the entire discussion on “Asian Privilege” and “privileges that Asians have,” is, from my perspective so far, completely dismissive and silencing of Asian women. and i’m still only speaking from a…
I’ve often seen calls for nuance and deeper context when faced with these impossibly challenging inter-racial-community discussions, so for whatever it’s worth, I’m just gonna jump in here to try and add a bit of that.
A succinct phrase which I’ve been seeing lately on tumblr (including in this thread) is “Anti-Blackness is the fulcrum of white supremacy”. It’s a good one and I believe it to be true. That’s why racism against non-Black people of color sometimes falls back on anti-Blackness as a defining source of derision: Arabs are “sand n——-s”, Asians (especially Filipinos during the US invasion) are “yellow n——s”, etc. Blackness operates as the baseline of racist oppression and both oppressor and oppressed measure other forms of racism against it.
Since these other forms are to some extent offshoots within white supremacism, adding nuance to the picture also means looking at variations and differences in differing racialized contexts. This means grasping that racism operates along more than one dimensional axis. Certainly, we can make an overall assessment that Black US Americans have it worse than Asian Americans on the whole when you take it all in; but we can also add more dimensions to that picture.
I would say we HAVE to. For any real acknowledgement or WORK we HAVE to . The dimensions ( to me) are often adaptations to tactics and strategies and theories implemented as a response to hegemony. The virus adapts to the antibiotics. It creates new forms , so yes THIS section may have become treatable( not treated but treatable) but I promise you . PROMISE you somewhere in the back something else got swapped.
For example, as many others have pointed out, when it comes to the police and the prison system, we can hardly even begin to compare the brutality and multi-generational life-destroying injustices faced by Black folks compared to Asians. When it comes to economics, once again there’s really no comparison as Asians are making money almost in pace with white people, whereas unemployment, unequal wages, and subpar housing continue to attack Black communities.
Turning to the sphere of US democratic politics, Blacks have far more power, representation, and organization than Asians, who remain severely under-represented and practically voiceless. Obviously the election of Barack Obama hasn’t undone racism by any stretch, but I think we can probably agree that the US is nowhere near ready to elect an Asian American president (imagine the birthers then!).
This is a true thing. It just is and a good bit of it came from Civil Rights organization. And it’s something that real REALLy isn’t talked about. And it needs to be because and here is where I get intersectional with t. The effect of that increased US DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL power hasn’t done WHAT IT WAS PROMISED AND ASSUMED to BE DOING for larger economic, and social issues LIKE THE PRISON SYSTEM , WAGES EDUCATION. And that’s a huge as hell INTRA-RACIAL class issue, occurring SIMULTANEOUSLY with the INTER RACIAL issues.
I think that the ECONOMIC PERSONAL gain in terms of MIDDLE CLASS asian populations ( because once again races can have economic classes ) have something to do with this power and political condition . HMMM WHAT DOES THAT SOUND LIKE?
Then there’s media and culture, where Blacks (despite remaining largely subservient to white-controlled conglomerates) have thrived and in certain spaces set the standard for all artists, for example in music; less so in TV and film; more so in literature. Asians have barely even broken into those spaces at all. In the related field of professional sports, obviously Blacks have more than flourished, whereas Asians are largely blocked (go Linsanity!).
The refusal to grant Asian/American athletes athleticism in ANYWAY SHAPE OR FORM . It’s ALWAYS ” cunning,practice, robotics , culture…” . Jeremy Lin example , there are videos of him playing flag football , where he CLEARS THE HEADS OF HIS COVERAGE to catch the ball. He is 6’2/3 and can dunk EASILY. I read an article about who he must of practiced that. Folks do realize that fast twitch muscles DON’T WORK THAT WAY. There is a reason the jump shoes have been rebranded as muscle exercisers? You can or you can not
And Black people are the mystical standard to be BEAT but not markers of excellence. Ahh the rant I have on percentages and sports stats and their upsurge upon integration as ways of taking back sports and how it relates to the obsession with the numerical valuing of bodies of color and bodies in association with bodies of color.
Oddly enough this is one arena where the stereotypes around intelligence are phrased the same. It’s never smart for a Black/Asian player , it’s cunning etc . Usually implying some sort of malevolence or danger.
When it comes to sexuality, we’re all fucked (hardy har, I had to get stupid for a second in this heavy terrain). Black women face the desexualized mammy stereotype alongside the hypersexualized jezebel archetype. Asian women have to deal with “me love you long time” and yellow fever and fetishization. Black men confront expectations of hyper-masculinity to the extent of criminalization. Asian men face emasculation. It’s not a pleasant picture.
*shivers * Yeah……. I would love , love love on wish list love to get together a group of reasonably conscious folks of color and talk bout how this plays towards giving certain classes and stratas leeway in some egregious shit sexually and romantically in dating ESPECIALLY in New York. There was book on it recently , but WOOOO! the stuff you see/hear/observe going to a bar, working with 20-40 year olds….
I could keep on going, but you get the point by now. Nuance means seeing more than one dimension and being able to simultaneously hold seemingly contradictory concepts in mind. Anti-Blackness remains the fulcrum of racism (and don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to be mellow here by not taking down some of the Asians who are pissing me off in this convo, simply because I don’t have time and I think what I’m saying here is more important); but you can look at these different contexts and dynamics and see that some spaces lean one way, some spaces lean another way, and that’s just how it is.