Margaret Cho and Bruce Daniels discuss how hatred between Koreans and Black people needs to end.
I have decided to write about the Cho article as we didn’t get to speak about that as much in class. I was very interested in the way the author approaches the term “diaspora”, emerging in relationship to power. For folks separated in time and space from the processes causing displacement, diaspora is a “mode of theorization which enables connections between traumas of colonialism even as it marks displacement” (Cho, 13). While the term diaspora provides vocabulary in understanding the sense of loss, often from a point of reference that is hard to name, it was enlightening to read Cho’s definition of diaspora as being a subjective experience, and unpacking the concept of diasporic consciousness. I feel like the discussion on diaspora is often focussed on the “vertical” aspect of the term, being understood through histories of displacement, but there is not as much discussion on how diasporas are constructed through “relations of difference with one another” (Hall, 229). Thus, the term “zionism” has different meanings when applied to Israeli and Africana people. While this term has been used by both diasporic communities, Jewish zionism cannot be divorced from Israeli apartheid, and displacement and oppression of Palestinians. On the other hand, Black communities seek affirmation from the term: “a stolen Africa [is] sung as lost Zion in Jamaican rhythms on the sidewalks of Eastern Parkway” (Cho, 17).
The lateral aspects of the subjectivity of diaspora are best understood through “genealogies of diaspora” that shed light on how diasporas are shaped by, and continue to shape, power structures in society. I looked up Margaret Cho and Bruce Daniel’s skit on Afro-Asian tensions, embodied by a Black man who walks into a Korean grocery store, and their mutual dislike of each other is taking away time and energy away from “hating white people” (Cho, 25). The skit helped me understand how the omnipresent Presence-Europeenne, and white supremacy, is invested in creating stereotypes of both of these subjects that place them in conflict with one another. What remains unsaid in Cho is the gender politics of this interaction: it is not coincidence that it is a Black man and a Korean woman (assumably, a non-native speaker of English). The hypersexualization of Black masculinity as “threatening” and the construction of Asian women as “passive/tame” are also “suitable to the demands of capital” (Cho, 26).
Moving forward, I wonder how diasporic individuals understand their identity as being constituted by this process of continuity and difference, and thus understand diasporic consciousness as being emergent and not simply using a specific event of displacement/migration as the chief reference point? Finally, I wonder how gender, sexuality, place of birth, class, among other aspects of identity simultaneously inform, and are informed by, one’s idea of being a “diasporic” individual?