Wednesday, 15 June 2011

2011 Todmorden Carnival Racism

This coming Sunday 19th June 2011, Manchester City Centre is hosting the Manchester Day Parade 2011 - a 40,000 strong multi-cultural street carnival with a Chinese contingent represented in the parade. However, multi-cultural themed carnivals are not always organised in good taste, just 19 miles north of Manchester, lies another carnival  in  the  little known sleepy town of Todmorden. 

Todmorden rings of an inbred small farming community straight out of the David Pinner's novel 'The Ritual' AKA 'The Wicker Man,' this antediluvian West Yorkshire town is not only privy to the bucolic delights of 'Pig Racing,' but last weekend held its annual Todmorden Carnival.

This years unfortunate carnival theme...was 'oriental' - cue the bonging cymbal.

A resident of East Asian descent describes what he saw in a letter to Todmorden News. Andrew Kim writes...
"To represent the theme of the “Far East,” people dressed up [as Asian caricatures] with pigtails and ‘slant-eye’ make up, or in Chinese takeaway container costumes, I can’t understand how a teacher or a youth group leader can think it was okay to dress an entire group of children like this.

If the theme was Africa, would we see groups of children “blacked up” with spears in their hands? By the looks of this, I dare say we would. The fault is not only with the group leaders, but the carnival organisers who put forward a theme which opens itself to such embarrassing stereotypes.
Last month I attended the Cultural Fusion event at Todmorden High School and “Taking Flight”, a performance at the Todmorden Unitarian Church about immigration. How can these two events exist in the same town as a carnival which reduces one of the most dominant cultures of the world to Fu Manchu moustaches? Two steps forward, one stumble back.

I know some will dismiss it as being “politically correct” but the reason these stereotypes are no longer acceptable in our society is not a function of political fashion but because most have realised that lazily reducing people to stereotypes and marking them as “exotic” robs them of their individuality and their humanity.

I’m not upset because Todmorden is putting out na├»ve out-of-date images of Asian people but because the action of adults validating these ideas directly affects the way people, especially children, will relate to me in my own home town."

Local Primary School girls in yellowface 'orientalist' racial drag.

British State schools can equally match their counterparts - independent schools such as Hemdean House School's performance of Mulan (reported last month) in actively encouraging institutional racism.

Coolie hats are the order of the day in Todmorden
 
Next year's carnival theme is the 2012 Olympics, organisers should avoid a 'paralympic' theme, one shudders to imagine how 'disabilities' could be represented.

18 comments:

  1. Okay i see your point. you maybe referring to my comment on Hemdean House School article pointing out of school kids exoticising our race...and yeah that coolie hat pissed me off. Well on this one i agree with you..partly. But i still think its to do with miseducation. I mean northerners. They are pretty blunt with their racism and not known for their tact. But this miseducation is to do with the western imperialist stereotypes. So its a bit of both. If some kids were going around pulling their slanty eyes whilst wearing that shit then i would 100% agree with you. like i keep saying i dont blame people, i blame the media. and who controls the media? and who needs to be attacked? thats right. not the people but ......... If only china were next door to england itd be cheaper to get a ferry there and see for ourselves. so much for the internet bringing people together.

    Is it really that difficult to step outside the matrix?

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  2. Teachers aren't known for being smart hence that#s why there are teachers. I had a black teacher who was racist to me and she didn't realise it!

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  3. Gosh, you really can't make the difference between racism and celebration of culture. It's 'Oriental' not Chinese, in the first place, and the girls in the picture have the specific Geisha make-up/ clothes. What is wrong in that? No one is mocking anyone.

    Pretending to be black or something would be stupid, and they don't have such a vast culture, hence people don't usually do this (although, it happens - like in the Netherland's Zwarte Piet, you just don't know because you're too concerned with victimizing yourself.)

    'Orientalist racial drag' , god, you must be really blind.

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  4. The poster above, how can you say that? Oriental not Chinese? That's precisely the problem, it only reinforce the 'all East Asian look the same' stereotype. And how is dressing up as racial caricatures a celebration of culture? And what kind of culture is this exactly? I understand the people who organised it has no intention to offend but that doesn't take away the fact that what they're doing here is very ignorant. If you're an East Asian living in the UK surely you would know far better than defending this kind of clownish parade.

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  5. Sorry to add a depressive comment on here folks but ive got to say, willing divide and conquer ( on behalf of willing Chinese/East asians wanting to be screwed ( physically and all other ways) by Western imperialism, and looking at ourselves as second best due to the history that white man has done to our ( thailand, vietnam, philippines, cambodia, China, japan, korea and the others i missed out)Culture that maybe we are beyond hope.

    I read an article yesterday, actually a posted at asiasfinest that says the new rich Chinese are cant wait to leave China. There was debate as to whether this is good for China or bad ( money leaving). but it seems to tell me the reason they dont want to stay is things like better life( air, food, health service) and this stuff goes back several generations.

    I mean how else would you explain BBC's? And that most reknowned ( media) and activist ( this blog doesnt count ) BBCS are hapas, no offense to hapas, but this doesnt go on in america. ( although as mentioned in a previous post, americans dont have it any better either , its just that the racism is more open here, whilst in the uk its more snidier(sp?).

    My point is that we may be beyond saving. Theres a lot of bad things going in the world right now, and the western imperialists are committing more atrocities like bombing iraq, afghanistan, and now starting resource wars with China in Libya ( google it on youtube) that us protesting has to be more of a human crisis rather than a racial one.

    Lets face it, if we should have done something for our 'face' it should've been long ago. Its a shame that western culture that creates all the wars also gave us our wonderful technology too but we have to learn to discriminate.

    I think this is a problem with a lot of human beings. Esp the ones who come back from a hard days work and dont want to think too much, just earn their money and relax as usual. They dont really want to develop critical thinking because they are scared that the real answer they find may actually threaten their precious lifestyle, hence this blog. Its safe.

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  6. Orientals aren't all Chinese. They are East Asians (for people in the UK generally, who call them so). Of course the Chinese are among them, but those girls particularly were representing an aspect of Japanese culture - which is still oriental.

    I don't see any caricature there. The problem is in your head.

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  7. Who turned out for the Manchester day parade 2011 today?

    Poster 3+6 (same person) holds a typical ignorant view about racism towards East Asians, such a view is not uncommon, the question is - how did we arrive at this?

    I'll address the point, but only to Chinese who are reading this, not to anyone else.

    One significant reason why White Brit's don't black up, but apply yellowface is that Black's kicked up a fuss, they politicised themselves, facilitating the phasing out of racist outdated black stereotypes from social conventions.

    Chinese however, did not speak out against yellowface, Chinese turned a blind eye, did not confront racism or discrimination etc, chinese did not mobilise, did not apply public nor political pressure, did not engage in the poltiical process at the time when 'black' politics pushed the agenda onto the radical left.

    So today, the convention of 'blacking up' is no longer tolerated, whereas the yellowface convention has remained intact, it was never challenged and therefore never removed, so BBC's still have to confront it today in 2011, in a wrong era, a climate of post-PC, where anyone who cries racism is ridiculed, it should have been challenged and phased out 2-3 decades ago.

    Finger of blame? Who failed to challenge the westerner and therefore failed to pave the way for the next generation who are BBC's. Look no further than the first generation Chinese immigrants and FOB's, today these idiots still head up all the Chinese organisations, associations, public bodies, they still run British Chinese society, that is one reason why the British Chinese communtiy has been so politically ineffective for decades and remains ineffective today.

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  8. Can you imagine the uproar if a white person put black make-up and a afro! Double standards!

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  9. One hopes that all the young Chinese in China and other ethnically Chinese countries are just as unpolitically correct (racist). 1.3 billion racists outweigh 800 million white racists, and I would like to see their influence utilised across the planet, much like whites have.

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  10. "I think this is a problem with a lot of human beings. Esp the ones who come back from a hard days work and dont want to think too much, just earn their money and relax as usual. They dont really want to develop critical thinking because they are scared that the real answer they find may actually threaten their precious lifestyle, hence this blog. Its safe. "

    Hear hear! So comfortable they are with their slightly adequate present, that they are not thinking of the bigger picture - the future (i.e. the wellbeing of their children) - in this case it means how ordinary Chinese, so content with their above minimum wage jobs and junior management positions, that they have no care about how future generations - their children, and Chinese people everywhere, will be treated.

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  11. How can an 'oriental' theme possibly be racist? To be accused of something so serious is a bit unfair, everyone knows that the people involved did not set out to intentionally harm anyone. It was simply a celebration of another culture. And so what if the costumes were stereotypical? Stereotypes are used all of the time, in adverts, on TV shows etc. Yes, sometimes people do get offended, but lighten up, its not hurting anyone. It's actually bringing knowledge of other cultures to these young school children. If the theme was 'Britain' I'm sure there wouldn't be an uproar if people turned up in stereotypical British attire. At the end of the day, it's just a bit of fun for the children of Todmorden. Think of better things to worry about.

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  12. Shouldve had a carnival of Christian soldiers torturing Chinese and raping Chinese women forcing everyone to snort their brains out on opium. That would be more historically accurate.

    @23rd June poster re: ordinary Chinese.

    All it takes is a switch in mindset from passive acceptance to active non-acceptance and the whole Chinese race can be changed overnight.

    But it wont happen because we are too scared of what might happen and just focus on making money.

    Racism is the one factor that Chinese will have to overcome , and i wonder if waiting for China to do something about it will help? I guess we just have to quietly wait for China to own everything before the media discrimination ends. Not sure if it works that way but from what i know when the divide between rich and poor increases, the poor just start hating the rich even more.

    No, in my mind i dont think we can avoid confronting racism any longer. And those of you who are raising Chinese children right now have to think about that too. We are all responsible. And until we make a fuss about it rather than seeing complaining as 'impractical' or 'unnecessary' then we will look at human rights the same way. In that respect we will be no different to what the west is calling China as inhumane. Are Chinese people really inhumane to the point of not caring about anyone except ourselves? So why bother having families? Why bother living? `By doing nothing we are committing atrocities. I think deep down Chinese dont really care about humanity. Maybe we arent even human.

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. 3 June 2011 20:29

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    Spoken like a true arrogant white man. "A celebration of another culture" just shows how ignorant whites are, and furthermore, taking pride in their ignorance by masking it as "celebrating other cultures". Yes, the rich 5000 year old Chinese culture is based on conical hats, geisha dresses and slant eyed make ups. Idiot

    And if "bringing knowledge of other cultures" to the kids means dressing up as takeaway boxes, I'd rather they knew nothing about us, instead actually... oh I dunno... talk to us instead of mock us in everyday life. "A bit of fun for the children" - yes, I bet it is... at OUR EXPENSE..


    "Yes, sometimes people do get offended, but lighten up, its not hurting anyone."

    You realise you've just contradicted yourself in one sentence? How can you offend someone by not hurting them?

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  15. No, in my mind i dont think we can avoid confronting racism any longer. And those of you who are raising Chinese children right now have to think about that too. We are all responsible. And until we make a fuss about it rather than seeing complaining as 'impractical' or 'unnecessary' then we will look at human rights the same way. In that respect we will be no different to what the west is calling China as inhumane. Are Chinese people really inhumane to the point of not caring about anyone except ourselves? So why bother having families? Why bother living? `By doing nothing we are committing atrocities. I think deep down Chinese dont really care about humanity. Maybe we arent even human.
    24 June 2011 04:20

    ============
    There's nothing more shameful than a self defeatist Chinese sucking on the white man whilst degrading themselves. You're right, you're not human. Because you're not Chinese. You're a fucking coward.


    And I believe that is why Chinese women do not take a proactive approach to stopping and fighting out against racism... because they know that eventually they will pair up with a white man - any white man - and have half white children, who will go on to have more and more white children down the generations. That is how chinese women "eliminate racism".

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  16. My comment above was called playing devils advocate because my point is that we have been too passive and don't want to assume any political stance because its considered too radical.

    Glad it got a response from someone(you), This shit has gone on for so long and still noone does anything about it. Its not limited to the UK either. It goes in the USA. Youre probably one of those Chinese out to 'save face' on a blog, but in real life probably does 'fuck all' about it. Well enjoy your accountancy job or whatever the hell it is that you do. Chinese / East Asians situation in the west isnt going to change. And you justifying why you ( im assuming youre a woman) marry white man to call me a coward, that makes you pathetic. Go for your white knight for all the good it'll do you. Don't forget the eye surgery either and the facecream.

    And if youre a bloke, then instead of bitching like a woman, at my 'dehumanising' comment, why not grow some balls and start speaking out against racism like the owner of this blog intends to?

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  17. The owner of this blog knows Jack about Todmorden, and should keep his bigoted views to himself.

    Stick to the salons of Islington, you open-toed sandal-wearing, yogurt-knitting piece of toss!

    Your views are more welcome there.

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    Replies
    1. So thats how a British Chinese northerner celebrates his Chinese pride - by dressing up in a ricehat and slant-eye make up? Pass the peas, loov

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