"#myyellowfacestory" is Powerful and Heartbreaking to Read

"#myyellowfacestory" is Powerful and Heartbreaking to Read

Chris Peterson

  • OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief
  • @CMPeterson81

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On Monday May 2nd, one of the largest congregations of Asian American performers will gather at Fordham University's Pope Auditorium for a forum on race equity and Asian American representation in theatre. 

A partnership of four arts organizations—Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Performers Coalition (AAPAC), Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts in association with Fordham University Theatre Program, the event will feature panel discussions and breakout sessions. 

The event is title, "Beyond Orientalism". According to the event website,

"The Beyond Orientalism conversation began in November 2015 with an unprecedented gathering of Asian American theater artists in response to the persistent practice of racial impersonation in the American theater. That conversation led to Beyond Orientalism: The Forum, which is the launch of a national initiative to directly address the negative effects of yellowface and brownface in U.S. theatre, while advocating for diverse representation of Asian Americans – and all characters of color – on our stages."

To not only promote the event but also the cause behind it, the planning committee for the event have created a hashtag titled, #myyellowfacestory, will allows Asian-American performers to share stories of how they've been discriminated due to their appearence as well as example of encountering the shameful practice of "yellowface". 

The responses have been powerful and heartbreak to read. Here are some of them. 

As you can see, many of these range from the offensive to the absurd. It saddens me that so many fellow Asian performers, not to mention other performers of color have often heard similar things said to them. It's my hope these instances like these become more and more a rarity as time progresses. 

If you want to share your own experiences, simply hashtag #myyellowfacestory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

I am thrilled that an event like this is happening on Monday and I cannot wait to attend. 

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Correction: Originally I gave credit for the hashtag to the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts instead of the planning committee of the event, which is not apart of any one organization. 

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