and the message “angelic” and “acceptable,” hinting at society’s racial bias that does not treat Black bodies with the same respect as White ones — a statement that was met with more controversy. Keep reading »
“I don’t want to spend my life thinking about all the impossibilities I face when I wake up in the morning. But the reality is, I’m a woman of color in America. That itself is enough for you to wake up and go, “Oh, f—!” … My balls are pretty big. There’s a confidence that my sisters and I were raised with. After my dad died [in a car accident, when she was nine years old], my mom moved us from Queens back to the Dominican Republic. A very macho sort of place. But my mom raised us to know that we are equal to anyone.”
Zoe Saldana has always struck me as the best kind of interviewee: someone who will sound off openly and honestly and say things that make you want to be her friend. Scratch that, I want both Zoe and Mama Saldana in my corner.
In this interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Zoe also talked about the controversy around her role in a biopic about Nina Simone. Some people, including Frisky contributor Erica Watson, complained that Hollywood whitewashed Nina’s story by casting a lighter-skinned woman of color like Zoe for the role. Nina Simone was a darker-skinned Black woman who was very proud of her Blackness. Here’s what Zoe — who has addressed the controversy before — has to say about that: Keep reading »
I recently read a piece written by Kimberly Foster titled “Why I Will Not March For Eric Garner.” The author plainly states her argument: she refuses to rally in support of Eric Garner — who died of cardiac arrest after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer — because she does not believe Black men equally support Black women in their struggle against oppression. In her own words directed to Black men: “I’m not settling for anything less than reciprocity. If you refuse to hear our calls for help, then I cannot respond to yours.”
Many were offended that the author used the untimely death of a man to launch a discussion about sexism in the Black community and I shared that sentiment. Yet the piece sparked a huge discussion about gender inequality amongst myself and a group of coworkers — who happened to be Black men — nonetheless. Keep reading »