workplace action

As an Indian woman I have witnessed the various forms of antiblackness that manifest in the broader Asian community over the years. I myself have to do better and so do Asian people in general. 

  • Asians in general blaming the quota on Asian admission into universities and in the workplace on affirmative action. 
  • Asians saying things like “where’s the Asian pride month?” during Black History Month, even though an APIA month already exist. 
  • Asians derailing the conversation when black people are speaking about media representation by saying “what about Asians?”. 
  • The Desi backlash against Azealia Banks is pretty telling as it is: they were perfectly happy when her twitter account was suspended but tend to be silent about the fact that Neo-Nazis and rape apologists on twitter still have their accounts. A bunch of cis, conventionally attractive, mostly North Indian and Pakistani Westerners coming together to attack a dark-skinned, queer black woman is the be-all end-all form of “activism” for these people, who also neglect to do anything for black Desis. 
  • Antiblackness in East Asia, South Asia, and the Gulf States takes on many forms. Saudi Arabia discriminates against black migrant workers and essentially forces them into very low-paying labor. India and Pakistan are notorious for xenophobic, antiblack ways of economically disenfranchising black desis. No amount of “they don’t identify as black, they identify with their nationality” discourse will change that because they are both black and Desi, and trying to say otherwise is just revealing your own antiblackness. 
  • The East-Asian community defending Peter Liang is yet another example. Asian cops are complicit in police brutality. To defend him is beyond inappropriate - so what if he’s also Asian? He’s responsible for antiblack crimes and brutality. He is part of an oppressive power structure. Instead of defending him, we should be working to dismantle the antiblackness in our own communities. 
  • So much of the discourse in Asian tumblr on here neglects to address the antiblackness in our communities, which is then directly responsible for things like Asian cops killing black people. Our antiblackness kills. When you support celebrities like M.I.A, who has thrown black girls under the bus and said that black celebrities care “more” about Black Lives Matter than Syrian and Iraqi refugees, which is 1) wrong and 2) really gross to say,. you support antiblackness as a power structure. 

We all as Asian people and individuals need to do better. We let our fathers and uncles make antiblack jokes at dinner parties. We let our mothers and aunties tell us to “stay away” from black people. We let our friends appropriate from black culture and drop the n-word. We casually use antiblack language in our mother tongues. We let our activists, scholars, and artists play oppression olympics. We allow our communities to perpetuate colorist politics. We let our families tell us not to befriend black people or become romantically involved with them. We let our friends fetishize and hypersexualize black people. Which is cruel and heinous behavior, especially given that black people have always been in solidarity with us. They have always supported us, rallied for us, provided us with emotional labor and love, made room for us, and protested on our behalf. We have never done the same for them. We selfishly take and take from black people in the name of solidarity while at the same time preaching our own antiblack rhetoric in a hypocritical, selfish manner. 

I’ve repeatedly stated this but there’s really no point to being anti-racist if you’re antiblack. You can’t dismantle white supremacy without destroying antiblackness globally. I’d like if we steered away the conversation from cultural appropriation and media representation to actually focusing our efforts and resources on supporting black people, truly being in solidarity with them, shutting up and listening when necessary, actively combating our internalized antiblackness and the antiblackness we witness in our families and communities, and providing emotional labor and love to black people.