Realizing the Role of the Asian man in Get Out: An Asian Girl’s Review of Get Out

So I recently watched Get Out.

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And HOLY SHIT.

It was one of the most brilliantly crafted movies of all time. The symbols and metaphors in every single scene were amazing. I want to watch it again, just to catch every single part. It told such an amazing story about the struggles of being African American and the fear of what it means to be black in a white world.

So I’m going to discuss the movie so this is your

SPOILER ALERT!

If you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT. It’s amazing and stunning and important and just everything. Seriously, stop everything you are doing and go see it.

One thing stuck out to me the most. It was subtle and people might’ve missed it.
But I am an Asian woman and I could not ignore it and I think that was the whole point. I think when that Asian man came into the shot, Jordan Peele (the director, creator, producer, all around amazing person) was calling out and reaching out to the Asian population. I think he did it so subtly as a way that it would only hugely impact the Asian people watching. He was 100% correct. I was shook but my other friends weren’t as much. It really got me thinking. Seeing that man, in the crowd of white people who were definitely up to no good and then seeing him again as such as weird question, and then finally seeing him at the creepy ass silent auction made me realize something.

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I will fully acknowledge that as a whole, Asians are seen and are at times “have it better” but that in no way means that we are not discriminated against. However, Asians are known for assimilating better and have stereotypes, as people have literally told me, that are “not that bad.”

So to other POCs, it makes sense why an Asian man, not a Middle Eastern or Latino person or any other race, is hanging out willy nilly among the evil white people.

To me, it meant more than that. It made me reevaluate my own racial status, which I think was the intention. I don’t think it was meant to bring down Asians but to let us view our roles in society.

But another thing that really caught me was the question that the man asks, “Is the African-American experience an advantage or disadvantage?”

Now this, just elevated everything to a whole new level. This is where I fully understood why Jordan Peele is probably one of the smartest guys in Hollywood right now.

Asians are immigrants. So many of my Asians friends are first generation Asian Americans. I’m not even the first generation Asian American. My children will be. We are still outsiders. I am still an outsider. I am still an immigrant. When people yell, “Go back to where you came from,” it makes more sense than yelling at an African American person who was born in American and have ancestors rooted in America.

So while African Americans are discriminated against and racism between whites and blacks are still so rampant, an Asian man understands that being black is more likely to be a part of the American society than being Asian. The Asian man, unlike the other old white people, is not concerned with Chris’ strength, youth, or abilities. He simply wonders about Chris’ experience as a black man and tries to evaluate whether that is better than his own experience as an Asian man in America. 
One part that this movie got wrong was making the Asian man completely side with the scary ass white people in the movie. He was viewed as if he was never belittled for his race. I have had racial slurs and racist remarks thrown at me by people of all races. However, there is a difference in the racism that I experience opposed to a black man. I don’t fear for my life when I see a cop. I do not fear physical harm but that does not mean I don’t experience discrimination. I understand that the fearing for your life is more detrimental than being called racial slurs and told I’m a cultural experience for non-Asian men to have (“I’ve never been with an Asian girl” Yeah and you never will, you asswipe).
Okay seriously side note: I literally had someone tell me that Asian women are more disregarded because people who fought in the Vietnam and Korean war had Asian prostitutes in the Asian countries so now people equivocate Asian women as more sexual beings, so like if I find a prostitute here in America, do I go back to Korea and regard all white men as prostitutes? What the fuck man? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Like because of what happened YEARS and YEARS ago, it’s okay for you to think that I am more willing to have sex with you? Also if you seek out prostitutes in a different country, you will most likely get a prostitute of the race of that country so you cannot come back to your own country and then tell your children, “all Asian women are prostitutes.” You bigoted sociopath.
ANYWAY,
I have been disregarded as a human because of my race many times. My parents experience it more simply because they have an accent. They are viewed as lesser. We do not understand white privilege but for some reason, other races think we do.
I mean remember when Miley Cyrus did this and then said that she was just making a “goofy face.” Sure Miley, SURE.
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We also ignore Chris Rock’s shitty use of those Asian children during the Oscars. How am I supposed to applaud a man that talks about being discriminated against while he discriminates another race?
Why is it more acceptable to discriminate against Asians? Why?
If you are so upset about discrimination, then stand up for other people discriminated against too. Don’t say, “Well I got discriminated against so it’s okay for me to discriminate other people who don’t look like me. Let’s bring some Asian children up here and put racist stereotypes on them and make everyone laugh, what a great idea.”
I, personally, will always stand up for anyone who is being discriminated against. I will defend the rights of every human being if I can. I will not stay silent. I will march alongside people of all races. I will not use other people’s pain as a punchline. I will show up. And I would like everyone else to do the same.
So yeah, Asian people do need to do more but other NBPOCs need to do more as well. All POCs need to do more for one another. Along with that, everyone, as people, need to do more. We cannot just sit on the sidelines and watch other people get discriminated against. We all need to stand up for one another because we are all humans. We cannot keep categorizing one another.
This movie is a call to action for us NBPOCs. The movie calls us to do more. It wants us to stop being silent. We cannot sit by when an entire group of people is being discriminated, belittled, and attacked. We need to do something. A wake up call.
And to all people, this is a reflection of our society that we need to change. We need to step up.
This movie is so important. It is one of the most important movies. I will forever stand by that statement.
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Whitewashing in Hollywood

Okay, take a good long look at the title of this post, buckle down, and let’s get started because this is a big one.

If you know me in real life (I’m sorry) or you follow any of my social media (even more sorry), you might know of my strong hatred towards the continuous whitewashing in Hollywood. While I know that this applies to all different races, I am going to mainly focus on the whitewashing of Asian culture because I am Asian and that’s my only reasoning. This, however, can apply to all whitewashing out there.

Whitewashing has been prevalent in all of Hollywood. It has been ignored and “justified” by almost everyone. Going all the way back Mickey Rooney, the whitest guy to ever exist, playing an Asian landlord to comes off as the most racist thing towards Asian I have seen happen. This was just one of the many examples of yellowface that appeared.

Hollywood realized that it was probably racist (no duh) since blackface didn’t get the best reviews (for the most obvious reason in history) but they didn’t want to stop casting white actors to play Asian parts (for whatever ridiculous reason). So the best solution was to just put well-known white actors to play Asian parts without disguising them and just kind of look the other way. Okay, makes perfect sense, thanks. They leave the excuse of “well if we cast actually Asian people, no one will watch it” and then pretend that that statement isn’t a blatantly racist. EXCUSE ME? What kind of shitty excuse is that? That’s basically saying, “Asian don’t sell, white people are better.”

But of course, being racist against Asians isn’t the same thing as, say being racist against African Americans as I’ve been told, which just made me sit there in silence and wonder if these people have actually been in an accident that permanently damaged their brains.

Some people say that it’s up to interpretation much like popular animes getting turned into live-action movies with white actors. For example, Dragonball Z and Ghost in The Shell.

Let me explain why it is wrong to cast white actors in these movies.

Dragonball:

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  1. Dragonball is one of the longest, most popular animes in history. It started in 1984 and continues to run today. The story was inspired by a CHINESE novel called Journey to the West and the “West” in the novel was referencing the Western Regions which mainly consisted of Central Asia and India, NOT EUROPE OR AMERICA. I REPEAT NOT EUROPE OF AMERICA.
  2. While the races of the characters are not specified, the anime stems from (surprise) JAPAN. The characters were created and generally speaking drawn for a Japanese audience.
  3. Now, yes the movie was directed by an Asian person so it CAN’T possibly be racist. But MAYBE the director also thought that the movie wouldn’t sell in America if the main character was Asian which brings us back to Asian trying to cater to white people because of being told that as a race, we are inferior and not important.
  4. Only the main characters are white. While Goku, Bulma, and Piccolo are played by white people, the rest are Asian. This immediately puts Asians in the background of a franchise that was created and made popular by Asians. Do you see what’s wrong now? It’s like Asia taking Star Wars and making Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo Asian while everyone else is white. (Also Star Wars was racist too but whatever moving on).
    Or let’s take a popular western cartoon: Batman and turning him Asian while everyone else is white. DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M SAYING NOW? Also an Asian Batman would be awesome so shut up.
  5. Also the movie was terrible.

Ghost in The Shell:

  1. Okay so many things. A lot of the reasons are basically the same as the one above except for the fact that the series is literally SET IN JAPAN. The main character’s name is Motoko Kusanagi. Give me one white person with that name. TELL ME that is a viable white person name.
  2. Again only the main characters are white, everyone else is Asian.
  3. People even talked about how they wanted to make Scarlett Johanssen look more Asian and was like “oh too far, I guess.”
  4. Now getting into the concept of the series as a whole, yes the main character is technically a robot (in the simplest term) and can be interpreted in many different ways. That is totally understandable. Maybe the movie can be seen as a more futuristic take of it, not making it be set in a specific part of the world. Sure that’s fine but here’s the problem with that. The reason why this is insulting is that is the definition of whitewashing. It’s changing a prominently Asian franchise and saying “yeah but what if it was white people instead of Asians?” It’s saying that it will be better if white people were in it. This series is HUGE in Japan and anyone who likes manga/anime. It started in 1989. It’s pretty huge. That’s why when a big live-action movie comes along, it’s insulting to see a white woman play a character has been written as inherently Asian. Because we are systematically told that being Asian is ugly and not pleasing in Western culture. It’s insulting and annoying.

Changing long-standing originally Asian franchises and replacing important, main characters with white people is so insulting. It dashes the dreams of Asian children by telling them that they aren’t worthy. It dashes the dreams of Asian adults that we are also not worthy to play these roles. Some of us dream of becoming the live embodiments of these characters. Take example: Mulan. I’m not Chinese but I always looked up to Mulan because that was the one relatable Asian princess in the Disney franchise. I saw these characters and they looked a little like me and it made me feel important and special. Seeing Scarlett Johansson take on the role of a character who is supposed to be Asian is defeating. It opens doors for other big anime series that I enjoy to be whitewashed. Hollywood and entertainment cater to the biggest consumers, which brings Asian directors, writers, creators to make their characters look a little bit more westernized so that it will sell in Western culture. It tells Asian that our small eyes are not beautiful, that our dark hair is undesirable, and that we are not important enough. I used to hate being Asian. I thought I was the ugliest person in the world (now I only think I’m the second ugliest). I hated my small eyes and my overall Asian face. I hated my culture because I so desperately wanted to be white and American. I was fed through media and underrepresentation that my race was not important and ugly. Now I’m proud of my heritage and race. But it took years of self-affirmation and climbing out of the “white people are better” hole that was created for me by this massive underrepresentation that was occurring.

I’ve even been told that “being racist towards Asians wasn’t really racist.” Think about that for a second. I’ve been told that “being racist towards Asians was totally an okay thing to do because we didn’t have “negative” stereotypes.” You can take that bullshit and throw it right out the window because no, that is not okay.

Trying to justify the entire belittling and mockery of a race is fucked up and makes you a terrible human being. Just because our “stereotypes” aren’t negative, I’m supposed to be okay with you putting me in a box and labeling me?

I’m not good at math so people tell me, “wow that’s so not Asian of you.” Or when a math problem occurs, people turn to me and is like, “here you go, you’re Asian, go for it.” What kind of fuckery is that? Do you not know how insulting that is? How shitty that makes me feel? Being good at math is not an inherently Asian trait. We aren’t born knowing our multiplication tables and we don’t spend our time, solving math problems in the dark.

The reason why Asians are seen good at math or education in general is because it’s our culture. We are raised to believe that being smart and intelligent is the way to success. I remember my dad telling me that I had to get good grades and I had to be good at everything so that I wouldn’t get made fun of for being Asian. Let that sink in. My parents were so afraid that I would be mocked and ridiculed for my race that they pushed me to be intelligent. I don’t know if this is true for other Asian families in Western culture but it was true for me. We try so hard and we push ourselves in education because we know that being smart is a way of success because our skin color won’t do that for us. We don’t have the same privileges that white people do. Also the importance of being smart and intelligent is so big and SO stressed in Asian culture that it’s actually not a good thing. Students push themselves so hard that it becomes dangerous. I know people who killed themselves because they couldn’t get into college and was so filled with shame that they didn’ see any other way. I know the pressure of being pushed to the limit. You need to understand, family is everything in Asian culture and people laugh at the fact that we say “we are trying to bring honor to our family” but it’s true. Everything I do is scrutinized and reflected upon my parents in Asian society. If I mess up a little bit, my entire family is shamed. That’s why succeeding as an individual is important because it means your family succeeds, not only you. Sure that’s not the whole case and not every family is like that but it’s very cultural and I feel like a lot of different Asians understand this.

Now let me take this back to why whitewashing in Hollywood is a shitty thing to do. Also just the fact that I have to explain this is fucking ridiculous. Because movies like these exist:

Replacing characters that are supposed to be Asian with white people is just plain shitty. Also the white messiah complex in certain movies is ridiculous too such as The Last Samurai and The Great Wall. It shows that white people are superior to Asians. It shows us that we need white people to save us from whatever. It makes Asians watching feel slightly inferior. Like the Chinese can’t even defend their most well-known infrastructure, the Great Wall of China, without a white man swooping in and being like, “don’t worry, lower race, the white man is here.”

I think Constance Wu says it best here and here:

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While The Great Wall was directed by a Chinese man, the message still resonates the same. Asians are not important enough. Seeing that happen is heartbreaking. Considering Asians make up 60% of the world’s population, I still have to sit around and watch Emma Stone play a basically half Asian character or Tom Cruise restructure the Japanese Army for the “better”. I still have to be told that being Asian means not being seen as an equal to white people, that being Asian is basically equivalent to “not important enough to represent accurately.”
I’ve been told that I can’t take a fucking joke when people slant their eyes and tell me to say “Herro” instead of “Hello.” I can’t slip up a little bit without people mocking me for being Asian. I apparently become people’s definition of the Asian culture and have to “hold up my end” of their “Asian friend.” I am not token Asian so if you’ve ever said, “I have an Asian friend so it’s okay.” Go fuck yourself and we aren’t friends anymore.
I find it everywhere. I had someone ask me if I spoke English. Yes, I speak English. Probably better than you can. I had people judge me because I majored in English by saying, “shouldn’t you be majoring in math or trying to become a doctor or something?” They belittle me for what I want to do as an individual based on what they know about the stereotypes of my race. I had someone ask me if I was Japanese and I said that I was Korean and they had the nerve to tell me that, “Oh okay but it’s all the same, isn’t it?” NO. IT’S NOT because they are very different countries and we don’t even speak the same fucking language. I get it, we look similar. Sometimes I get confused but I don’t go up to them and start speaking Korean because I assume they are Korean. I don’t go up to white people and ask if they know this other white person because they are white. And no, I don’t know your Japanese classmate from your hometown of farawayville. BECAUSE THAT IS A SHITTY THING TO ASSUME. And for the last time, I don’t know Jackie Chan. WE AREN’T FROM THE SAME COUNTRY, YOU ASSHOLE.
They make fun of Asian immigrants who can’t speak English well enough while they only know one language. You try and learn another language at the age of 40 and come back to me. If I ever see you come for my parents, who literally lived in two countries that spoke two different languages that were not their native language and THRIVED, or any immigrant parents, I will fucking end you.

So to summarize, whitewashing is a big fucking problem in Hollywood and we need to acknowledge it now and change it.

Thanks for reading.

Peace out.

-jl

Strangers in Coffee Shops

you look out of the window,
on a rainy sunday, gently holding the coffee with both hands
the coffee shop is filled with noise and discussion
but you sit there, quietly staring out into the world
i wonder what would happen if i walked over to you,
if i sat across from you,
introduced myself
i wonder if we would fall in love
i wonder

do you like your coffee black or with cream and sugar
do you prefer tea over coffee
are you a dog or cat person
what habits do you have
what do you love to do
do you love fully or are you scared to fall in love at all

i wonder if we would be lost in each other
what if our lives started in this small coffee shop
if one day we would walk by this coffee shop, hand in hand,
and you would laugh and remind me of how awkward it was
but how you knew since then that we would be together forever

if one sunny day, years from now,
i lead you into this coffee shop,
sit you down where you are sitting now
get down on one knee and ask you to marry me
i wonder

i wonder what our lives would be together
you and i
how many times would you break my heart
and how many times would i break yours
i wonder what it’s like to wake up next to you
how you look in the morning
how you look at night
what your smile is like
what your hands feel like

i wonder
as you gather your things
and walk out the door
leaving behind
the what ifs
that i wasn’t brave enough to find out.
-jl

The Freedom of Coming Home

There’s a moment when you come home and you undress out of whatever clothes you wore to be out in public. It feels like you’re shedding skin. Tearing away all the little bits of day that accumulated. Whether it was a good day or a bad day, you take it all off. You put on comfy clothes and you are in a safe place. You can feel the weight of the day lifting off of your shoulders and you become clean, new, in control.

I love that feeling.

I think that’s why I love being home so much. I’m free. I can be myself. I don’t have to put on a face anymore. I don’t have to pretend like everything is okay. If I want to throw things and cry uncontrollably, I can. If I want binge watch Mr. Robot while eating a family size bag of chips, I can. I am free. Of course sometimes the outside world leaks through the cracks. You start to think about your responsibilities. You start to think about your job, your friends, whatever drama is going on whether it involves you or it doesn’t, you start to think about your future, you start to think about your past. It does come through. Sliding in right before you close the front door. It hides in the corners as you be disgusting stuffing your face with junk food or mindlessly playing video games. It sometimes emerges and taps you on the shoulder. You try to shake it but sometimes you can’t.

But within these walls, you are safe to be whoever you want to be.

Honestly after an entire day of pretending to be happy when you’re dying inside, coming home to the four walls that surround you, hidden from the world, no longer pretending. You lay out all of your mistakes and shortcomings, your flaws and your insecurities. You set them free. You lay them out on the table, sort through them a little, watch them roll around in front of you. It doesn’t matter though. You can display all of these things and it won’t matter. No one is watching. No one can see. You are free.

I am free.

Sure, you’ll wake up tomorrow and have to do it all over again, smile when you don’t want to, laugh when things aren’t funny, put your mask back on, and say “I’m fine” when someone asks how you are doing. Sure, there are days when you are truly happy and having a great day and sure, there are days when everything is falling apart but you can’t show it. Sure, it becomes an endless cycle of redundancy. Sure.

But that moment when I am home, when I do shed all of the shit from the day, I remind myself that regardless of whatever is happening, in that moment, I am free.

The Fear of Being “Too Loud”

I’m a little loud.

That might be an understatement.

I’m very loud.

I get it.

I have struggled with who I am as a person. I’ve been self-conscious and extremely critical of myself. But aren’t we all though?

Any way, one thing about me that bothers me is that I’m loud. I’m a very loud person. I can go on and on about how it’s a result of me never getting enough attention or my own sad past, or how I grew up being ignored all the way throughout my childhood, but I won’t. It’s a dark journey and we aren’t that close yet. Maybe after a few coffee dates or late night “why are we still up, let’s reveal our darkest secret” talks.

The bottom line is that I’m just a loud person. I talk loud, my laugh is thunderously loud and people have even called out that I clap really loudly.

I have become very self-conscious about how loud I am. Yeah, I even got self-conscious about my clapping. Like what kind of nonsense is that?

People have made fun of my laugh, my voice, my clapping to the point where I don’t want to laugh, speak or even clap anymore.

They shut me down and made fun of me about things that is out of my control like my race, sexuality, gender and that’s all dandy and fine (it’s not, stop it, I’m being sarcastic) but my voice, really? Is that really one more thing I need to add to my list of insecurities?

There’s a part of me that dies when people tell me that I’m being too loud. I pretend to own it and love it, but I don’t. I hate my laugh, I hate my voice, I even hate my clapping.

Isn’t that insane?

People have tried to silence me for so long. People told me to not laugh, not speak, not clap.

“Why are you being so loud?”
“Omg, your laugh is soooooo loud.”
“Why do you clap so loud? So obnoxious.”

Bitch, maybe I’m having a good time and I want to show it. What’s it to you? I’m sorry that your laugh doesn’t reverberate through the atmosphere and can be used as a beacon for aliens to hear because that joke Sharon told at the Christmas party was hilarious and you wanted to show it to her properly. I’m sorry that your clapping doesn’t crack the sound barrier because you aren’t happy enough to express your joy through smashing your hands together for maybe a show or an award your friend won or just pure unadulterated joy.

Society has morphed me into hating every part of myself, even my laugh. Maybe it is my fault for letting people get to me, but how can you not? It’s not easy to just brush off criticism from people that are supposedly important to you. It hurts, and you start to hate yourself.

You start to laugh less, speak less and just stop being yourself as a whole.

You stop yourself when you’re laughing or talking. You start to think that your words are worthless and not worth hearing. You start to think that maybe you shouldn’t express joy or happiness. You start to not get too excited about things that have always excited you in the fear of being “too loud.” You start to shut down. You slowly rebuild the wall that you let down because you thought you could trust these people. You start to realize how crazy you that you need to let down your guard to be happy. You can’t laugh normally. You can’t speak properly. You shut down the windows, close the blinds, and turn off all the lights. Your eyes go dull and your voice breaks. You shove it so deep within yourself, you start to become deaf to it until you’ve completely forgotten your voice again. It’s dark and scary but you tough it out because you don’t want to be a nuisance.

But that’s total shit.

So yeah, I’ve been told my entire life to shut up.

Well, fuck you.

Because I’m not shutting up.

Because my words are all I have.

And I can be louder.

So don’t test me.

Storms

There’s something so devastatingly beautiful about storms
The way the lightning leaves cracks in the sky
Letting us peer through the other side
The way the rain soaks the earth
As it drums against our windows
The way thunder bellows into the atmosphere
Rattling our bones
Reminding us that
we are simply living in a world that does not belong to us
and that we are truly defenseless
no matter how much we puff out our chests
and yell back
the storm always yells back a little louder
strikes back a little stronger
and we surrender to the echoing
of something much bigger than us.

From Time to Time

The feeling of inadequacy has been a reoccurring theme in my life.

It digs its nails into my skin until it draws blood. It haunts me at night, whispering mindless nonsense into my ears. It crawls into bed with me and makes itself comfortable within my bones. It buries its head in my bosom and asks for one more bedtime story. It wakes me in the middle of the night, shaking me awake, leaving me restless and worn out.

The constant feeling of never being enough taps on my window sills like rain in the middle of a storm. It becomes routine. I now live in a constant state of questioning whether I’m doing the right thing or not, a constant state of wondering if I’m a failure, if I’m even worth anyone’s time.

Every critique of my character becomes categorized in a library of passing comments I’ve created inside my mind.

Every mistake I’ve made neatly piles up in the corner of my room, filling up the walls and towering over me as I sleep. I am only awoken by the crumbling reminders that fell on top of me in the middle of the night.

I lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling, until my eyes adjust to the darkness and I see the shadows of my insecurities drifting about my room, dancing between the piles of my mistakes, swaying to the sound of the tapping on the windows, steadily moving to the beat of my weary heart.

It’s a heavy and draining life to live. It’s exhausting and after a while, I lose little bits of hope as it falls off of me like the deteriorating paint job on the walls of abandoned houses.

But from time to time, I will take up the paint brush and paint over the broken pieces. I’ll put on several coats until you can no longer see the concrete.

From time to time, I’ll wake up to the dancing of my mistakes and insecurities and I’ll learn to lead. I’ll take them all by the waist and create my own beat.

From time to time, I’ll clear my room, I’ll dust the corners and I’ll neatly categorize all of my faults into shelves of past tense.

From time to time, I refuse to tell them another bedtime story, I bandage my wounds, and I hold them close to my heart and soothe them to sleep.

From time to time, I become better than my own thoughts. I tell myself that I will not take anymore of this and I learn to smooth out the wrinkles of my own heart.

From time to time, I use these as reminders that I’m still worth living.