For the last week of December, we’re re-posting some of our favorite posts from 2011.
Last week Lisa posted about the racist “Asians in the Library” video from UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, and how the responses to it have often drawn on very sexist, demeaning language, as though the only way we know to combat one type of stereotyping or prejudice is to use another. Yuki T. send in a video response by slam poet Beau Sia that, as Yuki says, “stands out as a real examination of the white privilege and fear that underlies the racism that Alexandra Wallace displays,” rather than just trying to degrade or mock Alexandra in whatever way possible:
UPDATE: I found a transcript at dandelionchild, via Common Pitfalls of the Amateur Poet, though it appears the first place the transcript was posted was Madame Thursday. It’s after the jump. Thanks for reminding me, WellWheeled!
Didn’t you hear me say that I’m not politically correct? I said that, but you’ve all been misinterpreting me so let me be clear. There are hordes of Asians at my school and it’s starting to freak me out. They act in a manner I wasn’t taught growing up and I don’t want to question who I am and how I was raised so they are starting to be a real problem for me. I don’t understand their language, their culture, the way they hold family sacred and shared and instead of consider whether or not that is threatening to me, I’d rather the things they do, the people they are be wrong.
It’s so hard maintaining fitting in when these Asian people clearly aren’t. They’re so not the TV I’ve seen, so not the stories I’ve read, so not my experience where I’m from, and I’m letting their existence jeopardize my idea of the world and I don’t like it.
And I’m not afraid to personally address those who’s behavior is affecting me so. I’m just choosing to find solidarity in my beliefs on the internet to prevent the course of questioning my statements would cause me. If someone directed similar comments towards whom I’ve had to represent in my life.
I don’t want to have to consider why I’ve based my observations on a number of Asians smaller than some Asian families. Or what exceptions I’d have to consider if I didn’t use blanket assumptions. Or if there’s a conflict about the world changing that I don’t want to face, because of the face I was born with. There are so many more important things in my life. I don’t want to have to explore my relationship to everything around me.
And there are many who think the way that I do. And, you know, from what I know of America, these Asian people are not supposed to be this way. And I’m not talking about the laws of this country. Requirements for citizenship or taxes paid in full. Nnn-nn!
I am talking about what I’ve been programmed to think family is. How manners prove native, who should decide how identity must conform, for whom identity must conform, and why identity must conform. If only these Asians would learn English! If only they understood. That I’m here too. That I share this place with them. That I belong here. That the hordes and swarms invading the system I’ve learned remember who I am as the world changes. I’m so afraid I’ll have to fend for myself. Without what I’ve been told was mine.