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'Ornamental Orientals'

December 15, 1991

Carolyn See's investment in the Christian stereotype of the Chinese as misogynist and morally despicable is personal and pathological (Nov. 3 interview with David Wong Louie, whose "Pangs of Love" won the Art Seidenbaum Award for best first fiction).

What she hears from her ornamental Orientals is not any silence being broken, not any Chinese stories being told, but the noise of the same old Pearl Buck, Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan.

She can hear the stories, or read them, or play with them, simply by walking into a Chinatown bookstore--as can any Chinaman who wonders if white people really teach their children sexual roles with "Cinderella," which in some early German versions is the story of a bisexual who does things with three bears, by checking the book out of the library.

Louie deserves whatever awards he gets on his own merits, not because of the company or the enemies See chooses for him. Louie has not fabricated texts of despicable Chinese morality like Maxine Kingston, Amy Tan and Gus Lee; he has not appropriated the names of the heroes or heroines of Chinese fairy tales and children's stories and stuck them onto the white stereotype of Chinese. Nor has he used Chinese fairy tales and stories to inform the intelligence driving his stories.

He neither rides in my gang, nor invites me to choose him out. It's Carolyn See, the demagogue-messiah maker, who saddles him with the Christian stereotypists.

FRANK CHIN

LOS ANGELES

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