ASNS2245, Cultural Awareness, Dragon Ladies, and Defense Against the Dark Arts

My open note materials

After taking the final exam at the lovely 8:00 AM time slot on 4/28/15, I would like to reminisce on probably the most culturally relevant filler class I've ever taken for a level 2 elective. My knowledge of Asian Americans expanded deeply by actually doing all the mandatory readings at the gym. The unassuming Dr. Thomas Chen taught this class, and I wrote a previous post inspired by it.

I feel much more culturally aware but not quite liberated and especially not liberated from debits and credits. However, I must admit my skepticism of academic subjects like the Asian-American experience due to reading too much from academics with too much time who think too much and rarely apply real, lasting, and prominent practice beyond radical eras like the 60s. Still, the class discussed many important and thought-provoking sociological questions.

Anna May Wong, the stereotypical Dragon Lady

To me, the most funny, memorable, and extreme stereotypes were of Dragon Ladies and Fu Manchu. From "Ideological Racism and Cultural Resistance" by Yen Le Espiritu (91) referencing Frank Chin and Jeffrey Chan (60, 1972): "Dr. Fu, a man wearing a long dress, batting his eyelashes, surrounded by muscular black servants in loin cloths, and with his habit of caressingly touching white men on the leg, wrist, and face with his long fingernails is not so much a threat as he is a frivolous offense to white manhood."

However, my unabashed skepticism is related to a potentially sad conclusion. Slightly late in packing up my materials, I overheard another student asking Dr. Chen about his future plans. He said he didn't know if Northeastern will offer this class again, to which I remarked in my trademark aloofness, "Is this class like Defense Against the Dark Arts where they change the class and teacher every year?" We all laughed awkwardly. 

I hope Northeastern continues this class, but I unfortunately don't have time to protest in solidarity with my Asian brothers and sisters. I'm also a little like a passive Asian who doesn't cause agitation except for with LinkedIn. This will probably not be my last post about Asian America similarly to my multiple references to Blade Runner.