So I just came across this post, and I thought I should sit down and address some issues that’s been bothering me although I’m not as eloquent as I’d like (and although I should be studying for my finals).
This post basically addresses the racism Asians face and kind of the hypocrisy on Tumblr.
"NOT ALL OF OUR HAIR IS A MONOCHROME FLAT BLACK LIKE THE COLOR OF YOUR FUCKING SOUL"
c r y i n g
Though I do have to add in a word of caution about calling a focus on your dashboard on anti-Blackness rather than anti-Asian prejudice hypocrisy, per se. It might be frustrating to you that your particular concerns aren’t being widely addressed in the same fashion as you might see some posts about anti-Blackness, but as Scot Nakagawa puts it:
We’re all working together towards the same goal, here, which is dismantling white supremacy. And if you think there needs to be more discourse about anti-Asian prejudice, go for it! The more people we get talking, the more we educate ourselves and others, the better. [snip]
Hey! So Chai pointed me your way, and I hope you don’t mind me adding another 2.5 cents and expanding upon some of the things she said.
I think we one thing we, as POCs, need to continuously look out for is to avoid oppression Olympics. It’s easy to fall into these trappings because there are always people who are going to be more fortunate than us, but then there are a host of people who are at odds with more difficulties. If one thing growing up in America has given us, it’s consciousness — not only the joy of consciousness in being alive, but the empathy to understand systemic oppression and microaggression that you (ie, I) wouldn’t understand growing up as the majority in China.
The problem with viewing anti-Asian prejudice with the scope of anti-Blackness is based off the assumption that the person speaking about anti-Blackness (or anti-Latin@ prejudice) is obligated to speak about anti-Asian racism, and that, by default of not speaking about it, the individual in question doesn’t care about anti-Asian racism and that the act of omission is social justice hypocrisy.
The first issue is that it assumes things about a speaker or writer’s identity. No one is more obligated or more perfectly qualified to speak on the experiences of Asian women than, well, other Asian women.
As a public health researcher, one of my dreams is to open up clinics to cater specifically to the mental health needs of Asian American populations in the US, with sensitivity to language and cultural barriers. The fact that this clinic would be catering to Asian populations does not mean I am unaware of the needs of other minority populations and the lack of services provided to them. It’s also not pushing it aside and thinking someone else should cater to other races — no, it’s me, as an Asian American, thinking about things I can do for a group I care about and have experience with.
I do understand the basic sentiment of your frustrations, and I’ve actually chewed out organisations like ThinkProgress when they systemically
disclude (ahaha see what I did there)** exclude Asians from commentary about social equality. Not all social justice commentary needs to be entirely inclusive but inclusive (particularly racially inclusive) commentary needs to include Asian populations.
The second issue is that you are making the assumption that people who are writing about anti-Blackness or excluding Asians from commentary are doing it as conscious aggression towards Asians. To illustrate this point, I’m going to quote what Christopher Priest, the first black editor in comics, said about Larry Hama, one of his bosses and mentors whom he said has had the “most profound and lasting influence on [his] life”. It was cut from a lot of quotes circulated around Tumblr:
First day on the job, Larry took me to lunch to explain the New Deal to me. […] At the restaurant, as we waited for an open table, a lovely blonde and her lunch companion stepped past us, and the host appeared and began to seat them. Hama objected, politely— we were here first, and the host quickly sat us instead. Hama sat at the table, removed his mirrored aviators, and said, "Jim— never let the white man take advantage of you."
And, I guess, that’s when it hit me: Larry was Japanese American. A guy many people sidled up to and spoke loudly and slowly, hoping he could understand them. Larry was a Hollywood actor, having appeared in many films. His diction was perfect, and he spoke English better than I did, and in as many dialects as he wanted to.
Larry suddenly made my world make sense. Suddenly, somebody at Marvel had my back.
It actually made me sad how something so profound was overlooked by most of Tumblr, which stood out to me more, because I am an Asian American.
Priest, as a black man in the 1980’s, did not automatically associate or consciously assume that Hama was a person of colour. He did not necessarily think of Hama as being white by omission, but, 40 years removed removed from Japanese internment camps, had already been socialised to dissociate the Asian American experience as being the experience of someone of colour. This is not a criticism of Priest, obviously, but a commentary on the fact that when people don’t de facto associate Asians as POCs, they aren’t are doing it out of outright aggression towards Asians but rather because it’s the narrative that that the white patriarchy has crafted for us — a narrative that is still going strong today.
When I talked about the joys of consciousness earlier, I was not only talking about the awareness that comes out of empathy but also empathy for the lack of awareness, how each of could have been there but aren’t. Each of us needs to be Hama — to be ready to come in and effect change, to mentor and help people even when it has no direct benefit to us, to have a POC experience that will not always be recognised as such. This is as important for Asian Americans as it is to speak out because the effect this has is that it creates solidarity and allows for conscious recognition of our minority experiences, as it did for Priest.
The frustration and aggression you feel towards the uplifting of the anti-Blackness dialogue [theoretically] at the expense of anti-Asian dialogue is natural and also a state that the white patriarchy wants us to be in. This is getting too long, so I’m just going to quote what I wrote about it in the admissions post:
…minorities are told, out of 100 seats, we’ll set especially aside 20 for you — but only, of course, the “under-represented” ones. […] So rather than fighting the establishment of white privilege that had set aside 80 seats for themselves, minorities are made to feel like they should fight against each other for those measly 20 seats.
And this is how the systemic white privilege is perpetuated; by making minority groups feel like they need to “fight” for that special minority designation, as of being a “special” minority in the eyes of the establishment should give you more rights (Hint: It does, and that’s why groups want it). But the problem with that is that it’s not enough — because what we’re asking for the corrupt system to treat us “better” rather than dismantling the faulty system itself.
The problem with viewing anti-Asian prejudice in the scope of anti-Blackness is that this is the dialogue that the white patriarchy wants to have. So not only do I want to shut down this dialogue, but I want to turn it back against them.
* * * some additional things idk if you care
** Also: seriously, the number of blogs who tag angsty posts with “discluded” is extremely alarming. PL0X GRAMMER PPL Q_Q
^^^^ most excellent and eloquent commentary by discluded <3
THE NINE CHOIRS OF HEAVEN. An info-graphic for my editorial class and god am I thankful it’s done. Way too much went into this than what I had time for, but hey… I actually kind of like it?
Now excuse me, I must return to my fashion major lifestyle and go sew a coat u_u
EDIT: Re-uploaded with easier viewing!
MAI YOUR STUFF CAME AND OH GOD I CANT STOP CRYING THANK YOU BBY
i’m a motherfuckin’ monster || a mix for the creatures under your bed, the shadows lurking in the basement, and the things that go bump in the night
tracklist || i. monster - kanye west ft. jay-z, rick ross, nicki minaj, and bon iver / ii. cannibal - ke$ha / iii. howl (rivas remix) - florence + the machine and beat instinct / iv. teeth - lady gaga / v. in the room where you sleep - dead man’s bones / vi. lacrimosa - mozart / vii. song for the dead - sea wolf / viii. the wolf - fever ray / ix. lestat’s piano sonata - joseph haydn and unknown
[ listen ]
you’ll pry my fucked up sibling incest ships from my cold dead fingers
its only wednesday and i already worked 55 hours
i haven’t slept or rested since sunday and i just wanna jump off a bridge