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The origins of that stereotypical Chinese nine-note riff

Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 28, 2014 - 46 comments

"When I sound real, I'm fake, and when I sound fake, I'm real."

"No wonder we react so viscerally to the 'ching-chong, ching-chong' schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound 'normal,' is to attack our ability to be normal. It's to attack everything we've worked for." An essay by Arthur Chu on feigning a Chinese accent for work and ridding oneself of an accent for life. [more inside]
posted by Errant on Aug 1, 2014 - 54 comments

The Green Turtle, the first Asian American super hero returns to comics

If you heard the recent NPR's Codeswitch segment on The Green Turtle, the first Asian superhero created in the United States, you heard descriptions of the 1940s comic. But there's more (so much more!) online. Start with the entire run of The Green Turtle on the amazing Digital Comic Museum, which hosts public domain Golden Age comics (late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s). If you want to know more about Chu F. Hing, the artist behind the original Green Turtle, here's an extensively researched biography on the astounding Chinese American Eyes blog, which covers "famous, forgotten, well-known, and obscure visual artists of Chinese descent in the United States." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2014 - 6 comments

Being in the Minority Can Cost You and Your Company

The racial wage gap in the United States — the gap in salary between whites and blacks with similar levels of education and experience — is shaped by geography, according to new social science research.

"The average racial gap [in wages] in metropolitan areas of around 1 million people — and you can think of a place like Tulsa, Okla. — is about 20 percent smaller than the gap in the nation's largest metro areas of Chicago, L.A. and New York," Ananat says. Ananat's research suggests that the racial gap is not directly the result of prejudice or, at least, prejudice conventionally defined. Rather, it has to do with patterns of social interactions that are shaped by race — and a phenomenon that economists call spillovers.
posted by DynamiteToast on Jul 24, 2013 - 80 comments

Nah, we straight.

Code-switching is using different languages or language varieties in different contexts. Ta-Nehisi Coates does it. Jay-Z does it. The President does it. But, for African Americans, is code-switching necessary to escape poverty, an element of race as performed or neither?
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Oct 22, 2010 - 63 comments

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