2.20.2012

Necessary Conversations

Following Jenny Hyun's racist outburst, a very wise person suggested we stop reading what that waste of oxygen has to say and instead focus on how "the community reacted to her shit". I figured it's worth sharing the following frank conversations on solidarity, mostly seen on (or via) Tumblr with this post.

Based on past comments here, I feel the need to clarify...if you're in any way uncomfortable with the words, 'bitch', 'fuck' or similar, and if you're privileged enough to believe that violence should not be met with violence*, it's probably best if you skipped this post. I'd really appreciate it too if any comments focus on the topic at hand, which in case I need to spell it out is intra-POC racism and solidarity.

I apologise beforehand for the length of this post.

I'll start by quoting this excellent post by jhameia, not only because jhameia is awesome but also because it generated a huge response.
I know I was gonna go all STOMP THE BITCH and UGH EAST ASIANS WHY U SO RACIST LIDDAT and RARR DIAF but the other Big Thing about this is that there is already so much tension between black and East Asian communities, and black and Asian communities in the first place. I’m thinking anti-black bullshit like the horrid racist against Lou Jing in 2009 and other personal things I’ve seen people say on the ground, like an aunt in England criticizing black people during the London riots and my mom reacting really negatively against the idea of my dating a black (and NDN) person.

Incidents like these hurt anti-racism. How can Asians ever expect black people to trust them when so many Asians are willing to spout anti-black racism? And without that trust, what, really, is the potential for a black-Asian alliance to fight racism?

And when everyone else just keeps silent, from corporations to Asian k-pop fans, it’s just another message to black people that our yellow skins are more important and we really didn’t care about this anti-racism thing after all, because fighting it in our own communities by ourselves is just too damn difficult.

Because omg we can totes do it ourselves right? We can totally find our own theory of resistance and enact it, and totally ignore the long Asian-black history of sharing resistance modes. We can disavow our histories of racism that’s intimately intertwined with blackness because we are Asians therefore have Our Own Unique Historical Experience with white supremacy and we can totes do it ignoring what black people have done for generations.

[....]

Well that’s great Jenny Hyun. I’m glad that you managed to get yourself some new friends and followers who adore you for being “so brave” in “expressing your opinion”.  Thanks for eroding further the trust black people could have had for Asians in fighting racism, thanks for taking a shit on any solidarity we could have had, thanks for kicking aside the long history of black-Asian alliances, thanks for participating in white supremacy efforts to divide POC.

In short, thanks for nothing, you racist little fuck. I hope you get cast aside and drug in the dirt and insulted like you just did AN ENTIRE RACE OF HUMAN BEINGS. [The other thing that hurts about this Jenny Hyun thing]
*~*
The thing that makes me completely uninterested in “diasporic Asian” identity/community/solidarity is that I’ve been called a black shit and the n-word to my face.

Most Asians who want to be upwardly mobile, get ahead in politics, dominate“lead” their communities, etc. are perfectly happy to deny that this can even happen. Because we’re so different from black people. Because they’re very happy to say that Asian cultures are so much better, more “civilised”, so much more “educated” than black peoples. (And I don’t just mean African-descended people, but that this anti-blackness is targeted at Aboriginal, Pacific Islander, and Asian peoples who’ve been designated and identify as black.) This attitude is pretty much replicating (in my case) Brahmin supremacy over indigenous and dalit people in South Asia, and Indian racial privilege over black peoples in pretty much every place that Indians migrated/were transported to during the British empire. Because they are so different from us. We’re practically white, just look at how well we fit in. And if you don’t fit in, then have fun under that bus, cos nobody’s gonna even recognise you, let alone address your needs.

This happened all the time when Indian international students were protesting about being regular targets for racist violence and abuse. The “community leaders” declared it impossible because Indians are so well-regarded in Australia, and placated the cops and politicians who blamed the victims. There was a strong undercurrent of “there’s no way white people would dare treat us like they do Aboriginal people, we’re all so rich and genteel”.

[...]

This is why I personally feel that it’s more effective to start from the point of combating anti-black racism. The anti-racist activities of so many groups of people who have relative racial privilege so often descends into protecting and enhancing that privilege, or bemoaning lack of access to privilege, rather than addressing racism. There’s a lot of work to be done before “why aren’t we seen as equal with white people,” coming from Asian people, can be something other than a bid for privilege. [Ardhra]
*~*
Vietnamese person here. My parents immigrated from Vietnam to America to escape the rampant communism over there. They are literally boat people. What I noticed since I was young, was that my parents distrusted a lot of POC who didn’t have stereotypical Asian slanted eyes. 

You know how parents would sometimes give meaningless threats to get us to do stuff? Such as “buckle your seat belt or the police will get you!” or “If you don’t eat your vegetables you’ll never grow up!” Well my parents use to tell me that if I did something bad a  mỹ đen would get me.  Mỹ đen is usually a derogatory term for an American Black person. Which is weird as shit considering the a lot of south east Asians are dark or tan.


Seriously, they would tell me shit like “If you don’t take a bath a black person will get you” “Don’t talk to that black person over there!”

They treated Black and Hispanic people so different to how they treated white people.  


[...]

Fuck all this Asian/Black hate. Fuck Jenny Hyun. 


#asian people against Jenny Hyun [Outspoken Views]
*~*
I wish I had the time/energy to write about my experiences with anti-Blackness in my family. I wish, but here is a little bit. (this is also why I never second guess or doubt Black people when they say they don’t trust Asians, there is very little reason too).

1. My dad hated Black people. For real. He actually kicked my sister out of the house for dating a Black guy.
2. I have a Black aunt and, thusly, mixed Black and Filipin@ cousins. You should *hear* the way the rest of my family talks about them (hint: ghetto this and ghetto that. Framing my aunt as a lazy, deceitful woman. Etc.). I miss a lot ‘cause I don’t understand Tagalog but I’ve talked with my cousins and know how they feel about it.
3. When my family found out that my mom re-married a Black man… Um… I’m sure you can guess. (they are divorced now).
[...]
These reasons are also why I’ll continue to work to decolonize my mind of any anti-Blackness that still exists (how could it not? Growing up in such an environment and living in this world). [Satifice]
As there were many people calling out Hyun's foolishness, there were just as many voices calling for 'calm'. I won't be linking to any of them here, rather to reactions their bullshit
Hey, Asian people who are telling everyone else to calm down?
I don’t want to appropriate anger here, so I’m going to lay out the facts as dispassionately as possible:
  • Jenny Hyun called for the genocide of black people. Even if you understand where she’s coming from and why her tirade was sparked off in the first place, there is no excuse for wishing genocide on any race. It is a monstrous thing to say. It is indefensible.
  • Frankly, if you understand where she’s coming from, you must know a lot of it stems from a grossly racist place. There is no excuse for that either.
  • Of course black people are hurt and angry. They have been told that they are less than human, that they deserve to be exterminated purely based on the colour of their skin and the awful stereotypes associated with that.
  • If they are lashing out, it is for good reason. Telling them to stifle that anger is telling them to stifle their own hurt. It is telling them to take their anger somewhere else so it doesn’t discomfit you. Maybe you didn’t intend for that, but that’s what it looks like.
  • It is not for us to tell them what to do with their anger. [Jiggit]
jhameia also personally did some calling out, I've italicised the offending party's words

I have nothing against black people…but sometimes I think they take things to the next level.
Everything black people does goes to the next level because apparently they are supposed to only stay at a lower level all the time. The moment they assert equality they’re “taking things to the next level.” 
THIS IS WHAT EQUALITY LOOKS LIKE.
Now you go sit down in the corner and REALLY think about “having nothing against black people” when you so clearly resent them having a damn opinion about the racism they face. I mean, seriously, a racist bigot literally called for their extermination. What the shit is wrong with you that you can’t recognize how fucking awful it is? Or at least, you can’t just ACKNOWLEDGE IT, and let people get angry about it?  
[...]
Because this just gets a whole lot of hate, if she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about all the hate, then why bother wasting your breath? No point. 
Mofo this shit is not just about her, individually. She’s just saying what a lot of other racists think about black people. She is by no means the only one. She’s just a symptom. She’s not an individual just spouting off something off-colour; she learned this hatefulness from somewhere, and learned that she’ll never really be punished for this kind of hatefulness. Why else would she say it and deal with all the hate she just got? This ain’t just for her, fool; this is for ANYBODY ELSE who might have the damn nonsense mindset to think that it’s remotely okay to THINK THAT WISHING GENOCIDE ON PEOPLE IS OKAY. [Jhameia]
Some other notable mentions;


I’m not surprised at all that this happened. It’s no secret that East Asians (my family included) are among the POC groups that spout the most anti-black rhetoric. White supremacy puts us near the top of the racial totem pole and throws us scraps like calling us “the model minority,” “the other white meat,” and pretends to treat us as slightly more human than anyone else whose skin is darker than ours. All which, of course, drives us to put down black people while we strive to maintain our false spot at the top. Centuries of cultural imperialism have conditioned us to believe that white is the color to be, white is the state to attain, and in order to achieve whiteness, we must trample over anyone standing in our way.

Hyun is a product of everything I’ve rambled about in the above paragraph. She’s racist, she’s ignorant, she’s this she’s that, and most importantly she needs to get her ass kicked. 
It’s non-black POC like her that prevent POC solidarity from becoming a real, true thing. And I am sorry for it. [Spicy Obsession]
*~*
My APIA folks- this shouldn’t be hard to understand as totally wrong. Not just her on twitter, but when we see it in other spaces. Yeah, it can feel scary calling it out in person, but it is important we start changing our own communities…

We are POC too, and it’s ok. We aren’t white. No matter how ‘white’ we try to be- ESPN is still gonna call folks like us ‘chink’ (see post from earlier today). So let’s stop perpetuating this anti-black/dark-is-bad framework we have inherited from the same racist folks who have kept our communities under attack for centuries. [Real Life Documentarian]
*~*
Jenny Hyun isn’t just some random racist asshole; she’s a product of a whole system and culture of racism that affects our world. She’s hired by a big corporation that tolerates her hatred because they see no way her racism could hurt them, like it hurts black people. In fact, I’d say her employers (and everyone who willingly associates with her) accept her hateful bigotry, because it’s damn acceptable to hate black people generally. [Jhameia]
There was just so much discussion on Tumblr over the weekend, I'd love to quote every single person who posted regarding this issue on my dash but this post is long enough already.

On Saturday, 'race scholar' Dr. Sarah Jackson tweeted on the shared history of Black and Asians in the USA and beyond. Dr. Jackson's tweets are collected in this post; Black-Asian solidarity in the wake of today's racist events. Some of her tweets will not be news to long-time readers of the Blasian Narrative, including the fact that "Africa, the Middle East, and Asia had advanced trade and education networks among each other before they were ever 'discovered'" and that "Asian Americans played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement".

Again, I really appreciated jhameia's response to the compilation of Dr. Sarah Jackson's tweets.
On the one hand, yes, absolutely, we need to remember the histories of black and Asian peoples working together in cooperation, that we benefited from relationships with each other long before white supremacists came to fuck shit up and before many Asians started drinking the whiteness Kool-Aid. We need to remember those histories because they give us a point of reference to move forward with, and also to help us envision what solidarity looks like.

But.

I also feel it’s necessary to recognize the systemic privilege that Asians benefit from, even as it’s from a Model Minority position, especially those of us who are of East Asian descent (and as ardhra reminded us yesterday, those of us who are upwardly mobile and affluent). Not just within the U.S./Canada, but elsewhere as well, where in Asian countries, black peoples face racism, and colorism/shadism further complicate and drive in the divides. There’s room for both sets of conversations, right? [Jhameia]
While I largely agree with most of the above, I'm keeping personal opinions low because I still have so much to process. Right now my thoughts are pretty much in a garbled mess. If I were to attempt making some sense out of them,

1) I'm recalling the advent of 'Stuff White Supremacist Desis Say', how I appreciated the blog even though I'm obviously not Desi. At the same time I found it telling that it is the Black and Latin@ folks that face the brunt of discrimination and offensive comments from white supremacist Desis. I still feel that 'Desis' could be interchanged with almost any other ethnicity or nationality, it is pretty obvious that 'divide and conquer' strategies have done their job.
2) For a few months now I have been reading commentary from Africans who have decided to take it upon themselves to advise us on how we should progress and move the continent forward. Their arguments are mostly the same, it is not so much about self-sufficiency and development, rather it is 'if we Africans want to be as respected in the eyes of the white man as the Asians are blah blah blah'. Arguments like that infuriate me because they implicitly accept that hierarchy that has put Africans at the bottom, and they encourage us to compete with Asians in the name of gaining recognition from the 'superior' white folks. Because as we all know, the Chinese, Japanese and other Asians are so esteemed in the eyes of white people and for us Africans to matter, we should become like them so that the white people would respect us. Seriously, how the fuck do they even come up with these arguments. Do they even understand what they are saying?

I think on a somewhat positive note, dissecting and trying to understand this mentality led to a lively discussion with the amazing Adeline Koh. IIRC Adeline mentioned that some of the people who give such arguments have travelled to China to study what I know as 'the Chinese development model' and that this is usually funded by the Chinese government. I must add that I've studied the Chinese developmental model and still can't agree with such arguments as they reek of colonial mentality.

I am still learning a lot on post colonialism and all that's related to it. The more I learn the angrier I become, and when I say 'angry' I actually mean 'less patient with ignorance' and 'no longer necessarily willing to give certain people the benefit of doubt'. I appreciated the people from various Asian backgrounds who seized the opportunity to sincerely talk about anti-Black sentiments within Asian communities and to call for Black+Asian solidarity.

While there are people who may not want to hear such conversations, I believe paying notice and addressing issues is the first step towards exorcising them. And racism is something that needs to be exorcised.

* If you don't get why spouting non-violence rhetoric is a privilege I recommend reading and learning more about Arundhati Roy. Ugh, since this entire post is comprised of quotes, I may as well,
Guerrillas use violence, generally directed against the police and army, but sometimes causing injury and death to civilians caught in the crossfire. Does she condemn that violence? “I don’t condemn it any more,” she says. “If you’re an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.” [Guardian UK]

26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Ditto. I bow to you, Eccentric Yoruba. Excellent.

      Delete
  2. Awesome post. I am thrilled you addressed this. I made myseld read this mindless, despicable hate she posted on Twitter. My first reaction was she is literally BEGGING for her ass to be kicked. This....broad had the audacity to suggest that myself and the entire Black race be exterminate. I felt outraged, angry, sad and violated all at the same time. I haven't faces that kind of hate and I was born and raised in Mississippi. She is an Asian version of Hitler. And for others to say calm down, please stop. I have friends who weren't Black or Asian who were completely appalled by whay Hyun said. One of them stated ever so eloquently said, "let's ride on this bitch!" I don't advocate violence at all, but I almost agreed with my friend. There is NO place in society for that kind of vile rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with this post, I absolutely love it. These things needed to be said and I appreciate the many different responses all while unifying on the central topic of her (I will not waste time typing her name) racist rampage. I am seriously thinking of taking a step back and deciding whether or not (which group(s) and their companies) I should boycott. I cannot and will not support anyone who excuses her ideologies and thought processes. I really like SNSD however, I have already been against SM Entertainment because they are notorious for their "slave contracts" among other issues. So, this just tacks the final nail in the coffin for SM. I will continue to support Bi (Rain), Se7en, Jay Park, SHINee, and others who have proven themselves to be open to all ethnicities. Well done EccentricYoruba! <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had a few typos in my post, forgive me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this fucking post. I'm thinking of dumping my man and marrying it instead. No jokes this time because as painful as the truth is, the ability to see through deception is key to our survival as a species and as a people. Choosing to live in kumbaya-land isn't beneficial to any of us.

    We need to face this ugly reality, beat it to a pulp and then do our damnedest to become better human beings. I often want to smack people who claim they don't have a racist or discriminatory bone in their bodies and that they were somehow born with this openness, universal love and honesty. Oh really?

    Am I to believe that racism or at the very least discrimination and prejudice aren't insidious thought processes that need to be overcome through hard work, education and constant vigilance? Fantasies are abound, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      I was getting the feeling that people - esp. these young netizens - think that by signing an online petition and voicing outrage is going to save the world. Um...no. You have to dredge up the bitter and ugly, and you have to do the back-breaking work.

      This is one of the reasons why I built the Narrative to focus on sociology, culture, and history. A lot of younger people think that by strictly posting pics, making videos, and talking about relationship dynamics they will make Afro-Asiatic relations thrive - no. It's more than that. We have to talk about it all - the good, the bad, the ugly, the entertaining, and the academic.

      We have to know where we all came from and what our predecessors went through before we can make informed decisions about our future.

      Delete
  6. And also, I'd like to add that SM will probably not fire or punish her because her logic is very common among Korean companies and their artists. In fact, in the very group under fire, Tiffany from SNSD was in a scandal for making racist comments concerning Black women. So, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. SME is one of the BIGGEST music companies in Korea so they have their cunning ways of getting out of situations that do not make them comfortable. They control everything from the ratings on shows to how many albums sell. They are the backbone that holds Kpop together. I sincerely doubt that with their own abusive manipulative history that they will get rid of her. She will bring them money so why drop her? All they care about is money and the "well being and approval of the Korean people" through the "whites' eyes". They probably share her views too. (as was stated in above somewhere).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i know what you mean but i have to say that the girl in question is ctually Teayon she is the one that made the comment

      Delete
    2. No, it was Teayon and Tiffany. Tiffany make a comment about black people way before Teayon did, but everybody only knows about the second one because she said it on a radio show and it was about a famous black woman. Also, she's more popular than the other girls and Tiffany's comments happened before they became big stars outside of Korea. It's the reason why I'm not a fan of snsd. Tiffany has been spewing her anti-black rhetoric all over the place since she stepped into the spotlight and no other member or sm has stepped in to stop her.

      Delete
    3. *made* a comment

      Delete
  7. After such a cruddy weekend on the internet, I'm happy to see that there are some folks out there who just plain get it. Thank you for posting this. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Leo Princess

      This post literally made me cry. Not because of the racism that sparked the conversation but because of the people who just get it and understand the the situation is much bigger than that woman's trainwreck. It is really a breathe of fresh air although I do realize that a lot of work needs to be done.

      You all are probably aware of this site. It hasn't received many updates but it still is refreshing to see. The site's purpose:

      "This is for Oakland residents, especially its black and Asian residents. The images presented here are a gesture to our shared humanity, our need to come closer before we are undone by taking sides."

      http://huggingasians.com/photos.html

      Delete
  8. I failed to mention something extremely important, EccentricYoruba. Please thank all of the Asian people who stepped up to the plate to air this dirty laundry for all of us to see. I especially appreciate those who backed up their sentiments by sharing their family stories.

    I have no idea how my family feels about Asian people because we've always lived on different sides of the tracks. The Asians lived on right side with the "whites" and we (Blacks and Indigenous) lived on the wrong side. They were not a part of our consciousness then and I can't say they'd be there now if I hadn't fallen for Mr. H and moved to Asia. At best, my family must be apathetic towards Asian-Americans. I suspect most of their time is spent trying to survive the mess "white" folks put them through at work. As far as I know, my blood family's Asian sensibilities don't extend beyond the family Mr. H and I created. About 10 years ago, Hispanics joined us on the "wrong" side of the tracks, so... the family hides "illegal" residents.

    For me personally, with the exception of two Chinese-American females in my high school who definitely thought Black people were balls of shit and one Korean-American guy who only associated with Blacks when no one else was around, I didn't have a single opportunity to know any Asian-American people until I moved to Japan. Believe me when I say that Japanese-Americans are happy to meet my Black butt because they have NO privilege here. Even in undergraduate school, I only attracted non-American Asian males.

    Truthfully, in an effort to be honest with myself and with all of you, I wasn't particularly thinking about Asian-American people at all. Despite not having direct contact with them, I couldn't help but notice how they often stood for "whiteness" in the media. We can't deny that America's mainstream media is Satan's right hand man. They sure as hell know how to implement a divide and conquer strategy.

    As I realist, I know that most of us will never be kinfolk. Alas, unless we actively work towards overcoming our base prejudices, we'll never reach our full potential as a species. Mottainai... what a waste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Truthfully, in an effort to be honest with myself and with all of you, I wasn't particularly thinking about Asian-American people at all. Despite not having direct contact with them, I couldn't help but notice how they often stood for "whiteness" in the media. We can't deny that America's mainstream media is Satan's right hand man. They sure as hell know how to implement a divide and conquer strategy."

      Bread and Circus.....Feed them fast Food and shove racist crap down their throats who can lead a nation. Blame the media..in America media rules the nation.

      And For Jen to call out mass Genocide of black people..did they not teach her about the mass killings in WW2 by the Imperial Japan. So you think that she'll connect genocide with Nanking and Japanese Occupation of Korea. so she'll be kind not even think about degrading a race of people.

      But think about where this is coming from. A bombardment of white culture. I mean look at their media..the Eastern media will think of white rather than black. Like you can see it in their billboards, anime and TV. It filled with white and asian.

      So blame the West for this mess.

      Delete
  9. Eccentricyoruba,

    You have written a lot of great eye opening posts,but this is your great work. I applaud you for this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^THIS. She has written some very phenomenal educational articles that have sparked such informative conversations but this one was the icing on the cake. She truly has outdone herself this time. I thank her because had her articles not been written or if this Narrative had not been created, I'd still be very ignorant of a lot of things.

      Delete
    2. Eccentricyoruba,

      You have really outdone yourself with this post! I'm speechless. AMAZING!

      Delete
  10. *Jaw drop and slow clap* This was mind blowing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There are days when I think may folks live ONLY in there heads. Its never a good thing...at all.
    Mind blowing piece.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good stuff EY - I read all the comments you cited on tumblr. Nice to see them here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mad respect to you for this post. Thank you for telling the truth and shaming the devil to tears.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent post! ::does Orson Welles clap::

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am floored! It was raining elbows from the sky! *cheers*

    ReplyDelete
  16. I as a black woman am extremely touched to see so many Asian bloggers/netizens/tweeters sharing such honest, pure thoughts. I've always felt a quiet but intense animosity just underneath the surface/behind closed doors between Blacks and Asians. We're all POC and we don't benefit from this system of racism - we would fight it more efficiently if we weren't so busy fighting each other. Many trips to Asian owned beauty supply stores are nerve wracking and Black people come out feeling dirty and angry from employees' eyes following our every move waiting for us to steal something. But in my experience, Black people perpetuate it too, in private conversations in my family Asians are often this monolithic Other that supposedly takes up resources/space in schools and panders to white people. Black people throw around c-words and any number of slurs referring to Asians freely (so stupid! We understand how painful it is to be called an n-word, why turn around and do the same thing to others?!). A black woman will get looked at like she is insane if she says she finds an Asian attractive or if she points out/criticizes racism towards Asians in the media (I get told it is a waste of energy, that "they hate us so why do you pay attention to them"). It's all very sad and disheartening so I too shed more than a few tears reading so many open hearted posts about what happens between our communities, in the open and in private. Thank you to everyone who posted about this and especially thank you to eccentricyoruba for compiling these quotes. I have so much more hope now for the possibility of increased solidarity between communities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Kari

      Thank you for acknowledging that there is a problem between African-American and Asian-American POC. Pretending this nastiness doesn't exist doesn't do either side any good. We can't "get passed this" by ignoring it. We must air this dirty laundry by getting it out in the open, beating the shit out of it and doing some house-cleaning. African-Americans and Asian-Americans need to wake the hell up!

      Delete

Comments are no longer accepted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.