Expert Long Rester
1. Just because China, Korea, a Japan are economic powerhouses shouldn't make it cultural open season on them. Not to mention Vietnamese Americans, Laotian Americans, etc.My Google must not be working properly. AFAICT it is, in fact, contested whether East Asians count as people of color.
It's relevant to the question of whether white Americans are actually "punching down" in deracinating and recombining elements of East Asian cultures for fantasy RP material.
I can think of a few reasons why East Asians should not have the protected status of POC:
1) China, Japan and South Korea are rich and powerful countries (2nd, 3rd and 12th largest economies by nominal GDP, respectively). China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the largest economy in the 21st century. A unified Korea (assuming South Korean-style governance) could be expected to become a top 7 economy, possibly top 5.
2) Americans of Asian ethnicity (including South and Southeast Asian) on average outperform white Americans socioeconomically in the U.S..
3) East Asians literally have pale skin. Typical skin tone is within the range of European peoples.
If East Asians are not POC, then standards for cultural appropriation can be relaxed, at least according to the reasoning that the strictness of such standards should be proportional to the disparity in wealth and power of the groups represented.
2. I think that just because Asian Americans have become a model minority doesn't mean their culture is up for appropriation. 'Positive' stereotypes such as "Asians are good at math" or "Jews are good with money" still lead to harmful discrimination. That should be obvious. It's still taking a look at some one and determining their story based on how they look or their heritage.
3. This is true of Native Americans too. That doesn't make what still continues to happen to their communities ok.