The Fairy Princess is not a Halloween fan. Not because she does not enjoy a good costume, she enjoys a good costume as much as the next person and she does not look down on anyone who dresses up their kid as a zombie or a princess or a butterfly, or any of the myriad of ridiculously cute costume choices available out there.
Some are amazing.
Some are heartfelt.
Some are completely inappropriate in a really fun way.
Some are culturally insensitive and donned by people who should know better. Which is why Halloween tends to not be TFP’s favorite holiday, when, honestly, it used to be.
She doesn’t like it that much anymore because of what some people choose to wear, because, well…they choose to wear Asian folks…like a coat. As someone who cannot ‘pick up, put down’ her skin and heritage anymore than a certain little girl in a certain film filled with joy and luck could pick up/put down chess, Halloween has, on occassion, become a rough holiday.
Yes, there are culturally offensive costumes, and they get worn every Halloween, by all sorts of people.
Like Debbie Allen.
NO! Not Debbie Allen!
Yes. Debbie Allen.
Yeah, the one who told us about ‘pain and sweat’ on the FAME teaser and who made us all want to be better versions of ourselves. Perhaps even, to be performers? That Debbie Allen?
Maybe there is another one?
THIS DEBBIE ALLEN:
For that work on Fame, and A Different World, Motown 25, Amistad, the Debbie Allen Special and The Academy Awards, Ms. Allen was the recipient of 10 Image Awards from the NAACP.
Image Awards are given to those who are outstanding in her field – and make no doubt, Ms. Allen is outstanding in her field as a choreographer, an actor, a producer, a director….but The Fairy Princess is finding her choice of costume less than stellar.
The Fairy Princess could have done without this image.
Of course, dressing as a person of a different culture is always dicey to begin with, but the issue The Fairy Princess has is not only is this a dated image, it is inaccurate.
The mask Ms. Allen is wearing is ostensibly a Thai face and headpiece, but she is in Chinese pajamas, and flip flops! (One supposes from Bal’i Hai or some other place that people not of Asian heritage imagine Asian people are from.) Or maybe they are Manolos, who knows?
So that is the first issue – Ms. Allen, if you are going to attempt to represent an Asian person, pick one.
Because if you do not, it falls under that ‘all look same‘ category in my book, and The Fairy Princess takes a very dim view of culturally smashing all of the Asian groups together with little to no regard as to what makes us so very unique and different.
As you are a wonderful dancer and choreographer, had you gone ‘full tilt Thai Dancer‘ – the costume, without the mask, The Fairy Princess would have given you a pass. Because costumes are ok – The Fairy Princess appreciates if you take the time to try and be honorable and authentic.
However you did not do that. Which, is, well…it’s lazy.
Which is a word that The Fairy Princess has never, EVER associated with Debbie Allen. Never.
The OTHER issue The Fairy Princess is having with this costume is -you are wearing it ON THE SET OF GREY’S ANATOMY!
A SHOW WHICH CURRENTLY SHOWCASES NO ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT AS SERIES REGULARS ON A SHOW SET IN SEATTLE IN A HOSPITAL.
Seattle has an Asian American population that has grown 8.1 % between 2010 and 2012 – and while looking at the numbers, you might think “Hey, 7.5% of a population of a city is not that much…”, you would be wrong.
Because it’s not really just that 7.5%, you see that green triangle? 3.7% – more than one race. Which means, Eurasians. Not that all who identify as two races are Eurasian, but having spent quite a lot of time in Seattle, The Fairy Princess can tell you there are a LOT of Eurasian children running around there. So there are a few more than 7.5%.
It’s a lot for one group – one group that keeps growing.
Also, among all 50 states, Washington State has the 5th HIGHEST population of Asian Americans, according to both the US Census and this article from The Seattle Times.
So let me spell it out for you –
1. No Asian Americans as Series Regulars on the show set in Seattle.
2. Seattle has 5th highest API population in the Country.
3. APIs are dominant in the medical profession in all areas, including research, nursing, and physicians
4. You came as an amalgam of Asian parts on Halloween, mocking the people who are least represented on that show, a show that is supposed to represent a city where APIs are a large part of the population.
In fact, one would be hard pressed to walk into a hospital in any major city and not find API Medical professionals….
Except in Seattle Grace.
On Grey’s Anatomy.
A show which you appear on as an Actress and also, every so often, direct.
A show where you chose to wear this to the set:
Now, you may be getting all upset about being called out on this, but here is a quick question for you:
Would you have worn that if Dr. Yang was still making the rounds as a top Cardio surgeon?
The Fairy Princess thinks not.
Let’s face it, you did not come as a composite Latino, could it be because Sara Ramirez is on the show?
The Fairy Princess agrees with RuPaul – you would have thought twice about wearing this costume when Dr. Yang was racing around being Meredith’s “Person”.
Because you would have considered that the actress playing one of the lead characters for ten seasons on the show might have some thoughts and feelings about you coming dressed to work as a cornucopia of Asian people
You see, this is the danger of non-representation, something which, Ms. Allen, I know you have spoken about in your career.
There are no Asian Americans currently on Grey’s Anatomy as series regulars. Which means that there is no one of the group you are mocking, that you perhaps see every day as a peer, that would make you think twice before showing up to work and tweeting that photo.
A photo which The Fairy Princess, a true fan of yours, was very hurt to see. She was so hurt, she checked several times to make sure that it came from your account, and that it was you. Because she did not want to see it.
What one person thinks is harmless, can be harmful. However on ‘your’ show there are no Asian Americans around to make you think about that.
So when you needed to play ‘dress up’, you picked on a group that has minimal representation on the culture of that show, and you came as ‘them’.
Asian people are not a costume. They are not a costume any more than African Americans are a costume. They are not a costume any more than Native Americans are a costume.
Costumes are clothing, and they can be fun, and enjoyable. But putting on the face of another race?
That is not acceptable. Positioning your hands in what can be described as a stereotypical stance? Not acceptable. Not a costume.
The Fairy Princess’s tiara is tilting sadly, as she tells you this, Ms. Allen, she hopes you feel just a bit of pain and sweat as you read this and… KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!