May 30, 2012
White Supremacy isn’t just for White People anymore: Asian American edition



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.”

Very good post. Please read this

(via abagond)

April 22, 2012
Tim Wise Visited King School

He came to Kong-kong’s school as our featured speaker, sponsored by the Parents Diversity Committee, and for the Student Diversity Leadership Conference.

Holy Moly there was a brouhaha.  Before his Friday visit rumors flew that Mr. Wise was anti-American, anti-White, a racist, etc., blah blah. “White privilege” became the evil phrase o’ the day.  Many parents threatened to keep their kids home.  A letter was sent out at the last minute by the Head of Upper School and Dean of Community Affairs (and diversity) to all.  Tempers cooled.  Most kids came to school, were educated by Mr. Wise, and they all listened. After his speech kids went back to their advisory groups and discussed the issues that were raised.  Glad to say most kids got it.  

Yes there were a few kids who were kept home by parents. They (in Mr. Wise’s words) “exercised their (White/economic/class) privilege to not attend school—imagine trying to do that if you were in public school?  They’d call the truant officers.” 

Anyhoodle I spent a bit of private time with him because I was his designated chauffeur. Yay for me.  He and I discussed the situation among Asians and AAPI people here in the U.S., covering topics from over stressed, overachieving students, Seung-Hui Cho (the VT killer), rising rates of suicide among East Asian-American women, how the South Asians (Cambodians, Vietnamese) aren’t thriving like their model minority counterparts. Yes it was a great visit.  

In our evening/adults presentation we managed to get an audience of six dozen, which is more than I had expected considering the reaction about the daytime/student event.  What I learned from Mr. Wise: even if it’s only the choir that is in attendance it’s okay.  You still need to make sure everyone is singing the same songs, that they’re all in harmony.  It’s practice.

It’s really hard edumacating the folks around here in Bankersville.

October 7, 2011
What to do with white privilege


Over the past day or two, I saw some people asking about what kinds of things to do with white privilege/as white people in the face of racism. So, here are a few articles. These aren’t comprehensive, and my research isn’t either. But, I think they offer a starting point. If you have additional suggested reading, please add to the list.

Note: I left off “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” and other articles identifying white privilege, because I’d really like to build a list that is specific to what to do after identifying said privilege, since that often seems to be the next question.

Cynthia Kaufman, “A User’s Guide to White Privilege”

Linda Martín Alcoff,What Should White People Do

Christine Skeeter (interview), “Diversity vs. White Privilege
(This interview has some great examples of why placing family histories of success in their historical racial context can be a really great way to dismantle narratives of “I worked hard for everything I have,” which are frequent used to derail conversations about white privilege.)

tekanji, “Check My What?: On Privilege and What We Can Do About It

For my own personal reference and as a signal boost.

(Source: thewomanofkleenex, via kelsium)

October 1, 2011
"By the time anyone steps onto a college campus whether it’s UC Berkeley or any other school in the UC system or any college in this country,there has already been 12 to 13 years of institutionalized affirmative action for white people. That is to say racially embedded inequality, which has benefited those of us who are white, and it’s only at the point of college admissions do these people seem to get “concerned” with color consciousness."

— Tim Wise on UC Berkeley Bake Sale (via brazenbitch)

(Source: plantaplanta, via cocothinkshefancy)

May 13, 2011

The reaction to the play manager in AnnasLibrary post?  Classic White privilege.  

Dude was defensive and accusesd the teacher of being racist.

Dude took the information as personal criticism—it’s not about you directly.

Dude used the power of the group, his crew, to (falsely) prove he was correct.

Dude had not consulted any East Asians—why bother because he and the crew thought it was okay.  Lack of sensitivity and education.

Dude micragressed the teacher, an Asian American (!) to no end, finally lobbing an insult at her.  (Also the teacher’s fellow staff also micr0gressed her by not acknowledging the issues, choosing to backdown, etc. therefore reenforcing the racist thinking.)

Dude was not able to gauge audience reaction (unrelatability) because he was caught up in his privileged mind of “this is just comedy and not offensive”.

May 9, 2011
White Privilege & Birthers


10 Ways That the Birthers Are an Object Lesson in White Privilege


Click to read the whole thing. It’s really good. Here’s just some excerpts with my emphasis added.

1. Just as Pat Buchanan did with Justice Sotomayor, the Birthers have sullied President Obama as being an unqualified, “affirmative action” candidate. His academic and professional accomplishments are irrelevant. The fact that he won an open and honest election are unimportant. We should know at this point that the life successes of people of color (and to a lesser degree some women) are always questionable and suspect when viewed through the gaze of Whiteness (and sexism).

2. Naturally, the President should be White. Of course, the leaders of trade and industry should be White. The natural order of things equates being White and male with having natural authority and ability—a set of traits which exist without question or doubt regardless of competence or ability. Whiteness deems the inverse for people of color. As President Obama has learned, by mere fact of his birth, and coincidence of the color of his skin, his legitimacy will always be in doubt.

3. Whiteness equals authority. Thus, any White person, at any time, can question the accomplishments of a person of color. The most mediocre of White people, the sum total of whose life has amounted to 1/100th of President Obama’s successes (or that of other people of color) can feel legitimate in questioning how the latter came to find their “unnatural” position in the social hierarchy. Whiteness is an advantage in the marathon of life.

4. …Whiteness is also the freedom to be utterly unreflective regarding the foolishness and madness of one’s deeds and statements as long as the target of such madness is the Other. The Birthers, Buchanan, Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, Breibart and Beck engage in routine crazy talk. But Whiteness allows them to be taken seriously (at least at first) for White privilege allows the luxury of being utterly unreflective in most things.

5. White privilege is freedom from accountability. Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan, and the rank and file Birther brigands will not face any consequences for their ill deeds in slandering the President of the United States, or for openly fomenting sedition and rebellion against the government of the United States.

6. The Obama birth certificate debacle has exposed how to be truly American a person must be White. This is one of the central unspoken (and widely accepted) truths of race in America….America is a mulatto culture where the majority of black folks (and of course our Native American brothers and sisters) were in the U.S. many decades (if not at least a century) before the great unwashed masses of white ethnics arrived here, Whiteness still imagines African Americans and other people of color as semi-permanent outsiders. In total, to be American is to be Black. The Birthers in their racial heliocentrism—where to be White is to be the center of the world—are repulsed by this fact.

7. White privilege is the ability to be “normal” and “invisible.” Whiteness is never interrogated…Because Whiteness is invisibility it works like chaff to obscure the obvious fact that much of the opposition to President Obama has always been about his race and not about policy. The signs at the Tea Parties are ignored or explained away, the racist emails laughed at and/or minimized as trite and silly, and bigoted White folks who display their bonafides whenever given the opportunity are labeled as outliers.

8. Whiteness is the default position for viewing the world. It is a cognitive map and means of processing reality. The election of Barack Obama upsets this world view.

9. Whiteness is the ability and power to reframe reality. Despite whatever documents or evidence that President Obama may offer to silence the growly, rabid hostility of the Birthers and the White Conservative Soul, the terrain for debate will be continually shifted.

10. White privilege is also surprising. Many black and brown folks (as well as others) have been saying from day one that the opposition to President Obama, and the silliness suggested by the conspiranoid Birthers in particular, have been motivated by racism. Those voices were often silenced and attacked as being too sensitive and wedded to some outmoded notion of political correctness.

(via aka14kgold)

April 19, 2011
Privilege—Recognize It


“I often tell a story about a conversation I observed in a feminist theory seminar that I participated in about a decade ago. A white woman was explaining to a black woman how their common experience of oppression under patriarchy bound them together as sisters. All women, she explained, had the same experience as women, she said. The black woman demurred from quick agreement. “When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror,” she asked the white woman, “what do you see?” “I see a woman,” responded the white woman hopefully. “That’s the problem,” responded the black woman. “I see a black woman. To me race is visible, because it is how I am not privileged in society. Because you are privileged by race, race is invisible to you. It is a luxury, a privilege not to have to think about race every second of your life.” I groaned, embarrassed. And, as the only man in the room, all eyes turned to me. “When I wake up and look in the mirror,” I confessed, “I see a human being. The generic person. As a middle class white man, I have no class, no race and no gender. I’m universally generalizable. I am Everyman.” Lately, I’ve come to think that it was on that day in 1980 that I became a middle class white man, that these categories actually became operative to me. The privilege of privilege is that the terms of privilege are rendered invisible. It is a luxury not to have to think about race, or class, or gender. Only those marginalized by some category understand how powerful that category is when deployed against them.”

Michael S. Kimmel, Ph. D., “Gender Equality: Not for Women Only” (via thepoliticalpartygirl)

Dr. Kimmel is also a blogger for Ms. Magazine, and we’ve never heard someone explain the privilege of privilege so succinctly. Bravo.

(via motherjones)

How many of you are "walking brown" every single day of your lives?  

(Source: politicalpartygirl, via missworded)

April 15, 2011


WTFHellyKitty’s story is making me hate people even more today. 

Okay I need to follow up.  Do not hate people.  Do not hate the women or the dude.  ”Hate” their actions, acknowledge, understand, analyze what they did.

Then use it to learn.  

That’s how we ended up.  We had very heated discussions, some of us breaking down in tears (par for the course I hear), but it was cathartic, cleansing, and enriching despite the pain.  It’s all part of the process.

If this had happened in “regular life” then I would have cried or screamed.  

It truly was a karmic experience for me to see this played out.  And it occured because of the setting.  It was a great exercise for all of us. Even the two ladies and the angry dude.  Hopefully they will finish the other two days of the conference, learn during the workshops, go home and reflect on today’s brouhaha.  

REMEMBER: TALKING ABOUT RACE CAN GET HEAVY AND FEEL SHITTY.  Especially White privilege.  That’s why this stuff needs to happen in a (relatively) safe space, like a lab of sorts, where others can guide us along.  The facilitators were great. It’s about moving past the shit toward authentic understanding and solidarity.  We did end on a somewhat positive note.  Conversations continued afterwards among friends.  

It was White privilege crystallized.

This was only Day 1.  Whoa, what will happen Friday and Saturday?

BTW I am having a special vacation.  I have never stayed in a hotel room—for more than one night—all by myself!  I have one bed for my junk and another to sleep.  And eating dinner with the school teachers, trustees, and Upper School head is…interesting.  Listening to White ladies get tipsy on WAHN is hilarious.

(via frozenbrains-deactivated2011051)

February 25, 2011


This is white privilege.  Period.

I’m going to fucking throw up.

(via colorlines)

February 25, 2011
On Persephone Mag Today:


“¹Becky: noun, adjective – A Becky is a caricature of all the worst examples of ignorance and privilege. A Becky thinks the world is exactly how Becky sees it, and can’t recognize or identify the perspective of someone different than she is. Becky thinks white, middle class, hetero, cis, able-bodied. red-blooded American is the default. “Becky’s” origins are somewhat obscure, but she probably started from the Becky in Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” video, in which Becky was a participant in criticism of a black woman’s body. Becky also appeared as a sock-puppet (a fake or deceptive account in an internet community) on the site, as a way to satirically address the “privilege factor.” Becky was aimed at commenters who often overlooked certain experiences of other commenters’ perspectives (specifically regarding race, power, class, etc.) Becky has since become somewhat of an internet code word, describing the privilege that often comes along with discussions of race, gender, ethnicity-etc. Becky is also not a word that describes only those who are ignorant of their privilege – it describes a way of thinking. It is a way of thinking that despite great education, open-mindedness, certain financial security, world traveling, etc., there is still a worldview that has not evolved, is actually incredibly closed-minded and is also “victim related.” A Becky will get defensive if you call her out on her white, cis, or class privilege. A Becky believes that we are post-racial and that POC just need stop bringing it up or that her white, immigrant ancestors struggled so why couldn’t yours? A Becky is upset when you call her out on her ignorance towards racial, gender, and class perspectives. A Becky thinks it’s unfair to talk about racism without talking about racism towards whites. A Becky acknowledges white guilt and prescribes the remedy as donating to a charity once a year or buying a pair of Tom’s shoes. A Becky is white, hetero-normative, middle to upper class centric and therefore projects this “normalcy” onto all people and just wishes they would pull themselves up by their bootstraps. A Becky likes her gay best friend accessory as just that. A Becky is a caricature of awareness and liberalism and after telling you she voted for Obama, she’ll tell you she just doesn’t understand why Hispanic girls have to be so loud! Beckys are not born, they are made and they are well accepted in most walks of society.”

It Gets Racial Sometimes: A Gal’s Guide To Breaking Down Your Privilege

February 13, 2011


Angelica Kauffmann, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1781. Oil on canvas, 130 x 102 cm. Frankfurter Goethe-Museum, Frankfurt

Note the lambent white skin of the sitter, Tumblr.
It was probably painted using crushed up, stolen dead bodies.
During the 18th century, mummy brown was a prized pigment as it apparently gave a certain glow when used to paint flesh. The trope of whiteness = purity was still held during this period (and probably always will, thanks to white supremacism and classism). Since the pigment was imported from North Africa, there was also an element of conspicuous consumption - high-so women would want to be painted using expensive pigments such as lead white and mummy brown. Good quality, real mummy brown from Egyptian mummies were distinguished by their strong garlicky odour - so along with all the other paints and mediums and varnishes, these paintings were probably quite pungent.
It just makes you wonder, doesn’t it, about how beauty is bought on the backs of others…

boldness added.



Angelica Kauffmann, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1781. Oil on canvas, 130 x 102 cm.
Frankfurter Goethe-Museum, Frankfurt

Note the lambent white skin of the sitter, Tumblr.

It was probably painted using crushed up, stolen dead bodies.

During the 18th century, mummy brown was a prized pigment as it apparently gave a certain glow when used to paint flesh. The trope of whiteness = purity was still held during this period (and probably always will, thanks to white supremacism and classism). Since the pigment was imported from North Africa, there was also an element of conspicuous consumption - high-so women would want to be painted using expensive pigments such as lead white and mummy brown. Good quality, real mummy brown from Egyptian mummies were distinguished by their strong garlicky odour - so along with all the other paints and mediums and varnishes, these paintings were probably quite pungent.

It just makes you wonder, doesn’t it, about how beauty is bought on the backs of others…

boldness added.

(Source: torayot)

February 11, 2011
Black History: The First White Whine



When the British parliament usurped a Right to dispose of our Property without our consent we dissolved the Union with our parent country and established a …government of our own. We risked our Lives and Fortunes, and waded through Seas of Blood…we understand a very subtle and daring attempt is made to dispossess us of a very important Part of our Property…TO WREST US FROM OUR SLAVES, by and act of Legislature for general emancipation.

It is unsupported by Scripture. For we find in the Old Testament…slavery was permitted by the Deity himself… It is also exceedingly impolitic. For it involves in it, and is productive of Want, Poverty, Distress, and Ruin to FREE citizens, Neglect, Famine and Death to the black Infant…The Horrors of all Rapes, Murders, and Outrages which a vast multitude of unprincipled unpropertied, revengeful and remorseless Banditti are capable of perpetrating…sure and final Ruin to this now flourishing free and happy Country.

We solemnly adjure and humbly pray that you will discountenance and utterly reject every motion and proposal for emancipating our slaves.

And you Petitioners shall ever pray, …

A petition from the Virginia Delegates to the Constitution Convention, c. 1784

No sooner was White privilege established in this country than White folks began to worry it would be taken away.

It strikes me how even today the tenor underlying a lot of objections to policies that would benefit people of color (affirmative Action, immigration policy, public education reform etc.) is anxiety and exaggeration regarding the disruption it would pose to the status quo.

Simply put: some folks don’t want to share. Deep down they recorgnize that in a capitalist society with free and fair competition there will be haves and have-nots. Their greatest fear is that if other folks are given the same advantages they have they might end up as the have-nots. And so they back up their attempts to establish a permanent heirarchy (with themselves on top) with doubts and warnings and hand-wringing over the supposed fate of the Nation. Same as it ever was.


January 24, 2011


For those who claim they’ve never experienced white privilege…


(submitted by haleysunshine via stuffwhitepeopledo)

Some examples which might jog your memory:

  • As I walked around in several stores today, I never felt self-conscious about my race.
  • I never felt outnumbered by people of a different race.
  • As I drove down the highway at my usual ten miles per hour over the speed limit, I never worried that my race could make me a more likely target for a ticket.
  • As I drove through small towns on my lengthy commute to work, I never felt a need to remind myself that some of them were, until quite recently, sundown towns, and that most or all of them still weren’t exactly welcoming to people who are not the same color as me.
  • When I cut my finger while cooking tonight, the bandages that I’d hastily grabbed from a grocery store shelf pretty much matched the color of my skin.
  • When I spoke with a white colleague about the extra and excessive scrutiny that a recent black job candidate had received compared to the white ones, my claims were met with skepticism, but I never felt that my own race further discredited what I was saying. I realized that instead, it did the opposite.
  • As I thought about the conversation afterward, I realized that I have never faced the many stress-inducing trials that a successful black job candidate would face in my workplace—and that in fact, my whiteness continually paves a smoother, less stressful path before me as I navigate that workplace.
  • Throughout the day and into the evening, no negative incidents occurred that made me wonder if what happened had something to do with my race.
  • When I had dinner at a multiracial gathering, I never felt self-conscious in racial terms about which foods I should eat.
  • When I arrived late for that gathering, I didn’t worry about whether my lateness was a bad reflection on me in terms of my racial status.
  • As I conversed with my friends, I never worried if anything about my manner of speaking or the words and phrases that I used might reflect badly on me in terms of race.
  • As I sat in my car alone on a quiet street at night, waiting for some friends to emerge from a house, I never worried that my race could make me a potential target for harassment by police.
  • As I sat in my car alone on a quiet street at night, I realized that if I had encountered the police at any point during the day, the law enforcement official would probably have been a member of my own race. Even if he or she had not been, I would be likely to trust that person to deal with me fairly and respectfully, and I would not have worried in either case that my race would put me at risk in the encounter.
  • As I now head for bed, I realize that I’ll probably sleep better than I would if I were not white, having had that much less of a stressful day.

(via mytongueisforked)

January 20, 2011
How Do You Guys Do It?

How do you folks who have privileged blind relatives deal with it?  Someone is trying to re-educate me.  He is not a blood relative but is close to my family, an “uncle” let’s say.  I sent him my post, a personal tale, about MLK Jr. day. He has been debating with me via email that I “did not benefit directly from MLK Jr.”, that it was a result of my parents’ Tiger Parenting.  

No, I will not say STFU.  I do not have the luxury of youth or single hood to do that.  His initial email with his rambling arguments amused me at first.  I responded directly, tore down each argument point by point.  His response was to send me Amy Chua’s WSJ story. 

And now I am feeling low.  This feeling will pass I know.  I know what is the truth.  But truth isn’t a warm fuzzy blanket when there is no one in my immediate real life who supports my beliefs, beyond my second born son.

I’m not good at being the lone wolf at this moment.  No need for internet hugs, just needed to vent.

BUT I must give you tumblr people a hearty thanks for making me strong, for validating that what I’ve known all along is indeed truth.

January 14, 2011
White Privilege In Action


So, I think I mentioned before that I’m on a committee of med&law students who organized a series of talks and panels for MLK Day.  We’ve had a different topic every day this week (today is the Native American panel I helped plan!).  Yesterday, there was a panel discussion on whiteness.  The conversation was decent, if a bit superficial.  The panelists were discussing the question of whether white Americans are at a disadvantage from not having a strong sense of racial identity.  One of the panelists made a point about how from a certain perspective, they don’t need a point of racial solidarity in the way that oppressed minorities do, but that for individuals who crave a sense of ethnic identity beyond “American,” they can and do identify with whatever their European heritage is (she said it better; I’m just paraphrasing).  So, when it comes time for audience questions, a white woman behind me raises her hand and proceeds to first inform us that she grew up in a black neighborhood and her dad worked with the Black Panthers, and then to whine that whites do need a concrete identity because she knows more about black culture than lots of black people, and white people get mad, and black people are like “who are you?” when she’s at bus-stops on the west side, and what is her identity?!  The panelists attempted to address her question, but she just wouldn’t let it drop, personally sucking up 50% of the time allotted for questions.  I was just about to raise my hand and tell her about herself when the moderator asked us to move on, so I didn’t.  But it was really the perfect display of whiteness to drive home all of the points that had been made.  She didn’t even recognize how privileged she was to choose to learn about a culture other than her own, when racial minorities are forced to learn about history and culture from a white perspective.  And then she wanted cookies for it.  As a black classmate of mine summed it up afterward, “OOOh, she got the side eye.  That’s all I can say.  Side eye.”

Oh man, Sci Girl I am so freaking glad you are on that committee.  This has happened in so many different situations, so many scenarios.  These Beckys think it’s reverse discrimination, but they know not to utter that phrase out loud.  When Kong-Kong’s school started its MILEstones group, a student group for POC kids, there were loud grumblings about “why don’t we have a White culture group?”

(via tsg2011-deactivated20120319)

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