Group calls downtown San Diego Asian bar crawl event racist, urges a boycott

SAN DIEGO - Organizers call it a celebration of Asian culture, while others call it racist.

The event, which takes place Sunday, is dubbed San Diego's one and only Asian bar crawl and costume party.

In a flier publicizing the event, a cartoon figure of a man resembling PSY -- of "Gangnam Style" fame --- stands under the Gaslamp Quarter arch, with shadowed female backup dancers.

Behind them are local Asian restaurants and bars, including Bang Bang, with the words "Happy Ending."

"The event came off blatantly racist and sexist," said Linda Le.

Le is local co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. The group has started a Facebook page urging a boycott of the event, taking aim at the costume party.

"It typecasts us and stereotypes us to what we have for decades tried to move away from.  We are not just kung-fu fighters and or sexualized geishas," Le said.

Sin Bosier is organizing the event, which includes seven Asian bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village.

According to Bosier, Asian business owners sponsor the event in celebration of the popular Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

"Can you see how someone would see this poster and say, 'hey, let's dress up as a stereotypical Asian' and offend others by that message?" asked 10News reporter Michael Chen.

"Absolutely not," said Bosier.

She likens the costume theme to an Irish pub crawl, where participants dress up in kilts and the color green.

"It's really for fun and creativity and it's certainly not intended to marginalize people," said Bosier.

As for the phrase "Happy Ending," Bosier says it is Bang Bang’s Happy Hour slogan -- double meaning in tow.

Others say whatever the intent, the image the event presents is a problem.

"Dressing up and being a caricature really does not do justice to our community and does not uplift our community," said Le. 

Bosier said a diverse focus group who reviewed the poster did not give any negative feedback.

So far, several hundred tickets have been sold to the event. 


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