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Racism

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Ken Watanabe responds to ‘white savior’ criticism of Tom Cruise role in ‘The Last Samurai’

  • Japanese actor Ken Watababe, who starred with Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai,” recently responded to criticisms of the 2003 film’s alleged portrayal of the “white savior” trope.
  • “I didn’t think of it like that,” Watanabe said. “I just thought we had the opportunity to depict Japan in a way that we were never able to before. So we thought we were making something special.”
  • Watanabe praised how the film prompted Hollywood to be “more authentic when it came to Asian stories.”

Though the 2003 film “The Last Samurai” has previously come under fire for allegedly perpetuating the “white savior” trope, its star, Ken Watanabe, recently revealed that he doesn’t see it that way.  

“The Last Samurai” follows the exploits of an American military officer, played by Tom Cruise, hired to train the Japanese Army in modern warfare, which brings him into direct contact with their samurai leader, Katsumoto, played by Watanabe.

Asian American commissioner candidate in Texas accuses opponent of racism over ‘whitewashed’ photo

BENJAMIN CHOU
  • Benjamin Chou, an Asian American candidate for the Harris County Commissioners Court in Texas, has accused his Democratic nomination opponent, Lesley Briones, of racism.
  • The controversy stems from an edited image of Chou released by Briones’ campaign, which the former said had “whitewashed” his skin and followed “a long history of doctoring images of people of color to make them look angry or menacing.”
  • In response, Briones deflected the blame to an unnamed graphic designer and doubled down on criticizing Chou’s “false attacks and defamatory lies.”
  • The candidates will head to a runoff on Tuesday, of which the winner will face incumbent Republican R. Jack Cagle in November.

An Asian American candidate for the Harris County Commissioners Court in Texas has accused his Democratic nomination opponent of racism.

Benjamin Chou, who is running to represent Precinct 4, called out Lesley Briones over an edited image of himself released for an ad posted on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday.

Boxer Amir Khan says ‘appalling diets’ and excuses hold Asian athletes back: ‘We don’t have it in us’

Amir Khan farewell conference comment
  • Former British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan, 35, claimed that Asians “can’t make it in boxing” because of excuses and their diets.
  • Khan rose to fame after winning silver in the lightweight division at the 2004 Athens Olympics when he was a 17-year-old amateur boxer. He went professional a year later and has 40 matches under his belt.
  • During his farewell press conference on Monday, the former athlete declared that there are “no Asian footballers” since aspiring Asian athletes supposedly think, “We won’t get picked because we’re Asian.”
  • He went on to proclaim that Asians “are not really meant to be fighters” and are “not supposed to be good sportsmen and women.”
  • “Our diet is appalling,” he claimed. “It’s curries. It’s not the right diet to be a champion. If you put us against a lot of English fighters their diet is a lot better. They’re stronger than us.”

Former British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan claimed that Asians “can’t make it in boxing” because of excuses and their diets.

Khan, 35, held a farewell press conference on Monday, three days after announcing his retirement on Twitter. During the event, the former athlete commented on how several Asian boxers have turned to him as a source of inspiration after he became a trailblazer for South Asian boxers in Britain. 

New York’s first Asian mayor says he was called ‘dictator Kim,’ his son was called a ‘gook’

  • Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim recalled being the target of racism and hate while running for mayor in 2009 in an interview with News Channel 13. 
  • Kim, who is Korean American, has been called racial slurs and names referencing North Korea’s leader, such as “Dictator Kim” and “Kim Jong II.”
  • He made history by becoming New York’s first Asian American mayor when he was sworn in as the mayor of Saratoga Springs at the beginning of this year.
  • The mayor also recalled his youngest son, Steven, receiving an insulting text message in which he was called a “gook.” 

Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim recalled being the target of racism and hate while running for mayor in a recent interview.

In the exclusive interview with News Channel 13, Kim spoke about dealing with racist and hateful messages during his first run for mayor in 2009.

California man charged for driving through Stop Asian Hate rally, yelling racial slurs

  • Steve Lee Dominguez, 56, was arrested on federal charges on Thursday for disrupting a Stop Asian Hate rally and yelling anti-Asian slurs in Diamond Bar, California.
  • He reportedly ran a red light on March 21, 2021, and drove through about a dozen people who carried signs with messages such as “Stop Asian Hate” and “End the Violence Against Asians.”
  • Dominguez’s indictment accused him of yelling “F*ck China!” and “Go back to China!” at the protesters.
  • He was also accused of contacting the authorities after the incident to falsely report that protesters blocked the street, forcing him to run a red light “because they were about to trample my car.”
  • Dominguez is facing two counts of bias-motivated interference with federal protected activities. If convicted of his charges, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

A man who drove through a Stop Asian Hate rally and yelled anti-Asian slurs in Diamond Bar, California, more than a year ago was arrested on federal charges on Thursday.

Steve Lee Dominguez, 56, is facing two counts of bias-motivated interference with federal protected activities. He reportedly ran a red light on March 21, 2021, to block protesters and scream racial slurs at them.

MP candidate refuses to apologize after mixing up Asian Australian opponent with another politician

Fiona Martin Sally Sitou debate
  • Liberal MP Fiona Martin has refused to apologize to her Reid seat opponent, Federal Labor candidate Sally Sitou, after the latter accused her of mistaking her for another Asian Australian politician.
  • Martin had a heated exchange with Sitou during a 2GB radio interview on Wednesday.
  • "You found an opportunity and you couldn't run in Fowler. Kristina Keneally kicked you out of Fowler too," Martin said. Sitou, however, was reportedly not considered for preselection in Fowler, whereas Asian Australian candidate Tu Le was in September 2021.
  • "My opponent either has me confused for a different Asian-Australian, or she is deliberately misleading people. Either way, she should apologize,” Sitou tweeted.
  • “My record makes clear I would never direct a racial slur at anyone. There is no place for racism in Australia and it should be called out,” Martin wrote on Facebook in the aftermath. “I won't be distracted by desperate political games played by the Labor Party and its seat-shopping candidates.”

A Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) has refused to apologize for mistaking her Asian Australian opponent with another politician during a radio interview.

Liberal MP Fiona Martin and her opponent for the Reid seat, Federal Labor candidate Sally Sitou, appeared in a 2GB radio interview that later turned into a heated debate between the two candidates on Wednesday.

A third of Asian Americans have changed their daily routine over fears of being attacked, survey finds

  • Three in 10 (36%) Asian Americans have modified their daily routines in the past 12 months over fears of being threatened or attacked, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
  • Three in five (63%) said violence against Asian Americans is increasing, down from last year’s 81%.
  • The survey also found that Asian Americans were the most critical of all racial groups toward their local officials’ response to violence.
  • As for solutions, about half (48%) of Asian American respondents cited stronger laws against hate crimes as the most effective measure in preventing violence.

Three in 10 Asian Americans have modified their daily routines over fears of threats and attacks, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Polling 365 Asians — from a larger sample of 10,156 U.S. adults — between April 12 and April 18, the survey found that 36% have made such changes in the past 12 months, convinced that they might be targeted because of their race or ethnicity.

Taiwanese man berates Indian man for not wearing a mask: ‘Indian man, black man, get out of Taiwan’

taiwanese man racist

After being berated with racial slurs for not wearing a mask, an Indian man is pursuing charges against a Taiwanese man for “public insult, embarrassment, and verbal abuse.”

On April 29 at 2:40 p.m., the Indian man, a 36-year-old entrepreneur who asked to be identified only as “Mike,” was grabbing a coffee with an Indian national friend at Louisa Coffee in Hsinchu, Taiwan, reported Taiwan News. A Taiwanese man sitting near Mike then approached him, demanding that he put on a mask. 

‘Drivers took white people and animals over us’: Indian student recounts racism while fleeing Ukraine

  • A student from India who left his family for Ukraine to attend university and find a better job says he experienced discrimination and robbery during the ongoing war.
  • Mohammad Sajid, 23, arrived in Kyiv in February to study at the National University of Physical Education and Sport and find a part-time job to support his family in India.
  • He and his friends encountered some challenges while trying to escape Ukraine because of the language barrier.
  • Sajid claims that the taxi “drivers took white people and animals over us.”
  • A local Good Samaritan helped Sajid escape to a refugee camp in Poland.

A student from India who left his family for Ukraine to attend university and find a better job says he experienced discrimination and robbery in the midst of an ongoing war.

Mohammad Sajid, 23, arrived in Kyiv in February to study at the National University of Physical Education and Sport and find a part-time job to be able to support his family in India. But they had no idea that a war would erupt in Ukraine a week later.

Pacific Grove looks to issue apology for ‘Feast of Lanterns’ festival, historical racism and violence

Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns
  • The Pacific Grove City Council is preparing an apology for its Feast of Lanterns, an annual event criticized for appropriating Chinese culture.
  • The festival, during which mostly white participants dress up in Asian stereotype costumes, was officially canceled by the council this year.
  • Pacific Grove's Diversity Equity and Inclusion Board drafted an apology letter after consulting 40 members of the Asian community.
  • Community members hope the apology will be approved and signed by Mayor Bill Peake in time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.

Local officials in Pacific Grove, California, are preparing an apology to the Chinese community for their controversial Feast of Lanterns annual celebration.

The yearly event, during which mostly white participants dress up in Asian stereotype costumes, was officially canceled by the council this year after continued criticism alleging cultural appropriation of Chinese culture.

‘Queer Eye’ star reveals racist bullying led him to try skin lightening: ‘I know now bleaching is a form of self-harm’

Queer Eye Tan France racism
  • “Queer Eye” star Tan France tackles colorism and skin bleaching in “Tan France: Beauty & the Bleach,” a new BBC documentary that will premiere on Wednesday.
  • In the documentary, France shares that he was targeted for his racial background when he was a child. He says that during one such incident, he was left for dead after a gang attack.
  • Such experiences led to his decision to bleach his skin when he was 9 years old: “It was about survival. Being able to get home without being attacked.”
  • Through his documentary, France aims to help destroy the myth that whiteness is the pinnacle of beauty: “I hope to break the cycle that pushed me and thousands like me to bleach. And still does.”

British American fashion designer and TV personality Tan France addresses colorism and being left for dead after a racially motivated gang attack in the new BBC documentary, “Tan France: Beauty & the Bleach.”

The “Queer Eye” star recalled painful memories as he attempted to visit his hometown again after living in the U.S. for 15 years. 

‘White Hot’: New Netflix doc recounts the racist ‘all-American’ culture of Abercrombie & Fitch

  • A new Netflix documentary, “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch,” exposes the toxic and racist culture of the American clothing company.
  • A lawsuit filed against Abercrombie & Fitch in 2004 accused the American chain of giving floor sales and management positions to white employees, while women and employees of color worked in the back of the store.
  • Former employee Dr. Anthony Ocampo claimed that Abercrombie wouldn’t rehire him because there was already another Filipino working at the store.
  • Another former employee, Jennifer Sheahan, claimed she was fired from a branch in Costa Mesa, California, because she is Asian.
  • A Black employee, Carla Barrientos, was fired after requesting to work more hours during the daytime.

A new Netflix documentary, “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch,” recounts the toxic and racist culture of the American clothing company during the 2000s.

In the documentary, which was released on Netflix on Tuesday, former Abercrombie employees alleged that they were excluded or held back at the company because of their ethnicity. 

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