For this week, we watched the short clip about Anna May Wong, who was an Asian actress in the early 1900s. We looked at Wong’s experience in Hollywood—and the literal scripts assigned to her– as a means of thinking about the performative effect of racial “scripts” generally. Consider the limited roles that she was allowed to play and the prescribed affects of her acting. Her roles became the stereotype for Asian American women. Literally racist codes in Hollywood produced a specific form of Asian feminine subjectivity that was gendered and sexualized in very particular ways. As Fanon (see Corrigan) explains, the same structure produced affects–feelings of psychic alienation that most likely led to Wong’s depression, alcoholism, and premature death.
For the clip of Wong, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW14mzRS23M
In class, we also watched Margaret Cho’s stand-up performance, Psycho
In Corrigan’s Black Feelings, she discusses how radical African American thinkers in the 60s adopted Fanon’s concept and anti-colonial ideas that made up forms of Negritude that attempted to reconstruct the self. Corrigan explains: “Francophone Negritude referred to as the recovery of a racial memory, the performance of an authentic racial self, and the engagement with experimental politics encouraging a revolutionary ideology…. Negritude was a celebratory discourse of black identity and was rooted in the reversal of shame and the production of pride.” (pp55).
In essay format, expand our discussion in class to address how Cho’s performance was an engagement in the “experimental politics” that produces a different form of Asian subjectivity that challenges hegemonic narratives. Be specific and use examples. Questions that might be helpful to consider:
3.Considering the concept of black negritude (see Corrigan), illustrate HOW Cho produces a counter-narrative that challenges the prescribed racial scripts.