Saturday, January 31, 2009

Your Cultural Education

From a teacher friend. Note truncated text at upper left. Also note bowl of motherfucking rice!


Ruby Tenneco said...


odori said...

What is this supposed to teach??? Yikes.

Litcube said...

Hi, guys. I don't get it. There's a chinese person with rice, chopsticks, and traditional chinese garb. There's a tagline saying "Cultural Education". Am I being led to believe that chinese people do not use chop sticks or straw hats, and that if I identified the nationality of the character in this picture without a label, I could be a racist?

Maybe I'm off track. Please advise.

Mr. Pony said...

Haha. Good point. This is a complex issue, made even more complexer by the fact that despite her Chinese trappings, the woman in the image is clearly Vietnamese.

Litcube said...

I want to fight racism right in the face. But also, today, I went to see a customer of mine, and she was complaining about a particular technician of mine that she sees on a regular basis. She complained the technician was creepy. She said that he was an "African-Canadia -- African-America -- I know it's not PC to say this, but he was black, I don't know how else to describe him. I like the oriental fellow that came a lot better."

Funny thing is, the customer in this case was a family run business. They are a nice chinese family. The lady with whom I was speaking was also chinese. She couldn't say he was Philipino, I guess. Are the Phillipines considered part of the orient? Maybe.

I feel bad for Indians, who are probably so confused whenever someone calls out "Asian", or "Oriental" guy, and they're never refering to the Indian dude. Poor Indian dudes.

Mr. Pony said...

It's true. I always have to say "No, not you" to Indian dudes after I yell, " Hey! Asian!"

Coming from Hawaii, the least racist place in the entire universe, it's hard for me to understand what's what, and what hurts, and what is meant to hurt, or what. I get the sense, though, that people are pretty much through being offended by what other people call them. Instead, any accidental racial slurs are just fun facts about the speaker; a window into how they were raised and where they come from. Sort of like how if someone is walking down the street carrying a bowl of rice, you know they are Chinese.

Litcube said...

Here in Vancouver, where the average citizen is an ½ generation immigrant, the white folk natives freaked right the fuck right out when immigration skyrocketed. We didn’t know what to do. We were so concerned that while we were sipping our lattes, surfing with Netscape, or jogging the seawall in our capris, we missed out in important host lessons, and we didn’t want to offend anyone. In essence, we spazzed . We became over sensitive, ran huge anti-racism campaigns, and otherwise totally over compensated. Everyone was on edge, because if you looked at someone who was Chinese, you were told not to stare. Babies who were born too white were exchanged for babies who were not so white. Vancouver invented its own language other than English so as not to offend our welcomed guests.

My Chinese and Indian friends tell me that over-PC is incredibly embarrassing to everyone involved, even if they don’t know it. They tell me that where they come from, there are people chopping each other’s heads! Off! Because they’re a different race (i.e. from a different tribe)! But 3 generations ago, they were totally related. So they’re all, “you white dudes are pretty silly.” They think it’s pretty sweet here.

Litcube said...

Also, this Chinese Person looks blonde in this particular illustration. Clearly, this Chinese person could be Scandinavian. I don't want to generalize, so I'll be more specific and say that she's from Denmark, so as not to generalize. She also could be a dude, not that I'm judging. It's ok if you're a dude and look like a chick. But it's alright, either way, or both. Whatever. Whom' I to judge.


odori said...

Did not know that about Vancouver!

Mr. Pony, can you tell us if this is actually used in Hawaii schools, is an historic artifact, or if someone just made this up to screw with our brains.

Ruby Tenneco said...

Ok, so to side-step the whole "who's the racist" issue, I'd say this: I think the main thing that makes this handout kind of un-useful to budding young minds curious about foreign lands is the caption: Chinese Person. Maybe, as Litcube (sort of) suggested, "Traditional Chinese Garb" would be a better title.

All I'm saying, that if you look up pictures of Chinese people on google there's lots of track suits and baseball caps and stuff. It's hard to find much in the way of conical straw hats that isn't from 50+ years ago or Southeast Asia.

I'd have issue with the rice bowl if not for the fact that I myself have a permanently-attached Big Mac under the crook of my right arm.

Reno Schneider said...

I wish I were Canadian.

Litcube said...

I agree with you, Ruby. It would definitely be more accurate as a label, that's for sure.

Mr. Pony said...

I will ask my teacher friend. When I said it was "from a teacher friend" I meant that in the "it was a piece of scratch paper she left at my house, rolled up into a tube and taped closed" sense, rather than a "she forward this to me as an interesting cultural artifact" sense.

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