ABDC's Poreotix Pulls a Fake Asian Accent

February 14, 2010

If you caught this week's West Coast regional competition (where five teams from the West compete for three slots in the big show), than you more than likely caught a glimpse of Orange County's all Asian American
crew Poreotix. They're kooky and quirky and precise with their movements, even through a performance set to the tune of Taylor Swift's "Love Story."

But that's not what you want to hear about. You want to hear about their pre-performance chitchat with Mario Lopez in which one member responded to the question "Why do you guys wear sunglasses?" with a big ol' fake Asian accent and an explanation involving small eyes.

Scroll to 28:36 to see what I'm talking about:

Before you can even type out "W," "T," or "F," I'm gonna go out on a
limb and say they're trying to pull some Andy Kaufman-type stuff. It was probably an uncalled for response to a non-racial question, but it definitely made them...memorable, even before the dancing began which I thought was quite good.

I can tell they're going to be polarizing. Which is good news for us bloggers, since we need constant material over which to debate endlessly.

What'd you think of the accent and the dancing?


Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at www.sylvie-kim.com and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.



Some Asians and Asian Americans pander using self-deprecating and even self-racist jokes that get laughs with non-Asian audiences. I don't think it's okay. A lot of Asian Americans think Russell Peters' Asian accent jokes are funny, but I think it's the same problem, to laugh along at those. The co-designer of those racist Abercrombie T-shirts was an Asian American guy, which was messed up too. Esther Ku's entire standup act is self-racist crap.
My big question is this: Do people find problems when other stereotypes are made fun of. Indians making fun of their accents, blacks making fun of their slang and attitude, or in this case Asians making fun of their accent and small eyes. I know the guy personally, and he means nothing insulting by it, and Asians and non-Asians alike have enjoys his rants in accent.
What Brian said. I also know him personally and he definitely doesn't mean anything insulting at all. He's just a funny guy in genearl. I just don't understand why there's fuss over something like this.
I don't know him personally, but I definitely think it's possible for Asians to use humor regarding Asian accents without kowtowing, or ingratiating yourself to a non-Asian audience. The tone of their performance, if you watched it, was very theatrical, and humorous in a light-hearted, non-edgy way, so it'd be tough for me to see any self-hate there. Don't get me wrong, that Esther chick's "stand-up" and those Abercrombie shirts are awful, but I definitely think that's on one end of the spectrum, whereas the topic of this post is on another. Then again, you can't really tell people when and where they should/can be offended, so it's all relative . . .
Even in the best context, the humor in this is questionable. Yes it's ironic that an Asian person that speaks English just fine is using a sterotypical accent, but I'm sure a huge chunk of the viewers think it's funny because they see an Asian person talking funny because hey, they all talk like that right?
it's specifically a vietnamese-american accent from the little saigon region in westmister, where they're from. If you were from there you'd understand. context is everything.
Hey everyone, Just to clarify, I never said that the group was racist. I was saying that they were using a racialized accent which, in my opinion, was used to get people talking. For the record, Hyphen actually avoids devoting posts to simply calling people racist. We're a little more tactful than that.