“Don’t understand why “yellow fever” is racist? THAT’s exactly the problem"
Amazon’s Whole Foods Market has come under criticism for partnering with a restaurant named ‘Yellow Fever’.
Reuters reports that Whole Foods Market, owned by Amazon, has come under fire after partnering with an Asian restaurant named ‘Yellow Fever’.
‘Yellow Fever’ is a mosquito-borne infection that kills thousands annually but is also a slang term used for a white man’s sexual attraction to Asian women.
The Los Angeles based restaurant, which is now part of Whole Foods 365 in Long Beach, was opened by Kelly Kim and her husband.
Kelly Kim, who is also the executive chef, said the name of the restaurant was not intended to offend. “I never took it to a have deeper meaning. … It’s a little tongue in cheek, but I never saw it as offensive or racist or anti-feminist,” she said.
Instead, Kim claims the name of her restaurant is a celebration of Asian culture. “Yellow Fever celebrates all things Asian: the food, the culture and the people and our menu reflect that featuring cuisine from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Hawaii,” she said. “We have been a proud Asian, female-owned business since our founding over four and a half years ago in Torrance, California.”
Discussing coming up with the name, Kim said, “One night, we just said ‘Yellow Fever!’ and it worked. It’s tongue-in-cheek, kind of shocking, and it’s not exclusive — you can fit all Asian cultures under one roof with a name like this. We just decided to go for it.”
“We’re just a small business. Now all of a sudden people are bashing on us,” Kim said.
— 365byWholeFoods (@365byWholeFoods) April 25, 2018
Nonetheless, Kim’s Yellow Fever restaurant received a backlash online according to the Washington Post.
“An Asian ‘bowl’ resto called YELLOW FEVER in the middle of whitest Whole Foods — is this taking back of a racist image or colonized mind?” Columbia University professor and author Marie Myung-Ok Lee, wrote on Twitter.
“Don’t understand why “yellow fever” is racist? THAT’s exactly the problem,” another Twitter user wrote.
Some were uncomfortable with the name due to its connection with the disease. “I can’t separate the name from yellow fever (the disease) or the freaking painful vaccination shot against it,” Laura Seay, a government professor at Colby College and an Africa analyst, wrote on Twitter.
Yelp reviewers also took offense to the name “First off, change the name. Do you think it’s cool to use Racial term to yourself? Do you think it’s OK if Asian are calling themselves with that name?” one reviewer wrote.
“Ugh the name of this place skeeves me out,” another wrote.
However, some were less offended. “This is no more offensive than @abc naming an Asian sitcom Fresh of the Boat or FOB- which is considered racists [sic],” wrote Lorin Hart, who uses the Twitter handle @CubeProMH.
No one at the company even bothered googling YELLOW FEVER?????? WTF pic.twitter.com/nSFqaqNELt
— Chantal Thuy (@Chantal_Thuy) April 28, 2018
I just lost my appetite. Get your racist advertising out of my food.
— Ser Anzoategui (@SerAnzoategui) April 28, 2018
Horrible name. The less than 1% of people that read the article about the owner will get what she’s doing, but the other 99% who drive by will think it’s okay to refer to Asian people as “yellow.” This is disgusting. You should change this.
— Shawn Carlow (@shawncarlow) April 28, 2018
An Asian “bowl” resto called YELLOW FEVER in the middle of whitest Whole Foods–is this taking back of a racist image or colonized mind?
— Marie Myung-Ok Lee [이 명옥] (@MarieMyungOkLee) April 28, 2018
Ok @wholefoods Time to hire get some more diversity on your staff. Just a wild suggestion so you don’t come up with dumbass racist names. Don’t understand why “yellow fever” is racist? THAT’s exactly the problem https://t.co/qW1MeOqXiO
— Jack Teng (@MyBossIsADroid) April 28, 2018