Thoroughly Racist ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

Screenshot of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” from another high school production on youtube.

Thanks to Mia Wenjen for covering this topic so thoroughly on her blog, I Love Newton.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” was a musical film from 1967.  It included a subplot about a hotel proprietor who dresses in yellowface and two nefarious Chinese henchmen.  It was developed into a musical 33 years later, and the racist subplot remained intact.

I was somewhat surprised that anybody would consider a remake of a dated movie to be a good idea, especially given the racism.  Of course, we’re only too familiar that white people find a great deal of entertainment in racism.  The entertainment value is often used as a defense of racism:  “But it was only meant in good fun!”

If you do a brief web search, you’ll find that “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a popular choice for high school theatrical groups.  Undoubtedly because it’s so much fun.  Newton North High School chose it for its spring production.  Newton (MA) is predominately (82%) white, with an 11% Asian American population.  And although concerns were voiced before the musical was staged, it proceeded as planned.  Although a note about the “stereotypes” was listed in the program guide, apparently.  On page 49.

It’s been my general experience that when white people are confronted with their racism, they rarely will completely abandon the racist endeavor.  This is because they have too much invested in both the endeavor and the racism.

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Braille printers reportedly can cost around $2,000. Seventh-grader Shubham Banerjee built one for about $350. From Legos.  And he’s putting the information out on the internet, so people can access it for free.

Edited to add:  Banerjee’s father writes a longer explanation here.

Meet Blake Ansari.

He is six years old.  And he saw a need.  So he started a book drive for homeless children.  He collected and distributed 600 books.  His next plan?  To build a library.  Here’s what his mother reports he said:

When you listen to the community, learn from the community, and help the community, you connect to your best self.

Thanks to Shakesville for the link.

For your multimedia pleasure

Because when I grow up I wanna be like Yuri Kochiyama.

The Blue Scholars song on youtube (audio only)

The Impact of Malcolm X on Asian American Politics and Activism, by Yuri Kochiyama (pdf format).  From Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in Urban America: Status and Prospects for Politics and Activism, 1994.

Twelve Years a Slave is available online (text format).

Sin Pais, a short documentary about deportation (streaming on PBS).

Sa-I-Gu refers to April 29 in LA.  From a Korean American women’s perspective (on youtube).


Grace Lin

WordPress informs me we have been blogging since 2007. I am not really sure how that is possible. Long-time readers may remember that it was sinoangle’s idea, and that I whined “I don’t WANNA blog!” Famous last words.

Except when it’s not

Garrick Hopkins and his brother, Carl Hopkins, Jr.

Because your home is your castle, except when it’s not.

Garrick Hopkins and his wife Denise bought some property in Cabell County (West Virginia), with the intention of building their dream home.  Hopkins was showing his brother Carl around when they were shot dead by a neighbor.  Who apparently used a rifle with a scope out of his window from a distance of more than 50 yards.  Here are some of the headlines:

“Two brothers shot and killed, mistaken for trespassers”
“Man points rifle out window, fatally shoots 2 men he thought were trespassing on his property”
“WV man shoots new neighbors he thought were on his property”
“Man kills new neighbors after mistaking them for burglars”
“West Virginia Man Kills New Neighbor, Neighbor’s Brother After Mistaking Them for Trespassers”

The sheriff was quoted by multiple sources saying that the Hopkins had every legal right to be on the property.  Which misses the point, in my opinion.

Timeline and details here.