the experience of the arab american

White History Month

A Caucasian co-worker and I(Yup! The same one from the last post. Go figure.) were discussing why there should or shouldn’t be a “White History Month”. Nevermind the fact that EVERY MONTH is White History month. But I decided to humor him and play along…

“There should be White History Month” so we can expose all the evil things white folks have done in history and present that still affect the victims and their descendants till this very day like:

1 Cherokee Trail of Tears
2 Japanese American internment
3 Philippine-American War
4 Jim Crow
5 The genocide of Native Americans
6 Transatlantic slave trade, and the lies that Africans sold other Africans into slavery
7 The Middle Passage
8 The history of White American racism
9 Black Codes
10 Slave patrols
11 Ku Klux Klan
12 The War on Drugs
13 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
14 How white racism grew out of slavery and genocide
15 How whites still benefit from slavery and genocide
16 White anti-racism
17 The Southern strategy
18 The rape of enslaved women
19 Madison Grant
20 The Indian Wars
21 Human zoos
22 How the Jews became white
23 White flight
24 Redlining
25 Proposition 14
26 Homestead Act
27 Tulsa Riots
28 Rosewood massacre
29 Tuskegee Experiment
30 Lynching
31 Hollywood stereotypes
32 Indian Appropriations Acts
33 Immigration Act of 1924
34 Sundown towns
35 Chinese Exclusion Act
36 Emmett Till
37 Vincent Chin
38 Islamophobia
39 Indian boarding schools
40 King Philip’s War
41 Bacon’s Rebellion
42 American slavery compared to Arab, Roman and Latin American slavery
43 History of the gun
44 History of the police
45 History of prisons
46 History of white suburbia
47 Lincoln’s racism and anti-racism
48 George Wallace Governor of Alabama
49 Cointelpro
50 Real estate steering
51 School tracking
52 Mass incarceration of black men
53 Boston school busing riots
54 Man made Ebola and A.I.D.S.
55 Church Bombings and fires in deep south to Blacks
56 Church Shootings
57 How the Irish and Italians became white
58 The Perpetuation of the idea of the “model minority”
59 Housing discrimination
60 Systematic placement of highways and building projects to create ghettos
61. Medical experimentation on poor poc especially Blacks including surgical and gynecological experimentation
62 History of Planned Parenthood
63 Forced Sterilization
64 Cutting children out of pregnant Black mothers as part of lynchings
65 Eurocentric beauty standard falsification
66 Erasure and eradication of all achievements of Ancient Africa and Kemet
67 White washing of history and cultural practices of poc’s
68 Media manipulation and bias
69 Perpetuation of the myth of reverse racism
70 The history of white cannibalism
71 White fragility
72 White on white crime and white on everybody else crime
73 Irish slavery, Jewish slavery, African slavery, Native American slavery
74 White police officers murdering unarmed men, women, and children and not being convicted for it
75 Population control warfares worldwide
76 Chemtrails
77 Oil spills and chemical dumping in oceans worldwide
78 Water fracking
79 Gmo foods worldwide
80 Monsanto
81 World Wars 1 and 2
82 Wars on indigenous peoples throughout the world
83 Stolen inventions and blueprints from African people and other indigenous people worldwide
84 Steal concepts from cultures worldwide and then corrupt it
85 Mass murders and massacres worldwide
86 Eugenics and the history of sterilization of poc and history of fetal abortions worldwide
87. Flint Michigan water poisoning crisis

and too much more….

Yet you all have convinced the world and your delusional selves that melanated human beings “black” people are perceived as dangerous, unruly, racist, uncivilized, thugs, gangsters etc… Yeah ok not according to historical and present day facts.

Needless to say… We don’t have these types of discussions anymore. 😎😉😂

Stacey Dash Says Why No White History Month

There should be White History Month in America. That way we can teach all the things Americans have done in history, like:
1 Cherokee Trail of Tears
2 Japanese American internment
3 Philippine-American War
4 Jim Crow
5 The genocide of Native Americans
6 Transatlantic slave trade
7 The Middle Passage
8 The history of White American racism
9 Black Codes
10 Slave patrols
11 Ku Klux Klan
12 The War on Drugs
13 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
14 How white racism grew out of slavery and genocide
15 How whites still benefit from slavery and genocide
16 White anti-racism
17 The Southern strategy
18 The rape of enslaved women
19 Madison Grant
20 The Indian Wars
21 Human zoos
22 How the Jews became white
23 White flight
24 Redlining
25 Proposition 14
26 Homestead Act
27 Tulsa Riots
28 Rosewood massacre
29 Tuskegee Experiment
30 Lynching
31 Hollywood stereotypes
32 Indian Appropriations Acts
33 Immigration Act of 1924
34 Sundown towns
35 Chinese Exclusion Act
36 Emmett Till
37 Vincent Chin
38 Islamophobia
39 Indian boarding schools
40 King Philip’s War
41 Bacon’s Rebellion
42 American slavery compared to Arab, Roman and Latin American slavery
43 History of the gun
44 History of the police
45 History of prisons
46 History of white suburbia
47 Lincoln’s racism and anti-racism
48 George Wallace Governor of Alabama
49 Cointelpro
50 Real estate steering
51 School tracking
52 Mass incarceration of black men53 Boston school busing riots
54. Jim Crow
55Church Bombings and fires in deep south to Blacks
56. Church Shootings
57. How the Irish and Italians became white
58. The Perpetuation of the idea of the “model minority”
59. Housing discrimination
60. Systematic placement of highways and building projects to create ghettos
61. Medical experimentation on poor poc especially Blacks including surgical and gynecological experimentation
62. History of Planned Parenthood
63. Forced Sterilization
64. Cutting children out of pregnant Black mothers as part of lynchings
65. Eurocentric beauty standard falsification
66. Erasure and eradication of all achievements of Ancient Africa and Kemet
67. White washing of history and cultural practices of pocs
68. Media manipulation and bias
69. Perpetuation of the myth of reverse racism
70. The history of white cannibalism
71. White fragility
72. Man made Ebola and A.I.D.S.

15.12.2015
                 
Connecting the disconnected: when South Asians accuse East Africans of cultural appropriation 

On August 9th, Yasmin Yonis, a Somali-American writer, caused a Twitter storm when she started a conversation about accusations of cultural appropriation made by South Asian Twitter against Black Twitter. At the core of the debate were headpieces, henna paintings, clothing, ear chains and necklaces worn by women in East Africa and elsewhere that South Asians claimed as theirs.

Conversations about cultural appropriation have since few years been on the rise but have, for obvious reasons, mainly focused on how white cultures appropriate those of people of colour. Debates between people of colour have largely been sidelined to Twitter, Tumblr and other social media conversations. Yonis’s tweets struck a nerve and were shared by thousands, predominately Black Twitter. She argued that most accusations of cultural theft made by South Asians against Africans are expressions of widespread anti-black racism amongst South Asian communities. And she is right.

When South Asians accuse East Africans of cultural appropriation, it is less about cultural relations or power dynamics at play. It’s about brownness and blackness. It boils down to a question of race-relations and border demarcations. Such accusations stem from both widespread ignorance, but also plain old racism. A few months ago, I started my own tweet conversation on the topic, and here’s an elaboration.

The sight of a Somali woman wearing a multi-coloured dirac wrapped around her body, or that of an Ethiopian woman with henna painted on her hands irritates many South Asians because it challenges centuries-old myths about their place in this world and racial hierarchy. It’s a sharp reminder that there are understudied connections between these two parts of the world and many of its diverse communities. But, many South Asians would rather want to sweep those under the rug and pretend they didn’t exist.

Truth being told, most South Asians can’t fathom to be related or share anything in common with Africans.

If you today casually ask South Asians about historic relations and shared cultural heritages with Africans, you will most likely receive a baffled look followed by a prompt and outright negation. We’ve in fact silenced our shared histories to the extent that scholarship needs to be produced outside of South Asia to force us to look into our pasts and face the histories that were never granted its rightful places in our own history books. And when we seldolmy discover them, we treat them as if they were some anomaly, some exotic trope or even human zoo. There’s today little interest in uncovering African-South Asian relations, unless it serves neoliberal projects. This stands in stark contrast to how many South Asians remember and write about their relationships to Arabs, Persians, Turks and European colonisers, and, importantly, how many South Asians claim ancestry based on such long, complicated and often times violent histories. You’ll search in vain for any references that will connect you to the African continent. And you’ll have to search long for any South Asian to claim African heritage on their own (unless they are busy appropriating Black American culture, of course) and find some form of pride in it.

For South Asians, the Indian Ocean that connects us to East Africa is only relevant when talking about Arab traders or European Invaders. African-South Asian histories find no space within it.

Africa is of course not a country and neither is South Asia. The millions of people and communities have different relations and degrees of connections towards each other. Just as their cultures may vary, so do their histories, relationships and genetic heritages. What unites South Asia across the board however, is their embracement of whiteness. The aspiration towards fairer skin drives them towards an ‘Aryanized’ reading of their bodies and histories, which values fair skinned-bodies while equally erasing dark-skinned ones. This reflects in South Asia’s most widespread religion, Hinduism, which vilifies dark bodies by construing them as either symbols of death or demons. Fair-skinned bodies are, on the hand, seen as those of saints and saviours. Any embrace of whiteness/lightness is therefore equally also a rejection of blackness/darkness.

The community I come from, Eelam Tamils from northeastern Sri Lanka, has for centuries been construed as black within the South Asian context, including by other islanders. One of Hinduism’s holy books, the Ramayan, depicts us in its North Indian interpretation, the most dominant one, as barbaric monsters whose island is burnt to the ground by fair-skinned saviours. Diwali, the festival that follows Ram’s return from Lanka, is today still celebrated in the North as a mythical victory over darkness. Eelam Tamil (often also referenced as ‘Sri Lankan Tamil’) is today a codeword amongst South Asians for darkness/blackness, even for Indian Tamils. In light of it, calling someone a Tamil can be used as a slur by fair-skinned South Asians against dark-skinned South Asians.

Within South Asia and its diasporas, we’re next to Afro-South Asians, Andamanese and Nicobarese people one of the main recipients of anti-black racism. Being called anti-black racial epithets however, doesn’t stop us from equally producing and maintaining anti-black racism towards others. Quite the opposite: it makes us even more eager to demarcate our differences.

When I today ask my mother why our hair texture isn’t the same as to that of Indians, she provides me a dry reply that we are not Indian. When I dig a little deeper and talk to her about her hair politics and put them in juxtaposition to those of black women, she usually reacts outraged. When I say dosai tastes like injera, injera like dosai, tibs like meat curries, meat curries like tibs, my family refuses to hear it. When I tell them of the Eritrean waitress who mistook my Eelam Tamil friend and I for a compatriot and started taking orders in Tigrigna, they laughed it off. When a group of Eritrean youths at a refugee welcome party full of white Germans and other light-skinned refugees took their seat on our table to start bond with us as if we’re family, it remained an anecdote without consequences. When an Eritrean friend told me about the many times she has been mistaken for a ‘Sri Lankan Tamil’, they said that’s impossible. When my cousin was approached by four elderly Somali men playing chess in a McDonald’s in Norway in Somali, it was reduced to little more than banal entertainment. When a Somali friend wore a sari and my parents said in delight that she looked like a Tamil girl, they didn’t think about the meaning of their words twice. When white men then called us the ’n’ word, we said we’re not ‘African’. When fair-skinned South Asians addressed us as black, we called them racists. These are just few of the anecdotes we carry around but find no space to articulate or share because of how we’re positioned between fair-skinned South Asians and white people — at the expenses of possible linkages and solidarities outside of both.

When American-Indian-Tamil comedian Aziz Ansari mistook 14-year-old American-Sudanese Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested in Texas for having built a clock, for a ‘brown kid’ he could project his own bodily experiences upon, it was more than just a simple negation and/or confusion of/over Mohamed’s Black Arab heritage. It didn’t just speak to Mohamed’s type of blackness which sits at the borderlines of erasure and irritation amongst dominant Black and Arab narratives. It also spoke volumes about Ansari’s type of brownness which similarly struggles with erasure and dislocation from dominant South Asian narratives. Ansari’s misidentification shows how colour lines are not static or linear. Neither are black and brown two absolute separates that never collide, historically or in the present day. They can be ambiguous, confusing and even messy because of how racial classifications do not respond to the complexity and diversity of human bodies, experiences and self-identifications.

From attire to jewellery to food cultures to skin colour, there are many things we share. We’ve rich histories that require explorations. Anti-black racism, however, raises us to believe that we monopolise our own cultures, that they are the result of isolation or mingling with fair-skinned others — but never with our dark-skinned brethrens. It tells us that black folks do ‘brown’ things when we’re actually also doing ‘black’ things. Anti-black racism functions as a form of self-hatred amongst many of us that we’re raised with since childhood, and our communities have been instilled with for centuries, much longer than the first presence of European colonisers in the region. It remains deeply intertwined with Hinduism and South Asia’s resulting caste apartheid. Anti-black racism under white supremacy and Brahmin supremacy pushes us to position us closer to lightness than darkness in the quest of surviving racial and caste hierarchies. It makes my family think about the many intersections of our experiences as coincidences rather than results of shared histories.

When in 2004 the tsunami embarked from Ace, Indonesia, to kill tens of thousands on India’s and Sri Lanka’s coastlines, the waves didn’t cease there but continued all the way until they reached Somalia and Kenya’s coastlines. Several hundreds were subsequently killed hours after the first earthquake erupted thousands of km further east, on the Asian side of the ocean. Yet the 2004 tsunami remains to be remembered as an Asian catastrophe and not an Indian Ocean one. Most have in fact never heard about African victims of this catastrophe. It is reflective of our how mental borders, connections and knowledges are drawn, limited and reproduced by colonial mappings; how they erase connections that challenge their very raison d’être and hinder us from thinking beyond the spatialities colonialism has left us with.

But if we’d be able stop identifying by land but, say, the ocean, we’d not be people of two continents but one ocean. If we’d be able to think of the ocean as something that connects us rather than divides us, we could begin to reflect about the relationships, cultures and histories that bind us. We’d be pushed to move away from conceptions of Asia and Africa being two separate entities, but could see them as the fluid, interconnected spaces they are. It would enable us to build meaningful solidarities and embrace our darkness while remaining cognizant of how white supremacy and caste apartheid intersect and organise us to weaken us and see us as strangers, when we are in fact anything but. Our anti-black racism can erase many of our shared histories, even lead us to cry cultural appropriation when seeing Somali women wearing diracs, but it can’t erase the waters that connect us. 

By:  S. Varatharajah

PhD student @UCLgeography |Founder @rootsofdiaspora | Rsr @europapress_Islamrace|diaspora|migration|memory|geography|urbanity|
postcoloniality -  Roots of Diaspora 
medium.com/@varathas/connecting-the-disconnected-when-south-asians-accuse-east-africans-of-cultural-appropriation-76527a872484#.qhjhjpf3b


Neil Gaiman on writing 'American Gods' gay love story

It’s the bold American Gods scene — well, one of them — that has everybody talking, and for good reason.

On the third episode of the Starz fantasy series, a depressed salesman named Salim (Omid Abtahi) is struggling to make a dime in New York when he finds himself in a cab driven by a jinn, an ancient Arab god (whom most Americans might colloquially call a genie). Played by Mousa Kraish, the centuries-old jinn finds kinship with Salim, and what begins as an intimate taxicab conversation about faith transforms into a daring and important sex sequence — and, at its core, a love story — between both men.

EW recently moderated a Paley Center panel on behalf of Starz and GLAAD, screening the May 14 episode and exploring its content with the actors, executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, and the author of American Gods, Neil Gaiman, who described the experience watching the finished onscreen result as “absolute amazement and absolute joy.”

He recalled writing the scene 18 years ago, inspired by a New York cab driver who did, in fact, fall asleep at the wheel and admit to having been driving for 30 straight hours. “Afterwards, I just thought, that’s awful. The idea that some guy, in order to make a buck, was that pushed. And I think part of it may have come from reading the whole of One Thousand and One Nights, particularly the [J.C.] Mardrus and [Muhsin] Mahdi translations. I think it was the first thing that I’d ever read where I went, you know, there’s an awful lot of this sort of homoeroticism in the Arabian Nights. It was this really interesting part of Arab culture that I had never thought about, that I was learning about. And that had sort of stuck. And at that point, I wanted a genie in American Gods…and, I think it’s going to be a gay relationship… and after that it just kind of wrote itself. It probably wouldn’t have written itself quite so sexily, had I not read lots of Edmund White and Armistead Maupin and gone, ‘Okay, well, I can do that!’”

In translating the scene to television, Fuller says his and Green’s goal was simply to “make sure that it was undeniably beautiful for even those who were uncomfortable with same-sex romance.” (Fuller goes in-depth in EW’s postmortem show here.) Green, elaborating, explained how Fuller’s perspective as a gay man fused with his own as a straight man to create a definitive approach as “a beautiful romantic story between two people who find each other,” he said. “The more Bryan and I talked about it and the more he brought his perspective into it, I saw it as a story of a god giving a man permission to be himself and to enjoy sex and to be made love to.”

The scene (directed by Guillermo Navarro) marked Kraish’s first-ever onscreen kiss and sex scene; coincidentally, it marked Abtahi’s second, as the actor played another gay character named Salim on Showtime’s 2005 series Sleeper Cell. Both actors have been friends for a decade, which they say aided their experience during shooting, and fans of Gaiman’s novel. But more importantly, they laud the filmmakers and Gaiman not just for the beauty of the eroticism, but for the representation onscreen.

“This was my first time seeing it complete, and it was beautiful and everything that I expected it to be… but sex scene aside, just seeing two Middle Eastern men represented in that way, with humor and love and joy…it’s taken me eleven years to get to that,” said a visibly emotional Kraish. “And I want to see more of that.” (Narratively, viewers will, as this is just the beginning of Salim and the Jinn’s story in the series; in the book, this scene is their only appearance.)

RELATED: American Gods: Inside the Episode “A Head Full of Snow”

Abtahi confessed to nerves ahead of watching the scene with his wife. “I just felt, ‘God, I hope it’s not raunchy.’ And when I did see it and saw how it was shot and the music and the slow motion and the attention to detail and [Mousa’s] eyes, it was just so f—ing beautiful. I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

Of course, a slice of the scene’s artistic achievement sits on its very surface; atop its deeper implications, the Salim and Jinn sequence is still uniquely cinematic as it transports its characters from a nondescript hotel room to a cosmic desert at the moment of the Jinn’s climax. Gaiman said, “I remember when they sent me the script, and at the point where they’re describing moving in and out of the desert and somebody being filled by an ejaculation of flame, I’m going, ‘This is very beautiful written in the script. Obviously, they won’t actually do this. Only a madman would have written this.” Fuller, sitting beside Green, was quick to offer a correction: “Or two!”

bagelanjeli  asked:

I find it interesting that you keep saying that Asians in Asia don't see themselves as poc. While you may feel that way, I think it's valid to note that Britain (white people) occupied and conquered what was then India (today India, Pakistan, Bhutan, etc.) There is a big difference between the fair indians and the darker indians. To be light skinned is considered beautful. Therefore, that region of Asia does see itself as poc for they were treated as second class to the gori British.

Hey, I appreciate you writing in! I’ll explain my thinking behind the term here.

I too grew up in a former British colony, so while I did have a concept of whiteness and therefore do not see myself as “white”- I want to emphasise that the term “person of colour” does have different political and cultural implications than “non-European” or perhaps “non-white”. Simply, I do not see myself as “white” because of British colonialism, but I does not mean I see myself as a “person of colour”. I see myself as Han Chinese, East Asian or Asian. “ In general, I believe the term should not be used carelessly outside the US due to different ideas of whiteness between the US and Europe, as well as other countries in the Americas, where race isn’t perceived the exact same way. I don’t believe it should be used at all in the non-Western context.

1. Person of colour is a term that specifically originated in the context of the United States’ system of colourist racism, of Jim Crow, of slavery, where the idea of “white” became a vehicle to confer privilege. I say “vehicle” because whiteness has always been a social construct. in much earlier parts of US history, several light-skinned European ethnic groups were not allowed to access whiteness, like Irish people. Today, they are seen as white. Although the term has been used carelessly by many people on tumblr, “person of colour” is first and foremost a racialised identity taken on to organise against white supremacy- in Western contexts.

2. I don’t believe it should be applied to non-Western contexts firstly, because the history of Asian colourist discrimination has actually long-predated European colonial rule. Further, it doesn’t quite just exist as a marker of racial otherness, but as a class division. Fair skin has been prized in China, Japan and Korea for thousands of years due to classism. I believe it is the case with India too- from what I know, it was very much tied to the ancient Indian caste system or other class/regional divisions. That is not to say British rule in India didn’t make it worse (it certainly did) or that Western beauty standards don’t help to reinforce this preference today, but it would be inaccurate for us to ascribe this obsession for light skin all to recent European imperialism. Recognising its ancient roots is crucial: as a light-skinned East Asian, nobody has ever tried to sell me skin-whitening cream, unlike my other Han Chinese friends who were darker-skinned. 

3. As “person of colour” is an organising tool against white supremacy, I do not believe it has much relevance in non-Western contexts because we are no longer under European colonial rule. This is not to say its legacy doesn’t still affect us, but that the fault lines and tensions that matter are very often not going to centre so much around whiteness anymore in day-to-day life. I feel white privilege can be discussed there without us defining ourselves as “persons of colour”. 

  • Primarily, I am against the term because it posits a false illusion of solidarity that erases local oppressor-oppressed dynamics, and centering on whiteness very often becomes a tool of deflection for their own crimes (like in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, when he took ownership of land from white farmers ostensibly to correct the inequality in land ownership suffered by black Zimbabweans. Sounds fair, considering how colonial rule historically stripped people of their land. But the problem is rather than actually giving it to experienced black Zimbabwean farmers or training people to use the land, he mostly gave it to his cronies. Who didn’t utilise the land properly, causing food shortages that eventually hurt thousands of black Zimbabweans and made people worse off.) On another level, I don’t wish to centre around whiteness all the time because I think the fixation on it at the expense of other fault lines is in of itself a perpetuation of Eurocentric/whitecentric history and narratives.
  • To me, the attendant notions of solidarity underpinning the idea of POC have very little relevance when outside the Western world, our oppressive structures and systems of privileges are very often run by other non-Europeans. Whiteness is the “default” in the US, but in mainland China? It’s being Han Chinese. Han Chinese supremacy is the reason for continued racism and Sinicisation of non-Han minorities like Uighur Muslims and Tibetan. And this racism has a history in Chinese imperialism that long-predates European colonialism. To call all of us “POC” flattens the power structure and posits false solidarity between oppressor and victim- it allows the oppressor to wrongly occupy the space as the victim: as if the Han Chinese general is the same as the non-Han people he has captured for human sacrifices to the gods during the Shang Dynasty. You can have groups of people in the Middle-East and North Africa like Kurds, Amazigh who are very often marginalised by Arab supremacy- such as when Saddam Hussein enacted a genocide against Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, using chemical weapons. The Nigerian government’s slow response to the Boko Haram crisis despite angry protests by Nigerians? The government not caring when people in Northern Nigeria, which is much more impoverished- die. For my own family history, some of the deepest grievances stem from how the Japanese mistreated my grandparents during WW2.

4. Lastly, the term “POC” outside the Western context tends to flatten the power structure between non-Europeans who live in the West or otherwise have a Western background vis a vis people from our ancestral countries. 

  • White privilege can reinforce Western privilege but they are not totally synonymous: Because even people not considered white do benefit from citizenship in a Western country or a Westernised background. When it comes to global economic inequality, we are closer to the centre of the empire, to the position of those who benefit, not the exploited. People like myself benefit from speaking English, from appearing “more European” and generally Westernised. It’s the reason my friend, who is of Indian ancestry, was treated very differently by the immigration officer when his British accent became obvious- compared to Indians from India who were on the same flight as him. There would for example, be a huge power differential between an Arab-American soldier and the other Arab people in say, Iraq. I cannot in good faith say my experiences are the same as the Chinese workers who work long hours in factories, many of whom start working at 16. At 16? I wasn’t done with schooling. It was taken for granted I would get a university education, and so on. 

5. So, the term “person of colour” is meaningless to me in the non-Western context context, and I personally find it actively harmful when people lump us as “POC cultures” because it purports to create an illusion of solidarity that obscures the massive amount of racism and oppression Asians are enacting against each other till today. Further, I see it as a projection of Western race politics on a non-Western context, which is decentering from local dynamics.

In conclusion, I very much see myself as “non-white” in Asia due to growing up in a former European colony. But I do not see myself as a “person of colour” there. I see myself somewhat as a person of colour in Europe, because it is a Western context where light-skinned Europeans are the majority. Still, not entirely- because it is quite an American term and European racism has a lot of ethnicity dimensions. I tend to see myself as a SEAsian Chinese, most specifically.

Hi—Susie the Moderator had asked if I wanted to submit something, and after a gap of many days, I have. If you have moved on and no longer need this, lemme know. I’m just proud that I stopped writing before I actually hit book length.

Stuff like this usually goes on my SemiticSemantics site, but I am also lodubimvloyaar as above.

Thanks for the opportunity!

Are Jews considered POC?

The short answer is, “Yes, no, and maybe.”

This is the long answer:

The terms ‘white’ and ‘people of color’ don’t work very well to describe many Jews, or many Jewish experiences. I’m going to try to explain why, and also to explain

The great majority of Jews are descended from an indigenous Middle Eastern people who, according to tradition, started from Iraq or Syria before settling in what is now Israel and Palestine. A global diaspora resulting from a series of invasions and population upheavals spread Jews across the map. We picked up some customs from the people we lived among, while preserving our own,and our own religion, legal code, and self-concept. We also picked up some genes along the way. Ashkenazim and Sephardim (these terms will be explained below) seem, according to modern genetics research, to be about 70% Middle Eastern, and 30% European. (I’m basically leaving Jews by choice out of this discussion, for several reasons, so I’m taking this moment to salute them and assure them that no disrespect is meant by this omission.)

The bulk of the diaspora can be split into three broad groups, distinguished by region, language, and minhag (a term referring to religious traditions). The Mizrahim, ‘the Easterners’, are the Jews of the Arabic-speaking world and their descendants, but the term is often also used for Persian Jews, and for Jews from West Asia and parts of the Caucasus. The Sephardim (from ‘Sefarad’, the Hebrew name for Spain) are the descendants of the medieval S*panish Jewish communities, expelled from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century, and Portugal during the sixteenth. And the Ashkenazim (from “Ashkenaz”, the Hebrew name for Germany) are the descendents of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.

These groups are somewhat fluidly defined and described, not least because Jewish history has been one of continuous upheaval, expulsion and migration. Ashkenazi communities settled in parts of Turkey and other areas within the Ottoman Empire, and Sephardim ended up in Ottoman lands, Holland and North Africa. Mizrahim moved to France. Everyone moved to Israel and the United States. Marriages between the groups happened for centuries, and are now super-common in Israel. (As a well-known pop example, Jerry Seinfeld—yes, that Jerry Seinfeld—has an Ashkenazi father and a Mizrahi mother.)

The cultural divisions above, in addition, do not include the entire Jewish people, by any means. The Ethiopian community, for example, is an example of a large group that falls into an entirely different category, since their diaspora began earlier, and their religious practice reflects an earlier form of Judaism than the ‘beginning of the common era’ model the rest of us walked away with.

However, and this is something that is rarely understood by gentiles, and vitally important to any understanding of Jews, despite all of these cultural divisions and variations, we have actively considered ourselves a single people—am Yisrael—for thousands of years.

So, given all of this, are Jews people of color?

Some groups are undeniably ‘visible’ people of color, such as the Ethiopians or the Chinese communities, and no one attempts to define them otherwise. Ditto, visible people of color who are Jews by choice, or people of mixed Jewish and gentile PoC heritage.

Outside of this narrow zone, however, definitions get tricky.

Many European (both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews) have defined and do define themselves as white, since roughly the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the point at which the development of whiteness as a social construct intersected with the emancipation of the Jews of many European countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_emancipation#Dates_of_emancipation. Many of these hopeful dates, of course, reflected false promises. If whiteness was offered in many places in Europe in the 1800s, one might say it was revoked, emphatically, during a period of the 1900s. Nevertheless, this is the starting point of the idea that Jews could be ‘white people’ in any real sense.

I can’t emphasize enough that this access to whiteness was conditional on the borders and attitudes of gentile nations and cultures. The perception that Ashkenazim were always privileged for being white Jews is entirely false. This extended to some of the Mizrahi communities as well: for example, the wealthy Baghdadi merchant families

I also can’t emphasize enough that all of these groups have, throughout Jewish history, understood ourselves as one people, one am. Despite separations of distance, we shared a language, a religion, a legal code, and an understanding of ourselves as the descendants of common ancestors. I am not going to be romantic enough to insist that distance, cultural difference and gentile concepts of race never got in the way of this, but I find that it is very hard for most gentiles to accept how deeply it ran and runs, and how core the concept that all Jews are a single people has been and continues to be.

In the United States, my experience has been that most light-skinned Jews tend to identify themselves as white. It is how we are commonly perceived by strangers, at least in urban, ethnically diverse areas, and it is how we are defined (like Arabs) on government paperwork. It also reflects, in the last few generations, the degree of white privilege we are able to access. This is not a universal. Some Jews, identifying themselves primarily as people of Middle Eastern descent, or as people consistently targeted historically and in the present day by white supremacy, choose to define themselves outside of whiteness. It’s common for American Jews who feel this way to define themselves as ‘white-passing’ or ‘conditionally white-passing’. Many Mizrahim, regardless of skin color, describe themselves as people of color, because of their cultural and historical distance from what is usually defined as whiteness.

This is the United States. Europe is a different matter, and I would argue that, outside of, perhaps, Great Britain, it’s impossible to define European Jews as being white in a European context. I’m basing this on my own experience, and that of people I’ve been close to, as well as discussions with Jews living or raised in Europe. If a European Jew wants to weigh in with more detail about this, please, please do. In areas where the dominant Gentile cultures are not white, there are other issues, and the concept of white/PoC may be entirely irrelevant, or only relevant in the context of the country’s experience of colonialism.

My back went up when I saw the original question. For Jews in places where it’s a relevant question, whether we are white or not has often been a subject that gentiles feel free to pronounce upon, often with political objectives of their own in mind. Jewish oppression, both historical and modern, is often dismissed scornfully—if Jews are white, how can we possibly have been the victims of racial oppression, the reasoning goes. Non-Jews with little understanding of Jewish history and culture often weigh in as experts, announcing confidently that Ashkenazim are white and Sephardim and Mizrahim are PoC. Not only does this not reflect either historical or modern reality—and reveals that these weighers-in have met very few if any Jews who are not assimilated American Ashkenazim—but from a standpoint of Jewish social and political identity, it can be a direct attack on our self-definition and our concept of peoplehood.

Often, the results of outsiders imposing their ideas of whiteness or color on Jews results in the idea that Ashkenazim are white—and that therefore, their privilege outweighs their oppression as Jews—and that the ‘exotic’ Sephardim and Mizrahim are people of color. As such, the gentile ‘definer’ will agree that they can experience racism—from white people, and from white Jews—but the ‘definer’ will seldom bother to understand their experience of anti-Semitism, nor to understand that the source of this anti-Semitism was often other people who would be called people of color.

The result of all this is to drive an artificial wedge…one not based in Jewish thought…through the Jewish people, insisting that a sociological distinction based on the concepts of white-supremacist non-Jewish cultures defines Jews more accurately than our own cultural concepts, and is entitled to divide us from one another.

To the questioner: ask. Don’t try to put some thirteen million people who were, until recently, flung world-wide into such a small box. One Jew may tell you she is white, another that she is white-passing, and yet another that she is a woman of color. All three may look the same to you, or they may look different. Understand that even if they give different answers, they are tied to one another by thousands of years of history.

Edit: I just sent through a submission, then realized one sentence got truncated. The sentence is from toward the beginning and should read: “The terms ‘white’ and ‘people of color’ don’t work very well to describe many Jews, or many Jewish experiences. I’m going to try to explain why, and also to explain to some extent how Jews actually identify ourselves.”

anonymous asked:

I've reblogged your post saying that black people can be bigots too with my experience in the tags, saying that I live in a country of black majority and I constantly I have to deal with homophobia from black people and now I'm being bullied by people here because they think black people are saints. Black tumblr is the worst.

I don’t get this mindset. Black people aren’t special. White people aren’t special. Jews aren’t special. Asians aren’t special. Arabs aren’t special. Roma aren’t special. Native Americans/other indigenous people aren’t special. No group is special. We’re all just human, and because we’re human, there are good and bad examples in every single one. There are bigots and homophobes and sexists and transphobes and bullies in every single one, too.

It’s the same with literally every group of people on the planet. Good and bad. Because we’re all individuals. 

If you think that your group is immune to bad behaviour, then you’re a supremacist. That’s the bottom line. 

anonymous asked:

Um?? please don't learn Hebrew or Arabic if you aren't Jewish/Muslim/MENA?? we get called terrorists for speaking our languages so it's really gross and appropriative for you to learn it???

Okay, anon, listen up. I am totally aware that people who speak Arabic or Hebrew get called terrorists because of their language and I recognize that this is horrible and should not happen, that does not make learning either or both of these languages cultural appropriation.
Here are some examples of cultural appropriation:
- Someone wearing a religious article of clothing of a religion that they do not practice (ex: Selena Gomez and that whole thing with her wearing a bindi)
- Non-Native Americans wearing Native American headdresses
- Basically anything where someone is using an element of a culture that they do not belong to solely for the purpose of its “exoticness” and not actually appreciating the culture that the thing belongs to

Here are a few things that are NOT cultural appropriation:
- Eating food from another culture
- LEARNING A LANGUAGE
- Basically anything where someone is trying to experience another culture for its intricacy/understand the people who are from that cultural background and not just because it “looks cool”

Learning Arabic or Hebrew is NOT cultural appropriation because it is not “trying on” the culture just to look cool. Learning Arabic/Hebrew can be a way to connect with another culture in a meaningful way. It can be done by innocent langblrs like me or people who are taking a trip to where either of these languages are spoken or by people who are moving to an area where these languages are spoken for any reason (job opportunity, SO living there, etc). The only requirement to learn Arabic/Hebrew is wanting to learn one of the languages for ANY REASON.

Still not satisfied? Two of my very close friends are Muslim (one is a langblr, one is not). They have both offered to teach me Arabic. I showed this message to a Jewish friend of mine and his response was something along the lines of, “….is this even real??”

Tl;dr: Learning Arabic or Hebrew if you’re not Muslim, Jewish, or MENA is NOT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION

Thanks :)

I don’t like using the terms ‘PoC’ or ‘WoC’ because it sets White as the default. It also lumps every single non white person together as if they are a monolith. Wouldn’t it be easier to specify people’s origins when talking about them bc as we know, the experiences of African Americans are completely different from that of East Asians or South Asians. If you NEED a term for people that aren’t white, use ‘Global Majority’, because that is what we are. The world has more of us than them, and we are not the ones that should be ‘othered’ by a term like ‘People of Colour’, a term they put on us. 

But I would generally encourage you to specify when talking about a member of the Global Majority, as their specific origins is often what leads to their unique experience. 

Desi and Arab people are the ones who are accused of being terrorists. African Americans are the ones being called thugs. It’s not the same.

If you are talking about us collectively, don’t use a term white ppl gave us, use the Global Majority. 

One specifically American contribution to the discourse of empire is the specialized jargon of policy expertise. You don’t need Arabic or Persian or even French to pontificate about how the democracy domino effect is just what the Arab world needs. Combative and woefully ignorant policy experts, whose world experience is limited to the Beltway, grind out books on “terrorism” and liberalism, or about Islamic fundamentalism and American foreign policy, or about the end of history, all of it vying for attention and influence quite without regard for truthfulness or reflection or real knowledge. What matters is how efficient and resourceful it sounds, and who might go for it, as it were. The worst aspect of this essentializing stuff is that human suffering in all its density and pain is spirited away. Memory and with it the historical past are effaced as in the common, dismissively contemptuous American phrase, “you’re history.”
—  Edward W. Said, Preface to Orientalism, May 2003, p. xvi.

anonymous asked:

Why do you think the left seems to discount Jews as being a racial minority? If they would do it to all non-blacks/Caucasians I would understand it but then they go and fully embrace Arabs as POC when they're officially categorized as Caucasian just like Jews and aren't really any darker skin-wise either. It just seems so bizarre to me, what's your take on this phenomena on the left's exclusion of Jews having the "POC" label?

First of all Arabs are often forced to label themselves as “white” in many American contexts however accurate or not. So “fully embrace” simply isn’t true. It’s important not to make assumptions about the experiences of Arab Americans. Read their first person accounts. Talk to them in contexts that don’t put them on the spot unwillingly. Don’t engage in oppression olympics.

As for labelling Jews POC? Well, it’s complicated, at least in the US where the term POC is at its most meaningful (it’s not as useful a term in other countries where racial prejudice works very differently). The thing is, White Jews actually do benefit from White Privilege so long as we don’t do anything to make ourselves visibly Jewish. We are “offered” an opportunity to assimilate. If you dig deep in our archive, you’ll find an ask asking why some Jews are “normal” and others “dress funny and shut themselves off from society” not understanding that they were demonstrating a particularly Jewish tension with regards to assimilation. The fact that that door is open to White Jews is meaningful. We can accept an unwritten contract with White America that if we stop acting so Jewish we can reap the benefits of Whiteness. Sure the hardcore Jew haters will come after assimilated Jews, but mainstream middle of the road White America will embrace us with open arms. That’s not the case with Latinx Jews, Black Jews, Native Jews or other Jews of Color. They are treated objectively different in society. For me, a traffic stop means a ticket, for a Black Jew, it could mean death. That’s a reality for White Jews and we can’t pretend it isn’t happening. Black Jews are Black and Jewish. They are treated differently by a society structured to privilege Whiteness. So lumping White Jews in with Jews of Color doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, so we really shouldn’t try.

The solution here, and one I’m seeing addressed more often by writers on the left since the harassment of Jewish writers critical of Trump and the “Stargate” debacle, is to treat antisemitism as a distinct strand of oppression from racism, even if its most vicious adherents use a Nazi Eugenics basis to drive their hatred. The reality is that the White/PoC dichotomy breaks down when discussing White Jews. While I’ve had Goyische Black people tell me that they consider Jews “White Passing” I’ve never heard that from a Black Jew. We need to acknowledge antisemitism as its own distinct phenomenon in the USA, driven largely by hate groups and conspiracy theorists rather than institutions. What institutional antisemitism there is comes more from Christian Normativity than racism. It’s exclusionary, but not violent. White Jewish bodies are not under the same kind of constant threat. Now, if we aren’t vigilant and if we don’t speak out against antisemitism it could get that way. History has many examples in living memory. But for now, in the current climate, “I’m not White I’m Jewish” is a distraction from racism. We need to recognize the points where racism and antisemitism don’t intersect. Our responsibility to Jews of Color is to fight both racism and antisemitism and to make sure that we keep racism out of our own communities and not just out of the broader goyische world.

anonymous asked:

I believe that all people are the same, skin color doesn't have anything to do with who you are. It's the person inside that matters.

Yea that’s cute, but here’s the issue with that logic. it erases culture and individuality. The end to prejudice isn’t ignoring or erasing what makes us different. It’s respecting it. An Arab, an african american, a mexican, and a white will all come from different backgrounds, different cultures. The lazy thing to do is to say “let’s not acknowledge any of them. They’re all the same.” But no. That simply erases they’re unique experiences and their identities. That’s pure total laziness. We are different. Language, culture, customs, skin tone, religions. To pretend that it’s all monolithic is disrespectful. However we should want to show some effort. And learn how to respect these differences.

anonymous asked:

Here's. A question. What DOES it mean to be southern? Because I'm a queer trans kid from South Carolina and I don't know. What that means. I'm southern in the same way I'm white, in the same way I'm queer, in the same way I believe in God. It's just me, and it's very important to my identity. But I don't know HOW it's important to my identity. I don't know... it feels like I'm making a bigger deal of my southernness than strictly necessary. Does this question even make sense?

that is The Question, isn’t it?

I mean you have, with this question, nailed down the crux of my post. The question isn’t really “What does it mean to be Southern?” it’s “How can I be Southern?” and the difference in those questions is the presence of doubt and of guilt. People who exist and call themselves Southern without either doubt or guilt (or both) inseparably tied into that identity I think should….probably take a good hard look at the privileged position from which they operate. 

“How can I be Southern” should be said aloud and it should be said with constantly shifting italics: “How can I be southern”. “How can I be Southern”, “How can I be southern”, “How can I be southern” etc etc etc

Unlike other regional/cultural identities, I think Southernness is different because it demands things from us, but we also demand things from it. And that’s where we get lost, if we let the south Other us. It’s like what I’ve said before, about demanding to belong and deserving to belong - I never slotted into what seemed to be a mold of what a Southern Person Is, and because of that, I felt displaced. It wasn’t until I displaced myself, by leaving, that I became so utterly Southern. I am so southern in ways that make me stick out so blatantly up here in the North. I never felt southern enough for the South but I’m too Southern to hide outside of it. 

I guess, I don’t know, think about it this way - you are Southern by rational virtue of living and growing up in the South. You are, you have a right to that label. Don’t think that you have to search and search for parts of yourself that line up with what you think it means to be Southern, instead remember that you are helping create The South. Don’t let the South ignore you, don’t let it change you to fit an antiquated picture of what it thinks you should look like. 

This is why I think Southern literature and Southern tv/film is so important, when it’s written by people from the South. Because as soon as you, a queer trans kid from South Carolina write a novel directly influenced by that experience, you become a part of the construction of identity. It means that other queer trans kids from the South will read it and think “oh, so THIS is how I’m southern”. 

Did you know that there is a surprisingly large population of arabs in birmingham, alabama? I don’t know why you would. I didn’t, until I was 20. Just the knowledge that the hybrid Syrian Southern-American identity exists changed my entire worldview, because it reconciled my identities. that’s “how can I be southern” for me. The portrait of an arab lesbian raised in the south doesn’t exist yet, but one day I will write it.

How can 3 young, Black (Sudan/Chad), Muslim men be murdered execution style in Indiana and barely get a mention?? Does their blackness taint your image, ‪#‎MuslimLivesMatter‬? Does their faith/culture alter the meaning of your message, ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬?? Being both Sudanese and Muslim, I understand that two layers of “other” amounts to double the erasure and isolation, but to have a 23 year old, a 20 year old, and a 17 year old murdered in cold blood, followed by the silence of their own communities, is truly disappointing. I’m mostly disappointed in the silence within the BLM movement. I mean, of course mainstream media would be shit. And I’ve always known a large portion of the Muslim community was racist. I’ve experienced blunt, unapologetic racism anywhere from Arabs to Bosnians to Pakistanis, etc. my entire life. It’s not Islamic to be racist, but it IS often that Muslims *are* racist. Don’t even wanna address the Muslim community’s anti-blackness… left me pretty hopeless there. But really… BlackLivesMatter? You silent? Being Muslim is what… too controversial for you? Do you think their faith reaps more than their complexion? Are you ignorant of the inherent Blackness within Islam… that Islam is not designated for Arabs or Southeast Asians? Maybe you accept them as both Black and Muslim, reminiscent of Malcolm X and leaders alike. Do you find disconnect in their immigration status? Does the difference between American history and African history decide whether or not someone is living your idea of the oppressed Black Life? The Black Experience is a shared experience regardless of one’s faith, simply because of the global perceived inferiority of Black people as a whole. If you are reluctant to acknowledge and fight for the lives of your Black, Muslim, immigrant brothers and sisters, then you a phony. You’re problematic. You act like you get it, but you don’t. Stop regurgitating the same pressed ass activist rhetoric and be consistent in your fight.
‪#‎OurThreeBoys‬
—  Manar
huffingtonpost.com
Why We Need to Keep Yuri's Legacy Alive

Civil rights hero Yuri Kochiyama recently passed away at 93 years old. She came to my college campus in 1995 in Providence, Rhode Island and keynoted our Asian American Pacific Islander History Month celebrations. Having grown up in a rural community in Massachusetts with very few people of color, I had so much to learn about radical activism and the tenacity of the human spirit that has come to define Yuri’s legacy.

Her talk to the students who gathered transformed me.

Now, almost 20 years later, I find myself in a position where I can continue to fight the good fight . Yuri’s passing, and the passing of Maya Angelou last month, has given the country pause as we remember their legacies and has rekindled the fire in me to fight even harder to keep her legacy alive.

In the decades since the social unrest of the 1950s and 1960s that led to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, the racial justice movement has been disempowered. Conservatives had a banner decade in the 1980s when they began the successful rollback of hard fought wins in law and policy. Our most vulnerable communities - the poor, immigrants, people of color - are bearing the brunt.

For instance, take the state of civil rights in the national security context. After September 11, Yuri stood tall with the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities. From her experience as an internee in a Japanese concentration camp, Yuri recognized the impending injustice to be wrought against these new faces of the national security boogeyman. We have witnessed these communities be profiled and subjected to a virtual state of government surveillance. Yuri fought this paradigm.

Or, take the example of immigration. Make no mistake that fears underlying opposition to immigration reform are that of becoming a country that is majority people of color. Two million people have been deported since 2008, 250,000 of which are Asian Americans. There are 11,000,000 undocumented community members in this country because our broken immigration system offers them no path to legalization.

A final case study is our criminal justice system. The United States incarcerates more people than any nation in the world. The majority of those incarcerated are African American and Latino men. Yesterday was slavery; today is incarceration. Anti-black racism today has evolved and now escapes the reach of our civil rights statutes and the Equal Protection provisions of the constitution. Our work is undone.

We need to remember what Yuri Kochiyama taught us about building multi-racial alliances, about true democracy, about conviction, and about racial progress. We owe it to ourselves to never forget.

I’m getting increasingly frustrated with this concept that mutual respect and politeness is not applicable to certain groups based on your level of oppression. This concept of “respectability politics” seems increasingly nebulous to me. In my view, one of the more important takeaways from intersectional feminism is that identities are so complex and varied, and we should always try to understand how being oppressed does not negate your own oppression of others. Being a minority in America does not preclude the way you benefit from American privilege. The idea that you can screw being civil and polite on online discussions because your oppression is so terrible can very much be used as a tool to shut down other minority voices instead of actually /listening/ to what those voices have to say. It’s no secret that if you’re in America, most discussions of race centre around black voices - not without good reason, but it’s also concerning that Asian voices are repeatedly ignored and shafted out of the conversation (observe the way Korra stans frequently erase Asami’s ethnicity, the way conversations on Baltimore frequently skirt the topic of the way black violence disproportionately targeted Asian and Arab business owners). If you’re not actively listening to what other people have to offer or contribute, if your social justice is single-issue and limited to your own experiences, how on Earth do you expect other people to listen to you if you won’t even listen to others? Respect is a two-way street. 

anonymous asked:

Mulan is a Chinese story. It has been told throughout hundreds of years. Not all Asian people look the same and hiring a Korean girl to play a traditionally Chinese girl in a film is perpetuating that. There are so many Chinese actresses that would be amazing for the role of Mulan and casting someone who isn't even Chinese is erasing them. Europeans can be swapped out because the countries are so close together the differences are extremely minimal, but Asian countries are not interchangeable.

I would respectfully disagree with you that a Korean girl playing a traditionally Chinese girl in a film is perpetuating the idea that all “Asians look alike.” And before I get crucified as a white girl who doesn’t know anything, I would like to say that I am 100% Asian American who grew up in the US but spent 7 years living in Asia. I work for an Asian company, have speaking proficiency in 2 Asian languages and a degree in East Asian Studies (Primarily focusing on Chinese and Japanese history, art and culture). Also, I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming an actress/singer/comedienne so I have done my fair share of auditioning and performing.

Now that’s out of the way, here’s why I disagree with you: This is a Disney film geared for not just the Asian market, but the American market. If you were to make this film in Chinese, for a Chinese audience, based on the actual Ballad of Hua Mulan—Yeah you should hire a Chinese actress. Absolutely no question. Disney’s version of Mulan is so loosely based on the Ballad of Hua Mulan, the inaccuracies, white washing and insertion of a talking dragon, lucky cricket and romance plot are just pure fabrication. This is a movie that’s going to be in English—and let’s hope just regular English and not fortune cookie accented English—and has the potential to reach thousands of Asian American—not just East Asian American, but all Asian American—little girls across this country, as well as those who have immigrated to other Western countries.

So I very selfishly want those little girls—and not just ethnic Chinese girls, but Korean and Japanese and Filipina and Vietnamese and Thai and Taiwanese and so on and so forth—to look at a movie like Mulan and go, “Hey, look at that. It IS possible for someone who looks like me to become a movie star in America.” 

Because this whole “interchangeable” narrative that people are spewing my way is in my opinion extremely short-sighted. And kind of racist. And if you’re still with me here, this is why I believe that: 

Yes. Every Asian American gets the “HAHA YOU ALL LOOK ALIKE” shtick. That kind of ignorance is not perpetuated in large part by Asian American actors playing roles different to their ethnicity. That ‘HAHA YOU ALL LOOK ALIKE” narrative is perpetuated by a lack of exposure in daily life—not mainstream media, but daily life—to different kinds of Asian ethnicities and cultures. When I grilled my non-Asian friends and acquaintances, I found as a whole the prejudiced and bigoted person was ME.  My non-Asian friends and acquaintances were, for the most part, smart and intelligent enough to understand the concept that say, Randall Park as a Korean could play a Taiwanese immigrant and that there were very distinct differences and yet, a large number of similarities between Chinese and Korean culture. Or that Zhang Ziyi was Chinese, but could play a Japanese geisha in Memoirs of a Geisha. They were unsurprisingly not stupid and able to distinguish the difference between an actor’s ethnicity and the roles they were playing.

You want people to stop thinking we all look the same? You need to provide more opportunities to actors and performers of all Asian ethnicities without tacking on additional limitations, restrictions and caveats. Not guarantees that they’ll be cast, but just the mere opportunity to be allowed the chance to try. That includes writing original characters, scripts, promoting Asian-American directors, writers, etc. But the fact is not every Asian actor is given the luxury of having their character be based on their ethnicity or get to play a character that is ethnically ambiguous.  

Also, I would like to respectfully point out you undermine your entire argument with the bit about “Whiteswapping is OK because European countries have minimal differences.” If you told a Ukrainian right now that they were basically the same as Russians, I think you’d be in for a rude awakening. Considering the massive war going on there right now, I think that’s a fair assessment. If you told a French person that they were just like the British, you’d be in for a rude awakening. If you told a German that they were just like an Italian, you’d be in for a rude awakening. If you told a Romanian they were just like a Hungarian or Pole, you’d be in for a rude awakening. If you told a Scandinavian that haha, Finland, Sweden, and Norway were like, basically the same, I think you’d be in for a rude awakening. All this tells me is you’ve taken very little time to explore the extreme cultural diversity in Europe, and probably Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and also, probably within Asia itself. 

Or is that because you think all non-Asian people look the same? Let’s explore that. Let’s ignore my previous examples of Caucasian actors/actresses. 

Would you say that Forrest Whittaker was wrong to play the lead in The Last King of Scotland? Did that not “erase” an opportunity African actor? What about Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda? Did David Onyelowo do wrong by playing MLK Jr when he’s not American? Lord knows this site won’t question the divinity that is Lupita Nyong’o, but did she steal a role from an unknown African American actress? What about Eddie Murphy in Coming to America? Personally, I know that I am so so so so soooooo happy for each one of those performances and that personally, as a non-African American, was able to understand the difference between an actor’s ethnicity and the ethnicity of the character he was portraying and in no way did that perpetuate a belief in me that “Oh, All black people look the same.” 

And don’t say it’s not the same because blacks aren’t as underrepresented in media as Asians are. That’s just counterproductive and stupid. It goes without saying that black actors, directors, writers and creatives of all types have had to fight for every ounce of representation that they’ve had—Selma’s snub at this year’s Oscars is proof of that—and I don’t think for one second you can argue that there aren’t distinct and unique African identities within the African American community. I think a Nigerian American would roll their eyes if you said the difference between them and Kenyan Americans was “minimal”. Same goes for a Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rican American. Same goes for Chinese, Japanese and Korean Americans. And Southeast Asian Americans. And so on and so forth. 

Why are my fellow Asian Americans so concerned with policing this “ethnic purity casting” under the false guise of protecting representation instead of cheering on EVERY SINGLE Asian American actor we can, REGARDLESS of their ethnicity? Why is it so hard to believe that a Korean American actress or a Japanese American actress wouldn’t respect, cherish and try her best to honor just the opportunity to play Mulan? Have you seen the anxiety that actors like John Cho and Randall Park have playing characters like Eddie Huang’s father and Hikaru Sulu? Just because they wanted the chance to be in the spotlight?

It’s not white, black, arab, latino or native american people giving them that anxiety. It’s not mainland Asians giving them that anxiety (in my experience, mainland Asians are just super psyched anytime an Asian gets screentime on TV or in film in America). The ones perpetuating this anxiety are, ironically, Asian Americans, who for some reason would rather embrace the idea that we have so much more separating us than we do have in common. Yes we have our own distinct ethnic identities, but we also share one common identity as Asian Americans. It is not erasing your ethnic identity or becoming a “bland” Asian if you support the progress and success of all Asian Americans. It’s intersectionality. It is so much easier for us to move forward as one than as 10 million separate parts. 

In any case, this is just my opinion. You’re free to disagree with me. I’m ready for people to crucify me on this godforsaken site. 

bedroomthief954  asked:

How do you respond when you talk about black history and people bring up things like white people were slaves first or Africans started slavery etc

Honestly, depending on who is asking and WHY… I don’t even bother. If someone asks me that simply to derail or deflect blame from white folks for the horrors of American race-based chattel slavery, I usually dismiss them. Debating the history of the evils done to Black people is not a game for me, so I don’t entertain people who try to make me justify speaking out about my own people’s oppression. That said, when Black folks or sincere others ask me that question, I sometimes do share some points of fact:

- American Race-Based Chattel Slavery (yes, you need to say the whole thing) was unique in the annals of world history. NOTHING experienced by any group of people anywhere, before or since - to include the “slavery” Africans experienced at the hands of other Africans , whatever the Romans did to various races of people “enslaved” in Rome, and whatever shit the Irish have gone through whenever - is even REMOTELY comparable. American race-based chattel slavery was so different, in fact, that I wish we would have come up with a different word for what happened to the stolen Africans who were brought to North America. There are many books and even college courses on “comparative slave studies” that explain these different slavery-style experiences throughout time and space, so to KNOW know what you’re talking about, you’ll need to do some reading.

- No, Africans didn’t “start slavery.” Arabs first initiated large-scale organized slave raiding along Africa’s Eastern coast and into and across North Africa. The Portuguese were the first whites to kick-off the iteration of the slave trading system we know, coming down the Western coast of Africa, followed closely by the rest of white Europe and white America.

- Yes, Africans participated with the Portuguese and English in enslaving other Africans. Taking captives and absorbing them into your clan or village and using them as labor (rather than killing them outright) was a thing that happened frequently among and in-between Africans. And yes, that happened before, during, and after what the Arabs and Europeans and Americans did. But African “slavery” wasn’t permanent, there was no theological or pseudo-scientic justification for it, it obviously wasn’t racial, and at no time were the captive Africans considered and treated as non-human by their also-African, also-Black captors. All of those were African societies with slaves, NOT “Slave Societies”, as in what America became. And yes, there are books and even college courses on the differences between societies with slaves, and SLAVE SOCIETIES, like America was. Look it up.

Now, I feel obligated to say a couple of things about Africans having helped Europeans enslave other Africans who were destined for the Americas:

If I get caught committing a crime and I tell the authorities, “Yes, but these other people were in on it too,” does that absolve ME of having to accept responsibility for the part that I played in the crime? Of course not. I don’t get excused because of that; all I do is ADD ANOTHER CRIMINAL to the arrest record. It’s called SNITCHING. And when trying to escape having to sit there and take the blame, straight up, for what your ancestors did (you take pride and the accolades for the good shit white folks did in the past so you’ve gotta take the shame and blame for the bad shit, too), ‘but Africans did it first’ or ’but Africans did it too’ is usually the knee-jerk response. Well…

Unlike many Black folks you talk to who get stymied by that ‘gotcha’ I immediately submit to truth and history and I say: ‘You’re right. Some selfish, arrogant, ignorant Africans did participate with your evil ancestors, and they are also culpable, and we African Americans will reconcile with our African family about that, but THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. And that damned-sure doesn’t let y’all off the hook for what y’all did.’ And then I keep the conversation going the way I want it to go.

That’s how I respond to that.

bbc.com
First Arab Nobel science winner Ahmed Zewail dies
Egyptian-born Nobel-winning scientist Ahmed Zewail, who studied chemical reactions in ultra-short time scales, dies in the US aged 70.

The Egyptian-born Nobel-winning scientist Ahmed Zewail has died in the US, aged 70.

Mr Zewail won the Nobel chemistry prize in 1999 for his pioneering work in femtochemistry, the study of chemical reactions in ultra-short time scales.

A professor at the California Institute of Technology, he was a science advisor to President Obama and the first Arab scientist to win the Nobel Prize.

Mr Zewail became a naturalised American in 1982 after studying there.

No immediate cause of death was given.

In 40 years working at the the California Institute of Technology , he experimented with lasers to monitor chemical reactions at a scale of a femtosecond, which is a millionth of a billionth of a second.

He is also credited with developing a new research field dubbed four-dimensional electron microscopy, which helps capture fleeting processes and turn them into a kind of digital film.

Mr Zewail was appointed US science envoy to the Middle East, and became outspoken on political issues in his native country.

In 2014, he wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times that urged the US to avoid cutting aid to Egypt after a military coup that ousted the elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He argued that constructive engagement was important in keeping Egypt as a partner in the war on terrorism.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi expressed his condolences over the death, saying the country had lost a son and role model.

 Ryan Bellerose, a Native American human rights activist, explains why all indigenous groups should support the Jewish people, who are in fact indigenous to the land of Israel. 

“It is not ok to take someone’s history from them; it is not ok to appropriate and marginalise their pain – and this is precisely what Arabs who claim commonalities with us are doing. When I am speak with Jewish people about our experiences, it’s empathy and not paternalistic sympathy: it is, in fact, about our shared experiences.

We do not want nor will we accept this pro-Palestinian solidarity with its price tag of betrayal of another indigenous nation”