January 26, 2009

Mellow "yellow" in Lowery's benediction

People have criticized my comments on "Red Man" in Lowery's Benediction. For instance:[I]t looks like you're just trying to criticize people, not comprehend what they are actually saying. In which case nobody (you included) would be above contempt, at least on occasion. Listen to the passage again and appreciate the fact that Lowery included us.My response:

I don't need to listen to the passage again, since I quoted it accurately. Along with Obama's comments about settling the West and dissolving tribes, it reflected poorly on Obama's inclusiveness. Obama and the other speakers could've said more on racial matters, but instead chose to ignore them.

I know many Natives don't mind being associated with the color red. But let's ask some Asian Americans if they enjoyed being labeled "yellow." I'm guessing the answer would be no.

Here's more on "yellow" from Wikipedia:East Asians are sometimes referred to as the yellow race. The use of "yellow" to refer to people of East Asian descent is usually regarded as offensive today in most contexts. In early 20th-century North America, immigrants from China and other East Asian nations were derogatorily referred to as a "yellow peril."So I noted a usage that's commonly considered "offensive." Do you have a problem with that? Then you probably shouldn't read this blog, because I do that often.

Anyway, I didn't go into a big long rant on this subject. I devoted exactly one paragraph to it, which is putting it in its proper perspective. You all have spent more time criticizing me than I spent criticizing Lowery, so I suggest you get your own priorities straight.

Below:  A "yellow" man (in black and white).


dmarks said...

The "yellow" word is indelibly in pop culture thanks to Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" song:

"...I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man..."

Rob said...

One, you could argue that Springsteen was portraying himself as an uneducated grunt in that song. Two, it's 25 years old. I doubt he could get away with the same line today.