Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Jackie Chan of BUCKTOWN

Dear Jackie Chan;

I give you much respect
for your continued success in movies!
Your martial arts acrobatics
is phenomenally second to none.
Well, maybe second to Jet Li or the great Bruce Lee.

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention
that I am Filipino, currently living in Brooklyn, NY
My neighborhood is pre-dominantly
African American, Carribbean, West Indian
Puerto Rican, Dominican and Jewish

When I first moved into the neighborhood
folks would call me Jackie Chan,
laugh amongst themselves and keep it moving.
I didn't trip at first, I usually brush ignorance aside
like bad breath on a train, until it became a daily joke

I'm sure it was fun working with Chris Rock
and making millions off of "Rush Hour"
But it seems like all of the jokes have developed
into solidified daily stereotypes against Asians
or anyone with beautifully slanted eyes

There's nothing wrong at all with being Asian
or having 'our' types of eyes!
The problem Mr. Jackie Chan is this
society thinks its okay to laugh at our looks,
our accents or stereotype us all as martial freakn artists!

The bottom line is your movies have made it okay
for society to make fun of our differences.
Every time Chris Rock used you as a joke,
that gave a green light for millions,
including children, to normalize racist stereotypes

For me growing up I heard,
"Cut the Cheese, hahahaa, your Chinese"
and I must emphasize the fact that I'm Filipino
Now its simply, "Look at Jackie Chan"
or "What is Jackie Chan doing in the hood?"

Your not solely responsible Mr Jackie Chan
and I'm still a fan of yours,
but I must express my sentiments
because I hear it everywhere in Brooklyn!

I'm an 'educated' adult who can process
through the daily ignorance.
I worry about the thousands of young children
or recent immigrants or senior citizens
from Asia who feel belittled by these daily jokes.
I worry about their feelings,
their self-esteem and just this whole culture of racism
being accepted by profitable-stereotypical jokes

When a whole family, from the mother & father
to their little children get a laugh at an Asian person
simply sitting on a train, I really don't see anything
funny about that situation.

Maybe instead of just laughing
the adults can acknowledge that Asian person
as a human being with a mere "hello" or "how you doing?"
That could possibly alleviate the degrading spirit involved

To simply laugh makes cases like Virginia Tech University
or Albany Immigration office or the Vietnam War,
Korean War or the Spanish American War
which is really the Philippine American forgotten War....
all acceptable massacres

I don't even consider myself Asian,
Filipinos are Pacific Islanders,
our islands are on the freakn Pacific Ocean,
but I acknowledge the influence of Chinese and Japanese
culture upon my peoples historical reality

Also, I believe in solidarity between Asian/ Pacific islanders
and all oppressed people of color,
including people from the "3rd world",
and poor people in general
which is why I express these sentiments

In closing Mr. Jackie Chan,
keep doing your thing
but try to take to heart
my humble perspective in your next mega-million
dollar blockbusters.

Yours Truly,

The Jackie Chan of BUCKTOWN USA

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