Letters

2013-04-30 16.00.12

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. 

Anonymous 

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!

Michael

2013-04-30 15.31.19

Interview with Hank Chen

March 2, 2011 PiefolkLex Millena

Remember three or four months ago when I was accused of being racist by five uber-hipster undergrads in rural England?

No?

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?

No?

Well Hank Chen does. And, he wants to talk about it for 11 minutes.

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eryc perez de tagle

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.

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Rice Queen

allison michael orenstein

Here’s a video of me doing stand up at UCB’s Soul Glo Project show for September.

I sing a song about dating Asian guys, and though I try to keep it PC, it spirals beyond my control. Just kidding. I’m in control of every single awful thing I say! You’re welcome.

Thanks to Anna Suzuki for taking the footage. And thanks for watching my horrible, racist song.

Jerks.

RISK podcast

I got to tell a story at the RISK storytelling show a few weeks ago.

It was fun, and full of awesome, interesting people – including handsome, hilarious comic Sheng Wang.

I was worried about how my story would go, because it involved running around naked with my brother in a rain storm, and giving myself an enema in the front yard after taunting the neighbors. But the audience loved it – it killed!

RISK! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public” hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. The award-winning live show happens monthly in New York and Los Angeles.

Notorious Rice Queen Kevin Allison

It’s featured people like Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Lili Taylor, Rachel Dratch, Andy Borowitz and more, dropping the act and showing a side of themselves we’ve never seen before. The weekly podcast gets hundreds of thousands of downloads each month. Slate.com called it “jaw-dropping, hysterically funny, and just plain touching.”

I’m on this week’s podcast with one of my heroes – comedy goddess Kerri Kenny-Silver.  She is hilarious and if you don’t know of her, you’re an asshole.

You can download my episode of the podcast here.

Just to warn you, I do talk about giving myself an enema in public, and shooting a turd out of my butt like a poop cannon. You’re welcome, Mom and Dad.

Enjoy the RISK podcast.

Jerks.

Post Racial

eryc perez de tagle

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.

Advice

illustrations by lex millena

Hey Pie Guy,

My name is Kevin, and I wanted to write to you for a while now.  I’m having a problem and I wanted some advice – or maybe I just need to tell someone about it. 

I feel ugly all the time.  I’m not sure why this should be – I go to the gym a lot and in the past few years I’ve managed to carve out a pretty decent looking body.  I have nice arms and some semblance of abs, even.  But, I can’t seem to get guys my age to look at me, or hit on me. 

I should say that I’m 24 years old and Chinese American.  That shouldn’t make a difference, but it certainly does – at least where I live in Atlanta.  When I go out to gay bars, the only people that hit on me are creepy guys that are 15-20 years older than me.  I want to sleep with guys my own age, but they don’t look at me when I go out, and if I talk to them at the bar they seem mortified, or annoyed somehow.

I’ve had guys my own age even say ugly, racist things to me.  This cute, fratty looking guy was really drunk one night and when I went up to him to say hi, he sneered and said something to the effect of ‘me no want sucky sucky long time.’  I left immediately.  I’d never had someone call out my Asian identity like that in such a brutal, cruel way.  I left feeling inadequate and ashamed of myself. 

I tried asking out another guy that I thought was cute.  He told me I was very attractive, but he was a bottom only.  I said that’s okay cause I’m versatile and he laughed.  I was confused.  Then he said that he didn’t think he could let an Asian guy top him. 

I just don’t get it.  My penis is above average.  I’m a pretty attractive guy.  I take care of my body and it shows.  Why can’t I get people my own age to look at me as a viable sex partner?  Sometimes when I go out I get horny or drunk enough to go home with a guy who’s 40ish – but then I always go home feeling worse about myself than when I started.

I’m beginning to feel alienated and depressed.  I don’t know what to do. 

Thanks for reading this letter – I feel better just verbalizing these feelings.  You don’t have to answer, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. 

Thanks,

Kevin

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for writing in.  I’m upset and kind of angry to hear about the insensitive, racist things you’ve had to put up with.  That sucks.  I wish I could say that you’re just having a run of bad luck, and in a way you are – but I was also a bartender for years in a gay bar, and I can honestly say – racism is alive and well in the gay community.

However – I do think that there’s a lot of dialogue right now that counters that point of view.  I know that there’s a growing number of people in the gay community that think the idea of a racial sexual hierarchy is absurd.  I also know there’s a long way to go before Asian homosexuals can feel like the playing field is level in the gay dating world.  All you have to do is look at mainstream gay porn to see that Asians are an invisible minority.

I want you to know that you’re not alone, Kevin.  I want you to know that I feel depressed and alienated too, a lot of the time.  You’re not the only person that gets weirdos who are decades older than you hitting on them.  I wonder if you’d have better luck meeting gay guys on OkCupid or joining some sort of gay sports team, or club?  People are frequently at their worst when they’re hammered, and gays your age tend to drink until they’re wasted.

I do want you to know that there are plenty of people out there that find gay Asians attractive – that think of them as people, and not just asexual, bottom-only playthings.  Thanks for sending me photos of you – I can attest that yes, you are a very attractive guy, and if you lived in NYC I’d certainly hit on you.  The only advice I have is keep at it, Kev.  Try online dating too, and being social in non-alcohol related settings.  That might clear things up, a little.

One more thing.  Try to keep this in mind:  If someone says something racist, or callous to you in public?  That’s just them showing the world they’re an asshole.  Try not to let it get to you.  If you walk home ashamed of yourself or angry, then you let a worthless asshole steal your joy and ruin your night.  Don’t do that.

Be proud of yourself, Kevin.  You’re a very beautiful man.  You’re smart and sexy and wonderful.  Keep your head up.  Be proud.

Jerk.