7.12.2010

The Asian Man Won't Stay in His Place

For the better part of a week, I've been consuming many tasty cookies*--some tastier than others--and let me tell you, there are some crazy ass people out there in the world.

During this time, I laughed, I drooled (in a good way), and I even threw up in my mouth a little bit at some of the swill that I was forced to sit through.  But I made it through the fire and in the process learned two very important things: 1) the American mainstream media is a joke, and 2) for many "real" Americans, Rain is a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma, and I don't think they can handle him.

At least not yet. 

Yes, they can handle Rain's music (they've come to quite enjoy "black" music I've been told), they can handle his off-the-hook dancing (Justin Timberlake makes it okay), and they can most certainly handle his good looks and drool-worthy body (they're ignorant, not stupid).  But judging by the foolishness that was on display when he was here promoting his movie Ninja Assassin, I'm not sure that white America is ready for an Asian man that doesn't apologize for being...well...Asian.  And not only Asian, but Asian and foreign.  (Dun dun dunnn!)

For their part, interviewers don't seem to know quite how to take him nor how to act around him.  They ask him stupid questions, talk to him like a five-year-old, or make inane comparisons that have absolutely nothing to do with anything relevant.  (Why, for instance, ask about Justin Timberlake during a Ninja Assassin interview?)

But Rain don't play that.  He doesn't seem the least bit fazed by their bullshit and even manages to take it a step further by blatantly not giving two damns about them or their privilege and oh so subtly letting them know it. (And if you really pay attention, you'll notice that his English can get a tad bit spotty sometimes.  Hmmm...wonder why that is?)

With this über-confident attitude, he manages to confound them, easily flipping the script on their “we’re #1!” mentality as easily as Obi Wan Kenobi punked the Imperial Stormtroopers in Star Wars. POC may not know it, but the Force is strong in us. We have an uncanny ability to flawlessly play “the game” to our advantage, and we’ve become virtual Jedi Masters at making white people believe that we care what they think when we really, really don’t. The POC version of the Jedi mind trick if you will.

But I digress.

During my research*, it became glaringly apparent that some white folks have absolutely no idea how to quantify an Asian man who has massive amounts of swagger and sings and talks with such a deep, soulful voice that a woman’s clothes melt clean off her body.  "But how can that be?" they ask themselves in amazement.  "He's Asian!  And foreign!"  (Dun dun dunnn!)  Or in other words, he's not the geeky, brainy, asexual, effeminate, fill-in-the-blank Asian stereotype that they've been told he should be.

In all of their high-minded privilege, these people seem to forget that this particular Asian man didn’t grow up in a country that treats him like a second-class citizen. They brush aside the fact that in Korea, he’s the majority, and therefore, doesn’t see white as an automatic default.  To their neverending chagrin, this Asian man ain't bowing and scraping, shuckin’ and jivin’, skinnin’ and grinnin', or all around coonin' like a proper POC is supposed to do.

So what to do with him then? Read up on Korea to learn what his culture is all about?  Understand that there are cultural differences that will inevitably pop up every now and again and react accordingly? Acknowledge that English is one of the hardest languages on the planet to learn, yet he's done an excellent job of it so far?  And all while maintaining an extremely successful music and acting career?

Nah. 

Instead of opening their minds and, you know, actually trying to learn something new, their quick and easy answer is to play “cut and paste” with his personality in order to make themselves feel more comfortable.  They throw around tired code words like “cocky” and “arrogant” (read: that uppity Asian man) to mask their racism and gleefully mock his accented English in blatant, unashamed displays of xenophobia.  ("Fresh Ramen" instead of "Fresh Woman."  Hardy har har...)

The real problem for these folks is that an Asian man isn't supposed to be confident enough to unapologetically proclaim himself sexy. He’s not supposed to be self-aware enough to know that he doesn’t need white acceptance to validate his existence. And he’s certainly not supposed to be so comfortable in his own skin that he knows he’s talented enough to go where most non-blacks fear to tread and is damn good while doing it. 

See, I've come to the conclusion that Rain doesn’t just want to take America by storm...he wants to conquer this shit. And they know it.  He might not say it out loud, but come on...you know that’s what he wants to do. 

And you also know that the white establishment ain’t trying to have that.  So instead of Rain, we get the two Justins.

Whoop-de-freakin'-do.



*cookies, research - please see the Addictionary

31 comments:

  1. Nice work! It boggles the mind that thing called white privelege doesn't it? I have purposely kept away from alot of his interviews with the American media, for fear of raising my blood pressure @ the sheer stupidity of it all.

    He's a gifted human being, but I fear that his eyes are really just beginning to be opened, when it comes to how the "game" is played in this country.

    Racism is deep, ingrained and entrenched in this mad house. It will be intriguing to see how he navigates it all. Indeed he does want to conquer this heap, but it will be damned difficult for him to do so.

    However, if he continuies to build relationships with the right people, the game will have changed and he will be remembered for the role he played in it all.

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  2. Brilliant, brilliant post! I'd linking the hell out of it!!!! BRAVA!!!!

    n all of their high-minded privilege, these people seem to forget that this particular Asian man didn’t grow up in a country that treats him like a second-class citizen. They brush aside the fact that in Korea, he’s the majority, and therefore, doesn’t see white as an automatic default. To their neverending chagrin, this Asian man ain't bowing and scraping, shuckin’ and jivin’, skinnin’ and grinnin', or all around coonin' like a proper POC is supposed to do.

    WORD.

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  3. WTF @ Fresh Ramen.

    *starts slapping people on YouTube*

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  4. BTW Cinnamon...you are a serious nerd. *shakes head*

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  5. This piece is brilliantly written!! You hit the nail on the head. Rain is a tremendous talent & his sex appeal is undeniable. When he should do is lean toward the African American community for acceptance(I believe he will have a huge following there) & the rest of white America will fall in line and love him because we will make him seem like the coolest thing since sliced bread!! Remember, they didn't know how to take Eminem either until we accepted him as our own!! I say let the record sales speak for themselves!!

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  6. Thank you, ladies. I've got to say...this was an eye-opening experience for me in many ways. The American MSM is just embarrassing, not to mention a great deal of her citizens.

    You know, I can't imagine that in all this time, no one high up in American recording industry has approached Rain about doing something in the U.S. I can see them wanting to change him in ways that he wasn't comfortable with just to make him more "mainstream." Sounds exactly like something they would do. Remember Color Me Bad? They "mainstreamed" them right out of existence.

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  7. When he should do is lean toward the African American community for acceptance(I believe he will have a huge following there)

    Co-sign! One thing about black folks...as long as a person is keeping it real, and representing correctly, we have no problem embracing someone...regardless of race. If blacks geeked out over Justin Timberlake the way we did, I know we'd love us some Rain. We love a man with swagger, who can hold his own with the brothas, and someone who can dance his ass off. I have no doubt that his music would be an instant hit on black radio.

    And you're right. As soon a we embraced him, white folks would then try to claim him as their own as they are wont to do. It would be up to him to not let that happen (which I don't think he would).

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  8. As soon a we embraced him, white folks would then try to claim him as their own as they are wont to do. It would be up to him to not let that happen (which I don't think he would).

    *shudder* Over Timberfake's dead body.

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  9. *shudder* Over Timberfake's dead body.

    LOL!!! And then you know what would be next...all the white starlets would be jockeying for position to be the next Mrs. Rain.

    They probably wouldn't want to believe that he'd probably choose a Korean bride over their wonderful, desirable whiteness. I think it's hilarious.

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  10. That post was straight dope! Our community knows quality musical art and will support regardless of the package it comes in; ie. Tina Marie. She is the truth and so is Rain - and those abs... Good Googa Mooga Lawd Jesus!
    If the pen is mightier than the sword, Cinnamon, you cuttin' up! Keep slicing gurl!

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  11. @Brown Sugar

    Hey girl! Glad you could join us!

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  12. LMAO @ how willing we are to offer Timberlake as sacrifice

    Rain has more SEX in one gesture than JT has in an entire choreographed routine.

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  13. Rain has more SEX in one gesture than JT has in an entire choreographed routine.

    And that's one of the big differences between Justin and Rain. Justin performs when he's on stage. He does his routine, and it is what it is. Rain gives a performance when he's on stage, a la Usher, Beyonce, Janet. There's a HUGE difference. And the difference is usually as simple as black and white (pun most definitely intended).

    The man emulates (and collaborates) with whom he obviously feels more of a kinship. The Justin comparisons need to stop, like, yesterday.

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  14. Mos def I will be checking in on the regular. I also think I need to "research" this Rain character some more.... You know just to examine the effect of his sexualappealnesses.

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  15. @Brown Sugar

    Mos def I will be checking in on the regular. I also think I need to "research" this Rain character some more.... You know just to examine the effect of his sexualappealnesses.

    Be careful. It's potent. Once you start watching, you will literally spend hours in front of the computer watching his videos. Don't say I didn't warn you. ;)

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  16. So instead of Rain, we get the two Justins.

    After all of the nodding and head-shaking I experienced while reading this piece, I ended up laughing hysterically on this floor. Two Justins? My throat hurts. :D

    he’s the majority, and therefore, doesn’t see white as an automatic default.

    Yes... THIS!!! Should I be concerned that I don't see them as the automatic default either? Never have. Never will.

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  17. @Ankh
    BTW Cinnamon...you are a serious nerd. *shakes head*

    Yes...yes, I am. Only a true fangirl would pant over Rain's shirt and what was in the shirt at the same time. It's an art form. Take's a lifetime to master.

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  18. @Hateya
    Should I be concerned that I don't see them as the automatic default either?

    Nope. Because I don't either.

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  19. In the minds of white people, Asian men are supposed to be stereotypical shy nerds. Therefore, any confident, assertive Asian man is labeled "cocky" and "arrogant". Of course, white men can act as confident as they want without earning such negative characterizations. Double standard much, America?

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  20. Of course, white men can act as confident as they want without earning such negative characterizations.

    You know...white people do a lot of things and don't earn negative characterizations...to other white people, that is. To us...well, they've earned a lot in this regard.

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  21. @Ankh

    Too true. I mean, how cocky and arrogant is it to "discover" a country that's already occupied by indigenous people, survive only because of the kindness of those people, then turn right around and slaughter those same people? And then make two damn holidays based on that shit?

    Please. If you look up the words cocky and arrogant in the dictionary, there'll be a picture of a white person next to it.

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  22. Double standard much, America?

    All day, every day.

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  23. @ Cinnamon,

    Btw, your Ankhesenology moment's been far overdue. I'll never get over how awesome your phrasing was.

    Thank you.

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  24. @Ankh
    Thanks. But I have to say, if it wasn't for The Narrative, I don't even think it would have occured to me. At least on such a deep level. I'm learning a lot. And for that, I thank you. :)

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  25. I'm learning a lot.

    Glad to hear it. People may think I do what I do to educate white folks but uh...no. I do it to educate my fellow POC.

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  26. Great post! Justin T has NOTHING on Bi. NOTHING. He's a little pussy boy that hides under his mother's skirt whenever he's confronted. Bi on the other hand, is the epitome of masculinity, no matter what color. I actually predicted that "Ninja Assassin" would tank to my friends. Not because it was a bad movie, but because to white America, the thought of an Asian man taking the place of the Brad Pitts and Tatum Channings as #1 preference of women of ALL colors is just too much for them to take. They simply can't handle him. All the more reason for black America to embrace him!

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  27. @ blackwomenlovebi - Not to mention that Tatum Channing cannot emote worth a damn.

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  28. where did the addictionary go?

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