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Why Yellow Fever Isn't Flattering: A Case Against Racial Fetishes

  • ROBIN ZHENG (a1)
Abstract:
ABSTRACT:

Most discussions of racial fetish center on the question of whether it is caused by negative racial stereotypes. In this paper I adopt a different strategy, one that begins with the experiences of those targeted by racial fetish rather than those who possess it; that is, I shift focus away from the origins of racial fetishes to their effects as a social phenomenon in a racially stratified world. I examine the case of preferences for Asian women, also known as ‘yellow fever’, to argue against the claim that racial fetishes are unobjectionable if they are merely based on personal or aesthetic preference rather than racial stereotypes. I contend that even if this were so, yellow fever would still be morally objectionable because of the disproportionate psychological burdens it places on Asian and Asian-American women, along with the role it plays in a pernicious system of racial social meanings.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

O. M. Espin (1995). ‘“Race”, Racism, and Sexuality in the Life Narratives of Immigrant Women’. Feminism & Psychology, 5, 223–38.

M. Fricker (2007) Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. New York: Oxford University Press.

J. C. Guillén (2015) ‘Imposed Hispanicity: How the Imposition of Racialized and Gendered Identities in Texas Affects Mexican Women in Romantic Relationships with White Men’. Societies, 5, 778806.

M. C. Nussbaum (1995). ‘Objectification’. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 24, 249–91.

H. Park (2012) ‘Interracial Violence, Western Racialized Masculinities, and the Geopolitics of Violence Against Women’. Social & Legal Studies, 21, 491509.

B. Park , and M. Rothbart . (1982). ‘Perception of Out-group Homogeneity and Levels of Social Categorization: Memory for the Subordinate Attributes of In-group and Out-group Members’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 1051–68.

C. Parreñas Shimizu (2007) The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian/American Women on Screen and Scene. Durham: Duke University Press.

A. Soble (1982) ‘Physical Attractiveness and Unfair Discrimination’. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 1, 3764.

W. S. Wilkerson (2009). ‘Is it a Choice? Sexual Orientation as Interpretation’. Journal of Social Philosophy, 40, 97116.

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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-american-philosophical-association
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