Reclaiming the racist term 'yellow fever'?

Posted by Ando, 16 May

"Yellow Fever". "Asian bowls for your soul".

That the name that restaurant owner and chef Kelly Kim chose for her new locale at Whole Foods 365, Long Beach, California. Like everything with racial connotations, this did not rub the local customers the right way. And controversy struck.

"I  was shocked. I find it offensive", said Brin Inks adding that the name was suggesting  "sexual connotation towards Asians".

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What Kim was going for was a name that stood out. She figured it would be a memorable name for a restaurant. And apparently, there are other "Yellow Fever" locations which she has run for years in Venice and Torrance.

Now there are those who saw it something funny. Other's like Ranier Maningding saw this as an Asian woman reclaiming the racist term. He gave examples of the way black people reclaimed the term "N*gga". And how women reclaimed the word "B*tch". Not everyone is OK with these terms used on them. But when a black person calls another the N word, for some reason it doesn't seem offensive. It's like the way some female friends would jokingly call each other  B*tch.

So there are those who will reject, or accept... and then there are the reclaimers. Problem with reclaiming radicalized terms is that they will always stir controversy and backlash.

As Maningding puts it, Asian women have been the target of an array of Yellow Fever insults. And these are not just targeted at Asian women. Even the men from other races who date Asian women are usually on the receiving end.

There are so many people who have come up against Kim's choice of name. But Maninfding feels we shouldn't be fighting Kim and her choice to reclaim the term. Instead, we should be fighting people who are fetishizing Asian women openly on social media. Why get mad at someone on the receiving end of the yellow fever jokes?

As for Kim, she chuckles saying: “I hope that once they come in and try our food and see us for who we are and who were trying to be, that they’ll realize that they’re picking on the little kid, you know?” And you know what, this new location is already outperforming the older ones by 100%. So is it the name or do people just love bashing others?

What do you think?

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