By Zihao Huang
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of two opinion pieces by our staff writers on Eddie Huang. Together they compose the fifth installment of Kollaboration SF’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month series on prominent APA figures in media. Follow us on WordPress and FB, and check in every week of May for new profiles and features!)
When I first heard about Eddie Huang and his life struggles about how he overcame many silenced struggles in the Asian American community, I was proud of him for giving a voice to those who have long stood voiceless. When he broke out in stardom, I was genuinely hella excited for him and hoped to keep seeing him succeed. His public image since has been controversial, to say the least. With that much public exposure its inevitable that you become a figurehead of the Asian American community, whether you want to admit this unfair reality or not. And in carrying this torch Eddie Huang has blazed trails, but also aired out longstanding bullshit within East Asian communities.
On April 24, 2015 Eddie Huang went on Bill Maher’s talk show to talk about his show—where he talked about the statistic undesirable nature of Asian men and Black women in a way that led to a twitter storm of racially charged arguments. I get it— you’re trying to bring up Asian Americans by being loud and not your run-of-the-mill silent Miss Swan—but do it with some tact, not behind tacky fragile masculinity that needs to hide behind mysoginistic, racist jabs that paints an entire community criminal. Too often in East Asian communities do people choose to keep the peace and harmony and prosperity (becawz-is-good-4-u) rather than stir trouble. I applaud Eddie Huang for inspiring a different trend, and student has mastered teacher’s tricks so I’m gunna have to call your ass out on this one.
Eddie went on to clarify his meaning behind his statement—which was fine—but then preceded to mock and attack Black women questioning him on twitter. W-H-Y? Especially on social media, humility takes you far and admitting your wrongs. What is needed is to create connections among communities rather than burning it all down to the ground. In a word I am disappointed. Disappointed because of the potential and the work Eddie Huang has done and is doing in shedding light on real cultural, generational, social class challenges that Asian Americans face with his exposure. But hold the fuck up, when did bringing up our own communities ever have to entail bringing other communities down? Especially African-Americans and women, who have their own struggles. Eddie Huang is a champ hustler, but this one…you picked the wrong battle, period.
If you’ve read his memoir, eaten at his restaurant(s), watched his show—you would know that Eddie Huang is who he is because of the bullshit he’s had to overcome. Impulsive, expressive, resourceful, hardeheaded, determined. But nothing excuses typing in caps throwing a tantrum like a manchild against grown-ass women on Twitter. It highlights the anti-blackness in API communities, and the need for bridges between fellow communities of color. It highlights the fact that somebody needs to grow up and act their age, not their sneaker size.
Rebuttal from @JustCallMeKiku “(Bravo chef & self-described Blasian)”
Zihao is a writer, screenplay enthusiast, and unapologetic glutton for good books & films. email@example.com