“Hmmm, I hear what you’re saying, and I realize I’m not the actress for this project, and this project is not for me,” I’d say, picking up my Coach bag [I don’t have one, but while we’re at dream mode, let’s also make me ten pounds less on a good hair day]. “Having Asians on stage with funny accents or speaking jibberish doesn’t work for me — since I still deal with racist behavior in my daily life, and gosh, I would never want to perpetuate this idea that offending Asians is okay. Lots of luck!”
And then of course, the playwright and director would be stunned by my shrewd, balanced speech. After I leave the room, they confer, and realize how insensitive they’ve been and offer, to make it up to me, to produce this operatic play I dream about writing. “Ms. Lee! Ms. Lee! Come back!” etc. etc. etc.
Of course, reality? Less interesting: I did the sides with an accent that kind of vacillated between vaguely French and Korean (I suck at accents and felt ambivalent at best about this request) and I just got out of there as quickly as possible, self-esteem still in tact.
In their defense, they were doing a “sendup of stereotypes,” but it’s too soon for that stuff. It’s not like we’ve come light-years from the time where Mickey Rooney’s bit as a bumbling Asian landlord in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ruined that movie for me. “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” has a similar buffoon character (but I understand that film really offends just about everyone.) Do you see the picture I posted? What is that? Ironic? Yeah, still not funny.
And all this makes me think about what this blog is all about–family, race, and celebs–and confirms what Nancy observes, that I have strong feelings about being Asians. I don’t know what the heck they are, but they’re strong.
My husband says I could’ve walked out, and next time, I will. I like my husband.