Archives for posts with tag: Racism

The line from A CHORUS LINE is resonating with The Fairy Princess today  – “I knew it when I was in front”

 

Sheila says it. Shelia, for those who do not know the show is the ‘mature’ dancer in the show. She’s done the most shows, she has the most experience, but she sees the younger ones nipping on her heels. Shelia knows that time is the enemy of a dancer, but she is not going down without a fight.

But going to the back of the line and dancing behind the kids? When she has been in front for years?

Sheila has had it…officially!

DeTox is done, officially, too

DeTox is done, officially, too

 

The Fairy Princess is done, officially too, I’m going to make this short and sweet.

I understand “Activism”

Activism is looking at working conditions in the garment district and pressing for change in safety regulations.

The Triangle Fires - look it up, wait, here is the link.

The Triangle Fires – look it up, wait, here is the link.

 

Activism is sending children to school to combat segregation.

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Activism is being sent to jail for 28 years because your country needs to be united.

 

Nelson-Mandela-South-Africa

Activism is volunteering at a soup kitchen, raising funds for HIV treatment for those in need, mentoring at an after school program, donating items to a Women’s Shelter, providing free legal help at a community center, entertaining the Troops, visiting the elderly, being a Candy Striper,  running in a marathon, sending care packages – all of that is Activism. Some of it is individual and some of it is part of a larger organization, but it is all Activism. Endowing a scholarship is activism. Providing your talents at fundraisers is activism. Signing petitions is Activism. Being a “Big Brother” or a “Big Sister’ is activism.

Activism is not enabling yourself to ‘speak’ for an entire community just because you can turn on your computer.

Therefore The Fairy Princess is going to say this, just once:

YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME.

I AM ASIAN AMERICAN, AND YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME.

I realize that the Twittersphere could come for me. Oh sure,  they will ‘bring the rain’ and call me all sorts of names because they disagree with me. They will say I’m a disgrace to my race, and then they will tell me that I should not even be allowed to comment on this because I am Hapa, and not ‘really Asian“.

They might pick on my hair or my weight, or my clothes. They might spam me. They might threaten my son. They might threaten my Husband (Which would be really stupid, he is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do).

Chil Kong & Erin Quill

 

The Internet Coven is ruthless….Hmmm, I should stop giving them suggestions….

(By the way, all of that sounds totes mature, don’t it?) (Totes)

By the way, (btw for the kids), these things have all been said to The Fairy Princess before...in person. 

You see, The Fairy Princess is a person, and we would all do much better if we would remember that behind Facebook Accounts and Twitter Accounts and Instagram Accounts, there are actual people.

We are, yes, a group that can be like-minded on some things, and it is a privilege to belong to the group that has the highest amount of education, the highest amount of disposable income, strong familial ties, etc. etc, etc…..

However constant ‘yelling’, flinging around words with -isms willy nilly, hurts us.

HURTS. US.

What it means is, when we REALLY need to be heard, when there is a horrible issue that must be dealt with swiftly, no one will listen.

The constant barrage of tweets and blogs and posts on social media will have worn down those who need to listen. Worn down those who would partner up with us and help us enact change. In political terms, we would be alienating ‘our base’ while ensuring that the ‘independents’ would not join us.

We have real issues in the Asian American community – Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, few API Foster Families and a rising amount of API kids in Foster Care, and yes, Racism and Sexism to name just a few – all of which could be the focus of ‘Activism’. But will they? Or will all this static have cost us the platform on which we need to stand to be heard?

You will have made our voices, white noise . (Oh, the irony)

The Fairy Princess knows that this is only her opinion. She has no power to stop different organizations or individuals from expressing their beliefs. But she has the ability to say to those people, that they do not speak for her.

Not now.

Not ever.

If The Fairy Princess wants you to know what she is thinking, she will write it down, herself.

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Note: The Fairy Princess does not consider herself ‘an Activist’, although she does volunteer and raise money for charities and do all sorts of things that could fall under that label. The Fairy Princess is simply a person with a point of view who shares it. She does consider herself an ‘Advocate’ for Diversity, LGBT rights, Musical Theater as an art form, and for her child.

 

 

The Fairy Princess has been watching a lot of Network TV.

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Mainly because she has a toddler, and as most Parents know, once you have a toddler, you do not get to go out as much as you had before.

Therefore I have noticed that some of my favorite non-Asian named but played by Asian American characters have been killed off, rather gruesomely, on Network Television and I can understand why some are getting upset. (Upset being the mildest word to describe what they are feeling)

Let’s break it down for those who cannot understand the fuss –

First to go:

1. Deborah S. Craig, aka Luli Zheng from NBC’s The Blacklist.

Luli Zheng...RIP

Luli Zheng…RIP

 

Now, Luli was a cool chick. She was. She had an MBA in Economics from Stanford, and was the youngest ever head of a Billion Dollar Hedge fund until, in a spectacular death blow to Tiger Parenting, she was charged twice with wire and securities fraud. However, she survived all of that and went on to manage James Spader’s character ‘Red’ ‘s money and was his lovah….all of which I enjoyed both as an audience member and as a fan of diversity.

And then…dum, dum, dum….Luli had her face blown off and brain matter splattered right there on Network TV in the episode “Anslo Garrick“.

KA-BOOM! Luli we hardly knew ye.

2. Julia Cho (not the playwright) aka Shelby Moss, on ABC’s Scandal

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Poor earnest Shelby Moss, who in her work for the NSA ‘overheard’ the conversation between the “I love my Dead Gay Husband, who I just killed” Vice President played by the formidable Kate Burton and the “I let my live Gay Husband sleep with your Dead Gay Husband to get blackmail photos‘ Cyrus Beene, played by the brilliant Jeffy Perry,  in the Episode “No Sun On The Horizon”.

Poor Shelby, she was only trying to help when she turned the conversation in to Olivia Pope’s Sub-Gladiator Family, headed up by their Don Quixote, David Rosen.

But what did she get?

Bullet to the forehead, no warning, and buried in an unmarked grave by Scott Foley’s Jake, who is now ‘Command”.

Ouch. Not even a double tap.

Single shot. Brutal.

Probably Shelby Moss should have taken the hint when she walked on set, given the way Scandal handled it’s last API Character – ‘member Press Secretary Britta Kagen? 

Played by Keiko Agena.

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live....

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live….

 

Britta bit it too. Only fatality. Ouch.

To be an Asian American actor on Scandal is the same as being a ‘red-shirt’ on Star Trek.

 

Damn, they were only following orders, Kirk!

Anyhow, Asian American female characters dropping like flies in some spectacularly gruesome ways, how are the men doing?

Reggie Lee aka Officer Wu on NBC’s GRIMM

Officer Wu-tastic!

Officer Wu-tastic!

was attacked by an Aswang (Filipino monster) and wound up in a mental institution!

Alec Mapas Renzo on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth was accused of leaking Lea Thompson’s first draft manuscript!

"I was supposed to have done WHAT?"

“I was supposed to have done WHAT?”

 

Hmmm, the men, not so good. I mean, good that they are getting so much screen time, but they are dealing with a lot of stuff too.

Which is great!

Because that means more airtime, and that means that APIs are becoming part of the American Television landscape in a larger way, and that means, we are finally getting ‘our due’ as integral cast members! Bad stuff happens to Cast Members, because that is what a dramatic show is all about.

So if Reggie Lee has to go crazy, or if Alec Mapa has to defend himself, or if our Hawaii 5.0 bruddahs and sistahs have to enjoy huge character arcs, in the name of propelling their show’s drama,  all the better.

However one can see where Asian American audience members were perhaps having a rough viewing Network TV season, and then came…Beverly Katz.

Miss Katz regrets, she's unable to lunch today....

Miss Katz regrets, she’s unable to lunch today….

 

3. Hettiene Park, aka Beverly Katz, NBC’s Hannibal

Everyone likes Beverly Katz – maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the no nonsense approach she has to science. Perhaps it is because Beverly Katz was indeed a breakthrough character in many ways, right from casting.

Hannibal Creator, Bryan Fuller first saw Hetienne in a play on Broadway called “Seminar”, and that may be where our public attachment started.

First off, as everyone knows, (but if they do not they can read this AAPAC study on the dearth of APIs on Broadway) Asian Americans on Broadway in seasons where Miss Saigon or King & I are not playing are low to non-existent. To be an Asian American on Broadway is to defy incredible odds. To then be able to propel it into a television role is exceedingly rare, so of course Asian America would embrace Beverly Katz, er…Hettiene Park, er…Beverly Katz. (because you see, she’s a character, ahem)

Here’s glam, but understated, Beverly going head to sewn-on head (onto another body, you have to watch the show), with monster Hannibal Lector, who has planted evidence to frame the mentally nimble but unsteady, Will Graham. Beverly is the only one, using reason and logic and science, who finally comes to the realization that Will is telling the truth.

So she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house. Alone.

Repeat that last part, she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house alone. Would YOU go alone to someone’s house if you thought they were a mass murderer who eats his victims?

Probably not, but it makes for good television.

Good television, good storytelling, good craftsmanship is why people watch the show. Any show.

Unless you watch reality tv exclusively.

The one, the only Honey Boo Boo

Honey Boo Boo, Ladies & Gentlemen, Honey Boo Boo

 

Now, there are many, many reasons that fans attach to a character and a show. Asian Americans in particular have been so long ignored on the TV landscape that we attach rather strongly – so there was a resulting uproar when poor Beverly Katz turned around and saw Hannibal seeing her, in his basement, pawing through his stuff.

Characters die for all sorts of  reasons on television. Sometimes it’s a production decision, sometimes it’s an actor’s decision, sometimes it is a combination. A non-meeting of the minds. Or it is a decision based on, oh, what is that thing we all tune in for?

Oh right, the story.

You can be sad when your favorite characters die on a television show, for example…

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey

 

Josh Charles as Will Gardner on The Good Wife….

 

But let’s not get hysterical.

There are really good things coming for Asian Americans who like seeing Asian Americans on television or in films –

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando - Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando – Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

And there are some really good things already up and running:

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

The Cast of TBS's Sullivan and Son

The Cast of TBS’s Sullivan and Son

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

So we are not NON Existent on Network TV, get that out of your head. We’re there. Not everywhere, but we are there.

Of course you are allowed to be sad about poor ol’ Beverly Katz, who likely will ‘get served’ on this evening’s Hannibal.

panch'an) refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

panch’an -small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

 

However you must remember….your favorite characters dying on one show means that soon – they will be on another show playing someone else you can grow to love just as much. Or perhaps they can go and do a play or a musical on Broadway and you can see them live, up close and in person.

Being on a Network Television show in a role that recurs opens many doors, it is the gateway to a career that can be challenging, as a minority, to get noticed in. When Hannibal started, no one outside Broadway knew of the range and talent of Hettiene Park.  Now, as of the numbers last week show, 2.5-2.7 million people have seen Ms. Park and what she can bring to a role. She will be just fine. She will live on – not as Beverly Katz, but as someone equally cool. Same goes for Deborah S. Craig and Julia Cho and Keiko Agena….they will all be fine.

You can be angry – but be angry at Beverly Katz, who was stupid/confident enough to walk into a psychopath’s house alone without backup. While you are at it, be mad at Cousin Matthew for driving too fast, and be mad at Will Gardner for taking on an unstable client.

That anger will be equally as useful.

Flipping out to flip out is not going to get you more Asian Americans on television. Flipping out to flip out, means you become, forgive the color inclusion but it’s the term, white noise.

No one will listen.

The Fairy Princess is not down for that, nope, not at all. You cannot cry racism or institutional racism or any other isms ad nauseum. Activism is useful when it is active. Not when it’s all about yelling. I know this, because my Family has, for generations, been activists in this country.

Beverly Katz is dead. RIP Beverly Katz – your passing will enhance the opportunities for actress Hettiene Park, and the storyline of Hannibal, and for those of us who watch it, we are grateful for your sacrifice.

And remember….

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And if you cannot…..(I don’t know why, maybe you are a vegetarian, as am I) then it really may be as Elementary as…

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary

 

 

The Fairy Princess has been doing a lot of reading lately….for example she is absolutely obsessed with this book

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SO obsessed with it that she has done her OWN Casting Breakdown for it, in case, you know, big Hollywood Producers who changed Katniss into a Caucasian should get confused and need some help remembering that ASIAN in in the title of the book, and that it is not supposed to be a book about whatever K-Pop star is hot right now, it is supposed to be a book about 30-somethings and their Parents, in SINGAPORE!

Dear Hollywood Producers should you get STUCK and think this would be a way better film called CRAZY, RICH because you think it is going to be too hard to cast – I double dog dare you to call The Fairy Princess -she will have the Casting Breakdown and options at the ready!

(OMG Hollywood Producers, you should TOTALLY call me – I would knock that Casting OUT OF THE PARK!)

(And when I say PARK, I’m not saying it in a “that is one of the very popular surnames for Korean Americans, way)

Crazy, Rich Asians has provided COPIOUS amounts of hilarity for The Fairy Princess, and she is pretty sure that she and Kevin Kwan should have Kiki’s on a regular basis, because HER OWN GRANDMA was actually a part of this kind of Social Circle in China, and actually gave The Fairy Princess her middle name, after one of the SOONG Sisters. (Kevin Kwan will know what that means).

The Fairy Princess and Kevin Kwan could totes be BFF’s! Or at LEAST we could go some piano bar in the Village and have too many drinks and sing too many showtunes – he mentioned karaoke in the book, Dear Mr. Kwan…The Fairy Princess will ROCK your WORLD with her MAD Karaoke skillz….

But that was not the ONLY thing that she read this week – and now, we are going to get into what is putting a dent in her wand….let’s digress…

As you may know, The Fairy Princess has done the show, FLOWER DRUM SONG.

flowerdrumcall460j

Now, in FLOWER DRUM SONG there is a nightclub and it is based on a real nightclub that was in San Francisco where the only performers were Asian and the Customers were…well, they were mainly Caucasian. It was called…The Forbidden City, and it was owned by a businessman, Charlie Low.

1938_Forbidden_City

 

And they had ‘Superstars”

hi-res

And they had Fan Dancers….like Noel Toy

NoelToy1

And in general, they were kind of kick ass….and once The Fairy Princess found out about The Forbidden City when she was younger, she found out it was like the Chinese West Coast version of The Cotton Club, she became equally obsessed with both nightclubs. But the Asian performers from The Forbidden City could never seem to jump to any sort of mainstream recognition – even though the novel about the nightclub by C.Y. Lee did very well – the performers themselves did not seem to continue on and get work or recognition in mainstream America.

The Forbidden City was not The Cotton Club.

The Cotton Club began in 1923, during The Harlem Renaissance. (Oh sure, I know ALL about it, I told you I was obsessed!) It was where, as my great friend who has now passed, Anderson Jones, used to tell me, “The 1920’s was where Black Men invented Men’s Fashion, Erin Quill”

Zoot suits and jazz and well…The Cotton Club.

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It predated The Forbidden City and actually launched a heck of a lot of performers whose work we still, to this day, sing, hum, and generally think of when we see a beaded gown. People like…well….

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Count_Basie_West_coast_tour_poster_1938

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And who can forget….Ms. Lena Horne? Or Cab Calloway? Or any of the other breathtaking performers that got their start, or made their careers bigger, by singing in The Cotton Club?

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Now, The Fairy Princess does not condone the segregation that either The Forbidden City or The Cotton Club practiced, in terms of it’s audience being Caucasian and it’s performers being…ummmm…non-Caucasian. Because…let’s face it, it was racist. It was clearly racism, and it was clearly…not kosher. Not by today’s standards, but it is part of the history of America, and part of the history of the music of that era.

The best thing that came out of The Cotton Club was the music and the launching of careers for people who became the “game changers’. They became trailblazers – being on stage at The Cotton Club is what helped a lot of people become the legends they are today.

So The Fairy Princess was really, really excited to hear about the NEW Broadway show – AFTER MIDNIGHT – which IS, according to it’s website..

“This thrilling experience puts you at the center of one of Harlem’s legendary nightclubs, in a hotbed of Jazz–its intoxicating rhythms, its innovative style, its unpredictable danger and fun. Award-winning fashion designer Isabel Toledo reinvents the distinctive looks of the era with dazzling, one-of-a-kind costumes. And, as directed and choreographed by Warren CarlyleAFTER MIDNIGHT blurs the line between past and present to prove that Jazz is more than music–it’s a state of mind.”

Well…I mean, they are talking about THE COTTON CLUB! The music OF The Cotton Club!

Oh. Mah. Goodness, The Fairy Princess is BEYOND excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because the Cotton Club was a launching pad for all kinds of talented folks, and she is hoping that After Midnight will give us a whole new bunch of folks to sing along with and look up to….some we have been missing a bit on The Broadway….like Adriane Lenox…

_41222247_lenox

Or people we might know more from television at this point in their careers…like Dule Hill

He's going to be The Host

He’s going to be The Host

And, as The Fairy Princess said….people whose work she is excited to get to know, like…let’s look at the cast list:

artist_1260214675_43_l

This is Monique Smith, she seems nice. Actually there is a whole BUNCH of people in this show whose work The Fairy Princess does not know, and THAT is exciting, because THAT is Broadway…it’s discovering new people!

AND in KEEPING with the tradition OF The Cotton Club, they are going to rotate ‘Celebrities!” What a great gimmick. OK, so the FIRST Celebrity is….

Awesome! How great was she in The Color Purple, the musical?

Awesome! How great was she in The Color Purple, the musical?

But of course, Fantasia has other commitments too, she can’t be the “Celebrity” all the time! I wonder WHO they are going to get to replace her,  you know in case she goes on vacation….Who, could it be? Oh you KNOW who would be GREAT?

Who doesn't love a legend?

Who doesn’t love a legend?

 

Who else could they get? Wait….Toni Braxton has done Broadway –

 

0078 Aida signed toni braxton

Who else…who ELSE is like, SUPER Famous and has done Broadway…..

 

Ushh Usshhh USHER - and he would bring the Kids

Ushh Usshhh USHER – and he would bring the Kids

 

Or you…oh WAIT A MINUTE, THIS would be RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!

 

She's even PLAYED Billie Holiday!!!!!!!

She’s even PLAYED Billie Holiday!!!!!!!

But here’s what was just announced….

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Is this when The Fairy Princess yells “Stop the world, I want to get off?”

The Country Singer, KD Lang is going to be in AFTER MIDNIGHT?

Now, granted, there were Caucasian performers who DID perform, as Celebrity Guests on Celebrity Nights, and a small list would include : Jimmy Durante, George Gershwin, Sophie TuckerAl Jolson, Mae West, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Langston Hughes, Judy Garland, Moss Hart, and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker, among others.

But it was only for a night….it was never, you know….an extended run in a show that celebrates the music of The Harlem Renaissance.

So that is not, technically, in the tradition of “The Celebrity Guest” night now, is it?

I don’t know, I’m guessing The Nicholas Brothers are probably breaking a hip in Heaven about this one….

What would Billie Holiday sing about this particular choice, I wonder –

You know that The Fairy Princess is all for Equality in Casting, but this seems wrong.

It seems wrong to put a Caucasian in this show and here’s why…because it is a celebration of the music and the people of The Cotton Club.

We can all agree to disagree, but WHO WERE the people OF The Cotton Club…..NOT THE AUDIENCE...THE PEOPLE?

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I see.

Of course there WERE Caucasians IN The Cotton Club….you can see them RIGHT THERE….

That's Mary Lou Williams on the ivories

Mary Lou Williams on the ivories

But since I cannot find any photos from those Celebrity Guest Nights….I’m guessing that Caucasians on the stage was not actually the draw AT The Cotton Club.

I’m guessing.

The Fairy Princess finds it….an odd choice.She also finds it a bit insensitive and well…while she respects that KD Lang is a wonderful performer, she is not the type of performer who would have been seen regularly in The Cotton Club.

I mean, it would be different if the entire cast was mixed and it was all peoples performing the music of The Cotton Club – but it’s not.

As The Fairy Princess has said before, multi-racial casting is not supposed to be used because people do not want to expend the effort to cast it in the manner which is most respectful of the struggle and the time period and the tone of the show.

Choosing KD Lang for some reason, (not her talent), is, to me, a ‘low-percentage choice”.

The Fairy Princess is not African American….and she’s not trying to co-opt that experience, but IF I WERE, I would take a video clip that I like to use a lot and tell the Producers of this show that casting KD Lang to represent the music and times of The Cotton Club is wrong and that they should….KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!!!!!!!!!!!

The Fairy Princess has been trying quite hard to remain positive these last few posts…because the ‘real’ news has been fairly hideous – whether you are concerned about riots in Egypt, or Child Trafficking, or Russia hating LGBT people….(Which is ludicrous, because of course, Russia is like…the Gayest Country on Earth…if you are famous for BALLET….that’s pretty Gay, Russia…pretty Gay), so she has not been posting about theater, because, well…she thought everyone learned their lesson.

The Fairy Princess lecturing Joseph Anthony Foronda in Flower Drum Song at AMTSJ

The Fairy Princess lecturing Joseph Anthony Foronda in Flower Drum Song at AMTSJ

I mean, she gave a speech at LA Stage Day about the death of Yellowface, and she was totally encouraged by the fact that the audience at LA Stage Day was receptive. Not only were they receptive, the wider, Internet audience that technology makes possible was ALSO accepting of the fact that it’s not cool to put on makeup and bad accents and make fun of Asian people simply because you are too lazy or stupid to do an actual and thoughtful portrayal of Asian culture WITH Asian actors in those roles.

I mean, weren’t we all clear on this? GEORGE? What do you think?

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, GEORGE! THEY FORGOT!

I mean, any educated person would have to take note that demeaning a heritage you know nothing about would be…well… stupid. Any educated person would know that. Educated people, for example, who have just received an Ivy League education at an institution that is known for having high artistic standards….a place like, well…let’s just say it….YALE.

Wow...that is gorgeous...yep, that's Yale

Wow…that is gorgeous…yep, that’s Yale

Yale is a pretty fancy place – it’s graduates include Presidents, Physicians, Performers, Playwrights, in fact, the Fairy Princess’s own cousin holds a PhD from Yale….so she’s been there, and yeah…pretty fancy.

(In case you are reading this post in say….Scotland…or more specifically Edinburgh, it may be worth sharing that Yale Drama School – which is a Masters Program of Study, has some pretty famous Alumni to boast of….much like my own alma mater, Carnegie Mellon….which was founded by a Scot – Andrew Carnegie. GO SCOTS! )

Now, when you think “Yale Drama”, who comes to mind?

meryl-500x282

Or well, this guy….

TONY Winning Playwright, David Henry Hwang

TONY Winning Playwright, David Henry Hwang

He won a TONY Award for writing this play:

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And DHH is not the only Asian American to have attended Yale Drama….how about this guy?

Actor CS Lee - Dexter

Actor CS Lee – Dexter

Or THIS guy…..

Actor & 2x TONY Winning Producer, Pun Bandhu

Actor & 2x TONY Winning Producer, Pun Bandhu

And lest you think that Yale Drama is male dominated…

Actress & TED Speaker, Esther K. Chae

Actress & TED Speaker, Esther K. Chae

So…as you can see, Yale School of Drama has some fairly distinguished Asian American alumni who are gracing our stages and screens, large & small, today. And Yale School of Drama is NOT what this post is about – because obviously they are forward thinking and embrace diversity in it’s students and alumni. And Bravo to that!

However, there are a LOT of people who attend Yale and they are entitled to pursue Acting, Writing, and Directing just the same as anyone else. Their resumes still say….Yale. The word entitled is a very big one here, and it explains the reason for this post.

Though these bright minded individuals do hold degrees from Yale University, they do NOT hold Degrees from Yale School of Drama.

They do not have the training, they do not have the sensitivity, and they do not have, perhaps, their pulse on the beat of the cultural landscape of American Theater to know that there is a…and well…given the subject matter, The Fairy Princess hesitates to use the word, but it is applicable…a REVOLUTION in American Theater in regards to portrayals of Asian peoples.

Nobody binds our feet and leaves us in a corner ANY more….

The definitive answer, in many respects, to cultural misunderstandings

The definitive answer, in many respects, to cultural misunderstandings

Which is why it was all the more shocking to hear about THIS

A play currently playing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

A play currently playing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival written & Performed by YALE Alum

You see…this is the Cast of BEIJING CAKE currently playing at Edinburgh Fringe, and….it’s a play about China….do they look Chinese to you? I see….

Cassie DaCosta, Nathaniel Moore, Sara Rosen, Gabriel Christian the cast of BEIJING CAKE

Cassie DaCosta, Nathaniel Moore, Sara Rosen, Gabriel Christian the cast of BEIJING CAKE

And HERE is a map of CHINA…real, actual, China….it’s not made up, it does not exist only in pure imagination…it’s right THERE…you see?

Wait! Wait a MINUTE you say that CHINA is a REAL and ACTUAL place?

Wait! Wait a MINUTE you say that CHINA is a REAL and ACTUAL place?

And here is a…well…a Chinese person…one who is actually, supposedly portrayed IN this play:

The Chairman...and no, not a fan as he put my Great Aunt into a concentration camp...but he was a real and actual person of which there are MANY images

The Chairman…and no, not a fan as he put my Great Aunt into a concentration camp…but he was a real and actual person of which there are MANY images

Though none of the Cast appears to BE of Asian descent, appearances CAN be deceiving so let’s see their Kickstarter video, because perhaps that would show them to be a sensitive, thoughtful bunch, who can cheerfully bring us all up to speed on the Chinese experience…http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2114703258/bring-beijing-cake-to-the-edinburgh-fringe-festiva

Yeah…not so much. Although the repeated GONGS throughout the kickstarter video are a nice touch….

The Fairy Princess has hit a wall….

great-wall-of-china

She has hit a wall because this is a project that is coming from young people! In their twenties! And Whitney Houston always told us that Children were the future!

Whitney lied. These children are as whack as crack.

The Fairy Princess is FRUSTRATED.

Remember what happened the FIRST time she got this frustrated? (MR KAUFMAN? REMEMBER?)

OK here is the deal….this show at The Fringe is billed as a comedy, it’s billed as hilarious…and apparently, those who have done the billing are the playwright, director and Cast themselves, because when core members of the British East Asians attended the show this is what they saw….

BritishEastAsians

Ummmmm…..

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You know who should be upset about this? More than The Fairy Princess, more than the British East Asian Artists?

Man if I went there, I would be SO pissed!

Man if I went there, I would be SO pissed!

And here is why...they make Yale Alumni look like culturally insensitive a**holes.

Cuz ya wanna see how they bill themselves….?

Wow...yeah, YALE is all over those bios....huh?

Wow…yeah, YALE is all over those bios….huh?

Yale, Yale, Yale…and you know what – Yale is actually a very sophisticated school with quite an international reputation. And now this bunch is going around the world to spread Yellowface makeup, made up Chinese and…well…racism. I mean, they do not even seem to be aware that Chinese can be broken down into various dialects like Mandarin and Cantonese!

REALLY? Because even ELMO knows what Mandarin is!

THIS is what they came out of YALE with? An entitled sense of being able to make fun of Asian people…an entitled opinion that they are able to portray us, to speak on our issues, to mock a language that is thousands of years old?

OMG Yale – you failed. You were supposed to educate them to take their place in the world and hold forth the tradition of excellence that you are known for. They ran off waving their sheepskin and decided it was a great idea to mock the Country that holds America’s dollar by the proverbial balls.

What a great endorsement for a Yale Education! I’m sure their Parents will be thrilled that they PAID for their kids to learn that you can step all over Chinese people at tens of thousands of dollars per semester! The one who will be absolutely the MOST proud?

The Director’s FATHER….

Because EVERYONE knows that Oscar Winning Screenwriters really want to be known for having Daughters who perpetuate stereotype utilizing Yellowface and made up Chinese adjacent languages! What a shame,  when you, yourself, are so meticulous in your brilliant work. But perhaps, she is a late bloomer. You have faith in her.

The Fairy Princess….not so much.

Let’s break it down people, these Actors and this Playwright and this Director are from groups that have ‘Minority’ written all over their names and faces and gender…possibly even their sexual preferences, who knows or who cares, but it’s possible. So if you are, yourself, a member of a Minority group, how DARE you mock another one? Forget what you obviously did NOT learn at YALE about cultural sensitivity, what the heck were you learning at home that makes this in ANY way ok?

Well now, they are probably upset….they are saying HOW DARE I call them on this racist play that they love doing. Who am I to expect them to strive for excellence and artistic bravery? Ok Kids…fine, but let’s turn this around….because turnabout is fair play, yes?

Foghorn Leghorn says Yes, Turnabout is fair play

Foghorn Leghorn says Yes, Turnabout is fair play

Now…if Asian American actors were to go over to Edinburgh, slap on some Blackface make up and talk like Amos & Andy – would that be ok?

Yeah, remember when people thought THIS was ok? (TOTALLY NOT OK!)

Yeah, remember when people thought THIS was ok? (TOTALLY NOT OK!)

No.

If Asian American Directors and Writers got together a made up a mockery of the Hebrew language which they THEN set it to the tune of “Yiddishe Mama” would that be ok?

No.

Cuz The Bottle Dance from Fiddler On The Roof is just Jerome Robbin’s choreo…we could learn it

Tradition my ASS!

Tradition my ASS!

(BTW, The Fairy Princess knows every damn word to Fiddler On The Roof and made her Mom take her to see it 5 times in a row when she was six years old and then she memorized the Cast recording…but she ALWAYS knew that it was a show she would NEVER do)

But we are not going to. Because we have standards.

I would have thought that you would have them too…being that you know….you went to Yale and all….so many whacks with the wand…you need to grab a mirror and take a good look at yourselves and HONESTLY wonder how you EVER thought that this was in ANY way ok….. OH….and BY THE WAY….

KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE

For some, the murder of Treyvon Martin is a story on the news to decry but one you will move on from- but for The Fairy Princess, it hits a bit closer to home, because she has had Great Grandfathers, on both the Irish and Chinese sides of her family, murdered.

Not many people know that about me, but it’s true.

My Great Grandfather, William Fang Yuen, was murdered in 1922 in Innisfail, Australia. He was killed by a Caucasian man who was his Foreman. The Foreman was stealing, and he had been caught, there was an argument, the Foreman left. Later, my Great Grandfather was shot as he prepared the payroll.

The different reasons given for the murder are similar to reading RASHOMAN, the play. There were rumors of infidelity, of embezzlement, of jealousy….no one bothered to get the story straight, least of all the Authorities. What I was told as a child only grew more complicated as I became an adult, but it remains a blot on the history of The Chinese in North Queensland. My Cousin, William Yang, actually does a show called “Sadness’ on this very subject.

There was a trial, but it was superficial – much like the Zimmerman case, it allowed someone who was the acknowledged killer to go free, because, essentially Australia’s treatment at the time of their ethnic minorities and other immigrants was shockingly biased. I mean, if one could go to prison for killing “A Chinaman“, then what would happen if people were examined for their treatment of the Aboriginals! One of the reasons that the defense said that the fellow did not murder my Great Grandfather, was because my Great Grandfather had a very distinct large gold ring that had gone missing when he was killed – and they could not find the ring in the Foreman’s possession, ergo it had to be someone else. This was part of the case they made, and, he was acquitted.

When my Grandfather was a young man, he went walking in the town of his Father’s murder and he saw the son of the Foreman wearing his Father’s ring. A ring so distinct, that he would remember it from childhood. And, apparently, this was a ring that had been worn frequently in that town, once the trial was over – so everyone ‘knew’ that he was guilty, but nothing was done about it.

My Great Grandfather was a very wealthy man – he owned all the sugarcane farms in the area. He was ‘the bank’ for the Chinese community there, as none of the regular financial institutions would loan money to local Chinese who wanted to start a business. My Great Grandfather built the church and helped found that town. He was murdered, leaving behind a young wife and four children…and he was not accorded the dignity of his murderer being incarcerated. His wealth did not protect him. Money cannot protect against racism.

This changed the Family in many ways, perhaps, had his Father been around, my Grandfather and his Brothers would have made different choices – in careers, in who they married, perhaps they would still own the majority of the sugar cane in North Queensland, perhaps I would not even be here – but my life is a legacy of that murder.

On the Irish side, My Great Grandfather O’Shea was set upon by British soldiers as he made his way home from the pub in Kerry, Ireland. They beat him near to death because he was a member, in some fashion, of the Resistance. When he did not come home as expected, his sons set out looking for him – he had seven children. They found him and brought him home, and he lingered for three days, dying slowly of internal injuries.

During that time, as he faded in and out, he told his children that they were all to leave Ireland, immediately. After he was gone, they all stole away in the night and everyone took a different ship leaving Ireland – and they did not tell each other where they were going in case they were captured.

Some were never heard from again. At least one ended up in Australia, married, coincidentally, to an Auntie of my Mother. My Grandmother found out, after about 30 years in America, that she had a sister living but two towns over from where she eventually wound up.

Again, the legacy that I have inherited was based on the murder of someone who was not going to be given justice by any legal system. I have to, as a Parent, consider that my Child’s heritage is based on murder, and now I have to consider that, should he wear the wrong piece of clothing and venture out after seven p.m., it could be his future.

There is 90 years between the murders of my Great Grandfather and Treyvon Martin, but nothing seems to have changed. The statement of a Caucasian is valued higher than the evidence of a crime, the eyewitness testimony, and the presence of a dead body. A dead body who is…was…a minority.

The Fairy Princess has a child. I am the Mother of a Son. I am the Mother of a Son who is, in the United States, considered a minority.

My Son is many things that I can see right now, at the age of one – he is smart, he is quick, he is physically advanced for his age, and he has a wicked sense of humor that in the future is definitely going to be an issue. That, he gets from me – the humor. Otherwise, he looks like his Dad.

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There are many things about my Son that I cannot tell yet, but his being viewed as a Minority in the United States is something that I know right now, will follow him his whole life. Being viewed as a Minority is an issue that both his Father and I have dealt with on a personal basis.

Growing up for my Husband, as an immigrant from South Korea who was then transplanted abruptly to a small town in Virginia, was difficult. To say ‘difficult’ is an understatement. However, my Husband survived.

Growing up as a multi-ethnic female in New York was not without it’s own problems. Add to that a tendency to be chunky and like musical theater, and you can see that I was in for some stressful moments. However, I survived. (Power ballads are particularly useful under duress)

One day – much sooner than either his Parents, his Immediate Family, and his extended LGBT Family will like – my son will be a teenager.

Yesterday, with the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, what it means to be the parent of a teenager who falls into ‘the minority’ changed how we are able to feel when our children leave the house.

They could be leaving to go to sports practice, or to play computer games with a friend. They could be leaving to go and sketch a particularly interesting tree they saw on their way to school. They could be leaving for a million creative and interesting reasons, or they could just be going to get some candy and a drink, and they might wear a sweatshirt.

But they will, we now know for certainty, never really be safe – even if they walk the streets they grew up in. Because someone who lives in fear, or in hate, or in combination of the two will see my Son, your Son, our Sons, as ‘the other’. They will see our Sons and they will see opportunities that they feel they missed out on, or they will see someone to focus their anger on, and they will take a shot, or take a knife, or use their hands – and they will attack our Sons. Perhaps they will maim them and our Sons will recover. Perhaps they will kill them, and our Sons will become another news story.

Should such a horrific thing happen, our Legal System will then allow the Murderer to gather a Jury ‘of their peers’ who will let them go. Because their Peers will understand and make excuses for their racism, fear, and hate – because they too, have it as part of their makeup – even if they do not think so.

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My Son is not African American – I am not trying to co-opt that experience. But one need only to look at the news this past week to view how America views Asians in this country.

It seems it is perfectly acceptable to many to mock the names of people who have just been through a horrific airplane crash where people died. It was blamed on ‘an intern’, but think about how many channels and levels those ‘approvals’ had to go before they wound up being reported as fact, on the nightly news. It was not ‘just a mistake’, it was racism.

This past week on a television show, Big Brother 15, some of the “Houseguests’ told the Asian American contestant to ‘go make some rice’ and were shown degrading the other contestants on the live feeds. They were not ‘jests’ or ‘all in fun’ comments – it was racism.

Remembering Vincent Chin

Remembering Vincent Chin

The name, Vincent Chin, may not be as familiar to mainstream America, but to Asian Americans it is ‘our’ Treyvon Martin story – it vibrates with the reminders that every time we hear someone yell “Chink” or “Jap” or “Gook” from a car, from an alley, in a bar….. we could be moments away from be bludgeoned to death simply because we exist in this country. This is a fear that is shared, in some respect by every person in this country who is a minority – either due to their race, gender, or sexual preference.

Apparently we, the pesky ‘minorities’, are only in this country on very specific terms, which can be challenged at any time by a man – usually a Caucasian man – who has been somewhat of a failure in his own life. So of course, instead of working hard, or studying, or taking responsibility for his own actions, it’s much better to ‘blame’ the minority for his own shortcomings.

That chick is a BITCH” because she will not date you, “That Gook took my job” because you stopped your education at High School, “That Fag wants to touch me” because you have latent attractions you are unable to deal with in a constructive way. We, the minorities, are cluttering up ‘their Country‘, so we better ‘watch ourselves‘.

This country, which so many seem content to claim, but which was stolen from Native Americans by men whose Napoleon complexes resulted in Manifest Destiny.

This is America. Lest we forget, us ‘minorities’.

Ok, Angry Undereducated White Guy, you sure told me!

What do we, as minorities in America, take away from this horrible lesson? What is our next step?

I will tell you what I am going to do….

I am going to hold my Son tonight – as I do every night – and I am going to worry more now. I will probably go to the ‘dark place’ quite a bit – but I will teach him how to grow and achieve to his fullest potential.

We must empower our Sons to live full lives filled with achievement, education, and art.

We must teach our Daughters that they are shining examples of courage, education, and self-sufficiency with the right to control their own bodies.

We must teach, in spite of all the terrible things that we are being taught right now, about America through this case, we must teach our Children that in America, we expect them to treat people equally regardless of their race, sexual preferences, or gender.

America, as a country, is not ‘there’ yet – but Our Children may get the chance to make it so, as long as we, The Parents, do not give up. We need to work to change laws, we need to empower our educational system, we need to continue to invest in our communities through the Arts and through Social Programs. We need to show one another respect and tolerance and understanding.

We all must do this, because if we do not….the shitheads win.

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