Recently I saw a tweet in which a Latina was expressing her upset over being told by her students (I presume she is a classroom teacher) that she should watch Fresh Off the Boat and she responded by asking, “Do I sound fresh off the boat?! I AM NOT FRESH OFF THE BOAT!” Therein lays the problem of using a racialized insult as a “punch” line. Eventually somebody is going to get hit.
This week the creator of this ABC sitcom who also claims to loathe his creation like Dr. Frankenstein went on the Bill Maher show and said this:
“I feel like Asian men in America have been emasculated so much that we are treated like Black women.”
In other words when people mistreat me it’s like they think I’m a Black woman, but I ‘m not, which is the reason they should treat me better. He further compounded his disgusting and useless point of view by calling a Black woman who asked him to explain himself an “idiot” and then accused her of “trying to get more followers”. So this Chinese man feels comfortable using Black women as a joke between him a privileged white man but the black woman who challenges him on it is the one using her “blackness” as merchandise. For some time now Eddie Huang has presented himself as some kind of Asian Marco Polo traveling through Black culture specifically Hip Hop. This role that some Asians play of being middle men in the POC power struggle is not new. It was done both in South America and notably in South Africa where Asians enjoyed privileges denied to the indigenous Blacks. If Eddie Huang and the like represent a renewed interest by some Asians to play middle men between Black Americans and the white elite/power structure I have two words, no actually several words for him and those who think like him…GTFOH!
Eddie Huang is proof once again of the West’ fascination with Black culture looking really good on someone who is NOT Black and Eddie like Igloo Australia before him knows that. Instead of teaching about traditional and modern Chinese music, Culture, language, history, science and artistic contributions we get an Asian man peddling the same old anything you can do I can do better with an unseemly smugness and disrespect added on like a bitter seasoning. (Eddie is a chef after all) On his twitter account he claimed that he was making a joke. But where’s the funny? Two Non-Black men making light of the suffering, misery and anguish of Black women?? Recently a court judge let a white cop get away with shooting a black woman in the back of the head who happened to be standing next to a Black man that the cop wanted to kill. How would you feel to then see a Non-Black person of color and a white man laughing about the ill treatment of Black women in this country? Want to bet Eddie Huang doesn’t think his behavior is “reckless” either.
When confronted online Eddie referenced an OK Cupid study to justify his disgusting remarks. The same study that demonstrated that everyone including Asian men disrespected Black women…..
And here I thought “you people” were the smart ones. You see what I did there? I used a stereotype about Asians in order to appear funny or clever. Eddie’s next bullshit excuse was that he was sparking conversations by pulling some sort of Black race card. For someone who claims to love starting conversations about Black women there’s no mention of Rekia Boyd on his social media….. but what do I know? Watching him speak I got the sense of what always happens when men use phrases like “you run like a girl” or “bitch” towards other men. It’s a fact Eddie Huang thinks it’s an insult to be treated like he’s a woman and what’s particularly troubling is that he by passed both Asian and Maher’s counterpart white women to drag Black women into the “discussion”. There is an unnecessary hostility to his behavior on the show and certainly in how he has treated the women online who confronted him. I was going to give him some leeway as a poc but then I peeped the way he interacted with Black women online. Not only was he offensive and nasty but he then attacked that same women the very NEXT day. Even after being so aggressive and rude he actually demanded her email!??
I believe he didn’t mention Asian women because he knew it would be disrespectful and he didn’t say white women because the whole point was to ingratiate himself with a white man. And you know there is nothing the American mainstream enjoys more than a coon show. (insert Pharrell’s Grammy performance)This man is NOT an ally and if other Asians feel like and behave like him they are not either. And quiet as it’s kept generally Black people are NOT the ones trying to align themselves with Asians anyway. Correct me if I am wrong but I am not seeing a lot of references to Asian culture, people, art, history or music on Blackish, The Game, Empire, or Scandal. Looking at Eddie it’s a very different story.
ASIAN MEN! Yeah you Asian men who feel ‘emasculated’ and marginalized by western standards, norms, and concepts. The Asian men who built the wall of China, followed Wong Fei-Hung and Miyamoto Musashi into battle, who studied with the brilliant philosopher Confucius the men who perfected the art of tea, martial arts, meditation and calligraphy etc. Don’t lose your honor and forget your pride worrying about the opinions of Westerners and in no way will you regain your “manhood” by disrespecting any women and that includes Black women.
“Not a Black woman” is a privileged in itself.
If Eddie Huang truly believed in the validity of the Asian man’s struggle he wouldn’t have brought Black women into it in the first place. I mean the so-called “emasculation” of the Asian male happened way before OK Cupid. In films, magazines, books you name it, remember M. Butterfly which by the way was written by an Asian Man! Eddie brought up Black women precisely because he didn’t think Asian men were “good enough” to make the impact he wanted. As a fellow poc I want to tell all Asian men that you’re more than enough and if you agree that fighting Black women will NOT return your lost (lmao) machismo to you please come collect “brotha” Huang. If all he learned from being an American is to both covet and loathe Blackness and Black people then in all honesty Eddie can get right back on that boat!
Just FYI for all you Non-Black poc, the problem with throwing Black people under the bus for white approval means you undervalue your own struggle for equality. And if you don’t believe me ask white women…..
Photo Credits: NPR & Clipart Best