Man, I have never done this ever in my life, but I just wrote a very fed-up email to The Daily Dot in response to this article. I do not give a shit that they ragged on Exo, I would have done this for any other group that they chose to pick apart.
That article burns me up because Western outlets writing about K-pop is pretty much the extent to which I’ll be seeing consistent writing dissecting Asians in pop culture right now — Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, and Steve Yeun are blips and they can’t be written about forever, but K-pop is ongoing and has so much fodder to pick from. And I care deeply and painfully about Asian representation in American media, so it kills me to see journalists who can’t even do their due diligence to research easily verifiable facts about the subjects of their articles.
I would like to see a journalist write about the number of Justin Bieber’s Twitter followers and be off by even a million followers, and hours (minutes?) later there will be an editor’s note, a correction, and perhaps a small apology for being wrong about the number of Justin Bieber’s followers.
Then you turn around and the fucking New Yorker gets wrong the premise of Exo, saying that there are 6 Korean speakers and 6 Mandarin speakers in the group, when a quick fucking dip on their Wiki page will tell you otherwise. You read the Daily Dot article and the writer surmises that Exo never even released music until XOXO and again, a quick fucking dip to their fucking Wiki page will show you a fucking discography section listing a fucking release from 2012.
I’ve been doing this with some frequency ever since Psy blew America up with “Gangnam Style,” but a lot of journalists have come to me with questions about K-pop, trying to get quotes from me. And as I talk to all of these people, it’s clear that they’re using me as a proxy to actual research. A journalist was talking to me about Big Bang and their concert in New Jersey, and at one point, she asked me, “Does Big Bang have Korean American members?” FUCK YOU. WIKI. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU.
I’m not ashamed as a journalist that these peers are lazy. What I am is hurt as an Asian American that these writers who go by the American journalistic code of integrity, research, and ethics — that they are so proud of, so elitist about — is treating this subject like it’s not worth more due diligence. Don’t tell me it’s because they don’t view K-pop as some Asian monstrosity, too foreign, too big, too crazy to broach. Don’t tell me it’s because they don’t assume that the genre is “less,” that the art is “less,” that the audience is “less.” Don’t tell me this isn’t somehow connected to our outdated, racist fears and condescensions of Asian homogeneity.
It makes me sad when fans lap these articles up, thinking that it’s fucking awesome that their biases got mentioned in an American outlet. They’re not writing about how awesome your biases are. They’re writing about how fucking weird and crazy they are, and how fucking weird and crazy you are, for being fans of such fucking weird and crazy shit. They’re not paying attention or even bothering to understand your fandom. They’ll just take the traffic they get from you storming their page to read about your biases being mentioned, assume that it’s because they’re doing something right, keep pandering to you and the cycle continues.