Moo, moo, A Potential Homicide & the Climax of ‘Yankee Dawg You Die’

Act II, Scene I

“Cows that have a double life? The dumb facade they show to the outside world and their true cow selves that they show to one another when they are alone? Moo, moo?”

“I killed someone…Well, as they walked passed, one of them looked at my girlfriend and said, “Hey, look at the yellow pussy.”…So I pulled a knife and stabbed him…That was over 10 years ago. I hope with my heart he’s OK.”

This first line is a direct metaphor to the Asian American actors in Hollywood at the time of the play, it refers to the mixed feelings of complacency and assertion by Asian American actors and how sometimes its just easier to do what they are told even if it is demeaning because eventually they feel like it will change, eventually. The quote says that to others, mainly White people who are employers, they act a certain way or however they are told to act, but with people they feel comfortable around, other Asian American actors, they can be themselves.

The second set of lines shows the want to fight back the oppression and racism. Some comments were mentioned in the play that all Asian Americans are the same, when an Asian American such as Bradley was pushed to his limit by being harassed by this White male, he was fed up because he felt attacked not only by that one person, but by all the Caucasians around him. He later understands that such violence doesn’t change any misconceptions and only makes matters worse and he doesn’t hate White people, but he hates the stereotypes.

Although some of the allusions mentioned in this play were hard to follow, due to my lack of knowledge on Asian American pop culture, I felt like this scene is the climax or character realization of the play. Before this scene, Bradley was political in his choices for auditions and mainly worked with the Theatre Project of Asian America limiting him to roles of Asian American men that were not stereotypic. Vincent on the other hand took any role whether it was stereotypic or not in order to open up the market for Asian American actors to work. By the end of the play the roles were switched, Bradley took up any role in hopes of changing the industry even if just a little bit, and Vincent worked in an independent film that reminded him of being at home with his father something comfortable and not stereotypic.

I enjoyed the short play because it gave an insight on the struggle between being complacent, becoming something you’re not and being assertive to your own pride and dignity because all ethnic minorities and even “outsiders” such as disabled people, the LGBTQ community and religious minorities have at some point struggled with this complex.