This Jezebel Article is Kind Of Super Racist

This Jezebel Article is Kind Of Super Racist
2 comments, 23/05/2013, by , in Food, Opinion

The problem with being a faithful follower to a blog is that, over time, your chances of reading something that really offends you increases.  Today, it was Jezebel’s article “Would You Like a Free Manicure With Your Hot Pot?”

Here’s a run down of the article by Kate Dries, bashing hot pot chain Hai Di Lao, which is expanding to America. “Basically my worst nightmare,” she says:

Somehow Dries has taken all the skill out of this equation and just decided that chefs preparing food in front of her equals becoming irreversibly deformed.  Is Benihana her worst nightmare too?  How about Bananas Foster?

Note: I googled different combinations of “Hai Di Lao Burns People” and “Hai Di Lao People Getting Burned” and got nothing.

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Ugh.  I don’t even.  Yes, Asian people are all here to have sex with you and help facilitate you having sex.  There is no such thing as actually doing business internationally, I see.

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Is she really complaining about “hot towels and other niceties?”  I can’t help but feel that if all these things were offered in a club or a bar or a more “American” establishment, she would instead be raving about the great “customer service” the place provides.  Also – cluttered house?  You know you don’t have to take home every free perfume and lotion, right?  Furthermore, if you’re taking home used eyeglasses wipes you probably have a hoarding problem, which is out of the purview of the restaurant and more in the purview of a therapist.  Or reality show.

Photo via

Photo via

“HUMOR!”  People are going to yell at me (over the internet, probably not in real life).  “It’s SUPPOSED to be funny!  Don’t you know Jezebel?  It’s so SNARKY!”

Yes, I know Jezebel is snarky, in a way that got it a mention on 30 Rock, with website name changed to “Joan of Snark.”  And, like I said, I’m a loyal reader.  Seriously.  Like, several times a day loyal.  They are usually my go-to site to find (and link and Facebook share) all the terrible and misogynist things happening to women today.  So come on, did Kate Dries really have to go and be racist?  Do you know how hard it is to find a space on the internet that is not sexist and not racist?   Dries is entitled to her opinion about what food and what eating experiences she likes.  She is entitled to not like hot pot and to not like “food shows.”  But does she have to disparage Hai Di Lao with THE trifecta of negative Chinese stereotypes?

  1. The “Ew their food is so gross” (although, points to her for not saying there is dog in it, I guess).  This isn’t explicitly said so much as shown – one of their twin title images focuses on two vats of boiling…something.  There are tons of other photos of Hai Di Lao (google it, I’ll wait) online that don’t showcase how nasty it is.  The photo is gross enough to prompt one commenter to say, “Are there people who find “unidentifiable white thing floating in unidentifiably yellow goop” appealing?”
  2. The exoticism – “private cyber sex while you eat!”
  3. The “Chinese stuff is so shoddy and dangerous!” (her tactfully put ‘“noodle masters” of doom’)
  4. BONUS: Highlighting the fact that Asian people DO YOUR NAILS in the title!  Yes, I know it’s a service offered at Hai Di Lao.  But – WSJ’s article title: “Chinese Hot Pot Chain Hai Di Lao Makes Move to U.S.”  LA Eater title: “Popular Chinese Hot Pot Chain Hai Di Lao Hitting Arcadia.”  Jezebel title: “Would You Like A Free Manicure With Your Hot Pot?”

Jezebel.  You know how hard it is to be a woman.  Please don’t make it harder to be an Asian woman, as well.

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Thanks for calling a popular, thriving Chinese restaurant chain that is expanding to the U.S. “hell on earth.”  Hai Di Lao, welcome to America.

P.S.  Here’s #4.  As you can see, definitely “hell on earth.”

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About Elaine Wang

Elaine Wang
Elaine Wang is an ALIST founder and currently serves as our Entertainment Section Editor. In addition to ALIST, Elaine is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles. As such, she is extremely interested in entertainment trends and what they mean for Asian Americans, performers and non-performers. She is a native Texan, and sometimes that state worries her a lot.