Monday, October 23, 2006

Me and Mr. P #3: Racial Tensions!


Part 3 in my ongoing series of conversations with Tiny Mix Tapes elusive editor, Mr. P. In this edition, I relate a story about some Southeast Asian kids harassing me in St. Paul in the 80s and then we have a brief discussion about the Model Minority (of which Mr. P is a member) and Asian male desexualization (Mr. P makes a good point that goes unexplored, unfortunately). I wish we had gotten a chance to finish this conversation, but Mr. P had to go eat or something. Pshaw...Asians! Always eating!

Me: Mr. P
Mr. P: and me!
Me: haha
Mr. P: you still hate me?
Me: oh yeah
Mr. P: c'mon
Mr. P: love me!
Me: haha jk lmao
Me: what does lmao mean?
Mr. P: lick my ass out
Me: really?
Mr. P: no, i'ts laughing my ass off
Me: man
Me: so obvious
Me: I never knew
Mr. P: i mean.. so i heard from internet geeks...
Me: yeah,right!
Me: so, you're asian, right?
Me: well I have a story for you
Me: one year, on Summit Ave. in St. Paul
Me: a summer
Me: I was staying with my grandparents and I went outside to ride a bike on the sidewalk in front of their rowhouse
Me: and a bunch of vietnamese or Cambodian or Laotian of Hmong kids came up to me and pushed me down
Mr. P: that is funny!
Me: and they were yelling at me and calling me a fag or something
Me: and I cried behind my grandparents' house
Mr. P: awww
Me: where I came from the Asian kids were always quiet!
Me: The Model Minority
Me: but you St. Paul thugs!
Mr. P: haha
Mr. P: you know how we do it
Me: it was such a disconnect for me, though...
Me: the stereotype of the smart, bookish Asian kid and encountering the reality of a group of Asians that has been somewhat left behind
Me: more recent Southeast Asian immigrants have it tough because everyone expects them to be so perfect
Mr. P: and southeast asians aren't quite AS model minority as japanese and chinese
Me: I think that the Model Minority Myth, even if it is a "positive" stereotype, in a manner of speaking, is still damaging insofar as it creates false behavioral expectations
Mr. P: yeah
Me: the Twin Cities has a large population of that
Me: and, at the time, St. Paul was a little "rougher"
Me: there were, apparently, Vietnamese gangs and stuff
Me: maybe there still are
Mr. P: we have one of the highest hmong populations in the US
Mr. P: but yeah, i know.. that model minority myth backfires often
Me: but I will say that the worst slum in the Twin Cities is nicer than most places in Atlanta!
Me: Do people expect you to be a certain way
Me: ?
Me: you seem quite gregarious to me
Me: but I bet in school you were supposed to be quiet, right?
Mr. P: hmmm... iwas a loud mouth
Mr. P: class clown in certain classes
Me: awesome
Mr. P: quiet in others though
Me: did teachers react differently or were they surprised?
Mr. P: i'm not sure really. i think i got a lot of slack for being chinese
Me: I mean, they should know not to trust a Marvin
Mr. P: haha
Mr. P: race came up a lot in my high school
Me: I did a lot of work in grad school on this very subject, so it interests me
Mr. P: yeah, race is a big topic for me
Me: I think Asian girls have it even worse
Mr. P: i kicked someone out of my record store who was tryign to sell shit because he said something racist
Mr. P: well, the thing with asian guys is that they're so desexualized
Me: what did he say?
Mr. P: like.. maybe ONCE in the history of u.s. TV have they shown an asian dude kissing
Me: that's why I think Sun and Jin are important on Lost
Me: because they are totally hot
Me: and the guy is hot
Me: for once
Mr. P: short story: i was flipping through his records that he was selling, and i was pulling the shit that was actulaly worth something to our store. then he's like: 'wel, you know.. you're ORIENTAL, and this is AMERICAN music from the '70s"
then he looks at me with a smirk
Mr. P: i told him i'm american

Up next...an interview with Idolator editor Brian Raftery!

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