Austin Chronicle prints letter about “Mikado” and anti-Asian racism

Protests City’s Funding ‘Mikado’

RECEIVED MON., JUNE 20, 2011

Dear Editor,
As members of the faculty of the UT Center for Asian American Studies, we are writing to protest the city of Austin’s funding of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, which features performers in “yellow face.” Despite the operetta’s long history and comedic traits, it offers a mocking and offensive portrayal of Japanese society and culture. It is comparable to a municipally supported performance featuring “blackface,” which also uses the guise of humor to mask insulting and degrading representations. We ask that city arts authorities display greater sensitivity and awareness of Asian Pacific American issues in choosing how to allocate public funding.
Sincerely,
Eric Tang
Assistant professor
African and African Diaspora Studies Department
Center for Asian American Studies
University of Texas at Austin

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