A mahjong tile--seven of dots--held up between two fingers in the foreground. Out of focus in the background is a full set of mahjong tiles laid on a blue setting.
Your Grandma’s mahjong set is just fine as it is.

Did you want to yell and rant when the whole Mahjong Line thing surfaced? Were you confused about the situation and why people called it an act of cultural appropriation? In this episode of Banchan!, Pauline and Christina break down how The Mahjong Line’s “revamp” of mahjong constitutes a classic case of racist cultural appropriation and why calling it “cultural appreciation” in this instance just ISN’T IT. Also, did you know that mahjong is food culture? We talk about the broader culture that surrounds mahjong before delivering some local food news in Seattle. 

Links and Resources

Jeanette Ng’s thread on mahjong and its popularity in America since the 1920s, especially among Jewish women.
Melissa Pandika, “The Mahjong Line debacle is the latest in a long history of Asian erasure,” Mic, Jan. 7, 2021.
Aloha Ramen’s Gofundme campaign.
Gofundme campaigns for the other small businesses destroyed by the Lake City fire can be found at this link.

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Artwork: Kellie Komorita-Martell
Audio Production: Thomas Yang
Music: “Go” by Chucky Kim 
Hosted by: Diverging Magazine

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