We find this sentence unacceptable and offensive, as it perpetuates longstanding racial stereotypes about Asian women in the following ways:
- Describing these waitresses as “exotic” evokes the narrative of the “Asian fetish,” where Asian women are depicted as sexy and servile objects of desire.
- Describing them as “almond-eyed” conjures up the image of Asians and Asian Americans as having “slanty” eyes, which further brings up condescending stereotypes of Asians and Asian Americans. Further, describing the “almond-eyed waitresses” as “exotic” quite literally exoticizes these women and perpetuates the stereotype that Asians and Asian Americans are different from mainstream society, that they are “the other.” When, in fact, Asian Americans, who make up almost 7 percent of Philadelphia, are just as much a part of this city as any other demographic.
- Comparing “almond-eyed waitresses” to flavors and food objectifies and further dehumanizes these women.
As part of the Asian American Journalists Association, we strive for fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and issues that affect them. We understand that cliches like these can seem innocuous and part of everyday speech, but that’s exactly what makes them harmful. We believe that it is the duty of all reporters to overturn stereotypes rather than to perpetuate them.
Board Members, Philadelphia Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association