So we were just talking this past week about how both race and gender are social formations – that to be racialized as Asian carries with it implications about one’s gender and sexuality as well. And then I turn on the TV and there’s Katy Perry in yellow face.
Given what we have studied about representations of Asian Americans, we can see how problematic it is to reduce a people to a stereotype. The perception of Vincent Chin as a perpetual foreigner lowering wages lead to his death. The perception of Asia as a weaker and feminized space has lead to long histories of colonization.
Read through these excellent articles for more in-depth analysis on why Katy Perry’s AMA performance rehearses the racist and sexist representations that Asian Americans and Asians have had to deal with since almost the beginning of modern history.
Yes, Katy Perry’s Performance Was Racist, Here’s Why by Ravi Chandra, PhD