by Donald H. Harrison
At the end of last month, we ran an article by Korean-American Kelsey Kloza about what she described as “Asian fetishization” by which American males tend to construe any Asian woman as an “exotic and erotic two-dimensional object designed only for tempting male characters into forbidden pleasures.”
She commented that for too long she had failed to “correct the comments made about ‘happy endings’ because as small as these remarks may seem they help perpetuate harmful ideals that snowball into horrific tragedies” such as the recent shootings at Atlanta area spas that killed eight people, including six Asian women. (A ‘happy ending’ colloquially refers to a customer being helped to a sexual release after undergoing a massage.)
Kloza’s well-founded sentiments make me wonder if the people who operate the website MeetAsianLady.com can be persuaded to reconsider their business, which panders to such fantasies. Without invitation, the company, describing itself as “the only site that gets you a girl” sends out unsolicited emails with photos of Asian women who are “looking for mature men and serious relationships.” The notation goes on to admonish viewers “Please be respectful.”
Should you click on the photos of Erin, 23; Zhen, 35; Shanshan, 20; or Jodie, 32, you won’t be brought to a resume containing educational and professional achievements or hobbies; instead, you’ll be led to photos of these women in various seductive poses. I haven’t joined the website, nor would I, but even a cursory examination helps viewers better understand the stereotypes that Kelsey and other Asian-American women face.
If the proprietors of this particular website care about the welfare of Asian women, they should follow their own advice and “please be respectful” by shutting down the site.
I hope the San Diego Union-Tribune recognized what a treasure they have in the reporting of Kate Morrissey. For the two most recent Sundays, she has provided well-researched, meaningful stories, telling of the situations facing migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border.
In yesterday’s edition, she wrote about David, a teen who fled his native Honduras when he was 16 to escape the gangs that had previously murdered his uncle. After arriving in Mexico, he hopped onto a freight train known as “La Bestia,” which carries people north from the southern part of Mexico. Getting off and later trying to get back on the train, he fell upon the tracks, whereupon the wheels of an oncoming railroad car severed his right arm and leg. Although he survived, his effort was stalled to reach the United States, where his mother Wendy, who is battling cancer, and his younger siblings await him in Alabama. He was treated in a Mexican hospital and later received from the Red Cross a prosthetic arm and a leg.
Compounding his tragedy is the fact that his injury, subsequent treatment, and continuation of his journey to the border city of Tijuana took several years so that he is now 19, no longer a minor and therefore no longer eligible for admission to the United States as an unaccompanied minor. An organization dedicated to helping migrants is trying to win for him humanitarian parole so he can be with his ailing mother.
This was just one of the stories by which Morrissey has been painting the human side of the current great migration, which in Washington has been cynically politicized with the issues of migration reduced to statistics.
Another of Morrissey’s stories, which ran on April 11th, told of immigrants who crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas, where they surrendered to the Border Patrol in the expectation that they could formally request amnesty. Instead, they were flown to San Diego, where they were transported by bus to the border and expelled into Tijuana, hundreds of miles from where they had crossed into the United States.
Many of the migrants didn’t realize they were no longer in the United States until they were so informed. Thereupon they cried. Adding further insult, before their expulsion from the United States, the Border Patrol instructed the immigrants to throw away their sweaters, baby blankets, diapers and their shoe laces – items that were never replaced. Morrissey quoted one Guatemalan woman in Tijuana as saying, “They sent us here with nothing, and we don’t know anyone here. They’re doing whatever they want with people.”
I can’t help but imagine a tear in the eye of the Statue of Liberty as the feminine figure looks down at the best known portion of the Emma Lazarus sonnet engraved on a plaque on its pedestal:.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
If only any of that were still true!
Donald H. Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. He may be contacted via [email protected] This article is reprinted from San Diego Jewish World which, along with The Moderate Voice, is a member of the San Diego Online News Association.