Hallowe’en ’09

Because there appears to be some interest in seeing the Hallowe’en mayhem my friends and I caused, here are a few pics:

joker-posse

From left to right, we were playing Rob (or Henchman #2), Harley Quinn, Joker, and Bob (or Henchman #1). We’re posing in front of a cactus at the pre-party.

Here’s the posse near the end of the night (which is why our makeup is a little more messed up), posing at the big house party we attended.

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One of the better pics of just Joker and Harl:

joker-and-harl

I don’t have pictures of the heist, unfortunately. The folks with the camera were too busy being held up to take pics. I’ll take some pics of the props we have left though, when I get home so you guys can see the loot bags, gas masks and Smile-X gas.

The other show we put on involved Bob (Henchman#1). Throughout the night, Joker would walk up to him and say “Bob. YOU… are my NUMBER ONE GUY”. (If you don’t get the reference, you’re too young).

Then, either he or I (as Harley) would attack Bob with a weapon (Joker with his gun, I with my knife) and kill him, much to the horror of nearby partygoers, none of whom were in on the action.

Here’s a picture after I’ve just gotten done stabbing the shit out of Bob, Henchman #1:

harl-kill-bob

At least I put the beer down to do it.

Here’s Bob bleeding out on the ground. We were always careful to kill Bob around different partygoers, so there were always horrified witnesses who hadn’t seen either Joker or I go homicidal. A couple of times, they reached for their phones, ready to call the cops on us. AWESOME!

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A few minutes later, Bob got up and we hugged it out.

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I was told by Electroman that I’m not allowed to give away the secret as to how we made the blood packs. But, sufficed to say, the technique needs to be patented.

And just for the fun of it, here’s me as Harley drinking shots off the ice luge.

harley-ice-luge

For those of you who don’t know what an ice luge is, it’s a giant block of ice carved into a ramp. At the top is a well where you pour a shot of alcohol. The alcohol slides down the slide into someone’s mouth at the bottom. For those of you contemplating buying one for your next party, be sure to have some grain alcohol handy so the luge can be sanitized between use.

And that was Hallowe’en ’09! I’ll ask around for pictures of the heist.

Anti-Interracial Marriage Judge Resigns

Hey, remember that justice of the peace who refused to preside over the civil union of an interracial couple who wanted to get married?

He resigned. Which, I think, means he got fired.

Good riddance.

Homework Win!

Yeah, I know this should have been taken seriously by this student. Clearly, this was homework assigned as part of a unit on the Chinese immigrant experience during the late nineteenth century, which represents an important aspect of Asian American history.

At the same time, gold star for creativity:

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According to one of the comments, the translation is:

The life here is pretty bad. The work environment is inadequate, and there are no benefits. But don’t worry. Although everyday about 10 people get hurt, I’m very careful. 

I’ve opened a small shop, and business is slow. Even though I don’t understand English well, I can still somewhat understand what the white people are saying. 

Hopefully one day I’ll make something of myself. I will work hard and also take care of myself.  

How are you guys doing?  

Thinking of you guys, hopefully we can meet again.

Let’s Have a Racist Hallowe’en, Part II

So, Hallowe’en occurred this past weekend. It is my favourite holiday of the year, and 2009 was, without a doubt, the best Hallowe’en of my life. Electroman dressed as the Joker, and I dressed as Harley Quinn. A couple of friends of ours were Joker henchmen, and we staged a robbery of the house party we attended, complete with BB guns, Smile-X gas, and fake money. Later in the evening, we put on several killing scenes for the party-goers — flash mob style — wherein either I or electroman would stab or shoot one of the henchmen, and he would die bleeding out from his chest. The fake blood was so realistic, a couple of horrified partygoers honestly thought I had just lost my little mind, and wanted to call an ambulance. It wasn’t just Hallowe’en, it was Hallowe’en-apalooza.

But, no party goes off completely without a hitch, I suppose. At this house party, we also encountered a live example of a White person in blackface. Another group, whom none of my friends knew (this was a pretty big house party, being thrown by a friend of a friend), came in a group-themed costume — they did the cast of Napoleon Dynamite. Those of you who are Napoleon Dynamite fans might know where this is going.

Apparently, there’s a character in the film called “LaFawndah”, who turns out to be the Internet girlfriend of one of the characters in the movie. There’s supposed to be a “ha ha” moment because some dweeby White guy starts dressing (and behaving) like a gangsta rapper and has a tall, statuesque Black woman as his new significant other. Here’s a picture of this character:

napoleon_dynamite_13-lafawndah

So, at this party, the cast of Napoloen Dynamite included a White girl dressed as this character. I don’t have a good picture of her, but a friend of mine took a picture of the cast standing around, including an image of the girl; while her face isn’t in view, you can see the brown makeup liberally applied to the girl’s arms.

halloween-blackface-cropped

Jesus, people, what is up with the racist Hallowe’en costumes? It is not cool to wear makeup to specficially alter one’s race or ethnicity; it is offensive to people of colour because it specifically mocks and exaggerates race-based physical features in a manner demeaning and derogatory to racial minorities. I mean, consider how this girl also wore a black wig (which hardly resembles the hair of the main character) and a butt prosthetic to mimick the large rear end of Napoleon Dynamite‘s LaFawndah. How is her costume not a stereotyping of Black women? Just don’t do it, people. It’s not cute.

Sadly, I didn’t see this person (or her costume) while I was at the party. I actually didn’t even know anyone had dressed up as the cast of Napoleon Dynamite, although I did see Napoleon himself walking around. I was out on a beer run when the cast won the group costume contest at the party (we were told later that many of the partygoers had voted for us — our group theme was better, anyways). But, had I seen this girl, I definitely would’ve given her a piece of my mind.

Thankfully, electroman did see her. And he did tell her all about herself. In fact, I think he told her that the costume was offensive. I think she apologized. I bumped into him as he was leaving the altercation, and soon after that we left. I wasn’t told about Miss Blackface until we were in the car.

But either, way, people. Intention is irrelevant. Colourface is wrong. Thousands of people manage to come up with creative and awesome Hallowe’en costumes that aren’t racist; so what’s wrong with you that you feel the need to go there? If you feel the need to liberally apply skin darkening makeup in order to achieve your costume, either your costume sucks and/or you should maybe do something else.

Or, don’t start crying with some lame apology when people call you racist.

The Growing Asian American Vote

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The LA Times has a story out today on a report released by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center detailing the Asian American vote in the 2008 presidential election. Gratifyingly, the report notes that the Asian American voter turnout in Los Angeles County has grown by an astounding 39% in California since 2000, showing the growing importance of the Asian American vote in the state.

For the countless organizations that are involved in improving voter turnout for APIAs, this is great news —  a validation of the countless hours spent canvassing and phonebanking Asian American voters to increase voter turnout. But it also underscores to me the importance of GOTV efforts — even with the massive increase in APIA voter turnout in L.A. County, the national voter turnout for APIAs remains 7% lower than the national average.

The 2008 election was also an energizing election; GOTV efforts must also focus now on ensuring that Asian American voters continue to vote — not just in national elections, but in local elections for propositions, city council, and state government.

The report has some interesting findings on top of its “take-home message” that APIA voter turnout has increased in L.A. county. Check out this graph showing voter trends within the APIA community and compared to all registered voters in the region. Unlike the voting population at-large, Asian American voters are predominantly foreign-born and skew older, suggesting that language, immigration, and other concerns that appeal to immigrant voters will have greater impact on our community. Indeed, APALC reports that over 90% of Asian American voters, regardless of country of origin, support improving English language training for immigrants.

apia-vote-english-immigrants

Yet, that foreign-born older voters favoured McCain over Obama — despite McCain’s chronic flip-flopping on immigration that would tend discourage immigrant interests. Could this be a manifestation of the poor outreach the Democratic Party has towards Asian immigrant voters?

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The report also has some interesting data regarding issues that the APIA community voted on. An astounding 90% of APIAs in L.A. county support universal healthcare. Yet, despite data indicating that most APIAs in L.A. county are Democrats, a majority also supported Prop 8 banning same-sex marriage.

apia-prop8

This support seemed to differ based on voter ethnicity and voter age. Not surprisingly, older voters (who tend to be more conservative) supported Prop 8. Yet, the ethnic data is more interesting: while Chinese Americans opposed Prop 8, Filipino and Korean Americans voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning same-sex marriage — perhaps this has to do with the strong Catholic faith in these ethnicities communities?

We must focus our energy on maintaining the increased voter activity amongst APIA voters: 2008 cannot be a flash-in-the-pan. Rather, APIA voters must continue to stay involved in local elections, deciding propositions, city council, school board and state government representatives. This means that GOTV campaigns are still critical for maintaining and increasing our voter turnout. More than ever, we need to ensure APIA voters get out to the polls by increasing voter education, helping them get to the polls, and ensuring that they have adequate language access to voting material. (Incidentally, APALC also reports that roughly 1/3 of Asian American voters experience limited English proficiency, and they also released a report showing that bilingual phone calls and mailers are highly effective in increasing APIA voter turnout.)

And why do we need to vote? Asian Americans have, too often, been discounted during campaign season because we are perceived as being too small a community to effect election outcomes. Yet, in L.A. County last year, a whopping 63% of Asian Americans voted for President Obama (although, to be fair, that number mirrors the county-wide support Obama won in the 2008 general). While Obama won L.A. County handily in the 2008 presidential election, if all 2932,000 Asian Americans who had voted for Obama voted for McCain in that election, Obama’s margin of victory over McCain would have shrunken. And certainly, had Obama carried enough Asian American votes in L.A. County in the Democratic primary, he might have won the region instead of Clinton.

With recognition that Asian Americans wield voting power comes national attention — and more importantly — campaign promises. Recognizing the importance of the APIA demographic, Obama made several campaign promises during his presidential campaign that have since paid off  for APIAs — he has appointed a surprising number of Asian Americans to his administration, and earlier this month he signed an executive order increasing federal resources addressing disparities within the Asian American community.

Long story short — in this pluralistic society, voter apathy is tempting. But, our community can’t afford to fall by the way-side. The Asian American community deserves political attention, and we can only get that by participating in the political process.