By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
This month, we learn that social media is powerful. Because of social media, a college professor in charge of molding young minds cannot say what is in her heart without people getting it twisted.
Because of social media, we don’t need to be in Vegas to see a beautiful Asian man dance like an angel. Because of social media, we all now know that Kelly Marie Tran and Mirai Nagasu are like, not the same person even though they have different names, different occupations, and are different ethnicities.
College professor tells Asians to go home and people freak out
Golden West College professor Tarin Olson was taking what probably started out as a pleasant stroll in her Long Beach neighborhood when she stumbled across Tony Kao and his wife walking with their young daughter — and none of them looked white.
So Olson told them to “go back to your home country,” thinking it was no big deal because truth is truth, but then the Kaos started filming her on a phone and kept asking her what she meant by her comment. Olson was really disturbed that her privacy was being violated, so she repeatedly told them to turn the phone off.
But they kept filming her and asking her what she meant when she told them to go back to their home country, telling her that they are actually all American born and raised.
Olson couldn’t take it anymore and ended the altercation by first saying, “I never voted!” And then clarifying, “I never voted for you!”
Kao’s video became viral. And Olson explained herself in an email to the Daily Pilot. She wrote that she was “not in a good place emotionally after receiving so many disgusting emails … for something that wasn’t even racist and was then skewed by a guy named Tony who filmed me without my permission.” She told CBS Los Angeles that her students know she is not a racist and that her words have been twisted. She would like to have a full normal interview about the “displacement of European Americans,” so that she can enlighten the public on this very pressing issue.
Stay strong, Tarin.
Hey, it’s 2018. It’s okay to think that Asian guys are fine AF now.
Guys, there’s an API Magic Mike dancer and we all need to gather all of our cousins, our aunties, uncles, moms, and dads, and we all need to buy tickets to the Las Vegas show, so that these production companies know that Asians go nuts and will spend money whenever they see a hot Asian dancer take off some of his clothes tastefully to tight choreography and Ginuwine’s greatest hit. We need more of this! Buy your ticket right now!
Patrick Packing is Filipino and the first Asian American dancer to join the Magic Mike cast since its April 2017 debut. Before Packing started his stint last month, women were apparently constantly going up to the other dancers and asking them why there wasn’t an Asian guy in the dance revue. That’s right, ladies!
In an interview with 90.3 KAZU in Monterey, Calif., Packing said that he is constantly surprised by the intensity and enthusiasm of Asian audience members. He told KAZU, “I’d say eight out of 10 times, I get them standing up, just clapping in my face, saying, ‘I’m proud of you! Thank you!’”
So cute. Can we please start a movement in which Magic Mike dancer is the new doctor, in terms of ‘making it’ Asian-style?
I’m so sick of Jared Leto
There’s an awkwardly sycophantic, totally serious profile on Jared Leto out there that really fixates on his elfin features, his spacey intensity that apparently evokes cult leader — and this feature’s title asks, “Is there anything Jared Leto can’t do?”
Well, he cannot convincingly play a Yakuza, I’ll tell you that.
Jared Leto was the guy who mailed his coworkers dead rats and used condoms while he was working on “Suicide Squad” (a movie that was generally panned) because Jared Leto thinks it’s cool that he’s such a tortured artist, but actually, he is just real melodramatic.
This month, Leto stars in “The Outsider,” a Netflix film about a white American soldier (Leto) imprisoned in Japan after the end of World War II. He saves his Yakuza cell mate’s life. And then he joins the Yakuza, because that makes sense. Because the general sense we have about Yakuza in popular culture is that they def have open membership. Leto’s character goes on to become probably the best Yakuza there ever was, because on TV, white people tend to do Asian stuff better than actual Asians, especially Japanese stuff.
This movie is getting raked over the coals. It has terrible reviews. Leto and Netflix are keeping real mum on the whitewashing accusations, which is probably smart of them.
Kelly Marie Tran and Mirai Nagasu get mistaken for each other at Oscars
“Star Wars” actor Kelly Marie Tran and Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu made the fatal mistake of both being Asian, both being female, and both wearing blue dresses at the Oscars. Someone at Getty Images probably uploaded pictures and wrote captions in a hurry, mistaking these two women for one another multiple times in images.
Every time something like this happens, I’m pretty forgiving. I’m basically like, aw, that caption writer probably has no Asian friends, maybe because she’s socially awkward or maybe because she grew up in white suburbia, went to a state school inland, and maybe it just never happened for her, you know?
Back in 2011, Heather Lucas, Joan Chiao, and Ken Paller of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University did a crap ton of research on “successful versus unsuccessful encoding for same-race and other-race faces.” Brain electrical activity was recorded in experiments and to really over-simplify, the researchers found that same-race faces were rated as more distinctive than other-race faces, which were rated as more stereotypical. Whether a face is distinctive or stereotypical influences memory recall.
Research has shown that this effect diminishes with exposure — a 2003 study with Black and white participants show a subset of Black participants who were great at recognizing white faces. It turned out that the Black students had a lot of inter-race contact with whites through university.
So I’m saying, the Getty Images caption writer probably has no Asian friends. She probably needs to look inside herself and do some self-examination.
‘Black Panther’ senior visual designer is Filipino!
Anthony Francisco is a senior visual designer at Marvel Studios, and I bet his parents are not proud of him because he’s not a doctor, but his team freaking made some of the costumes in “Black Panther,” so who cares about his parents’ pride!
Guided by director Ryan Coogler’s vision for Wakanda, Francisco and his team were in charge of visually designing costumes worn by Dora Milaje, the all-female personal guard of Wakanda’s ruler. (Guys, you just have to watch the movie. I can’t explain it better than this.) The visual designs were then fabricated by costume designer Ruth Carter.
Francisco of course drew from Pan-African traditions — according to NBC News, from the Ndebele tribe and Maasai warriors. But he also brought in some Filipino influences, such as textile textures and clothing worn by the Igorot ethnic group.
Francisco, who grew up in the Philippines and moved to the United States as a teenager, told NBC News, “I never thought I could be a voice for the Asian American community. Even my old classmates in the Philippines saw my name in the news, and I didn’t know that it made it that far.”
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.