These “The Baby-Sitters Club” covers might look a little different from how you remember them. But for us Asian-Americans, they’re a lot more relatable.
Phil Yu, who’s better known as the blogger Angry Asian Man, has given the series a bit of a makeover. Using covers featuring Japanese-American character Claudia Kishi, Yu has reimagined some of the books’ titles to better reflect what Claudia probably had to deal with as one of the few Asians in town.
And damn, are they real.
Yu, who published the collection of covers on his site a few weeks ago, hit on themes that affect the Asian-American community with titles like “Claudia and the Model Minority Myth” and “Claudia and the Frustrating Lack of Media Representation.”
There’s also this gem: “Claudia Thought She Told Everyone To Take Off Their Fucking Shoes.”
The project was a fun way of bringing everyday issues Asian-Americans deal with to the forefront, Yu told HuffPost. Claudia, who lived in a fictional town in Connecticut, was likely subjected to her fair share of “bullshit microaggressions,” he said.
“Claudia was an Asian-American character but they didn’t really talk about her Asianness that much. The social issues that Asians face didn’t really come up,” Yu said. “Putting that on a book and on a cover was a way to shine a light and show there’s a lot more to this [experience].”
Yu mentioned that one particular book, initially titled “Keep Out Claudia,” actually did broach the subject of discrimination. In it, a family doesn’t want Claudia to babysit for them because of her race. Yu said he remembered the book recently and tweaked its title to read, “Claudia and The Racist Little Shits.” That became the first cover in the collection.
The blogger made Claudia’s experiences more honest ― and probably a little less kid-friendly ― but Yu points out that the character was fairly ahead of her time. Claudia didn’t fit the squeaky-clean stereotypes so often attached to Asian-American characters in media.
“Claudia as a character is a pretty good one, considering she was written by a white lady,” he said. “She was Japanese-American but she was lousy at school, super artistic, and you have to consider that the author did conceive of her as someone who was trying to buck stereotypes.”
If the “Baby-Sitters Club” were to be revived today, however, Yu said he might take a different approach to Claudia’s storyline.
“I think I’d be more open to exploring some of the casual racism that no doubt Claudia and her family had to deal with. Maybe it’s a matter of [Claudia seeing] racist Halloween costumes and speaking up and saying, ‘Yo, that’s not cool,’” he said. “Or maybe a series written about Claudia as an adult now, looking back on the stuff she had to go through and coming into her own Asian-American political identity.”
We can only dream.
For now, check out more covers from Yu’s collection below: