For a long time I’ve described Asians as “the minority that isn’t.” And I don’t do it because we’re not a minority, or because cultural appropriation isn’t sickeningly mainstream, it’s because we’re unanimously viewed not as a “scary hated minority” but as ultimately “harmless.” Which is, on the one hand, o…kay? No, not okay. But we’re not USUALLY beaten up or targeted by cops, we don’t get quietly eliminated from candidacy for job opportunities most of the time, no one assumes we’re there to mug them. That’s nice. But the flip side of it is that we’re in a position that’s so awkwardly handled that saying anything about the obvious existing racism that we can’t say anything, because we’re either being A) oversensitive and trying to get attention or B) trying to make an issue out of something when there’s REAL racism going on, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.
I don’t feel like that’s acceptable, though. And I really shouldn’t have to constantly yell in people’s faces to make them understand that racism isn’t just harassing people in the streets. It’s even possible to be less racist to one group and still have time to be less racist to another, too. Black people, Hispanic people, Walking People, indigenous … they all have much more miserable lives than most Asians and Asian Americans, with much more direct oppression. And at no point am I claiming that Asian Americans—or Asians in general—are suffering similarly. But it’s still racism, and it’s still not okay. In fact, in a way it’s slightly worse, because it’s so totally ingrained in mainstream culture and society that it’s considered normal and acceptable. If someone had a parody of some fake African tribes dancing around a cooking fire with masks on, people would flip their shit. But—true story—I once tripped over someone who used a gif from Mulan (it’s a common one, featuring that dragon, hilariously named Mushu, saying “Dishonour on you! Dishonour on your cow!”) in a post calling out people who used the slur “gypsy.” When I made a comment about it, they told me it hadn’t even occurred to them that the gif was racist.
Honestly, I just… I’d like to not sit here through the “all Asians are an indistinguishable homogenous culture” and “it’s okay to make racist parodies about Asians, but not anyone else” and “Asians are so CUTE let’s patronise them and/or fetishise them for their exotic nature” for a few days of my life.
And the most disappointing thing is that I know that won’t actually happen.
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