Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Asians Sleeping in the Library" is a RACIST WEBSITE!

Asians sleeping in the library
Asians sleeping in the library

written by: Mr. APA

In the past few weeks, a new "tumblr" website has really picked up some steam.  It's called Asians Sleeping in the Library and it features Asian students sleeping in the library. (I sound stupid for having written that sentence)  Now I know it's all in good fun and the fact that so many Asian students have embraced it has added to the fun but beneath it all, I fear that we are promoting and ever growing problem of subtle racism by loving this website.  Damn Asian People!  Are we that desperate for attention that we'lll promote a website that's essentially making fun of us!

Like seriously guys, we need to REALLY REALLY think hard about this.  Now I know this website was not created to be racist or discriminatory as it's creator suggested...

the creator of this blog is a handsome jew who also likes to sleep in the library.

this blog is not meant to be discriminatory, mean spirited or malicious in any way, shape or form. it is meant to celebrate, not berate, the hardest workers at our universities. if you see yourself on this website and would like to be taken down, please send me a message and I will gladly do it.

Asians Sleeping in the Libary
Rape Joke warning:  Dudes, when you find a hot passed
out girl like this, you do more than take a picture.
Yes yes, Mr. Handsome Jew, I know you didn't have BAD intentions for creating this website.  You didn't create this website to BE RACIST but just because you didn't mean to be racist, doesn't make it OK.

My big issue is not really with the site and what it does but how we as an Asian American community have so embraced this "handsome jew" posting pictures of JUST ASIAN people sleeping in the library.  If it was Jewish and Asian people, that would be MORE ok but really, this is a Jewish guy who was walking around the library and thought, "hey, I always see Asian people sleeping in the library... let's  do something about this.. like make a tumblr.  Yeah, I smell that as well, it smells like Moron.

Asians Sleeping in the Library
As an Asian Race, we are always more passive (did I just stereotype us) and just happy to be featured in ANYTHING.  What I'm going to show you below is that the world's level of racism (ie, what we consider racist for Asian people) is too high and when it becomes so hard to offend us, we let other people think it's ok to be racist to us.  When I worked at VH1, they were filming a segment where they needed somebody to do some Kung Fu and guess what ALL the white people did, they looked at me and said, YOU, go do some Kung Fu for us.  That is NOT OK people, think about this, imagine if I was black and they said they needed somebody to eat fried chicken.  THEY WOULD DARE NOT LOOK at the black person and say, "hey, let's us film u eating fried chicken" but I guess, to an Asian person, they're not as scared.

This is alo how I want to show you how the "asians sleeping in the library" tumblr is racist.  If I created a,  THAT WOULD BE RACIST.  Here's the first picture I would use.

Black people fried chicken
Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton having some FRIED CHICKEN!
Look, it's the freakin' president and Reverend Al Sharpton EATING FRIED CHICKEN!  They don't look like black stereotypes, I didn't put up a picture of "Precious" (movie reference) eating chicken, I put up the PRESIDENT eating Fried Chicken, it's like he approved Fried Chicken for us but this picture still feels racist!   Now imagine a whole website of black people eating fried chicken.  Would that not be TERRIBLY RACIST?

OK, so some of you are saying, Mr. APA, you are taking this too far.  Black People eating Fried Chicken is NOT the same as Asian People Sleeping in the Library.  Studying is a good thing and eating fried chicken, well that's not a good terribly good thing.  And on that note, I agree with you, so I'll change my website from too   Singing is a GOOD THING, right?  Here are some of my first pics.

Outdoor Karaoke, that's how WE DO!

They look like a church choir but where's the church?
Now there's nothing wrong with black people singing, just like there's nothing wrong with asians studying (or sleeping in a library) except when you single them out and make a whole website devoted to featuring certain stereotypes, that's when it gets messy.

And finally, for those of you who think I am still going too far, my final proof to you, let's make a tumblr called, all it does is show pictures of jewish people but it's made by an Asian guy.  Here are my introductory pics.
He's Jewish

He's also Jewish

All the site would show is pictures of Jewish people, even something as mundane as that, still feels a little bit odd, doesn't it?  Like I didn't make any jew jokes here, but the whole room still got a little uncomfortable with this.

So there it is people, whenever we focus on one group and focus on one specific thing that they do, we create a stereotype and we make it awkward for all of us.  I don't want an Asian Sleeping in the Library to be a fuckin' stereotype, I want an Asian to feel he CAN sleep in the library if he freakin wants without fear he'll end up on some crappy tumblr website.   Asian people, stand up for yourself and don't sell ourselves short, we deserve better media exposure then some website that shows us passed out in a library. 

So what do you think guys?  Did you feel it was racist or have I overreacted one too many times?  Comment below!


  1. I happen to think you're right fuckin on, APA! Taking pictures of unsuspecting people to otherize them is racist.

    However, you shared Black stereotypes, "eating fried chicken" through what I think is more of a white normative cultural lens. I'm pretty sure there are a few that you know of that you're not divulging. The point: Isn't ignorance relative?

    As we point ignorance out, I ask "so what"? Don't we all have a responsibility to own our own, and do better by educating our own? I've been pondering this question myself.

  2. Hi Myrianne!

    I always enjoy your very intelligent comments. =)

  3. I have to admit I chuckled when I first saw the tumblr on this, if only because I remember doing the same thing when I was still in school. That faded fast though as I started thinking some of the same things you point out here. I remember quite a few people who ended up sleeping in libraries, and some of them *happened* to be Asian, but we certainly didn't have the monopoly on that.

    For that reason alone I have a hard time believing that the site honestly intends to 'celebrate' the 'hardest workers at our universities'. I could be wrong about that. Whether sincere or not it only enforces stereotypes and accepting it, no matter how harmless it may appear to be only allows those stereotypes to continue.

    What connotations would be made if there was a site called 'mexicanssleepinginthelibrary'? Would anyone accept a disclaimer saying that the intent was to 'celebrate the hardest workers at our universities'?

    I went to school with folks (who happened to be Mexican) that were ten times better students than me, and I guarantee they'd never accept a site like that. I don't think we should either.

  4. i think if we're able to generally laugh at this, its not going to be a serious racial problem that promotes further asian racism. its like when black people take comedic jabs and talk about how much they love fried chicken (chris rock, chappelle). i bet even asians supply many of the pictures for this site.

    i would like to hear more reasoning why you think this will cause a real, severe problem. to me its just comedy using stereotypes, a very popular comedic ploy.

    to Gene, 'mexicanssleepinginthelibrary' does not work as an example because there is no background preface of mexicans studying hard at libraries. it would work if you did something like "mexicanshiringwhitepeopletocuttheirlawns" something to that extent.

    lastly, good breakdown with mentioning the normative cultural lens via whites. we also need to understand, and this is my biggest point of my entire comment:

    in present time, unfortunately, but acceptingly, american culture = white america. everything in popular culture is looked through the white normative lens.

    its not something that should be ignored, nor fought against, bc its something that is too major and backed by structure. agents of change in # is too small, also minorities buy into white america aka popular western culture so its too hard to fight against it.

    give it a few more generations when the landscape of western culture becomes less prominent. right now structure is gonna drag all agencies of change right back in.

    get at me with comments: deejank@gmail

  5. Haha, just found this but thought I'd chip in my 2 cents (about 5 months too late, but whatever :P).

    Honestly, I don't see this site as too much of a problem. One thing about the site is that most of the photos posted are user generated material. Let's put it this way: people (are supposed to) study in college. Lots of people cram and end up taking naps wherever they are. Their friends think it's hilarious and take pictures of them sleeping and, after finding this tumblr blog, submit them.

    Yes, I'll admit that a fair number of these photos were possibly staged just to get lots of views but the majority of the submissions are still probably legitimate photos taken by friends. It's not people taking candid photos of random asians in the library; it's people taking photos of their asian friends dozing off and posting them. They laugh about it and when the person wakes up and finds out about it, they usually laugh about it too. What's the difference? The difference is that these are made from within, not without

    Call it horseshit but there exist ideas about subcultures and how they will create "a space for themselves" within a larger society. I'm way too inexperienced in sociology and anthropology and such to give a full overview but I've learned a few of these ideas in various classes and it boils down to this.

    Are you a white person who makes a joke about black people? If so, someone's going to label you a racist and stomp all over your reputation. As someone mentioned before, if you are a black person like Dave Chappelle who recognizes the truth in some stereotypes and makes jokes about them, that's another issue. If so, you'll catch flak over it but your comments will different effects than the white person's comments will.

    The former made his comments as an outsider and possibly with malicious intentions. The latter is recognizing the truth in some stereotypes and encouraging certain black communities to grow around these ideas. When you take something that could be hurtful when said by others and instead rally around it, you're forming a space for yourselves. Take the word "nigga." If I said it, people would assume that I'm trying to use it maliciously or that I'm a poser. If a black person used it, they're possibly identifying within the other person a common trait that brings them together. Sure it's a double standard for outsiders, but it does serve a purpose. (Most DEFINITELY NSFW but here: I also just like Team Fortress 2 lol).

    There's also the argument that such impenetrable subcultures are counter productive toward assimilating with and being accepted by the larger dominant culture (which, as mentioned, is mostly a white, western culture in America), but hey, I'm not the sociology major :P. I don't know the ins and outs of these theories well enough.

  6. Besides, my overall take of the site is that it's good humored and it capitalizes on something you see everyday. Stereotypes exist because there's often a basis of truth behind them and I would agree with this particular one--I've fallen asleep in the library too many times to count x.x. If we as an Asian community choose to rally behind this (particularly true) stereotype and turn it from a potentially hurtful one (which the tumblr blog was not meant to be anyway) into an inclusive one, we are creating a space for ourselves within society. That space gives people identity and reassures us that such behavior, while not praised by the dominant culture, is perfectly ok and may even be "celebrated." If there are asians who feel that education should not be stressed so much that people fall asleep in the library and feel uncomfortable being compared to those who do fall asleep while studying and such, then they are their own subculture and have their own characteristics (or I just call em whitewashed jk I kid :P).

    Just for shits and giggles: Geek subculture

  7. Who cares about what a corny fake jew think. His people have been living well off of the big lie about them being descendent of abaraham. This statement is not anti-semetic because white jews are not semites.Blog about that .