by Tracy Moore
First, Miley Cyrus was photographed looking all freshly romped in Vanity Fair. At least now she's acting a little more her 16 years by pulling back the corners of her eyes, in this latest photo that's causing an Internet ruckus. An Asian-American advocacy group has issued a response:
Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimised the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans.
They've asked Cyrus for an apology. But what do we think? The Asian-American male in the picture makes it all OK, right? Because if he was cool with it, we should be too! But seriously, it's certainly unsophisticated redneckery, and in poor taste. Add it to the list of all the dumb shit in the world marginalized folks are forever being bombarded with.
As a woman, I sympathize. There is an endless barrage of implications in our language and gestures that constantly reinforce the otherness of anyone who isn't a dude or white in this country. As a person on earth, I am also constantly aware of the need to lighten up about what will always be a painstakingly slow educational process for said majority. This never stops me from ranting about my own pet peeves, so I'm not suggesting that the advocacy group is a bunch of histrionic finger-waggers. They have a point.
Still, these are teenagers with underdeveloped brains, and we know at least one of them is from the don't-see-a-whole-lot-of-other-kinds-of-people-growing-up-in-Franklin part of the country. It doesn't excuse juvenile stupidity, but I don't think that makes it intentionally racist. Thoughts?