It was only a matter of time before Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food” song, which hit number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, sparked accusations of racism from the usual “paid-to-be-outraged” people:
Some believe it has racist undertones because it depicts a long list of Asian stereotypes, from a panda rapping in accented English, to young girls dressed in full geisha garb (the latter of which, it should be noted, appear to be an attempt at Japanese cultural stereotypes, not Chinese).
One scene shows Alison and the panda playing Monopoly as the camera zooms in on “Oriental Avenue.” At one point Alison tries to “make it rain” (with chow mein). And at the end, a Chinese chef bows as a gong is banged. As Wired points out, “It’s racist because it lazily traffics in racial stereotypes and paints over the distinctions between vastly different Asian cultures.”
We’d call it hokey but relatively harmless. Yes, there are some stereotypes as mentioned above, and inaccuracies, including the fact that the “Chinese food” of which she speaks such as chow mein and fortune cookies is actually American Chinese food, and pandas don’t sing or get shot into the sky by rainbows. Is it godawful? Undoubtedly. But racist? No more so than China-based kid’s films like Mulan and Kung Fu Panda. And definitely not more than the Peter Chao parody, where the Canadian Vlogger and youtube sensation espouses his love of “white man food,” which would be akin to if Alison Gold called Chinese food “China man food” in her song.
The intention is clearly innocent as well. As 12-year-old singer Alison Gold aka the second coming of Rebecca Black says, “I’m not trying to criticize anyone — I just really love Chinese food!”
We also doubt most Chinese or Chinese-American people (this one included) actually give a hoot.
Gold does get points off for saying she likes wonton soup in the video, when in actuality she apparently does not, however.