Try as you might, there’s really no way to justify yellowface. Some argue that old films only used it for comedy purposes, but when we see non-Asians dressed up in hideously exaggerated costumes to try and mimic “Asian features,” we really don’t see anything funny about it. Even more argue that celebs (like Katy Perry) simply have a big and innocent interest in Asian culture. But these individuals don’t seem to see the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. And of course, there are plenty of people who say yellowface in movies are just examples of brilliant acting, but in a world where Asians don’t get half as many roles available to them, why take away another role that should’ve gone to an Asian actor? (Looking at you Aloha.)
To try and help more people understand this concept, Buzzfeed just released a video of East Asians reacting to various movies and TV shows which featured yellowface. If you don’t quite get why yellowface is insulting, maybe these reactions will make things clear.
This isn’t the first time Buzzfeed has tried to tackle the issue of racism towards the Asian community. For a hilarious segment, comedian Jenny Yang once again joined forces with Buzzfeed, took to Facebook and asked people to reply with questions they have for Asian Americans. As expected, the questions ranged from horribly racist to ridiculously ignorant. Many people legitimately wondered how we procreate since they apparently never come across pregnant Asian women. Good thing Jenny Yang was around to answer all of these.
And on a more serious note, Buzzfeed asked their Asian staff members to recall moments when they experienced racism. Sure enough, everyone had a story to share.