Laughing With You, Or At You?: Does Yale’s “Single Asians” Debunk or Traffic Old Stereotypes?

screen11You all get Fs: Mixed Company sets Asians back thousands of years

Adam Clayton Powell was fond of noting that Harvard University had “ruined more Negroes than bad whiskey.” Well, perhaps his Korean counterpart is somewhere saying the same thing about Asians at Yale.

That was my first random thought when I saw this bit, today, on YouTube: Purported members of the Mixed Company of Yale University chorale, above, shuffling to their reworked version of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”: “Single Asians.”

screen41To such gems as “I need this grade / I’ve never been laid / Because I live my life for med school,” four unidentified women in black cocktail dresses and pumps, right, allegedly members of the New Haven CT a cappella chorale, parodied, or “celebrated,” common stereotypes of Asian-American culture. (Though credited to Mixed Company, the clip, for some reason, doesn’t appear on their web page of sample performances.)

screen71The vid’s most reprehensible cooning, though, may be near the end, when the quartet breaks out into a bit of so-called “Engrish,” right, parodying the speech and supposed pre-occupations of new immigrants. (“I make Chai Tea / I do Tai Chi / And bring honor to our famiry.”)

Cool responses from other Ivy Leaguers have mostly followed the short since its release this past spring. On YouTube, though, it’s a different era, as the comments section mostly makes clear:

This is soo funny! I love it! By´╗┐ the way, i’m half Asian and wasn’t offended by this..

Check out the clip and the lyrics, below. Post your comments and let us know what you think.

Oh, and, BTW: “MCDB” is an acronym for “Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.”

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All the single Asians
All the single Asians
All the single Asians
All the single Asians
All the single Asians

screen5Now put your hands up
Library, MCDB
Test comin’ up next week.
You dropped a flask,
And now I’ve gotta ask
If you’re enough to be in a lab with me.

I need this grade.
I’ve never been laid.
Because I live my life for med school.
I do bio-chem
On the weekends
You ain’t hardcore enough for me.

screen81Cause if you like me
Then you shoulda got an A on it.
Cause if you like me
Then you shoulda got an A on it,
An A-minus
Ain’t the same as an A is it?
Cause if you like me
Then you shoulda got an A on it.

[lots of Oh's]

screen9Let’s make some noise
For all the boys
Who have yellow fever.
I’ll be Lucy Liu
Or Sailor Moon
A geisha just for you.

At the restaurant
I’ll taste your sauce
And you can slurp my sushi.
I like it raw,
So bring it on,
And me love you long time.

[more Oh's]

{and now with an accent and subtitles}

screen10We from Beijing,
We dry cleaning,
And practice Viorin.
We visit Yale,
We bring peace there,
And take picture at the Beinecke.

I make the rice,
(She make it nice)
Cause I’m in charge of Dim Sum!!!
I make Chai Tea.
I do Tai Chi.
And bring honor to our famiry.

[lyrics in Korean]

[via Bob Morales]

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3 comments ↓

#1 kent williams on 08.25.09 at 10:56 am

All that, and it sucks too.

#2 giles on 08.26.09 at 7:27 am

man i though i had seen the last of this. college a cappella groups already are known for being woefully unfunny. this is another level though.

#3 Paul Carlson on 08.29.09 at 7:03 pm

This one is, from the comments I’ve seen here and at YouTube, getting a ‘mixed’ reception.

I’ve read that Asian college girls have a very high suicide rate, so (whether it’s top-talented or not) maybe some goofiness is just what’s called for.

Have you heard of the Ditty Bops? Two young ladies who’ve revived the Flappers style of long ago, and with enough talent to get some recording contracts and serious gigs.

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