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The Phantom Librarian - People are idiots
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
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People are idiots
Okay, looking at hot_jupiters's post on Lavender Brown's appearance and linking over to another community... apparently, a bunch of fantwits--which is not a word I use liberally--have jealously declared Katie Leung (Cho Chang in the movie-verse) to be ugly and have made racist comments about her. Dude, if I were that "ugly," I could die so happy.

And I'm told that people were twisting themselves into pretzels to make Cho not Asian.

The hell?

I mean, it's true, the text does not say, "Cho Chang, a pretty Chinese girl..." It just describes her as a pretty girl with straight black hair. Named CHO CHANG, not to put too fine a point on it. I mean, maybe missing it once if you aren't familiar with the world's most common surname, but when it's pointed out, trying to argue that she's a white girl who was adopted by Asian parents? My head hurts. I mean... WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT? It's confusing to me. It's not a detail that makes the slightest bit of difference, so why not just use the canon? Is Occam's Razor really that dull? Why make up a convoluted story to deny the only obvious hint we have about this character's ethnicity? Is Seamus Finnegan assumed to be a Chinese boy adopted by Irish parents? I mean, these are minor side characters who are painted with a broad brush--just enough to give us a couple of details. And we... ignore those details entirely?

As a fic writer, I'll admit that it's very interesting to maybe go for a less common explanation of something's provenance, if it makes the character more interesting somehow. But Cho's race is apparently a non-issue to anyone in the general vicinity, so making up a huge story about it isn't going to make her any more or less interesting than she already is.

:headdesk:

I feel a bit...: irritated irritated

Comments
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alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: August 6th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Named CHO CHANG, not to put too fine a point on it.

OMG how can you just assume that!! I'm not at all serious.

I wasn't even aware this was going on. And I have no words for it. I agree with you, and I'll join you.

::headdesk::
ashtur From: ashtur Date: August 6th, 2005 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I suppose that means that the sisters Patil are actually swedish looking, right?

It's amazing the way people avoid JKR's anvils.
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: August 6th, 2005 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
See my comment below about the big bad sari wank that came right after GoF pics came out. :)
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: August 6th, 2005 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Those reactions are just freakin' insane. I mean, I understand making a mistake based on the name -- I didn't pick-up on the Patil twins ethnicity at first (although, I think Cho Chang is much more obvious) -- but making up thing like Cho being adopted by Asian parents? That's way off the WTF meter.

Interesting, though, that Lavender seems to be black in the movie. I did always picture her as blonde and blue-eyed, but I'm not going to go totally insane if I was wrong.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 6th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, so far the only thing that would mitigate against it is Harry saying he can't tell the difference between Ron's hands and Lavender's, and it's quite likely that he was being hyperbolic.
endofhistory From: endofhistory Date: August 6th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
WTF?
laureate05 From: laureate05 Date: August 6th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to be beaten with the same ugly stick as Miss Leung.

Seriously though, whaaaaat the hell! This is why people in middle school shouldn't be allowed on the internet...or in public, really. Anyone who has something they want is subject to ridicule, hate, and slander. And that's pretty normal for most teenagers. It's a common phase that most of us get over and usually causes minimal damage. But this goes way over the line, and parents need to step in with the smackdown.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: August 6th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I might just jump out of that ugly tree. Be a good thing to hit every branch on the way down...

*enjoys remembering back to 6th grade when she last used these lovely insults*
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: August 6th, 2005 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee I had a feeling you'd make a post!

Yes there were mini wanks here and there in the fandom that just made me wtf? Most people came to the logical conclusion that Cho Chang was asian, but I was surprised that more than one person agreed with that OP that Cho Chang might not be asian, because they knew a "friend of a friend" that had an asian name and was caucasian. Ok this is all possible but dude, the logical explanation that popped in my mind was that she was of asian decent for goodness sake.

Oh and let's not forget the sari wank with Padma!(You got me on a roll here, I'm riled up now, lol) Remember when they showed the video of the actors who play Parvati's and Harry practicing dancing for the Yule Ball? There were a few comments on LJ communties about how Parvati's sari was a tad too "ethnic", Woe! Angst! *puke*

Sometimes I can't stand my fandom, I swear.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 6th, 2005 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I'm an evil socially conservative Republican, and I seem not be at all fazed by the presence of OMG!Indians in Great Britain. I mean, a fairly long colonial stint did end up with some pretty heavy immigration, right? And since when did ethnic become uncool again? I'm never up on these things. Comes from that conservative streak, I guess.

It never would occur to me that a pair of Indian twins living in Britain couldn't wear sari-style dress robes. Why not complain about the robes being not in the magical attire mode, which is true of everything the movie kids wear?

Besides, saris... man, you see them walking down any urban street. Yes, they're noticeably ethnic, but so are girls named after Hindu goddesses.

I'd say it was working downtown that's kind of innured me to the Utter Shockingness of a sari (or of long Muslim dresses and hair coverings), but I don't recall, even in my small town living days, believing that it was unacceptable for people to wear whatever the heck they liked.
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: August 6th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
*Oh gleeps*

A nickel says it's because they know Harry kisses her...

*bangs head on table*

You know, there are times when Dorchester seems like a really cool place for a kid to grow up.

*Thinks of the particolored pair she saw climbing all over each other at Fields Corner Station with a much more tolerant air.*

*wants to drag nieces and nephews out of whitebread suburbs for a couple of summers, too*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 6th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, when I was growing up in a small town, my mother made sure to bring me to the city regularly so that I was aware that not everyone was white and spoke English. Or, well, a variant of something that was sort of like English. I think the first time I noticed that I was the only white person on a train car (sometime during library school) I kind of went, "Hey, whoa... that's weird." And that was the end of it.

It's not that urban kids aren't aware of race--they're hyper-aware of it--but it's just a thing, kind of like comparing schools or neighborhoods or whatever. There's pride, but no one seems to be thinking along the line of, "My race rocks, so yours sucks."
From: gunderpants Date: August 6th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It does remind me of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry thinks he has a Chinese girlfriend because her name is Donna Chang, until he meets her and realises she's whiter than Strom Thurmond. But at the same time, Cho Chang is a pretty definitively Chinese (or South Korean - I knew a Korean girl called Cho) sounding name, and getting surprised at an Asian actress playing her is like being surprised that 11.31 follows 11.30.

You know what's even funnier? People getting angry at JKR because she had the nerve to make Blaise Zabini black.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 6th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Six months ago, we were still arguing about what gender Blaise was, and now they think his phenotypical features were somehow set in stone elsewhere?

The only argument I can see is that Hogwarts isn't exactly representative of British demographics, but I somehow think that's not what they're complaining about, is it?
alkari From: alkari Date: August 6th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
*shakes head sadly* Sometimes this fandom is just plain ... WEIRD.

The Changs' likely background? Anywhere in SE Asia actually, Ashtur - could be from China itself, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya/Malaysia, even some of the Chinese communities in India.

I never even thought that Cho Chang would be anything other than Asian in appearance! And I find it hard to believe that people have all these wonderful 'objections' to her, or find some reason why she should be w.a.s.p. I am just so used to living and working in a multi cultural city that a person's ethnicity never bothers me. I mean, I've got staff at work with surnames like Chand, Ng, Cruz, Yong, Yee, Roa, etc!!
lilac_bearry From: lilac_bearry Date: August 6th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. People are dying in trains and subs and wars, and people need to pick on Katie Leung? And have kittens about whether she's asian or not?

Priorities need to be sorted out, much?

lilac_bearry From: lilac_bearry Date: August 6th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
"...she's Asian or not" refers to Cho Chang. Just thought I'd clarify that.
anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: August 6th, 2005 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting to note: People used to complain about Cho's name as being racist. Apparently, while Chang is a common Chinese family name, Cho is under no circumstances a Chinese woman's given name. In fact, the word has some rather pejorative meanings in Chinese. To many people, it seemed as though Rowling randomly picked "Asian sounding" syllables to suit an Asian character instead of researching actual names.

So, some people thought it was insultingly stereotypical, while others didn't think it was Asian at all? Again with the WTF?.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 6th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
To many people, it seemed as though Rowling randomly picked "Asian sounding" syllables to suit an Asian character instead of researching actual names

Oh man. How was JKR supposed to know what every last name of every region of the world meant?
chickadilly From: chickadilly Date: August 6th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Dude, if I were that "ugly," I could die so happy.

Oh I know! She's adorable! I really don't see where people are getting the 'ugly' stuff from at all. :/
mafdet From: mafdet Date: August 6th, 2005 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Katie Leung is cute and adorable. And people who wank endlessly about Cho Chang being Asian (with a name like "Cho Chang" I thought it would be obvious) need to get a life.

Fangirls, please. Harry Potter isn't real and you are NEVER going to be able to kiss him so just give it up, already!
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 6th, 2005 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)
They're trying to argue that Cho Change is a white girl adopted by Asian parents? Sigh.

My feeling was that Cho's family came from Hong Kong because of its ties to Britian. But that's just my opinion. Trying to pass her off as a white girl is just plain stupid, among other things. But I agree completely that it's a non-issue.
dalf From: dalf Date: August 6th, 2005 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes I found out about this because of an edit war on Wikipedia on the Cho Chang where some people wre having fits of racism about Daniel Radcliff kissing an asian girl for the next movie.

It is right up there with the people over ato Portkey claiming that the whole series has undermind any concept of being anti-prejudice because Blaise Zabini had to be a "sterotypically nasty" black guy. Ofcorse they overlook Cho and Dean and ... well ..... gah .... people are stupid.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 6th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is right up there with the people over ato Portkey claiming that the whole series has undermind any concept of being anti-prejudice because Blaise Zabini had to be a "sterotypically nasty" black guy. Ofcorse they overlook Cho and Dean and ... well ..... gah .... people are stupid.

Or the people saying JKR is homophobic. Or anti-American. *Shakes head*
From: godrics_h Date: August 6th, 2005 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It's awful isnt it! I doubt if Katie signed on ready for that kind of abuse!
It's very mean what jealous fangirls will do. I think the picture of Katie that has been released doesnt really show her gorgeousness, I have seen a few from when she was cast and she looks better in those. Of course that is no reason for girls to bitch and moan about her, it is extrememly unfair for her.
Cant wait to see her in the film. Go katie!
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 6th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, racism against Cho is nothing new. And it miffs me to no end. But people are sick and twisted.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: August 6th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantwits is a good word for them. Bunch of plonkers - I've read that all this has filtered through to the actress herself, which is horrid. I think she fits the bill perfectly - I never saw Cho Chang as anything other than "a very pretty Asian girl".

You're right about race being a non-issue in the books - this is what makes wank like this all the more grating, really. Of course, a name doesn't necessarily tell you all you need to know about a person's ethnicity (heaven knows people make false assumptions about *my* RL surname often enough). But c'mon, kiddies, it was a fairly safe bet.
greyathena From: greyathena Date: August 6th, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Plus, to me the illustrations in my (American) copy of OotP made it pretty clear that she was Asian. I mean, they're not crazy stereotyped drawings, but they certainly fit the idea that she's really Asian. And actually, while I know at least seven Asian girls with Western/English names because they were adopted by white parents, I don't really know any Asian parents with adopted children who are white. I'm sure they're out there, it's just not something that would occur to me as "Oh it's so obvious, her parents adopted her!"

Also, when I saw the bits from GoF, I thought the Patil twins' saris were less "ethnic" looking than they might have been. But then I was still distracted by the fact that they switched actresses from PoA, and these 'twins' aren't even related to each other.
wendynat From: wendynat Date: August 6th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is so sad - I feel terrible for that (abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous) young actress... hate sites? Because she gets to kiss Dan Radcliffe once in OotP? Erm.

As far as Lavender Brown and making Cho white - I have no idea what the problem is with some people. I remember seeing a humongous wank over Blaise Zabini being black in the books. It's mind-boggling. I love the fact that the HP books don't focus on race at all, actually. I'm in a biracial marriage, with a biracial child, and it's lovely to see it depicted as "not a big deal at'all" :).
danaedark From: danaedark Date: August 6th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are people out there who seriously need to step away from the computer and look out the window a little more often.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. I've had a vivid picture of Cho that doesn't look like Katie Leung because it mostly looks like a girl I knew in middle school. Her PE behavior was a lot like Cho's Quidditch behavior. I would consider myself an idiot for actually being upset that the two aren't clones of each other and an even bigger idiot for trying to argue that the director should have cast someone who looked just like the picture in my head.

Right now, I have an equally vivid picture of Blaise Zabini that goes way beyond the description we were given of him. I see him as biracial with a white mother because of the bits I made up to fill in the blanks on this much married witch that would surprise me if they turn out to be right. I can't imagine getting mad because the director (or Rowling) goes a different way.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: August 6th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
::sputters with confounded incredulity::

People want to think Cho's not Asian? That's... oh for heaven's sake, I didn't think fandom could get any denser!

Honestly, what does it matter what her race is? She's pretty, she likes sports, she and Harry were badly matched, that's the important bits.

I've always appreciated that race didn't figure much in the HP books, that the Patils were Hindi and Cho was Asian and Dean and Angelina were Black, and it didn't matter.

Man alive.
sjepstein From: sjepstein Date: August 6th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, where I go WTF with this is... In this story, prejudice of any kind is a feature of the bad guys, whether they be Death Eaters or Dursleys.

Are these people actually reading the books?!?

Scott
sjepstein From: sjepstein Date: August 6th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Katie Leung

Well, she's no Lucy Liu, but no, I don't see "ugly" anywhere...

Scott
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