An Asian American Diary
|I've identified myself as, an "Asian-American" for my entire life. But what does that really mean?
Since my relationship with my now-boyfriend began deepening, I have had the opportunity to examine my cultural identity through our differences and our interactions, exploring and cherishing the nuances of the human experience as a young Chinese woman in a relationship with a non-Chinese boyfriend.
This is my story. (Read: it's not just the Joy Luck Club, v2.)
This is my journey, my exploration.
This is my Asian American diary.
|Me:||[shares and rants about an image that was described as a "pretty geisha, deadly geisha," but in actuality bears no resemblance to traditional clothing worn by geisha, and is more a homogenized, ambiguously Asian costume with strong sexual overtones]|
|Me:||[I become] really irritated when privileged white girls [from unnamed online community] only want to take the shiny, sparkly bits of other cultures, but they don't want to take the ugly and dehumanizing parts of [minority/POC] cultures: the oppression and the self-image issues, colonization and loss of land and tradition. They treat other cultures like it's some kind of costume and 'phase of the day.' It's incredibly insulting.|
|Him:||People always take the most attractive things that have come from a certain subset. I'm not saying it's right, but it is the way things from other cultures are taken in by outsiders, generally.|
|Me:||You're right; it's not right. It's annoying, and it's racist.|
|Him:||I know. I'm Italian, and what's the main image you see of italians when you see them on TV? It's guido gangsters in suits carrying tommyguns, or it's Snookie and the Situation on MTV.|
|Him:||There's always going to be some measure of racism in society, no matter how hard you try to eliminate it. There will never be a time when people are simply 'people', regardless of where they came from or what language they speak or what they look like, because it's one of the baser instincts of humans to isolate those things that are different. I personally think the best way to combat what I'd term "passive racism" - where people are making insensitive comments because they simply don't get it - is to be proactive about portraying your race in a positive light in the same venues as those who may be passively insulting it.|
|Me:||I understand that there may never be a day when there is no racism. However, I believe that when people make insensitive comments like that, it's because they don't understand why it's racist, insensitive, wrong, etc. Even though it may be uncomfortable, I believe that it's important to educate others about why their "harmless stereotype" is NOT harmless.|
|Him:||*nods* I agree, honey. Passive racism is no more acceptable than blatant racism.|
|Me:||There are origins and connotations to these terms and these stereotypes when they are used. When you use that term, you carry all of that baggage with it and perpetuate the use of that term and the stereotypes. Maybe some people don't stop using it. I accept that I can't change the world. But just because I can't change the world, doesn't mean I can't try - that I can't set out to educate others, to give voice to my opinion and to the history of the phrases and terms that people can sometimes use so carelessly. If I can make someone think twice about using [these terms/these stereotypes] again in the future - me, I'd count that as progress.|