Category Archives: race

I just really hate this shit

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OK,  I guess we’ll start with the neutral bit: Mwave reported that Wiz Khalifa will perform with Zico, Crush, and Dean at the MAMAs. You would think that that would be reliable, considering that Mwave and the MAMAs are both run by Mnet, but there doesn’t seem to be anything out there in the Korean news saying who, specifically, Khalifa will be performing with. So . . . maybe not.

Then we’ll jump to something unrelated but funny, because we’re all going to need a laugh in a minute here.

And then back to our depressing subject matter: So, the reason that the Khalifa story came up is that hip-hop and R&B has become more popular in Korea, and as a result, you’re seeing a bevy of Korean/American musical collaborations where many of the American musicians are African American. There’s Khalifa and Timbaland at the MAMAs, there’s Tablo and Eric Nam doing a song with Gallant, and there’s the potential collaboration between Rap Monster and Wale.

And, as night follows day, you’re seeing stuff like this:

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I have a very hard time reading this kind of thing and not feeling like it fits quite nicely into the “keep Black people out of K-Pop” category.

Before you ask, yes, I did see all the “Get that white bitch out of that Bastarz video!” bullshit (and of course a lot of nastiness gets aimed at non-Korean Asians as well). But to me, that kind of thing is sooo painfully transparent and pathetic (“I AM AN INSECURE ASSHOLE!!! WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE OTHER GIRLS AND NOT ME!?!”) that it’s not usually worth remarking on.

What bothers me about the “keep Blacks out!” crap is how much misdirection there is–it’s always about laying the racism on somebody else. I mean, if you can’t distinguish between Wale and the hundreds of millions of other Black people on this planet, and because of Wale’s race, you can’t understand why he might be well-placed to help BTS, then it’s not exactly the fans who are the racist ones, right?

But the hypocritical finger-pointing just goes on. Are you a Korean musician? Do you pay African Americans to be in your hip-hop video? You’re racist! Do you take photos with Black fans? You’re racist! Do you braid your hair? You’re racist! Do you admire certain musicians who happen to be African American? FETISHIST!!!

Of course, if you’re an African American musician, you’re also racist! You have no respect for Korean musicians! You’re just going to Korea for money and/or sex. Plus you take drugs. (People who aren’t Black, in contrast, are never motivated by money, sex, or controlled substances. Especially not if they are celebrities.)

Gee, wouldn’t there be so much less racism–wouldn’t it all just be so much less problematicif all those pesky Black people just . . . stayed out of K-Pop? Went away? Evaporated altogether?

Or you know, maybe you could get that stick out of your ass and try to enjoy the music? Just a thought. . . .

ETA: OK, given the botched collaboration between Taeyeon and Khalifa, and the appalling response of some Taeyeon fans, I have to point out how stupid and counterproductive the racist shit is. African Americans are a more than $1 trillion market, plus they are younger than the average American and therefore have a disproportionate impact on U.S. popular culture.

If you think you are doing a K-Pop idol a favor by locking them out of a $1 trillion market, plus making it far less likely that they will be able to access the even larger mass American market, please please PLEASE wake up.

Things I have learned from SJWs today

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  1. Koreans should never hire African Americans. This is a deeply racist practice that must be stopped. (Brought to you courtesy of the people who think that Korean musicians should never take pictures of themselves with African-American fans.)
  2. If you see a hip-hop music video, and you object to a visual element in the video, the person who only produced the music for the video and had nothing to do with directing the video is to blame.
  3. People who write hip-hop music, no matter how successfully or for how long, know nothing about hip-hop and should stop now.

Your queries: Answered! (Plus bonus hot guys!)

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For whatever reason, I’ve gotten a slew of fairly entertaining search queries recently both here and at BlockB.com (along with the more-frequent “korean gay,” “zico racist,” and “kim kardashian bare ass”), so I thought I’d take a crack at answering some of these burning questions.

Does Taeil have tattoos?

Holy sweet mother of God, YES. There was a time when some of them were not real; that time has long since passed. Watching Taeil these past two years has been like watching a garden grow: His tattoos have spread from his shoulders down his arms to his hands, plus he’s getting more and more on his legs. He’s getting them joined up and having more-elaborate tattoos tattooed over his simpler ones–indeed, it is fair at this point to say that even Taeil’s tattoos have tattoos.

Taeil: Liking tattoos, big time.

Picture of Zico with girls.

The important thing to remember each and every time you see a picture of Zico with a girl is that he is dating that girl. This MUST be true, and there are NO exceptions.

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You might think that that’s a hell of a lot of people to be dating all at once, but Zico and I are just very into polyamory (and effective time management)!

What does “I deep inside of you; I can’t get over” mean?

If you are a native English speaker conversant in 1970s American slang, it means (brace yourself), “My penis is fully inserted into your vagina; I cannot reach sexual climax.”

What were they trying to say? My understanding is that this is a translation of a Korean idiom, and that in Korean, to be deep inside a person means that you are obsessed with them and cannot think about anything else. So it was meant to mean, “I think about you all the time; I can’t move on” or something along those lines.

Translating idioms: Always perilous.

Do Americans think Asians are pretty?

It depends on the American (who may also be Asian), and it depends on the Asian (who may also be American).

Speaking for myself, I have always been very ecumenical in my tastes (with regard to race; with gender, not so much). So there are Asian men who I think are pretty (this will focus on East Asian men; trust me, I can do this with South Asian men or pretty much whatever kind of men you throw at me):

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I used to get so pissed when Archie was not on CSI.

There are Asian men who I think are handsome rather than pretty:

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bts

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Your plastic surgeon has much to answer for.

There are Asian men who I think are neither handsome nor pretty, but are attractive to me nonetheless:

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Because he’s funny.

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I…I don’t know why!

And there are Asian men I think are ugly and unattractive. No pictures–I’m getting soft–but I will admit that, although I think he’s an excellent actor and have enjoyed many of his performances, strictly from a looks perspective I never got the big deal over Daniel Dae Kim.

What you need to be careful of are people who think that all Asians are pretty. That typically means that the person is a fetishist who is in love with an idea of what Asian people are like. The main issue with any kind of fetishist is that their idea of what [XXX] people are like usually runs along the lines of “Someone who will have sex with me and support me financially forever even though I am a worthless bastard with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.”

I hope that helps! And thank you for the opportunity to post lots of pictures of hot guys–I don’t usually do that sort of thing, and I’m beginning to understand why Kpopalypse does so many posts about boobs.

Terms used to describe Hyorin’s braids that I have seen today

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HyorinPaloaltoZico

Ugly

A Damn Mess

Embarrassing

Fake

Shitty

Thuggish

But they’re not being racist because it’s Cultural Appropriation. Right.

Terms used to describe this look:

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Genuine

Good

Awesome

Cute

Pretty

Oh, but it’s not just the (FAKEFAKEFAKEFAKE) HAIR, it’s the ENTIRE LOOK!!! Because this:

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Was TOTALLY GENUINE AND SINCERE, 100% HYORIN, and NOTHING SHE WOULD EVER GET TIRED OF DOING!!! BY CHANGING HER LOOK HYORIN IS BETRAYING HER INNER SOUL!!!!!!

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Live in authenticity!

Guess what? You don’t know Hyorin, and neither do I. Yes, it’s a big shift in image, but for all anyone knows, the first picture might be how she’d rather dress.

And thuggish? Fuck you.

“HE IS A KOREAN MAN”

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OK. I’ve debated about doing this post in the past, and I’ve decided against it time and time again, but I just saw a post on Tumblr about Zico’s recent box braids and how he should not wear them because “HE IS A KOREAN MAN.”

I’m not linking to it because it’s too dumb, and yes, I’ve put the person on ignore, but that comment so perfectly encapsulates the problems I have with the people who are all wound up about Zico’s hair.

Part of it is that I would certainly not appreciate a complete stranger thinking it was appropriate for them to judge for me what I am allowed to do because of my ethnicity, nationality or gender. So I take equal issue with some random idiot deciding that it is OK to tell someone else what to do because that person happens to be Korean, a man, or (sweet fancy Jesus!) A KOREAN MAN.

(Seriously: Why in God’s name do people think this is remotely acceptable? Fucking fetishists.)

But my main problem is: Ever notice something?

Zico can be blond.

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That is OK. A KOREAN MAN whose hair is naturally black can be BLOND, and that is fine. No problem! No one even notices it, except to write articles about how great he looks blond.

When Zico wears hairstyles like this?

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All of a sudden it’s this HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE problem, at least in certain circles.

Here is one of the best articles I’ve read lately about racism. Emphasis in the original.

Racism is not slavery. As President Obama said, it’s not avoiding the use of the word Nigger. Racism is not white water fountains and the back of the bus. Martin Luther King did not end racism. Racism is a cop severing the spine of an innocent man. It is a 12 year old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms.

But racism is even more subtle than that. It’s more nuanced. Racism is the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all white Lord of the Rings cast because of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an entirely fictionalized history.

Even when we make shit up, we want it to be white.

And racism is the fact that we all accept that it is white. Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in Star Trek. Khan, who is from India. Is there anyone Whiter than Benedict fucking Cumberbatch? What? They needed a “less racial” cast because they already had the Black Uhura character?

That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.

YUP.

So, blond Zico is OK, but box-braid Zico is not. And RapMon should “play your own race” and avoid the African-American vernacular, because everyone’s “own race” is white, because white = normal.

Not only is the white vernacular normal, there’s also something horribly wrong with talking or looking like a filthy, shiftless, watermelon-eating . . . um, I mean, “cultural appropriation.” Yes. That’s what they mean when they object to A KOREAN MAN doing these things–that little PC fig leaf sure takes care of everything, doesn’t it?

Of course, white people can do whatever they fucking want, be it with their hair or otherwise. (White privilege!)

But non-whites have to be more careful: Since white is normal and neutral, everyone can go only one square over from the white norm. For example, you can be a white person with dreadlocks, or an Asian person who uses the white vernacular. But you cannot go two squares over, and become an Asian person with dreadlocks, or an Asian person who uses the African-American vernacular–or God forbid, an African-American K-Pop fan. That is unacceptable.

Show Me the Drama!

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Since I hadn’t watched Show Me the Money before, and the people subbing it also did season three, I started watching that season more or less in tandem with this season (I’ve seen three episodes of last season so far).

I have to say, this season is SO much more entertaining. I think the producers learned from Unpretty Rapstar that people are far less interested in watching a competition than they are in watching people react emotionally, and you’re going to get a lot more of that if people know each other.

Last season, the only really dramatic bit in the second episode was the fact that YDG kept passing completely random people who nobody else would pass, and the other judges were really annoyed by it. (Except that it turned out that much of the time, he was right, and then the other judges had to eat crow. That was pretty entertaining.)

This season: Oh boy!

They’ve really benefitted from the fact that the show is more popular, so that more celebrities (be they idols or underground rappers) came out for it. So you get reaction shots like this:

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When P-Type–oh my God–makes a mistake! (Hey, it happens to the best of us. That’s the bitch of a competition like this.)

The other benefit was that you get people competing who are experienced performers and can put on a good show instead of looking at their damned feet all the time like some little kid being forced by their parents to perform at a party.

I realize that absolutely none of those people qualify as complete unknowns, but hell, even Jay Park didn’t know who Lil Boi was, so there’s clearly room for their audience to grow.

I do find the idol vs. underground thing to be annoying, though, because given what’s been going on the past couple of years in Korean hip-hop, it’s really kind of fake. I mean, Designated Idol Hater Andup detests idols so much that he’s done a song with Zico. (Of course. Because everyone on the show must be connected to Zico in some way.)

And here he is expressing his incredible hostility to idols by beating poor Mino into a blur!

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The brutality!!! I wonder how long they’ve known each other, and if Andup loaned Mino that blanket?

ETA: And because I’ve been getting a slew of “Zico racist” searches, I will point out that if you go here, you will see that neither Andup nor Zico had anything to say about Vernon being half-Korean. Nothing. Nothing coded about him not “really” being Korean or anything like that. Never even came up.

What they said was that he sucked. They were hardly the only ones of that opinion, and the reason is that he did suck. It looks like from the previews that he turns it around next episode, and if so, good for him, but that rap was baaaaad.

Furthermore, I think this:

is a perfectly reasonable response to someone “mistranslating” your words to make you sound like a racist because their precious little Vernon went onstage and stepped on his dick. I have nothing against Vernon, but that is the kind of “fan” nobody needs.

The problem with politicizing everything

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You know, if you don’t like something, it’s OK to just say that you don’t like it.

For example, if you think the “Tough Cookie” teaser is cliched, predictable, and lacking in humor–that’s fine! Say that! “Gosh, I hope the full video is more interesting than this.” Not a problem!

But there’s such a social-justice warrior mentality out there on the Interwebs, people feel like they can’t say that. They can’t say that the video is cliched; they have to say that it’s a collection of stereotypes about Black people, and therefore racist! (Which only works if you accept the notion that Black culture is the exact same thing as hip-hop culture, which it’s not.) Everything has to have this What About the Children!?! veneer, whether or not that makes any kind of sense, because people feel like it’s somehow illegitimate to just say, “Meh–didn’t like it.”

Seriously, it’s a 30-second teaser. The future of international race relations does not hang in the balance here. Get a grip.

Want another reality check? If you’re hoping that “Tough Cookie” will flop and teach that bastard Zico a lesson about what happens when he…puts out a 30-second trailer you don’t much care for, guess what? It’s a 19+ hip-hop song that is being released as a digital single. In Korea, a market where digital makes no money, hip-hop has a limited audience, and you can’t sell 19+ stuff most places.

I’m thinking that Zico has some very modest expectations regarding how this song is going to perform financially, OK?

This, I should add, is what makes someone a real artist–being willing to put out stuff that isn’t going to appeal to most people because it matters to you. The people rattling on about how Zico is an ARTIST and an ARTIST should do what netizens tell them to do!!! need to realize that the whole listening-to-popular-opinon thing where you do your utmost to produce super-safe content that won’t offend anyone, ever, is what commercial media is all about. And that’s exactly why so much of it is so damned boring.

If it’s safe pap you want, that’s fine, but you’re not going to get it from Zico’s solo work.

 * * *

Since people feel obligated to rationalize not liking the “Tough Cookie” teaser by claiming it is racist, they are ponying up a lot of other “evidence” that Zico is a horrible racist person, much of which is not exactly complete.

His supposed horrible racism has also come up recently because someone from Red Velvet decided to imitate Black people on a radio show, and people are defending it(!) by pointing out that Zico once did something similar. (Which makes it all better–how?)

Anyway: Yes, he did.

You will notice that my response was NOT to say, “Oh, I [HEART] Zico! He can do whatever he wants!” or “Oh, other people have done the same thing, so it must be OK!” Nor was that the response of 99.99% of Block B fans–the Block B tag in Tumblr was overwhelmingly anger and disappointment for a few days afterward. The Block B International people felt the same way, and they wrote a letter in Korean to Block B’s management company, and the company sent back an apologetic reply saying that the members would not do that sort of thing in the future.

To me, the lesson from that was NOT that fans of other groups should use Zico’s mistake to justify someone else’s. To me–stick with me here–the lesson was that international fans should do their best to let K-Pop labels know that this kind of thing is very offensive. If enough people do this enough times to enough labels, they’ll eventually get a clue. This is how change happens.

Obviously a huge part of the problem is that this kind of humor is still largely accepted in Korea. I’ve never seen anything to indicate that Zico hates Black people–and yet he made that joke anyway, which was a big part of what was so infuriating about it! The flip side of it is that, hello, he apparently did learn from his mistake here, and he hasn’t done it again.

He also–and this is important–has never taken the attitude that the feelings of Black people don’t matter. He did something offensive, he listened to objections and accepted that what he did was offensive, and he changed his ways.

Have other people not had actual experience with horrible racists? Because that’s not what they do.

The other big piece of “evidence” that Zico is a horrible racist is that he’s used the N-word in his hip-hop songs.

Again, yes, he has.

That’s not an uncommon thing in Korean hip-hop (because it’s not an uncommon thing in American hip-hop). Here‘s a post about Drunken Tiger and how incredibly influential that group has been–they basically created the genre of Korean hip-hop.

Guess what word is bleeped out of the “Representative Song”?

I’m uncomfortable enough with the N-word myself that I don’t feel especially thrilled about linking to a bunch of Korean hip-hop songs that use it, but I could. Once you get out of mainstream K-Pop music, just about everyone has used it one time or another (usually to refer to people who do hip-hop, not African Americans in general). To say that this is Zico’s special problem (or RapMon’s special problem, or Mino’s special problem) is to display some pretty significant ignorance of the non-idol hip-hop scene.

That said–what if you just don’t enjoy hearing the N-word?

That’s totally legitimate, and what’s interesting to me is that Zico has been phasing the N-word out of his act. First he did it at a Block B concert–which, honestly, I didn’t think was that significant, because these days he does try to keep the Block B stuff G-rated. Sure enough, at his next hip-hop concert, he was back to using it.

But then….

The N-word is still in the background music (blame Drake!), but Zico is careful that it never actually comes out of his mouth. And that was at an adults-only hip-hop show, where he was very much not shy about using harsh language.

So, yeah, I personally think he’s learning–I think he’s realized that he does actually have a lot of Black fans and they might not appreciate hearing him use a racial slur.

What can I say? He’s educable. He’s not insisting that he is right and everyone else is wrong, or that he can say whatever he wants because these are “just” Black people he’s insulting.

In my experience, horrible racists tend to not be quite so open-minded.

I’m not naive–most of the SJWs are way more interested in feeling superior than anything else. (My favorite was someone on Tumblr who was blathering on about who “deserves” to be famous. Let me guess–you do, right? Even though you haven’t done shit, right? I mean, why would anyone want to listen to good music when they could be listening to a humorless politically-correct drudge rattling on about how absolutely EVERYTHING is “problematic”?) Half the people who pile on to this kind of thing obviously know nothing about Zico or Block B–they just enjoy piling on because it makes them feel better about themselves and their (sad, pathetic little) lives. It doesn’t really matter what Zico or Block B do, because these people will never stop: It is the only way they can feel powerful.

But if you’re honestly wondering what the story is with him, at least so far–there you have it, as much as I know, anyway. Make of it what you will.