Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Boycott H&M!!!

UPDATE 11/15:

i just received the link to an online petition for Richards v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz:

the petition demands:

1. That H&M terminates Joseph H. (the individual who made the anti-Asian, xenophobic, and misogynist verbal attack) AND discipline the managers who did not quickly intervene.

2. That H&M changes and enforces its cultural diversity classes.

3. That H&M recognizes and understands that ignorant and racial remarks towards H&M customers from H&M employees should never ever be tolerated.

4. That immediate and serious intervention should take place from an H&M manager when a complaint about an H&M employee is made by an H&M customer regarding a racial remark from the H&M employee.

I will not shop at H&M until this is resolved. As a customer, I should be able to go shopping at a retail store without being verbally abused by an employee who uses racial slurs.

please sign the petition and pass the word on... Boycott H&M!!!

UPDATE 10/07:

just saw this chicago tribune article about the protest. and here's the cbs story and video that aired last night.

UPDATE 10/06:

i attended the H&M protest today. :)

all the way there, on the metra, the L, the walk, i thought about how it was my turn to pick up the torch that generations of filipinos before me carried and i felt truly empowered. then i got there to find that i was the oldest sistah there. (old fart, much?)

later, some of our "elders" showed up. but i gotta say that after two and a half hours of marching, screaming and sign holding. i am plum tuckered out. and rethinking that whole torch bearing business... maybe i should leave this to the young'uns. ;)

i don't know what the organizers of the protest thought, but i was really happy with the turn out and the energy, positivity and dedication that the protesters brought with them. the majority of the protesters were filipino/asian but there were caucasian, latino and african american protesters too. every once in a while, passersby would stop to see what the protest was about and then actually ask for a sign to help protest.

if you're curious we screamed the following:

"2, 4, 6, 8, H&M discriminates!"

"H&M racist! H&M sexist!"

"What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

there were about five people near the front door passing out flyers about the protest and i saw how they persuaded customers from shopping there today. unfortunately, we couldn't persuade everyone not to shop at the h&m store. at one point, an older woman (and i could have sworn she was wearing a neck brace) shouted at us that she would never stop shopping at h&m. it was disappointing to see so many women of color shopping there and it was especially heartbreaking to see a handful of asian people walk in to shop.

i haven't heard anything yet about whether or not H&M has taken any action re: their racist *ss employee. our local cbs news crew was there, the local filipino news show, CPR-TV was there, and there were what looked like reporters taking notes and quotes... there were also many video cameras and digital cameras out - hopefully, there will be some youtube videos.

already, pics are posted to flickr here, some are mine even! :)

hopefully, all of our hard work will have paid off. i can't express in words how proud i was to protest alongside such great people.

UPDATE: i just received this comment via my personal blog:

Hey everyone!

We wanted to post the final arrangements and clarify information regarding the protest in front of H&M on Saturday, October 6th. It will start at 10:00am and last until 11:00am! Media will be contacted and asked to cover the protest from 10:00am - 10:30am. Please meet in front of H&M, 840 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago no later than 9:55am. Who is leading it? Family and friends of Frannie (LosBañes) Richards, there is no specific person or persons. Do we need a permit? NO; just keep moving in sync in a line and do not block the entrance ways of the stores on that block or the street. Please do not disrupt traffic.

The previous tentative message & VIA Times presented a tentative time of 10:00-1:00pm. Because those were tentative times, we are informing you of when the media is informed to be there. We are hoping that you would be able to be there at that time. We apologize for such short notice. We understand that you have busy lives and truly appreciate all the support you have given to us! You are welcome to stay until 1:00pm but most of the people arriving at 10:00am are planning to leave at 11:00am. We were not expecting a huge crowd. Thank you for spreading the word! Please continue to help educate others on how discrimination towards any gender and any race is intolerable and unacceptable. We know you will act civil and that you understand this is a peaceful and informative march.

Thanks again for all your time and support!

Hope to see you there:

October 6th, Saturday
840 North Michigan Ave
Chicago , IL 60611
10:00AM CST-11:00 CST

LosBañes Family



h&m: the new a&f?

"A Filipino American woman is suing clothing chain H&M on allegations of anti-Asian and sexual harrassment, claiming that on a recent trip to the Magnificent Mile store, employees called her a "mail-order bride" and made fun of her ability to understand English: Woman Says She Was Harassed For Ethnicity At H&M. The Asian American Institute has filed a discrimination complaint with the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, seeking redress for Frannie Richards, who says that in addition to the "mail order bride" comments and ridicule of her English, an H&M employee made mocking "ching chong" noises at her. That's racist! And when she complained to management, they refused to do anything about it. What the hell?

Now, this kind of mocking and harrassment is nothing new—we've all had to deal with this crap on some level. It sucks. But this ain't the schoolyard. This is a freakin' clothing store. People should be able to shop in peace without feeling insulted and humiliated like this. It's ridiculous. Here's the Asian American Institute's press release on the incident: Asian American Institute Represents Filipino American Nurse Harassed by H&M Employee.

And here's a Filipino American news report on it up on YouTube: H&M Racist.

I've heard rumors of a protest being planned for this Saturday outside the Magnificent Mile store. If anyone out there has further details about the gathering, let me know."

Friday, August 31, 2007

the reigning champ...

this peter hartlaub article at sfgate identifies rosie o'donnell as the "reigning champ" of "the non-apology apology":

"The non-apology apology: There's no more passive-aggressive phrase on the planet than, "I apologize to anyone who might have been offended" - which is usually followed by a long-winded explanation about why the offended party was wrong in the first place. While the phrase "I'm sorry" may come out of the apologizer's mouth, he or she wants to make it clear that you're the one who has the problem. Rosie O'Donnell is the reigning champ in this category, for her Asian stereotype "Ching-chong, ching-chong" non-apology on "The View" in December, which actually included the words 'there's a good chance that I'll do something like that again.'"

the article doesn't mention her final apology that appeared on her blog after she saw beau sia's response video:

speaking of reigning champs, an interview by christine lee with beau sia is in the august/september '07 issue of audrey magazine. his latest project is "a full length, interactive theatrical piece for the museum of chinese in the americas (moca) in new york city... a reflection of themes...ideas and thoughts around individual and ethnic identity and how outside perspectives play into it...the final piece will debut in the spring of 2008".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cho's race as an issue in Virginia Tech massacre

MTV's SuChin Pak wrote an article a few months ago about her feelings on the Virginia Tech massacre. Here is an excerpt:

"I've been continually stunned to see how in very subtle ways people have been trying to create a false sense of truth by attributing Cho's "foreign-ness" as part of the answer. When we are continuously bombarded with media headlines or sound bites that use the words "Virginia Tech Massacre" and "Korean National," a subtle connection is made. The assumption is made that somehow Cho's place of birth, his immigrant status, has something to do with the massacre. It doesn't matter if the rest of an article goes on to talk about Cho's schizophrenia or troubled past or gun control or violent movies, the implication is there. Cho is a foreigner, let's get that straight from the beginning, let's make sure that's part of the conversation.

I've been struggling to understand how some have found comfort in identifying Cho Seung-Hui as a foreigner, as an immigrant and as someone who is certainly not American. It's just a seemingly slight change of language, dropping the word "American" from "Korean-American" and replacing it with "national." You also put his last name first, like they do in "other" countries. There you have it; suddenly, he's not one of us.

There has been a proliferation of groups on Facebook, blogs and online chatter about how Cho's foreign status should factor into the conversation about the deadliest shooting massacre in American history. I'm confused why anyone would want to discuss if Cho should be allowed to be buried in this country, or how someone would write that a "foreigner should never be allowed in this country to kill real Americans." "

Saturday, August 25, 2007

ching chong chinaman - the play

i know. if you can, try to look beyond the picture at left..

i just read this positive review of "ching chong chinaman" a play performed by bathwater productions at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC). my curiosity and interest were piqued to say the least. i'd really like to see this show - unfortunately, the last performance is tonight:

"Ching Chong Chinaman
reviewed by Kat Chamberlain
Aug 19, 2007

I don't want to claim that being an Asian American myself makes me any expert on the subject of "Asian-American-ness"; no more than, say, being a woman helps me know more about "woman-ness" than any man does. We all have blind spots, especially when it comes to seeing ourselves. But Ching Chong Chinaman by Lauren Yee truly surprised me, in a highly entertaining and informative way.

The Wongs are your notoriously typical middle-class suburban American family, set in their blissfully content and carefree ways. They are seventh and eighth generation Chinese Americans: Upton, the son, living in the world of Warcraft; Desdemona, the daughter, trying her darnedest to get into Princeton; Grace, the clueless Mom; and Ed, the work-and-golf Dad.

Their insulated life gets a jolt when Upton brings home Ching Chong, and explains that the man is one of the "Indentured servants—workers from Third World countries whose time is worth far less than my own." He bought Ching Chong a one-way plane ticket to America and forged a student visa. In return Ching Chong will complete his homework, chores, and familial obligations. "Cheaper than minimum wage labor, indentured servants present a solution that is amenable to both sides."

The Wongs are so culturally removed from their heritage that, when first spotting Ching Chong with Upton, Desdemona asks, "Who's that Asian guy?" Replies Grace before seeing the man, "Don't talk about your brother like that!" But before long Grace falls for Ching Chong, and Desdemona, feeling the need to get closer to her roots, sets out to be, well, more "Chinese."

The play is boldly satirical and mocks all the major stereotypes—not only about Asians but also Americans. It pushes the envelope with mirth and produces big laughs. It is also an equal-opportunity offender, and there lies a problem: the characters get jeered at so much that they become thoroughly ridiculous, and that makes it hard for us to care about them. Ching Chong is not developed enough, either, to serve as a mirror or an inspiration.

Although the plot is less than satisfying, the dialogue and critiquing is marvelously sharp-witted and penetrating. It turns clichés on their heads. My favorite part is about Desdemona sponsoring a Korean girl and trying to use that fact to pump up her college application. There is also a golf speech that is destined to be a classic.

The cast is superb, with Jamie Yuen-Shore as Desdemona and Cirocco Dunlap in multiple roles being standouts. Director Anne Marie Bookwalter makes the scene changes as fun as the play itself, and keeps the pace snappy and tight. The stage is smartly arranged and utilized. Overall, regardless of whatever faults Ching Chong Chinaman may have, this play is too smart and funny to miss. It makes me wonder at a few things I do as Asian and American, respectively and together. And they are funny.

Written/created by: Lauren Yee
Directed by Anne Marie Bookwalter
Presented by Bathwater Productions"

Monday, August 20, 2007

English ain't easy...

Apparently, China is cracking down on improperly translated signs (Chinese to English) in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. For any Asian person who struggled to explain a concept IN English that was originally expressed in their native language, this article is for you...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

race - that four letter word

half mama has published a post at parenting called "race - that four letter word". in her post, she recalls two of her indelible experiences with ching chong. it's a powerful and heartbreaking post that reminds me of my own angry, fearful, hate filled memories associated with hearing ching chong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Michelle Malkin / Chingchong Video

I just did a search on YouTube for "ching chong" to see what videos might be out there, while of course there were tons of videos about Rosie's "ching chong" on the View, I also found this video. It happens that it is also a response to Rosie's "ching chong" however it is well done and interesting in its own right.

Also interesting is Michelle Malkin herself whom I had not heard of before. It seems that she is a well known writer with several best selling books. On her blog about page she describes herself as a "conservative syndicated columnist" and has authored books such as In Defense of Internment. I don't think I agree with her politics ( although I should probably read more than the 10 minutes I have just spent before commenting on them ), but I did find her "ching chong" video amusing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ching Chong, Mr. Wong

Ernie posted an entry a few months back on 8Asians called "Mister Wong, the offensive social bookmarking portal." He talked about how the phrase "ping pong king kong Mr. Wong" on the popular site made him mad because he interpreted it as “ching chong, Mister Wong.” He also took issue with the logo caricature of "Mr. Wong" (a dumpy, slant-eyed, balding nerd). I think I understand Ernie's need to vent. As for his detractors, the act of questioning why someone is offended by a stereotypical image is like discounting their experience of racism. People who haven't been there, of course don't understand. They don't see it the same way because they haven't been mocked throughout their life by people making slant eyes at them. Therefore they draw the conclusion that the feelings are not valid--then deny and belittle. IMHO, dismissing a person's experience of racism can be a hurtful as racism itself.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chingchong Ads

I don't usually like looking at ads but noticed these little "gems" hiding at the bottom of this blog. While I am really curious to click on them to see what they are about I didn't since I agreed to some Terms of Service when moving this site to blogger that I would not click on my "own" ads nor would I ever encourage people visiting this website to click on them either. Still hopefully without breaking any terms of service I can still comment on how I find them amusing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Who is Amy Sedaris?

I was just talking with mamazilla about one of her posts and she mentioned to me that I should check out this video of Amy Sedaris. While a bit odd, I don't even know who Amy Sedaris is exactly, but I did find the Wikipedia entry about "chingchong" that the first comment mentions pretty interesting. It looks like that Wikipedia entry has been updated since the last time I checked it out.

Asian Lead Character, a Comic Strip

I just read a short article indicating that an Asian American character has emerged as the lead in a comic strip. The strip is titled "Secret Asian Man" and it's available on The author of the strip, Tak Toyoshima, is an art director at a newsweekly called Boston's Weekly Dig. For more on Tak and Secret Asian Man, visit

At least it's a step in the right direction. Go SAM!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Racial Pro-File Response to Adam Carolla

The Racial Pro-File blog dissects the racism behind Adam Carolla's ching chong joke. Brief mention is made of CBS defending Carolla. Finally, at the end of the post, there's a funny example of how to deal with a ching chong. The kind of apology that Carolla used was similar to the one by Rosie O'Donnell after she was criticized for her ching chong. Basically it was the common line of "I'm sorry you were offended but it was unintended." According to this post, even after the apology, Carolla mocked an Asian American activist on his show.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ching Chong Song

NYU News has a story "Protests meet V-Day band" about the outcry against a band called Ching Chong Song. Apparently the members didn't know Ching Chong was a derogatory term.

Friday, February 09, 2007

chinky, chinky, chinaman? AGAIN!!??

pat roberston demonstrates "the oriental eyes"

WHY, LORD???!!! WHYYYY!!!???

anyhoo... on a related racist front... i hate to admit this but i watch that show, "real housewives of orange county". it's a reality show on bravo that follows the lives of five "housewives" living the high life in orange county.

last night, the thin man and i were sprawled out on the futon watching the latest episode. among the many "rhoc happennings", vicki, the housewife who is originally from the chicago area, accompanies her daughter on a drive to her (the daughter's) new condo. while her daughter drives, vicki conducts business on her cellphone. apparently, she's speaking to someone who's asian and after she hangs up, she goes on to say how all she hears is "chinky chinky chinamen".

i just couldn't believe i was hearing it again. i was curious to see if i could find a clip. i still haven't been able to find one but i did find that other viewers are calling her out on it on her blog. i posted my own comments but i'm sure they won't get published... here's what i wrote:

" all of you people who think asian americans should "just get over it" - just because you assume vicki didn't MEAN to be racist, offensive and hurtful - doesn't mean it WASN'T racist, offensive and hurtful to an asian person.

i'm asian. i was offended. i was hurt.

if you're not asian, you probably don't know what it's like to hear "chinky chinky chinaman" ALL THE TIME and what kind of pain or painful memories resurface.

a few years ago, my sister was walking down the street and some white men taunted her with ching chong. she ignored them and kept walking, assuming they would just quit. not only did they not quit, she was dragged into an alley and beaten. they screamed at her, "you chinks are taking away our jobs!" she's not even chinese.

i grew up in chicago and live here now but i've lived in nyc, asia and even (5 years) in california. i've experienced racism from every one - white and people of color, liberal, conservative, christian, non christian.

it's NEVER ok to be racist. that's what i teach my children anyway. this is not an isolated incident. shaquille o'neill did it. adam corolla did it. rosie o'donnell did it. pat robertson just did it.

everyone needs to own up to their own prejudices. everyone needs to reflect on why they think it's ok to be racist "in certain situations". it's not about being politically correct. it's about being respectful of people regardless of their color or culture. we all have to try to recognize subtle racism like this and stop it because if we don't, we're just enabling racism and ignorance to spread and thrive. "

UPDATE 2/10: i just googled and you can contact vicki gunvalson directly via email - - see here.

also, vicki posted a "rosiecarolla" apology:

Please accept my sincere apology for the comment about one of my Asian clients. It was no way meant to be racist in any way. I have a very large clientele that are Asian and I respect their communities and cultures. I would appreciate accepting my apology for anyone that was offended.
Regards,Vicki Gunvalson

UPDATE 2/11: i emailed vicki directly with the comment i made above and i just got an email back from her. she writes:

"You are right and I apologize! The comment I made to my daughter was wrong,and I am sorry. I had no idea what I said was going to be publicized on the air. I have learned from this and thank you for letting me know your side of this.


did you all catch that? she had no idea that what she said was going to publicized on the air. so, it's like rosie all over again... she won't make any racist comments anymore- on tv. THANKS A WHOLE HECKUVA LOT, VICKI!

please note the comment by lisa (below) reporting that some complaint comments seem to be missing from vicki's blog now.

i was just telling one of my neighbors (who is african american, married to a caucasian & also new to the neighborhood) about how weird it is for me to live in the neighborhood we live in. it's pretty much split 50/50 - african american and caucasian - generation after generation after generation. i told my friend that i feel like the thin man and i are "race spies".

some of our caucasian neighbors seem to think it's ok to say "watch out for the black people". then, i turn around and some of our african american neighbors say things like "i didn't think you spoke english" to me. the thin man (who is irish and puerto rican) has often had to endure conversations where neighbors talk about the negatives of "black people". he was even privy to a conversation about another latino neighbor who was vying for a captain position for the local volleyball league and how other players were trying to get him thrown out because they didn't want a latino in the league. why do these people think it's ok to tell me - a woman of color - these things? why do these people think its ok to share these thoughts with anyone - caucasian or of color? my friend was really interested because he realized that he really wasn't a "minority" in the neighborhood. he could see that clearly we were - our whole family.

i don't LOVE this neighborhood. but, it's not all bad. we've managed to fashion a pretty good life for us here. we've made very good friends here. we're able to live well and within our means. in some ways, i feel like i'm here for the same reason i'm still catholic. i can't run away from somewhere or someone that needs my help - EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANT TO.

i guess what i'm trying to articulate (and not well) is does any one racist incident/statement make someone a KKK card carrying member? no. i don't think so. but it doesn't make that incident or statement any less racist. it doesn't mean we should just avoid talking about it or sweep it under the rug or excuse it as some isolated slip of the tongue. it came from somewhere and it doesn't disappear. it's just time for ALL of us to walk the walk and talk the talk.