We are commenting on this blog post: https://piefolk.net/2012/01/12/rice-queen/
This blog post gives an introduction to the “rice queen” term and identity, which is used predominantly to describe white gay men who are primarily attracted to Asian men. The blog post outlines a conversation that Michael Martin has with an older fellow, and illuminates the problematic that exists in the fetishization that is inherent with the “rice queen” moniker. The fellow that Michael converses with frequently reduces entire national and racialized identities into a few characteristics, and denies the complexities that these folks have as human beings. Additionally, Michael Martin comments on the imperial aspects of what many “rice queens” do: travel to Asia in search of cheap sex workers.
In this blog post, Michael does nothing to combat the overt racism that his conversation partner is spewing, but rather voices his discomfort with the rampant racism being perpetuated in the conversation. Though the blog post breaches the “rice queen” topic and label, Michael does not begin to implicate his admitted dominant attraction to Asian men in this system. He seeks not to deconstruct his own location in a racial hierarchy and the imbalance of power in his own relationships with Asian men, but merely frames the fellow whom he is having the conversation with as the evil person, and upholds himself as the one that recognizes and stands against racism.
This blog post speaks to the fetishization of coloured and racialized bodies, which, while deemed disgusting, undesirable and ugly by dominant white society, is also positioned as being for the purpose of white sexual consumption when it is so desired.
Hi. Thanks for writing. “We” who? Are you the Borg or something? Also, why would you refer to me in the third person? Creepy. Okay:
I don’t think it’s my job to combat racism in America, but I do write about things that happen to me. Conversations I have, etc.
I’m not responsible for racism in the gay community, or in the world at large. I have a blog that is well attended, and I do my best to remind gay people to play nice with each other. Ultimately, however, the blog is just my outlet to process my own feelings of alienation. I’m a member of an oppressed minority who has not yet garnered its civil rights. Let me say that again. Gay people have not yet garnered legal equality in the United States. That makes us (and trans, or gender queer people) the bottom rung of the civil rights ladder. If I feel like processing an awkward, but polite conversation I had with an older person from a more racist generation – that’s what I’ll do. And I’ll do it online to call attention to the issue.
I am not ‘required’ to start a shouting match with an old gay man who just wants to cuddle with someone on a Friday night. I have respect for people, even racist people. If anything, I’m interested in hearing his perspective, because it’s so foreign to me. It makes me feel good that society might be slightly different now than when he was my age.
I’m not interested in ‘getting my head in the right place,’ if that means people from one oppressed minority are attacking people from another oppressed minority. I don’t quite think I deserve a kick in the nuts for talking about racial politics on my blog. I think calling attention to the issue is valuable for its own sake, and I won’t change my format or apologize.
People seem to be uncomfortable that I’m eroticizing Asian men on my blog. Too bad. It’s about time we as a society started looking at Asian men as sex symbols. There are very few Asian male sex symbols in the media today, though things are slowly changing. I don’t think I’m helping make great strides in racial politics, but then again I’m just a comic. I say what’s on my mind and some people listen. I’m grateful, and on a good day, humble.
I do think it would be useful if you folks went after straight white people, instead of a working class gay guy, but that’s your prerogative. Enjoy complaining to your friends about my blog, and as always, thanks for reading!
Honorary gay and incourigible straight lothario MYQ Kaplan had me and Ben Lerman over to the Hang Out With Me Playpen to talk about our sex lives, what it means to be ‘monogamish’ and how to solve racism in a room full of white people. It was a blast and you can laugh about it here:
Thanks for the funzos boys. It was a hoot.
Oh, and MYQ, wear underwear next time? You kept flopping out of your silk smoking robe.
Remember three or four months ago when I was accused of being racist by five uber-hipster undergrads in rural England?
Remember? They had a shittily-formatted blog with half-baked ideas about how i’m racist. They used the fact that I sometimes feature people of color (and the fact that sometimes I don’t) to extrapolate a systematic and insidious racism that I’m participating in and possibly orchestrating?
No? You don’t remember? It was a few months ago. Here, I’ll remind you – I reacted to it immediately and my comedy friends who know and love me came to my rescue and shouted them down on their own blog. Nobody else commented or supported them. Remember?
It was such a small thing. Maybe I shouldn’t expect you to remember. It was for a class project, and I’m pretty sure they failed. I contacted their professor. Do you remember this at all, dear reader?
Well Hank Chen does. And, he wants to talk about it for 11 minutes.
I’m giving Hank a lot of shit, but it’s good natured. I’m glad he’s outspoken and wants to talk about things like this. I’m glad his readers (for the most part) have decided to side with me on this issue. Hank, thanks for having me on your vlog to talk about this important event that nobody cares about.
It’s important to start a dialogue about these things. Hank is very brave to do that.
Carry on Rice Queens, Potato Queens, Kinksters, Fetishists, Monogamists, Polyamorists, Straights, Bis, Gays, Trannies, Lesbos, Curry Queens, Bean Queens, Plushies, Spankers, Barebackers, Stressed-Out-Neo-Victorian Gays, Old School 70’s Gays, Twinks, Bears, Blesbians, Radical Faeries, Log Cabin Republicans, Gay Jews, G’Atheists, and Poodle Fuckers.
I made the Poodle Fucker thing up, but you get the idea. Carry on.
And don’t let anyone shame you for speaking your mind.
Unless your ideas are stupid.
Then, keep your mouth shut, Sarah Palin.
I keep hearing people talk about how we’re living in a ‘post racial’ society. That racism somehow isn’t relevant to the younger generations. Man, I wish that was true. Wouldn’t that be great?
Here’s some snippets from a recent conversation I had on Grindr.
The guy who was chatting with me is significantly younger than me.
I think it’s safe to say this guy isn’t living in a “post racial” America.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking. It’s an attractive idea: a society where race no longer matters to anyone in any way, shape or form.
A friend of mine recently pointed something out. Whenever you hear people talking about ‘post racial’ America, it’s almost always a white person. You don’t hear a lot of people of color going around giving lip service to that idea.
I wanted to hear more of this guys crazy, awful opinions. I wanted to write about him here, and start some sort of dialogue about race and the gay community.
I think he got wise to me, though. He was less enthusiastic about meeting me the next day. Maybe he was embarrassed about the idiotic things he’d said via Grindr. Or, maybe he checked out my blog from my profile, and realized that if he met me, I’d do my best to make him look like a Jerk.
It wouldn’t have been difficult. He did a good job of making himself a Jerk.
Him: Ugh. I’m so full. That was good food, actually.
Him: Yeah, I was expecting it to be bad. Most people are bad cooks.
Me: Oh. Thanks?
Him: Don’t worry. It’s a compliment.
Me: I wasn’t worried. But thank you.
Him: Still. I thought there would be pie.
Me: I didn’t make any today.
Him: I wonder if your pie is any good?
Me: It’s a mystery.
Him: Should I help you do the dishes?
Me: Nah. It’s always awkward doing the dishes in another person’s house. I know where everything goes.
Him: But I feel bad!
Me: Well don’t. I invited you over for dinner.
Him: We should drink this wine I brought. I don’t like the beer.
Me: The beer’s almost gone anyway – but I better lay off the wine.
Him: Why? It’s Saturday night.
Me: I’m feeling oddly full. Like indigestion somehow. Plus I’m teaching all day tomorrow so I better just behave.
Him: Boring! I’m gonna drink this wine.
Me: Have at it.
Him: You’re acting weird. Can I look at your books and judge you on your bookshelf?
Me: Sure, but most of the stuff I really like has been lent out to people that haven’t returned it. So…
Him: That’s what I’d say too, if I were being judged.
Him: Ohmygod. You have the Popol Vuh! Can I have this book?
Him: Can I have this book? Did you read it already?
Me: Uh, sure… You can have the book.
Him: No. I don’t really want it.
Me: It sounded like you did. I just had to think about whether I’m ever going to read it, and I don’t think I am. So go ahead and take it.
Him: Nah. It’s in English, and my professor translated it in Spanish. I think I’ll read it in Spanish. I don’t want to be tainted by the English version.
Me: Yes. By all means – don’t taint yourself.
Him: Ew. Why do you have Joy Luck Club?
Me: Somebody gave it to me. I thought it was a good read.
Him: It’s super racist.
Me: Really? How so? It didn’t strike me as terribly racist.
Him: Oh I don’t know. I haven’t read it. My professor says it’s racist and I believe him. I’m getting more wine.
Me: I’ve had a few Chinese American friends read it and say it was relatively close to their own experiences as first generation Americans. I don’t think Amy Tan is a member of the Klan or anything.
Him: Hm. Wow. I’m really plowing through this wine. You should have some with me.
Me: I don’t know if that’s a great idea. I’m feeling a little off. I ate this ham earlier today. It was really cheap and I think it was leftover from Easter. I’m feeling strange.
Him: Something’s wrong with the lighting in here. You need something less bright than this lamp, but brighter than this other one.
Me: I have this – flip that switch over there.
Him: Ohmygod! What is this??
Me: It’s an antique x-ray light from the 1950’s. There’s an actual x-ray in there, too.
Him: Ew. Gross. I don’t like it. I do not like it.
Me: Okay then. Turn it off.
Him: I’m pouring myself some more wine.
Me: Go for it.
Him: I’m not leaving until I finish this wine.
Me: Well you don’t have far to go.
Him: Let’s lay on your bed for a minute.
Me: Hey. You’re really cute, but I’m starting… Feel my forehead. Do I have a fever?
Him: Um. NO. You don’t.
Me: You didn’t feel my forehead.
Him: Come on. Just lay down with me.
Me: I’m really feeling out of sorts. Like, I think I may have eaten tainted food.
Him: Ugh. Look. I’m going to be straightforward. I want to have sex. Do you want to have sex?
Me: I think you’re attractive – but I’m really not feeling well. I think I gave myself food poisoning, somehow.
Him: You’re acting irrational and weird. Make out with me.
Me: You need to work on your game.
Me: You don’t call people weird and irrational and then ask them to make out. Listen to me, okay? I think I have a fever.
Him: So, sex, or no sex?
Me: No sex. Probable diarrhea.
Him: Me and my friends are going dancing tonight. You should come.
Me: I. Am. Ill.
Him: Okay, cool. Am I ever going to see you again, mister?
Me: Maybe. Maybe we can hang out again…
Him: Look. Just tell me right now yes or no.
Me: This is a first date. Cool it on the ultimatums.
Him: I’m not leaving until I finish my wine.
Me: I gathered.
Him: I really like your apartment, actually. I expected not to like it.
Me: Thank you. You’re too kind. Jerk.