July 18, 2008

Rice Chaser with a Badge

oakland.jpgAccording to SF Gate:
The city of Oakland is expected to pay $2 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by 16 Asian American women who said they were pulled over for no reason by a police officer who then groped or sexually harassed them.

I saw this news from 8A John, although I'm quoting a different article.

I remember reading about this Richard Valerga guy a while back, but apparently the issue was resolved only recently. A rice chaser with a badge. Not only is this action an abuse of power, not only does this kind of behavior erode public trust in the system, but it lacks all traces of creativity on the part of the rice chaser himself. I mean, come on. What ever happened to the old days when rice chasers would take Japanese classes and pretend to be interested in the culture? What ever happened to the days when rice chasers shed tears to show their sensitive sides while watching the Joy Luck Club? What ever happened to the days when rice chasers with ponytails would take Taekwondo classes and try to "help" women with their stretching? There are so many chasers in the world, and the fact they have to resort to this kind of uncreative behavior is a crime on top of a crime.

I think the public solution, long term of course, is to open the commentary. Fight the stereotypes by saying, "We know what a rice chaser is, we know what rice chasers do, and you may think you're pulling one over on us, but you're not." Then invite all your friends and get them involved.

On a more theoretical level, while I was googling this article, I came upon this wiki entry called Sex Crimes against Asian women in the United States. This wiki article documents quite a few chaser crimes, including the particularly unique Michael Lohman, the guy with the bottles. In the second subsection of the "Asian fetish theory" section, the article says,
Sex crimes targeting Asian American women are often attributed by some Asian American advocacy groups to the existence of an Asian fetish in the perpetrators of the crimes. Yin Ling Leung, organizational director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, claims that sex crimes targeting Asian American women are a form of hate crime and a distorted form of racist love:[2]

That "racist love" link leads to another wiki entry, which says,
The term was coined by Frank Chin and Jeffery Paul Chan in a 1972 article entitled "Racist Love." Chin and Chan differentiate between the terms racist hate and racist love. They distinguish between unacceptable stereotypes, such as Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril, which represent minorities who cannot be controlled by whites; and acceptable stereotypes, such as Charlie Chan and his Number One Son, which represent minorities who can be controlled by whites. Hence, acceptable stereotypes form the basis of racist love. When the perpetuation of such acceptable stereotypes reached a point as to be embodied and perpetuated by the race of people it represents, this race, as a social, creative, and cultural force, would have been successfully neutralized by white supremacy. Chin and Chan write:

White racism enforces white supremacy. White supremacy is a system of order and a way of perceiving reality. Its purpose is to keep whites on top and set them free. Colored minorities in white reality are stereotypes. Each racial stereotype comes in two models, the acceptable and the unacceptable. The hostile black stud has his acceptable counterpart in the form of Stepin Fetchit. For the savage, kill-crazy Geronimo, there is Tonto and the Hollywood version of Cochise. For the mad dog General Santa Ana there's the Cisco Kid and Pancho. For Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril, there is Charlie Chan and his Number One Son. The unacceptable model is unacceptable because he cannot be controlled by whites. The acceptable model is acceptable because he is tractable. There is racist hate and racist love.[1]

Frank Chin's influence is everywhere, and he is 100% correct about racist love. People who have racist love towards Asians and Asian Americans praise our so-called docility because it keeps us in our place. The stereotypes serve to neutralize our anger, our sense of frustration, and our efforts to organize and take action against trends that affect us.

It's interesting that Chin and Chan published this essay in 1972, more than 35 years ago. Why hasn't this thinking become a part of Asian American culture? It's relevant to everything we do and influences much of our self-conception, but it has not entered our culture in the same way "by all means necessary" or "I have a dream" has. Why hasn't this thinking--which is so obviously right--become more mainstream?

Wiki has the answer again, further down in the same article:
Authors Sau-ling Wong and Jeffrey J. Santa Ana criticize Chin for being misogynistic, homophobic, and for glorifying stereotypes of aggression:

Frank Chin, perhaps the best known of the androcentric cultural nationalist writers, relies on misogyny and homophobia in his attempt to delineate and construct a (hetero)normative Asian American manhood. In his critique of racist Hollywood caricatures of Asian men, for example, Chin glorifies stereotypes of aggression in black, Latino, and Native American men.[2]

Haha...never underestimate a Kingstonian. Or in this case, a pair of Kingstonians. "What? You're against racism? You see things in other cultures that you admire? You're a racist...and a homophobe!!!" I don't know if I've read this particular article by Wong and Santa Ana, but it's so asinine how people throw accusations of sexism and homophobia when they can't win an argument. I've been reading these Asian American papers for a long time, and I don't recall ever seeing any kind of actual documentation of racism or homophobia that these anti-Chin forces bring up, from anyone. All we ever see is the same old Kingstonian swiftboating and name-calling.

In any case, returning back to my original point, I think we need to open dialogue on this issue. We get enough practice on message boards, but we need to also start talking to our friends and family about it too. Build your vocabulary and do your research. The information is out there.


burnt sienna said...

I lost my Fighting-44s pw, so I'll comment here instead.

I don't like the term "racist love" because it implies one person's declaration of love is not as valid as another person's declaration of love by no other reason but color of skin. That in itself is hypocritically racist. Plus, if there really is an element of race to it, then it's probably not love. Love, I would like to imagine, is above and beyond all these politicized nitpickings.

I'd prefer to call the condition a race-based fetish. Maybe racist sexism. Sexist racism.

B said...


Hope things are going well where you are!

"Racist Love" actually doesn't apply to anything sexual or romantic. It refers to society's treatment (so called "love") of certain aspects of certain minority groups.

Comment #9 by THX over here has a pretty good summation of the essay.

It says:
"As for Chin et al.’s “Racist Love” essay, their point is that racist stereotypes often come in
binary pairs. Thus, for Asians, there is the menacing Yellow Peril stereotype as embodied by Fu Manchu. And there is the stereotype of Asians as docile and obedient, as embodied by Charlie Chan. The former is an example of Racist Hate, while the latter is Racist Love. Similar examples can be found with other minorities."

Hope things are going well!