It seems like ages ago, but back when I was in high school (when connecting to the Internet was done mostly through dial-up modems that made funny noises), I first started exploring my identity as a Chinese American / "Asian American" through lots of different ways, but nothing more interactive or interesting than bulletin boards / forums. Many Asian American webzines and print magazines (like the now defunct YOLK
and A. Magazine
) had forum sites where members could post news, dialogue about issues, and just get to know other Asian Americans (or Asian Canadians, or Asians in Asia). I still participate in a site that I've known since back to my first year in college (good 'ol IIStix
Recently, another forum that I've enjoyed posting at and reading is The Fighting 44s
. The site is pretty well-run, and besides the articles, the forum has several active participants, many whom are very articulate when it comes to issues of bicultural identity, racism, colonialism, ethnicity, and nationality (fellow blogger Xian
is also a member). Discussions sometimes get pretty heated, but overall, I find that no matter what gets posted, I'm generally enlightened by what a read, or find myself saying, "Wow, that was really eloquent. I have the exact same thoughts about the subject, but I wish I could word it like that!"
This following excerpt is from one of those "thoughts", during a discussion about how Asian Americans react / should react to racial remarks. This post was in response to a non-Asian poster on the forum. Don't mind the profanity; it's simply part of how he makes his point.
|seoulbrother 1 wrote:|
Sorry, but racism isn't about you. I know plenty of White folks that want to jump on the racial oppression bandwagon because that can't stand the fact that People of Color possess something that they can't -even if it is as shitty and awful as racism. White privilege means that White people feel entitled to EVERYTHING that a Person of Color possesses -right down to their oppression.
This way, White people can make claims and judgements about the nature and validity of racial oppression. The societal belief that White people are some sort of impartial judges of racial matters is one of the definitions of White privilege itself.
Having a redneck call me a "gook" and you getting fucked with in Tangiers aren't even remotely similar. Given the fact that Morocco got buttfucked and colonized by the French, the natives probably have good reason to be pissed off at any White guy they see. Maybe they're pissed because the lingering effects colonialism means that they still live like second-class citizens compared to the White people in their own country. Maybe they're upset at the preferential treatment, deference, and obesiance afforded to White people in their country just because they are White.
What it boils down to, is that more often than not, anti-White sentiment is often a reaction to White racism itself. White institutional power touches upon the lives of People of Color and their native countries in direct, concrete, tangible, and VIOLENT ways (as mentioned above.) For Rednecks and White people, People of Color (POC) have no bearing on their lives (unless they choose to marry a native or unless they want to study "natives.") On the other hand, People of Color have to deal with White hegemony whether they want to or not.
Racial oppression does not and can not exist without violence. It is the foreign troops on native soil, it is the appropriation of land, manpower, women, and resources without anyone to answer to. It's the police who won't protect your rights. It is the legal system which discriminates against you and provides privileges for Whites. It is not an "isolated incident" by an "abnormal" person. This violence permeates everything so much that it is accepted as a given and then rendered invisible.
That's why you can frivolously talk about racial slurs as an individual act of discrimination while dismissing the nature and history of VIOLENCE and RACIAL OPPRESSION. It sounds like you demand that every native consider you as an individual outside the context of racial oppression, while you can't be bothered to think about racial oppression.
Essentially, what you are doing is rehashing the whole "I never owned slaves" argument. This is nothing more than an excuse to continue to indulge in your privileges as a White person, unfettered by any considerations for People of Color.
Sure, believe it or not, White people can actually experience "unfair treatment." But means little in the context of racial oppression. It's not like White hegemony in Corea is going to be replaced by Corean hegemony in America because someone spit on you in the subway. Maybe it is an individual act of discrimination, but I am not gonna waste any time scrambling over the minor indignations suffered by individual White people once in a blue-fucking-moon when my entire nation has and is still being ass-raped by America.
The last fucking thing I wanna hear is some self-important chest-beating about how an individual act of discrimination against a White person is the crime of the goddamn century because such-and-such White person is such a good friend to Corean people and how dare Corean people repay the kindness of such-and-such White person with hostility.
Those individual experiences of discrimination are like getting splashed by a few drops from the ocean of racial oppression that People of Color are drowning in. I come across strong in this post, but I'm not gonna tone things down in order to accomodate for the racial sensibilities of the White-skinned elite, because that is racism as well.
Good stuff. Read the full discussion right here