Long post up ahead-

Hi, I have a question about this post on your site under the “Dear non-Asian People” section. Just to clarify, I am barely Asian. My mom is African-American and my dad is half-Caucasian and half-Japanese.

“Dear non-Asian people,

Please stop butting into the conversations we have when we’re discussing things/issues about our cultures. Just because you’re married/dating/are friends with a person from our culture does not give you an automatic invitation to the conversation. The people whom you are “speaking for” have their own voices and I’d rather much hear their opinions (I don’t care if their opinions differ from mine) from them than you, an outsider. Also, when we, people of that culture, tell you that the “facts” you are spewing are incorrect, don’t argue like you know more than us. Trust me, you don’t.”

Concerning the above, when having conversations about things/issues about your cultures, who exactly is invited to “butt in?” I don’t mean this in a rude way, but why doesn’t someone who has a significant relationship with an Asian not invited. Wouldn’t this help those otherwise ignorant to issues currently facing Asian people become more knowledgeable? What about my mom who met my father in Japan after living in Kinosake for 10 years since middle school? Or people who are not ethnically Asian, but are citizens by birth and have never been outside of that Asian country?

Does this post mean to exclude anyone who is not culturally and/or ethnically Asian? If so, it doesn’t make sense because without non-Asian people included in the conversation, how would these issues start to become resolved. For example, racism against black people in America declined when white people were forced to see the injustice taking place. This was done by interviews with people of color and later news footage of protests showing horrible things done to poc’s. Eventually discussion was sparked and we’ve come a long way. Racism against Asians is just now being discussed in America, as people have noticed the lack of Asian role models in American entertainment. This means non-Asian people “butting in” the conversation. Isn’t this good?

Once again, if this is taken as offensive, please know that this was not my intention. Additionally, if I have misunderstood anything in the post quoted above, please kindly let me know

-Tsyana



Bojin:

First I wanna address what you said about “barely” being Asian. You have Asian heritage, therefore you are Asian, and it’s not necessary to think of yourself as just fractions of an Asian. Blood quantum shouldn’t dictate the ties you have to your communities and heritage, or how much you can participate in them. Of course you’re allowed to have your own thoughts on the matter, but I wanted to let you know that, because that line of thinking has been harmful to me and many other mixed Asians, especially mixed Black Asians (because blood quantum is already a big issue in our African American communities). It’s okay to think of yourself as whole and not just the sum of your parts.

Secondly, I didn’t write the post. I don’t like the term “non-Asian” or any equivalent that seeks to replace Black people as the sole focus of that political term, though aside from that I like and approve of the overall message being sent. A message which, to me, says that it’s not okay for people who aren’t Asian to speak over us about intra-community issues, and about things dealing with our cultures.

I think it would be up to you, or the person speaking about their culture, to invite others not part of that culture to join in those conversations. Just because an Asian person is talking about our culture, even if it’s not an intra-community conversation neccessarily, doesn’t mean other people have the right to talk over us or act like they know our culture better than us.
It’s not saying that if you don’t have cultural or ethnic ties you’re not allowed to be part of the conversation or participate in your culture. The post is also not saying that if you’re not Asian, you can’t have meaningful connections with Asian people, or you can’t ever talk about your loved ones culture. Just that you need to be invited into conversations surrounding cultural things and be respectful of that person’s boundaries.

It’s Also not saying that nationally Asian people but not ethnically Asian people can’t participate in the dominant culture of their country. However there are still some boundaries that are in place for some cultures, such as certain religions closed to those who aren’t part of that ethnicity, and need to be respected as well.

Inviting other people into conversations about racism, inviting them to community to community outreaches, asking them for assistance/ solidarity in political rallies etc, is not the same as people who aren’t Asian just joining in and throwing their two cents in, trying to fix our problems for us and speaking over us. It is looking for their assistance, not just getting it without wanting it.
With setting these boundaries comes safety, and that’s what most important.

Lastly, antiblack racism hasn’t declined in the US, that’s a myth. And it especially hasn’t declined due to white people butting in and trying to talk over us or fix our problems. Community to community support has fostered solidarity and tackled some issues, which has helped some, but it hasn’t fixed the problem.
White supremacy is the problem and until they stop oppressing us, racism won’t stop. Having them talk over us is them enacting white supremacy. Inviting them into the conversation is us enacting our boundaries for safety.

(Also, Asians have been speaking out about the racism that we face in America since we came here (in multiple large scale, community specific, waves of immigration) and have been oppressed here, it’s not the modern phenomenon that people say it is. Just because antiblack racism has been addressed in the US in the past (ending slavery, for one glaring example) doesn’t mean that every nonblack community has been left in the dust as far as progress goes. Progress with different communities happens on different levels, and it depends on many factors. Just because it’s been a long, slow road of advancement for Black people’s rights doesn’t mean that we should compare that progress to nonblack communities and use Black people as some sort of example for how much acknowledgement such and such community should get. Black people are hyper-visible which also can effect how much other people view the different levels of progress, thinking we deal with less racism or something when it’s just not true.)

btw I’m not offended, it’s good to ask questions and have conversations about things you need more clarity on. If any other mods wanna chime in please do so

every single racist i know instinctively understands that racism is about power dynamics even if they won’t admit it. you can tell because their racism is the most vehement and angry in the context of intimidating people who tell them not to be racist or that their racism is shitty. they swear up and down it’s all jokes and they don’t mean it but i’ve seen all those same people rant and whine and just hate when they’re surrounded by only white people and think they’re safe to express it, and feel either betrayed or extremely skeptical when other white people stand up to them about it. it’s still worth trying to talk people out of it if only so you’ll know you tried, but with each interaction i become more and more skeptical they’re worth trying to “convert”. they choose hate because it benefits them and will continue choosing it until it no longer does. fuck ‘em.

Donald Trump removed the KKK, Neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups from the Terrorist Watchlist and will focus all his counter-terrorist on ones carried out by Muslims - two years after Dylan Roof killed 8 black churchgoers & right after the Quebec massacre where a white supremacist killed 8 Muslims at their mosque. I will never forgive or carry any sympathy for those who voted for him.

I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again:

You cannot challenge racism, on this level, by being nice to and reaching out to white supremacists.  Their entire ideology revolves around dehumanizing us.  It just does. not. work.  

You cannot fight fascism by prioritizing the feelings of fascists and letting them think they’re safe around you.  You don’t “get them on your side”.  Because treating them kindly and respecting them, gives them your silent approval and access to those of you who are way more vulnerable than you are and who cannot afford to feel safe enough to “debate” with these monsters. 

Our humanity is not a question or a debate topic, and by giving these people a platform you legitimize their views and help spread them to a larger audience.