Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Stupid Little Racist, Sexist, Haiku That Won't Go Away

The Stupid Little Racist, Sexist Haiku I am referring to is a poorly, written haiku told by little kids in the playground way back in the day when I was a child. Kids who tell it and tell it often end up going insane. Asian kids get their feelings hurt by this stupid joke, while non-Asian kids who are told this joke laugh real hard about it, causing the playground to become a sea of insanity.

This is the joke and it is a visual joke. It is also a requirement to sing it in a pseudo-Asian style of music and sing it in an annoying high-pitch voice.

Chi-i-nese - "eyes slanted up using your fingers"
Jap-a-nese - "eyes slanted down doing the same"
Dir-ty Knees - "slapping your knees with your hands"
Look-at-these - "pulling your shirt out with your fingers, making you appear that you have a big set of boobies."

I don't know who came up with this haiku. I find it to be racist, sexist, and homophobic, made to offend Asian people. I have read so many articles about this joke using the joke line as a search.
Asian-American bloggers and web site servers tell their experiences in school when this haiku was told to them. It gave some of them a complex. It may them think that they are ugly. Some have discovered what the meaning of the "dirty knees" is all about. My assumption to this haiku refers to the days of the Old American West when the Western Railroad was under construction and the Chinese laborers were the ones building it. Some white Americans didn't like these guys, so they made up any excuse to get rid of them. One of these guys raped a white woman. So, the joke came into being. "Dirty Knees" referring to sex and rape and "look at these" referring to the sexual attraction or prowess. Don't take my word for it. It is only a guess. The dude who told me this dumb joke was from California originally. I was raised in Arkansas where I dealt with prejudices toward blacks by whites. This was something new as a child and to me, this must be "west coast bigotry" instead of "southern bigotry," prejudices aimed toward Asians by whites. At a young age of 1o, I wonder if white people are inherently racist and with me, technically being one of them. Was I suppose to hate and make fun of other people, too, on the basis of the color of their skin, the shape and color of the eyes, their religion, or their sexual orientation? Where was the logic in this? My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Graham, heard this joke. I admit. I used to tell it. I only tell it around white people. I drove them crazy. The stupid haiku drove me crazy. My teacher just about considered me to perform a concert in front of some customers at a local Chinese restaurant she frequented quite often. That is when it all have to stop. But, I certainly was not the inventor of this joke. Gordy Frederick was the guy who told me this joke. I can never forgive him for doing that. To this day, I still remember it. The dude that shot all those people at Virginia Tech and then shot himself was someone who probably heard and visualized this joke. This might have been something he could never get over. It is a joke either told or heard and heard enough to drive a person insane. The joke is told like a mantra. It can be told over and over again like a Buddhist mantra of some kind, generating hysterical laughter for insensitive non-Asians but very hurtful toward Asians. I wonder if it still told in the school playground today. Why would 9, 10, and 11 year-old children tell it? It describes something that is only meant for mature people who get the idea behind it. Kids get a hold of it and they are laughing over the joker pulling his shirt out.

Like, I've said. I have read articles concerning "Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, Look at These."
Asians and Asian-Americans have expressed hurt over this. And there is a video I have seen where a woman with blond hair tells the joke in front of her group of friends repeating the joke over, and over, and over again. It proves to me that this haiku, as stupid as it is, can lead a person into insanity with no way out. It is the joke that's dangerous to the soul and it is the joke that won't away.

That's all for now. Alhumdulillah. We must speak out against racism where it raises its ugly head.

1 comment:

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