Keep on Wondering...

What are the connections between social and historical forces and the representations we see?
Why is yellowface still acceptable? When and how did yellowface turn into whitewashing?
How do these representations create and/or perpetuate stereotypes that are present in our world? What is the impact?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Slim Chin & The Metro PCS Indian Guys

Advertising by caricatures makes me sick.  

Dear God. Isn't this painful? I feel an overwhelming desire to gouge my eyes out. I want 31 seconds of my life back! "The Beast From The Far East?" MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ignore the funky basketball references. Let's focus on this guy who looks remarkably like Long Duk Dong - like an older-decked-out-in-gold-no-exaggerated-Asian-accent-talking Long Duk Dong. He is awkward and rotund - it's Charlie Chan's body with Long Duk Dong's head and a whole lot of stupid. This is really just riding on the Old Spice commercials, with a character selling a product - only this time, it's not a MANLY black man selling a REAL man's product - it's a slightly emasculated and not attractive Asian man selling... shoes. The gods are smiling upon us though - no horrendously offensive accent. But wait a minute... doesn't he sound... not Asian... but... dare I say it? Black? I guess so. This commercial is progressive in this way (the No Stereotypical Asian Accent way) but slightly regressive in the physical representation of the character - an awkward, rotund, strange-looking Asian guy trying and not succeeding to fit into hip hop culture. In other words - the Perpetual Foreigner. But not in the way you might think. This is an Asian stereotype that while they can assimilate into America, they can't assimilate into the world of Hip Hop Cool. 
It's a lot better than those Metro PCS commercials with the two Indian guys and their awful accents...

Did you just want to barf? I know I did. Does anybody remember these TV advertisements? I wouldn't be forgetting something as horrendous as that in a hurry. 

Dear God, it just got so much worse.
The exaggerated accents. The accents. The funky Bollywood-esque music. The dancers at the end of the Shaming ad.  Dear God, I thought we were above this sort of thing! Apparently not! 
Just so many things wrong... with all of these... So are South Asians the new Poke-Fun-At-Them-Because-They're-The-Model-Minority-And-They-Won't-Say-Anything Group? How disgusting. This is awful. Why is nobody protesting this? I protest! Down with race-based caricature advertising! 

We must begin a new rallying cry - "Slim Chin, Ranjit, Chad, and Charlie Chan are dead!"


  1. I wasn't sure what to make of Slim Chin. He's wealthy, is clearly American(-ized?) and hangs out with a basketball star. Everything he touches turns to gold. His appearance is what it is - not everyone can be a supermodel. Despite all the trappings of a cool life, this was done to laugh AT the character, maybe for the supposed absurdity of a small, round Asian guy ever being "cool".

    A search for "slim chin" and stereotype brought me here. I am surprised there isn't more discussion about this online ...

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  2. I can see the argument that Slim Chin is a positive representation because it shows him assimilating into hip-hop culture and being wealthy and "cool." But it's at a heavy price, because Slim Chin is just obnoxious, racial connotations aside. "Freaky like my lady pyramid!" It's just bad. All kinds of bad.

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