Sunday, August 18, 2013

Do you think the song "Asian Girlz" is racist? (I think it is satire.)

If someone is a racist, that means the person doesn't like (or looks down on) people of a different race.  In US history there has been a lot of racism - primarily white people have felt prejudiced against and discriminated against black people. (Prejudice is a hateful attitude; discrimination is a type of action which denies a person some rights or benefits.) 

There has also been anti-Asian racism in America. ('anti' means against, 'pro' means for). In the late 1800s there was a law passed in the USA stopping Chinese people from immigrating to this country and there was also a 'gentleman's agreement' made between the governments of Japan and the USA limiting immigration of Japanese individuals.

Lately many people have been attacking the song "Asian Girlz" as being an example of this type of anti-Asian attitude.  Yet, I just read an interview with the singer from the group that does the song, and I believe what he says.  Basically he is saying that the song is a satire.  A satire is a work of art that attacks something that the creator of the work of art feels is wrong or feels is a problem socially.  For instance, Psy's song "Gangnam Style" was a satire (a 'parody' is the same thing) about people with a lot of money in Korea and how empty or meaningless their lives are.

So if Asian Girlz is a satire, what is it satirizing? It is a song making fun out of white guys who are attracted to Asian women.  These guys usually 'objectify' Asian women - they treat Asian women like 'objects' and not people.  These guys think Asian women are sexy and want Asian women as girlfriends for all the wrong reasons.  Basically, the guys who are singing the song are singing the song as if they are stupid white guys who don't know anything about Asian culture but who feel as if Asian women are sexy.   

Here's the video:

Here's an interview where the singer tries to explain why his band wrote the song (to be honest with you, I didn't think the song was funny or intelligent, and I don't like the music, but I don't think they were trying to be racist - I think they were trying to point out that many white guys have 'yellow fever'):

So the song is satirizing white guys who have yellow fever.  What's yellow fever?

Here's a good chapter from my amazing book about New York City:

(If you have an e-reader you can buy my amazing ESL book :P I deliberately kept the price low and I think you can learn some amazing things from it.  If you don't have an e-reader or you need to save money, please send me e-mail to and I will send you a FREE copy via e-mail attachment.  It will be a pleasure!!!)

(By the way, the book is written in the voice of "Suzy" an immigrant to the USA from South America.)

Please look at the vocabulary words after this chapter and then try to read the chapter.

7. Yellow Fever

So I was sitting in a Starbucks with my Japanese friend Naoko and every two minutes I could see that someone was sending her text messages.  So I said, " found an American guy who fell in love with you?  That's great, your English is going to soar!"  Naoko looked at me sadly and replied: "An American guy, yes.  One of my teachers at my language school has yellow fever.  He tries to go out with all the sexy, skinny (opposite of fat) Asian ladies.  He's got quite a reputation at the school. He won't leave me alone and I don't know what to do."

Well, this was freaking Naoko out, so I gave the teacher's cell number to an American guy friend of mine and he placed a call to the horny teacher.  I'm not exactly sure what he said, but the horny teacher seemed to stop being so horny - at least with Naoko.  But back to what Naoko said: yellow fever.  What the heck is yellow fever?

My language exchange partner totally has yellow fever.  He’s a white guy and I’m teaching him Spanish and he’s helping me with my English.  When we sit and chat in a Starbucks or other type of cafe he always checks out the cute Asian girls as they come in.  So I guess he doesn’t think that I’m very sexy, which is good, because he’s fat. I’m glad he doesn’t like Spanish-speaking girls.  Yes, let him keep looking at the cute Asian ladies. ^^
Here's a little trick gals.  Just tell every American guy that you meet that you have a boyfriend.  Then they'll leave you alone.  But, I have to be honest, yellow fever has spread through New York City.  You see sexy Asian ladies and (ugly) white guys all over the place around here.  Now, this really pisses some Asian guys off and they’ll say, “Only the ugliest Asian women will go out with white guys and white guys don’t know the difference between an attractive and an ugly Asian.”  No.  I don’t think so.  Sour grapes, my friend.  I have seen some hot Asian ladies with some not-so-hot white guys, and I’ve seen couples in which both partners were equally hot.

My fat native-speaking language exchange partner: I answered his ad on  He wants to learn Spanish and was looking to teach someone English.  I need to stay sharp - I need really intensive English and I can get it with this guy and he doesn't hit on me because he has yellow fever.  So we chat for an hour in English and then an hour in Spanish.  That does the trick for both of us. 
What’s yellow fever?  Well, literally, yellow fever was some kind of tropical disease that plagued various cities several generations ago.  When someone in New York City says that some guy has yellow fever, however, he means that the guy is hot for Asian women.  Get it?  Asians are said to have “yellow” skin by white people and if you have a “fever” you burn inside.  So a guy with yellow fever “burns inside for Asian women."  He’s basically a white guy who likes Asian women.  He might even be a horny guy who wants to date sexy Asian chicks.

Naoko and some of my other Asian friends have mixed emotions about this.  They are kind of proud that Asian ladies are so popular, but they also sense that there might be something wrong with a guy who just likes Asian women.  Are the guys who like Asian ladies objectifying them?  Yet, when I got here one of my first thoughts was, wow, people in New York City are kind of fat.  Then I read this article in one of New York City’s really cheap and badly written tabloid newspapers.  The article said that 35% of Latinos in New York City are obese.  28% of African Americans are obese.  24% of white people are obese.  Asians weren’t mentioned, so I’m guessing not many of them are obese. I don’t think I’ve seen an obese Asian in Manhattan :P

Now, in regard to the statistics, we're talking obese here, not just fat. 

Obese means dangerously fat.  So if 35% of a population is obese, I'm not even sure what the numbers would be for just plain fat.  But let me tell you, Americans are just kind of just plain fat.  So you get all these skinny, cute Asian ladies walking around New York City, and they are like sex goddesses or something compared to all the fat ladies.  The white guys who are used to looking at chunky ladies of all different races can't get enough of the seeeeeeeeeeeexy Asian ladies.

Why are they so sexy?  Well, I think it's diet and I think it's basic cultural values.  Even though I started to become a little chunkier here a little voice inside of me kept saying: stay skinny girl!  Show some self-restraint.  My Asian friends tell me the same thing. Now this is an issue among some Asians who say that they get skinnier in America and anticipate becoming fatter back in Taiwan, China, Korea or Japan.  Their argument goes something like this: they really like Korean and Japanese food and just tolerate American food, so when they get back home they are going to eat more and get fatter.  Maybe, but I have heard the other argument more often: the portions of food offered at American restaurants are huge and a lot of fried food is offered here.

Getting back to yellow fever.  I have to be honest.  It's not going to be politically correct to say this, but if you're a cute Asian lady in New York City, black and Latino guys are going to hit on you.  Alot.  Simple fact.  "Hey Miss Wonderful..."  That's what some black guy said to Naoko yesterday before he gave her his phone number.  Ask any Asian lady.  This has become a sociological FACT among Asian women.  Deal with it.  It's true.  I won't lie about it.

I knew a girl who literally had to move from her neighborhood because 5 or 6 black and Latino guys would hit on her daily and she just got freaked out by the whole situation.  If you don't like what I'm saying, then talk to the Black and Latino guys and tell them to stop it, because it actually kind of pisses me off.  It's totally disrespectful and I think it shows a big chunk of racism among some guys of color.  They see petite Asian women and they think they are cute and they think they have the right to interrupt their thoughts by hitting on them.  Hello.  That's not wrong?  Do these guys hit on White and Black and Latina women?  My language exchange partner told me they don't because these women would make a scene.  So because Asian ladies tend to be polite, they get hit on.  Maybe they need to start making a scene.
So now let me tell you a story about an Asian girl from Hong Kong and a guy with yellow fever.  This girl chose to use an “Americanized” name – Sarah.  One day she was sitting in a Starbucks and a guy came over to her table and asked whether he could sit there.  The place was crowded and she just thought that he needed a place to sit.  But, after a short while he began chatting with her.  He looked a little attractive, although a bit chubby.  But, she was happy to be speaking English with someone for free! 
Ultimately, he invited her to get some drinks at a nearby bar and, being an open-minded girl from Hong Kong, she went.  It turns out that he was part South American and so after Sarah became a little drunk he invited her back to his place to listen to “cool South American music.”  So she went.  And they had sex.  Then they had sex again a couple days later.  She told me they had sex four times on four different occasions before she had to leave New York City.
However, the last time she was at his place she accidentally left a very expensive scarf at the guy’s apartment.  So she emailed him and told him she might be coming back in the future and she asked him to hold onto her scarf.  Well, sure enough, she came back to NY City four months later and emailed him again.  To be honest with you, I think she was looking for more South American sex by offering to pick up her scarf.  But time waits for no one!  He emailed her back and told her that he no longer had the scarf.  He had given it to his new Korean girlfriend! 
Sarah, however, demanded this scarf back and he told her he would get it from the Korean girl.  I don’t know what kind of story he had to tell, but he got the scarf back and returned it to Sarah.  Was she happy?  No.  She had started to develop warm feelings for the guy and was shocked and disappointed he was just a horny guy with yellow fever.  

Definitions of terms

to fall in love with s/o – you might already know that the verb “to fall” goes with the emotion “love” but, what the hell, I’m telling you again.

to soar – to take off or to rise into the sky figuratively or literally

a reputation – this is the general attitude that people have or feel about you based on what they know about you.  If you have a good reputation people have heard good things about you.

to freak s/o out – if someone gets freaked out they become shocked and a bit disgusted

horny – a person who is horny is someone who thinks about sex a lot and who devotes a lot of his energy to trying to have sex.

to check s/o out – to look a person over, to see whether the person’s physical appearance is attractive to you.

a trick – literally something a magician does that surprises people because of an unexpected outcome.  Figuratively, a trick is something you can do to get a predictable outcome.  i.e.  Let me show you a little trick; if you do x then you’ll get y.

sour grapes – this is from one of Aesop’s fables.  A wolf who cannot reach a bunch of grapes then says that they were probably sour anyway and he doesn’t need them.

to stay sharp – to maintain your excellent skills, or to ensure that your skills are not lost.

to hit on someone – to try to get someone to become interested in you, to try to get someone to go out with you or to have sex with you.

it does the trick – this means it works.

tropical – this is a geographical region where it is very hot.

to be plagued by – a plague is a horrible disease that spreads rapidly and that often people have little control over.  To be plagued by something is to be bothered by something that won’t seem to go away and which is kind of terrible.

to be hot for someone – to really really want someone very badly.

chicks – slang term among some white young people for girls or young women.

to have mixed emotions – to feel more than one emotion at a time – usually conflicting emotions.

to objectify s/o – to treat a person as if he/she is an object.

a tabloid – a type of newspaper.  New York City has, basically, three big newspapers.  Two are tabloids and one is a broadsheet.  The New York Times is a high-level and intelligently written broadsheet paper.  The Post and Daily News are often poorly written papers that have lurid stories (stories of violence, sex, gossip etc.).  Sometimes the lurid stories are fun to read, though.  A tabloid type of paper is called a tabloid because of the way it looks – it is easy to hold and read on the subway.  A broadsheet is difficult to read on the subway.

obese – really fat.

just plain fat – obviously fat.

chunky – not skinny but not fat.  A chunky person is a person who has some meat on his or her bones.

the argument goes something like this – the argument sounds like this

a portion – an amount

to be politically correct – to say what everyone expects you to say or to say what any good liberal American would say.  So even if a person is in favor of the death penalty, if he considers himself liberal on most issues he might say, “Of course, the death penalty is morally wrong!”

Black and Latino – black folks in New York City are usually called African Americans and folks from Mexico, Puerto Rico, South America are often called Latinos.

deal with it – this means to accept something that exists and is going to continue to exist

a big chunk of something – a big portion of something

petite – small and skinny

to make a scene – to cause trouble, to make noise, to argue, to complain.

chubby – a person who is chubby is not fat but not skinny.  We might say he/she has “meat on his/her bones.”  A chubby person is a little fat.

ultimately – finally.  At the very end.

it turns out  you say “it turns out” when you want to say, basically, “I didn’t know this originally but I discovered that….”

a scarf – this is an item of clothing you often wrap around your neck in the winter time.

to hold onto – to keep safe, to keep for awhile, not to give something away. 


Grammar stuff:  this type of vs. these types of, this, these, that, those

Many students get these types of statements mixed up.  Furthermore, many foreign speakers do not know how to use “type of” correctly.  Let’s say you see two dogs and one is a German Shepard and the other is a Rottweiler.  You can’t say: There are two different dogs there.  To say “two different dogs” means there are two non-identical dogs, but they could still be of the same breed.  You would have to say, “There are two different types of dogs there.”

If one neighbor is very nice and cooperative and the other is mean and nasty, you don’t have two different neighbors, you have two different types of neighbors.  If you have formal and casual clothing you have two types of clothing.

The big problem, however, is that students do not show consistency when using the term “type” or “types.”  Sometimes a student will say: “This types of beer is good” Instead of correctly saying: These types of beers are good”.  This type of dog is gentle.  These types of dogs are gentle.  This stuff is important.

Do you know what the real problem is?  First, most Americans don’t even speak grammatically correct English.  Second, they don’t care whether you speak grammatically correct English either.  Many foreign students are surprised to learn that if an American can basically understand what you are trying to say, he/she is happy.  Americans don’t often care whether your English is broken or not. 

Well, kind of.  Of course, if you speak really broken English they’ll never give you a job here.  But, if you are asking directions or just casually chatting, they won’t care about your English.

This person, these people.  Please know that people is the plural of person.  You will never say “persons.” That person, these people.  This really matters.  If you do not maintain your consistency using this, that, these, those, your English will sound terrible, even to an American who speaks bad English.

12 Essential vocabulary words.  Fill-in-the-blanks

to soar, a reputation, to be horny, tropical, to plague, mixed emotions, obese, chunky, petite, to freak out, lurid, a portion

I have _________________ about the new immigration law in Arizona.  On the one hand I am in favor of immigrants coming to America, but, on the other hand, I do not like the idea of people coming to this country illegally and not paying taxes.

Because Sunmi’s children were born in America, and were eating lots of fried foods and junk foods, they started to become as ___________ as many other American children.

In August many New Yorkers leave the city because the weather becomes almost ___________, with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees F (32 degrees C).

It’s one thing to be a little chunky but people who are ___________ are at a greater risk of developing the disease of diabetes as well as various forms of heart disease.

Whenever oil prices climb around the world, we then see the price of airplane tickets __________.

Every foreign student in New York City seems to realize that the __________ of food which is served here is much larger than in their home country.

The New York Times presents world news, but for the really _________ stories about NY, a person should read the New York Post or the Daily News.  They have stories about people jumping from the Empire State Building and subway murders that the New York Times does not write about.

Recently a man who was riding on a subway train was accidentally hit by some garbage that another rider was trying to throw through the open doors of the train.  He ______________ and killed the man who had thrown the garbage.

Asian women have a reputation for being __________, but once they get to America their weight often soars!

Political corruption continues to __________ both the city of New York and the State of New York.  Many New York politicians are often arrested by the Federal Government and thrown in jail.

Everybody seemed to think that Tiger Woods was, basically, a good guy and a real family man.  Few people suspected that he was, in reality, a __________ guy who lived to have sex with as many women as he could find.

Although Eliot Spitzer tried to establish a ____________  for being an honest politician, in reality he seemed to care more about being a horny guy than he cared about the people of New York city and state.



Answers: mixed emotions, obese or chunky, tropical, obese, soar, portions, lurid, freaked out, petite, plague, horny, reputation

Actually, many years ago a singer named Randy Newman did a song called Short People. In this song he seems to be attacking short people.  But, again, this was satire.  Newman was pretending to be a very stupid person (in the song) who didn't like short people.  So he was attacking people who don't like other people because of their appearance - he was not attacking short people.


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