‘Yellow Fever’ is Not and Never Was a Derogatory Term for Asians, According to Asians

So apparently we wrote a “racist” headline about Chinese Olympic swimmer and perfect human specimen Ning Zetao by saying he’s giving the internet “yellow fever.”

This is the headline: “Forget Zika Virus — China’s Hottest Olympic Swimmer is Giving the Internet Yellow Fever”.

Yes, we made a play on words involving the well-known spread, presence and threat of Zika virus in Brazil and the hotness of one Chinese Olympic swimmer causing “yellow fever” (not the African virus). In our context, yellow fever refers to the typically non-Asian attraction to Asians of the opposite (or same) sex.


It seems there are plenty of people and publications who are quick to try and prove what could be played off as racist that they end up missing the whole point, so let’s clear this up a bit.


It is true that the term “yellow”, when referring to the “color” of Asian skin, originated from xenophobic theories during a time when Asian countries were ruled by imperialist empires. But in today’s context, having yellow fever, or being attracted to Asian men and women who are ridiculously good looking, is really more flattering than anything given that Asians are already sorely underrepresented in mainstream media. Are we sexualizing them? Sure, this is the media we’re talking about, but at least we sexualize men and women equally.

By the way, “yellow fever” is a term popularized by Asians, not one that was branded by white imperialists.

We at NextShark certainly don’t believe it’s racist, and it might have to do with the fact that everyone involved in writing the article and headline is Asian. In fact, if you read our About Page, we’re a site focusing on the Asian market with an Editorial Team that’s made up of literally all Asians.

These Facebook posts (by actual Asians) explain why it isn’t racist, why this rabid culture of political correctness needs to take a breath, and why we don’t need non-Asians to racially mansplain (raceplain?) what should and shouldn’t be considered offensive to us:

nextshark-headline9 nextshark-headline1 comment 2 comment 3 comment 1 nextshark-headline5


It kind of shows how little most “PC” warriors actually know of Asian and Asian-American culture.

On the other hand, we recognize Zika virus is a terrible illness as well as a key threat to both athletes and the local residents at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro and in the many other countries that the virus can be found in. We never intended to downplay the severity of the virus and the damage it has caused to lives all over the world, but we also refuse to be part of the fear-mongering narrative that the rest of the media has adopted on the subject.

Additionally, we do sincerely appreciate that so many of our non-Asian brothers and sisters would rush to fight for our cause. Please never stop that good fight because the battle is far from over.

And rather than end on a bad note, let’s use our 15 minutes of fame to engage in a productive conversation about understanding Asian culture and representation in mainstream media. Check out some of our articles below:

Wong Fu’s Philip Wang Explains How To Effectively Respond To Hollywood Whitewashing

Director Jon M. Chu: On Now You See Me 2, Hollywood Whitewashing & Asian American Identity

Meet the 25-Year-Old USC Alumni Who Started the First Female-Led Millenial Venture Capital Firm

Diversity is a broken product in tech. FIX IT.

Thanks for reading!





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