My New Boyfriend

November 4, 2004

As a Filipina who gets mistaken for every other (usually non-Asian) ethnicity but what I really am (you'd be amazed at the totally-off things people have come up with), I don't buy into the stereotype that all Asians look alike. As MC Serch of 3rd Bass (the Gas Face!) said back in the day, "Must've been a white guy who started all that."

A Canadian reporter contacted Melissa and I earlier this week requesting interviews regarding this website. I'd never heard of All Look Same before. Unfortunately I was too busy to answer questions; Melissa was able to oblige. I'm curious (and anxious) to read the article.

On another note, I will be in New York City from tomorrow (later this evening, rather) to Tuesday. My last trip to NYC was when Hyphen had a launch party in Tribeca, at 99 Hudson (last July). I've been itching to visit NYC ever since.

I like to joke that Hyphen is like my boyfriend, because of all the time and passion I invest into helping produce the magazine. Although NYC is (so far) the only major city Hyphen is carried in on the East Coast, our presence there doesn't (yet) seem to have the same impact as in the Bay Area. I'm anxious to meet more people and get the word out about "the man" in my life.

New York City, I want you to meet my new boyfriend!




I think should be cross-referenced to this site., this is a scientific rebuttle to the alllooksame.
That is the funny thing about starting a magazine. Overnight, you become an expert.I told the reporter that I took this test more than a year ago and scored unremarkably. I think I only got half of them right. Apparently the site has been rediscovered and in the latest frenzy of email forwards, it has kicked up some controversy. You know, is this site offesive? Does it reinforce or dispell stereotypes?I guess it could both ways. It is quite possible that someone could take this test, fail miserably, and conclude, yes they do all look the same. But then you probably already thought that going into the test; you probably have no significant interactions with Asian Americans.Personally, I find it amusing and think it's a funny way of dealing with an offensive notion.The site brings up other questions. Why is our society so obsessed with categorizing and labeling everything? When people ask "where are you from" and I say Texas, I can tell that's not what they really wanted to know. I hate hearing that question. It really irks me and I've never been able to put my finger on exactly why. I guess it's because people want to project whatever they know about whatever ethnicity I might be onto me. As if that was going to explain me.I think there should be a similar site for trying to tell white people apart. That would be funny too.
Generally I am opinionated, but I don't think that my opinions make me an "expert" on anything and everything Asian American. Especially not something like this.I took the test finally and I only missed a few-- what that says about me, I don't know. I also find the site amusing, but it does worry me that some people might take it seriously.In any case, I haven't been able to find the article online (I am at the airport, so I'm not trying too hard to look), but here's the article from the Montreal Gazette. Enjoy:Montreal GazetteWednesday, November 3, 2004Page: A19Section: NewsByline: MISTY HARRISSource: CanWest News ServiceAmong young Asian-Canadians, it's wryly called the yellow man's burden. In Hollywood movies like Rush Hour, it's the punchline for any number ofjokes.Now the notion that all Asians look alike is the basis for a Web, a controversial site that asks "what's the difference?" when it comes to Asian faces, has already attracted more than 1.3 million visitors.But experts question whether AllLookSame - headed by a Japanese American - is not actually encouraging the stereotypes it sets out to parody."What's offensive is the idea of detaching race from ethnicity, identifying people in the absence of ways of speaking, acting or dressing," says Thomas Lamarre, professor of East Asian studies at McGill University."There are real physical differences between people; they just don't correspond with national categories neatly. Certain Japanese may look Chinese, whatever that means, and certain Chinese may look Thai because the borders don't correspond with ethnic groupings."The centrepiece of AllLookSame is a quiz in which 18 photographs are shown and the user must determine who is Korean, Japanese and Chinese.According to the site's Webmaster, Dyske Suematsu, the quiz is "ultimately a joke," but at the same time is designed to be "a celebration of the similarities and the differences among Asians."In North American society, "publicly admitting that you cannot tell Asians apart comes across sounding racist or prejudiced," writes Suematsu, a graphic designer based in New York. "But with this site, knowing it was created by an Asian man, (Westerners) finally felt safe to admit what they had been feeling."Suematsu defines two categories of visitors to AllLookSame: those who can't tell Asians apart and feel badly about it, and those who are convinced they can tell Asians apart by comparing them to images in such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.Lamarre's concern lies not in those specific distinctions but in the selection of the 18 photos used to typify each nationality."Who decides what Chinese looks like? Some scientists somewhere could do research and come up with statistical measurements of cranium or different kinds of epicanthic folds. But in this case, it's just someone somewhere deciding that there are these general distributions."Sean Metzger, an Asian pop-culture expert and lecturer at Duke University, thinks the very existence of AllLookSame raises important questions about racial paradigms. But in not following up on those key issues, he says the site fails to make its point."Whether your intention is to dismantle a stereotype or not, just by invoking it, you immediately perpetuate it," Metzger says. "(The site) doesn't talk about how the stereotype emerged historically, what type of power dynamics keep it in place - all of the things needed to be useful anti-racist education."Melissa Hung, editor-in-chief of the Asian-American magazine Hyphen, is amused by the popular site, worrying only that "someone could take the test, score terribly, and go away thinking that all Asians do look alike."She reads Suematsu's site as pure parody, with the underlying message people can't accurately be judged by outward appearances."I'd like to see a site with white people and see if anyone can tell the difference between Germans, Brits, the French, and white Americans," Hung jokes. "Frankly, all those frat boys in their khakis and polos look kind of the same."
That's weird that that All Look Same site is making the rounds again. I swear I took that test back in 2000 (and scored miserably).I think the idea of an All Look Same site for white people is great. I'm going to start collecting pictures for it. I actually have trouble sometimes when I watch movies that feature lots of middle-aged white actors because I get the characters mixed up.
if the wb is at all representative of white america, they *do* all look the same. i've stopped watching wb shows because i can't tell the characters apart and it's hard to sustain interest in a conflict between i and i.
Hmmm...someone sent me this a few months ago...I scored pretty friend (white guy) actually scored better than me....does this makes me a bad Asian ?
Oh my God...I just took the test and got a 6! Out of 18! And I feel like most of the times I was just guessing. Some of these people gotta be mixed or something. And why they gotta make those silly faces?
Another web site dedicated to the criticisms of the alllooksame.