Friday 19th January 2018,

Asian Americans

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Yellowface Is Another Example of a Cultural Divide in America

posted by Randall

Gilbert & Sullivan Society The MikadoWhat seems so obvious to many Asian Americans isn’t so for some working in the entertainment industry.

From the Seattle’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society production of The Mikado to episodes last season in both How I Met Your Mother and Saturday Night Live, producers have failed to show any understanding of why yellowface is so offensive to many Asian Americans.

These incidents have been covered extensively on mainstream media and in blogs. It’s hard to comprehend how these producers would not know that they risk offending a significant segment of their audience with their portrayals.

Yet Dave Ross of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society has continually said he wasn’t aware using makeup to portray white actors as Asian Americans might anger so many.

It’s just another example of a cultural divide in this country. People from different background and experiences view things with a different lens. People who’ve never experienced racism may interpret something completely different than those who have.

It’s only through continual discussion of these issues that we can come closer to a mutual understanding.

Kat Chow of NPR’s Codeswitch raised an interesting question this week. She wondered why we’ve been seeing more yellowface in recent months.

She followed it up with a roundtable discussion with three Asian Americans.

Both articles make for a good read.


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