Music and Asian stereotypes

Shun Gon the Chinese Cat in The Aristocats: "Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Yong! Fortune cookie always wrong!"

Shun Gon the Chinese Cat in The Aristocats:
“Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Yong! Fortune cookie always wrong!”

This morning, NPR ran a story by Kat Chow that focused on the connections between music and ethnic stereotypes.  The story focuses on the 9-note riff that has for decades symbolized ‘China’ in the US.  It appeared in The Aristocats, and in Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting. But where did it come from? Not China.  People there have never heard it, or heard of it.  Listen to this fascinating story of its origins and of the ways we’ve come to rely on music to reinforce our stereotypes about Asians and, in particular, Chinese.

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