Sunday, February 3, 2008

Answers please...

Similar to many of my classmates, the interview in “My America” with the two Philippina women in Louisiana and our discussion in class in Thursday got me thinking a lot about the concept of authenticity and exploitation. I am left with a lot of questions. Why is any non-Asian fascinated with Asian culture immediately seen as an exotification? On the flip side, why is any Asian disinterested in their own culture seen as a sell-out or a Twinkie? Where does this single dominant discourse come from that dictates who is authentic and who is a sell-out? At what point in time does a person become an individual free of the stereotypes and free of the academic jargon which tries to explain their behaviors and their decisions?

It becomes intensely personal when I turn to my parents, my mom is Asian and my dad is white. Was my dad a rice chaser? Was his interest in my mom spurred on the image of a submissive Geisha? I don’t want to think to think so. It’s easy to point the finger at society and talk about those faceless white males who exotify Asian girls, but when do we consider my dad as an individual whose motives and behaviors are so much more complex and can’t be explained by academia? I probably wouldn’t even be asking myself this question if my father had been Asian too, which brings up the issue of a double standard. Why is a fictitious Asian father’s interest in my mother granted some sort of immunity?

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