According to The Chronicle, Duke University’s campus newspaper, the Kappa Sigma fraternity has drawn attention from the masses by hosting a controversial Asian-themed party, whereby the invitees were to dress up as stereotypical Asian characters. As a person of yellow skin, I am very offended by this party, but what bothers me even more are the people who claim this issue to be non-racist.
When white people treat Asians (or any minority ethnicity) as less than human beings, which the Kappa Sigma fraternity did, it is racist. It is racist because they view themselves, either subconsciously or consciously, as superior to the coloured person and thus are able to treat them as a joke or at a level below the white person. This is the exact same thing that happened during the Jim Crow era when black people were placed at the bottom of the caste system and were insulted by white people via Blackface, a form of entertainment from the late 1800s where white actors would apply burnt cork to their skin and poke fun at black people by acting like clowns. This is what the frat did at their “Asia Prime” party.
I am sure of this because there is no doubt in my mind that at some point during the party there was someone who acted stereotypically Asian for others to laugh at. Matter fact, I am sure everyone at the party, at some point, did something “Asian” for others to laugh at. This issue is racist and it is no worse than Blackface because, like black people, many Asians have been oppressed from being who they actually are due to these ridiculous stereotypes confining us –especially young Asian people- from entering certain branches of society because it’s not “Asian.”
That is why it is racist.
“This is not just about Asians, one party or one frat,” Duke senior Ashley Tsai told
The Chronicle. “This is a consistent thing happening. We want serious things to be done by the student body and the University so that this never happens again.”