I was recently asked on Tumblr, “what went through your mind…[when] the asian students went with the black students to the party and helped them shut that shit down.”
The Tumblr user was referring to a scene in recently released “Dear White People”, a satirical movie boldly discussing the relevance of race in America. For context, a racist Halloween Party was being held on a college campus. As a result, students of color were outraged and united together to shut down the party. In the scene specifically, Asian-American students were shown amongst the side of their Black peers, collectively working together to reject the turn-up of ignorance.
To answer the question of what my thoughts were on this, I thought of something along the lines of “Aww shiet. represent”.
Prior to that scene, students met up for an emergency Black Student Union meeting, it was here an Asian-American Student suggested mobilizing a RAZA and Asian-American student organization to shut down the racist Halloween Party. These scenes holds much symbolic significance because they reinforce the solidarity and unity people of color have with one another. Throughout history, the dominant perspective has been of a conflicting narrative when people of color are pitted against one another. However, this time it’s different for once. This time the headline reads, “Hey, we got each-others backs “ and this time, it’s on the big screen.
Solidarity amongst people of color has been going on long before the term people of color was even coined. Though my initial thought of the shutting-the-party-down scene was limited, the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was what American Screens needed to show more of. I realized that the scene evoked instances of struggle and unity throughout history and instances of solidarity amongst the struggling. The instances that were not often told in our school history books.
It reminded me of when: Japanese and Mexican Farm Workers rallied up for better wages and working conditions (1903);
When the United Farm Workers Union was founded by Filipina/o and Latina/o organizers, the first and largest farmers union in the States (1962);
When Yuri Kochiyama held Malcolm X’s head in grievance upon his assassination during the Civil Rights Movement (1965)
When Asian-American and Chicana/o and Latina/o organizers backed up the Black Panthers, mobilizing to Free Huey P. Newton (1968)
When students of color mobilized in creation of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), a movement that led to the establishment of the nation’s first college of Ethnic Studies (1968);
When my peers and I were student organizers at UC Berkeley, and in times of need, could count on our student of color allies. When there was police brutality during the emergence of Occupy Cal, when we responded to a Racist “Diversity” Bake Sale with “The Affirmation”, when we rolled deep into Senate Chambers in outrage of when a "decoration" of a brown dummy was hung with a noose at a Fraternity Halloween Party.
Now, Halloween’s a day away. I’m really hoping there aren’t any instances of Blackface especially on issues of homicide and domestic abuse. I’m hoping that there won’t be any racist and stereotypical caricaturing. And I’m definitely hoping there won’t be anything resembling “Bloods and Crips” and “Compton Cookout” themed parties.
Let’s get it right—because as long as racist Halloween Parties are being held, there’ll be racism in America. Except, this party is gonna be held around all year. Now that’s scary.