Dear Wizard, Do you like stickers?
July 6, 2013 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Christy Chan was 7 when she moved with her parents to a town in Virginia. As people of Chinese descent, they found themselves at first unwelcome. Christy, translating the mail for her parents, started getting "very formal letters, with crosses on them" signed by a mysterious Wizard. Audio story. Film trailer.
posted by bunderful (42 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
The NPR story from January, where I first heard it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:30 PM on July 6, 2013


I just have to take a moment to say that the Klu Klux Klan is lead by a Grand Wizard, but really... if other people are actually calling you "Grand Wizard", you should do something positive with your powers instead of that thing.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


My first thought on all this was "Damn, people still hate Asians?" I thought all the hip racists were hating on "A-rabs" and "Meskins" these days.
posted by erskelyne at 2:41 PM on July 6, 2013


This is the KKK; they have time to hate on everyone. They're still hating on the Catholics for crying out loud.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:44 PM on July 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I am so disappointed - I assumed that someone had noticed the difficulties Christy had had, and had decided to send uplifting sweet letters signed from the wizard (like, of Oz). Given the comments already here, I don't think I want to see the trailer. Bloody wizards. Can't trust them.
posted by b33j at 2:47 PM on July 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


There's the Klu Klux Klan version of The Wizard of Oz, where they all reach the Emerald City and get what they want from the Wizard, except the Tin Man, who wanted a heart.

The Klu Klux Klan ain't got no heart.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2013


just another reason to ignore the man behind the curtain
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 2:51 PM on July 6, 2013


I posted this because the story is about Christy's innocence and goodwill rather than racist jerks.

I love it that she decides the Wizard is not a good friend because he never sends any stickers.

B33j, you might like it. No violence.
posted by bunderful at 2:52 PM on July 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


(And I feel she wins the story because the effort to intimidate her fails).
posted by bunderful at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am so disappointed - I assumed that someone had noticed the difficulties Christy had had, and had decided to send uplifting sweet letters signed from the wizard (like, of Oz).

Yeah, same here. I was expecting Gandalf type wizard, not stupid racist wizard. Can we take that word back from them?
posted by usagizero at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My first thought on all this was "Damn, people still hate Asians?"

I assumed (based on the Madonna reference) that the original events took place during the mid-'80s, when it was still pretty commonplace to see excruciatingly racist comments about and depictions of Asians, even in the mainstream media. The Klan leaders at the time were probably capitalizing on everyday blue-collar "stealin' our JERBS" hysteria (Japan had become a manufacturing powerhouse, with China close behind) combined with lingering anti-Vietnamese sentiment left over from the war.

Hell, it's 2013 and I still hear people making dumbassed jokes about Chinese restaurants cooking stray dogs and alleycats. So who knows what the hardcore hate-group racists think these days?
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:09 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was expecting Gandalf type wizard, not stupid racist wizard.

Yeah, Gandalf would never wear white robes and call for the extermination of darker-skinned peoples.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:14 PM on July 6, 2013 [49 favorites]


Hey, hey. Trivia question here!

Which are the most common last names in the U.S.? Specifically, which surnames come in as the eighth, ninth, and eleventh most common?

Before you look up the answer, Messrs Smith, Johnson, and Williams, think about the rest of us.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:14 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love this story so much. Ultimately she defeated the Klan in her own way. Good for her!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:19 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Christy Chan was featured in another NPR piece, talking about code-switching, though there might be another Christy Chan in rural Virginia.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2013


though there might be another Christy Chan in rural Virginia.

Not if the Klu Klux Klan has their way.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:41 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, I thought the KKK was all about claiming they --are-- "Christy"
posted by hank at 3:50 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're not "Christy", they think they're Christer than Christ.
posted by hat_eater at 3:54 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


You go to these KKK Summer parties and everything goes well until they serve the Sno-Kones. Half of them want to hold it upside down and the other half object to so many colors.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:01 PM on July 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I would say more about the KKK, but I don't want to get caught in the cross fire.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:42 PM on July 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Hell, it's 2013 and I still hear people making dumbassed jokes about Chinese restaurants cooking stray dogs and alleycats.

HERE
posted by notreally at 4:45 PM on July 6, 2013


This call's for a wizard's duel. Anybody have an owl they could dispatch to Ian Brackenbury Channell, QSM, Wizard of New Zealand?

Failing that, anybody got a signal watch that can send a message to Superman? It's worked before.

Really, though, Christy Chan did fine on her own. Good on her. It says something about the Klan that a young girl was capable of imagining more interesting things than their stale symbols and blinkered racism
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:49 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there a transcript somewhere? I'd much rather read.
posted by windykites at 4:57 PM on July 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've become very close to a Chinese woman, and I'm still consistently shocked at the level of racism she is subjected to. I really feel the white privelige because it was literally not on my radar at all.

In the course of interacting with her, I've also discovered that I know a ton of typical Asian stereotypes.
posted by nevercalm at 4:59 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. I can't get over how heartbreaking this story is. To me, it's chilling. I was an Asian growing up in the deep south in the early '80s, and my family was also probably the only Japanese family within miles of the area we lived in. As in, random strangers would come up to me at the store and ask to touch my hair! And I got my share of racist crap at school and from random strangers at the mall and such, but nothing near as frightening as this. I think Strange Interlude's comment above about the general feel of the times is accurate.

And that boy in the trailer? That sure brings back some not-so-great memories of school!

(To be fair, though, there were many many more people who were good to us than those who weren't, so I'd like to put that out there for the record.)
posted by misozaki at 5:11 PM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hell, it's 2013 and I still hear people making dumbassed jokes about Chinese restaurants cooking stray dogs and alleycats.

HERE


Wait, what? That can't be real. Can it?

(Googles "Golden Dragon" + "pet missing" ...)

Yep, it's faker than fake. I knew there was something off when I noticed how evenly spaced the letters were. It's not even a Photoshop job, but was made on an online "funny"-sign generator.

Did I mention that I hate the Internet and everything on it?
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:35 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


You guys know that this isn't a documentary, right? It used to be called Apple Pie and the KKK, and while it's loosely based on her childhood, it's a creative work of fiction.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:38 PM on July 6, 2013


There's the Klu Klux Klan version of The Wizard of Oz, where they all reach the Emerald City and get what they want from the Wizard, except the Tin Man, who wanted a heart.

The Klu Klux Klan ain't got no heart.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:50 PM


The KKK is a little short on brains too, IMO.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:23 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"B33j, you might like it. No violence."

Violence? That hadn't even occurred to me! I watched the doco, and listened to the audio just because you said I might like it. It's just as sad as I expected :( A 7 year old trying to convince a racist bugger to be nice.
posted by b33j at 6:28 PM on July 6, 2013


1. We all adore alliteration, but it's Ku, not Klu.

2. This just reminded me of the story on Mongolian neo-Nazis I read recently. The world is a strange place.
posted by ODiV at 6:45 PM on July 6, 2013


Years ago, I was a therapist at a community mental health center, and one of our case managers came back from one of her regular clients telling us he had fired her. The guy was the local Grand Wizard, and he told her, "You know I really like you, Kim, but your coming here is ruining my reputation." But not, you know, because she was checking his schizophrenia meds or anything, but because she was a Black lady visiting him on the regular.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:22 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry to hear that, b33j.

Thebrokedown- what a story. There's so much to pick apart there. He likes her, but he's Grand Wizard and has a reputation to uphold. And schizophrenic too ... maybe I should be less baffled by his decision to fire his case manager rather than quit the Klan.
posted by bunderful at 7:35 PM on July 6, 2013


Also, these guys seriously call themselves Grand Wizards? Like, for reals? WTF? That is fucking hilarious, they are like a parody of themselves. I just can't even.
posted by windykites at 9:21 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, the Klan's nomenclature gets even crazier than that. I'll just leave this here:

Wikipedia: Ku Klux Klan titles and vocabulary
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:30 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


from the About page of the film trailer:

My road as a filmmaker has taken me from fictionialized autobiography...

Dear Christy: Once you put fiction in, it's not an autobiography.

Yours Truly,

The Pedantic Wizard
posted by dubold at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


On her CV page, she lists "Apple Pie and the KKK" under non-fiction. [warning: autostart music]. So, I'm not sure which versions of this are fictionalized versus non-fiction, but the film trailer calls the little girl "Shelly," so that would be a fictionalized version.

dubold, this dictionary listing for "fictionalized" uses this as a specific usage example: to fictionalize a biography.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:33 AM on July 7, 2013


There's goblins in the Klan! Now everything makes sense. If we all send a sock to every Klan member... oh wait, I just made a mythtake.

Thanks, Strange Interlude.
posted by b33j at 1:50 AM on July 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I assumed (based on the Madonna reference) that the original events took place during the mid-'80s

Somewhere it says that the time depicted is 1981. And "Lucky Star" wasn't until 1983-84, so... some fudging.
posted by dhartung at 3:13 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somebody needs to get these guys into a decent RPG, like, pronto. That wiki link is fucking surreal. I kept checking to make sure I was still on the kkk page and hadn't accidentally gone to, I dunno, some super-specific LARPing wiki. Unbelievable.
posted by windykites at 3:43 AM on July 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh man, and you thought Steve Jackson Games got in trouble for GURPS Cyberpunk...

(Meanwhile in another dimension, GURPS Ku Klux Klan is noted as the lowest-selling sourcebook in SJG history...)
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2013


Hunh, I thought it was only Ivy League admission officers and Black politicians who hated Asians.
posted by TSOL at 7:14 PM on July 7, 2013


The KKK is a little short on brains too, IMO.

As for courage, they dress up in hoods, mask their faces, and only act as a mob. Which leaves there being no place like their home. Of course I'm not the only one to compare them to Dorothy...
posted by Francis at 5:34 AM on July 8, 2013


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