Dear Kate Gosselin;
Kate, Kate, Kate. Let’s talk.
The internet is abuzz with a photo of you wearing what appears to be either a sumo wrestler plastic hair piece, or a geisha girl, and flashing the ol’ slant eye. Now, plenty of people have already pointed out that as the mother of Asian-Caucasian children, this was, to put it mildly, insensitive. And they’d be correct. It’s a nasty gesture. It’s akin to Sambo caricatures, where the little black boy has a flat nose and big floppy lips. It’s yellow face bullshit, and you should damn well know better, if not as the mother of 8 children who all have eyes like that, than as a human being who has walked the earth the last 40+ years and was taught a modicum of history in school. But that’s only half of why this bothers me.
I have a son. He’s almost 2 1/2 now. And soon, he’ll be starting school. Now, we’re very very lucky, we live in a very ethnically diverse neighborhood of one of the largest cities in the world, so him being an ‘other’ is a pretty slim chance. But that doesn’t mean when we move, or visit other towns, or even a different neighborhood, that he won’t stick out like a sore thumb when put in a group with a bunch of Aryan poster children. And I am preparing myself now for the fact that he may be bullied because he doesn’t look like them. They may even use that gesture to mock him, the ching-chong/chink-eye delightfulness you decided to pose for. And that is what really pisses me off about you doing it.
See, you are joining in a class action lawsuit with Bullyville against your online tormentors. You know, the ones who would pick out one small facet of you, and use it against you. So you using a gesture to blast an entire group of people for no other reason than they are different, and for no other purpose than because you could? The irony is palpable.
Sure, you could try to brush this off, to explain it away, to call everyone else the bullies for pointing out your faults, and that’s fine. In a few weeks, the next scandal will break, and everyone will forget about this. But here’s the thing I love about technology: The Internet never forgets. Some day, your children are going to hop online un-accompanied, and what do you think they’ll find? This. This picture. Their own mother, making a gesture that I imagine at some point in their lives each one of them will see from a schoolyard bully, or from a stranger’s taunt. They will see their own mother replicating a gesture that mocks the very DNA of them.
Better start thinking of good excuses now, Kate. In about 5 years, you are going to have a lot of explaining to do.