There’s a lot to say about asian-ness in America and how quickly a lot of us end up cosigning on white supremacy.
First, privilege. “Model minority” is a term that was createdspecificallyto shit on other POC, and instead of recognizing it as a divide-and-conquer, or, also, a lie, people took it up as an offer.
Of course, it’s the same thing that we saw happen with colorism and “house slaves” - the people who fit more of the white standards of appearance get treated a little better (You can be 3.5/5ths a human GO YOU!) if they participate in making sure everyone else knows their place.
Let’s not be confused about what that privilege looks like.
“I’m a better Gwen Stefani Accessory than you FOBs over there!”
To be sure, it’s nice to not currently be one of the several thousand Chinese who were lynched, or run out of town with your belongings burned, or forcibly relocated to concentration camps (still within living memory, though, one might argue ICE fulfills that role now)…
…but that’s not an actual benefit of this system. The system of white racism gives us this: “We’ll let you have more access, better jobs, and not be subject to quite AS much harm AS LONG AS YOU SERVE US.”
The model minority myth is an expectation to work as a butler, basically, and in return receive the wages of whiteness, to be “one of the good ones”, but never really, actually white.
I mean, I guess you COULD do what my family did, and all marry white, leaving all of my generation mixed ethnicity, and then strongly encourage all of your kids to marry white as well. And then of course racism will be over when you’re 1/16th of whatever you were before, and 15/16th white.
I mean, geez, why don’t all those other POC get their act together?
(There’s a big side conversation about how gender plays into this as well. Asian women approval is higher only in the sense that they’ve been made into sex objects for white men, whereas, asian men, even being “second tier” in the kyriarachy are very threatening to white male insecurity, which is why it’s really important in the media to show us either as spineless-go-alongs or really abusive evil scheming guys. One could easily draw parallels with black men as docile vs. Brute stereotypes…)
I grew up in Seattle, which is typically known for having an asian population, but at least growing up, there was way too many asian folks who simply, would not interact or talk to other asian folks if they had a choice about it. It was almost like that classic movie line, “I can’t be seen talking with you!” as if the white people would DISOWN them for daring to even share words with another person who wasn’t their blood family.
Which, tells you both the level of mental slavery expected and the direct effect on destroying community and sense of self. When someone completely internalizes self hate, then anytime they see anyone who looks like them, that person becomes the externalized target.
Anti-black Racism, the cooler, progressive version
Then, of course, for the folks who are supposedly fighting for justice and are liberal, there’s the basic, classic, anti-black racism. These folks will call out things like US Imperialism, white racism (against their own folks, of course), but at the same time be ready to lock doors and cross streets when black people show up.
Anti-blackness not only divides folks and keeps white supremacy working as a system, it works like a threat: “Act right or we’ll start treating you like black people”.
(Other side note: When all the white folks got upset about TSA screenings and Occupy folks getting peppersprayed who weren’t upset for the many years before when that was happening and continues to happen to black folks? Oh, what they’re really upset about is being treated like black folks. Note that.)
And one more thing- anti-blackness works as part of the hustle to make invisible every other POC struggles in America in an insidious two-fold way: when you help justify the harm done to black folks, you just helped make an excuse of why they shouldn’t care about what happens to YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE EITHER.
If they can justify killing black folks? If they can justify raping, imprisoning, denying medical care, etc.? What makes you think it ain’t going to be you when they have to choose?
The problem of being Gwen Stefani’s accessories is that accessories get replaced when they go out of style.
“Oh, it’s ok. I’ll just get another. It was made in China, after all.”
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