The first thought I need get out is how satisfying the party scene was in Dear White People.
Spoiler alert.
Spoiler alert.
I guess I already spoiled something.
Spoiler alert.
The minute Lionel pushed the speakers off the stage my mind inverted with dopamine as it does when I daydream about setting fire to kimono halloween costumes and the phrase “honorary Whites.”  This was the scene I didn’t know I’d been looking for as I walked into the Arclight.  This was the moment I mulled over as I got into my car and drove home through the cluster that is Hollywood on a friday night.
And as I made that drive I laid out my autopsy.  Writer Justin Simien's approach to the story, a complex throwback in which no one can claim to wholly “do the right thing,” allows us to live out the fantasy of confronting racism while armed with the words and the people to kick ass.  Not only is Sam armed with rad ideology, comfortable in firm action, and laced on point (Coco throws out a Lisa Bonet joke, and to be real this movie is going to be replacing A Different World in my Cosby headcanon), but she has backup in the form of her house and organizing community.
Armed with those tools, she is able to cut down the son of the school president in two minutes and expose underlying racism in the click of a mouse.  It’s beautiful, it’s simple in its complexity, and all and all it is satisfying.  It’s the movie we’ve all wanted to see.
So as an Asian American who has always kept an eye on Asian American media and discourse, I am left with the logical next question: What would the Asian American “Dear White People” look like?
Now before we go anywhere, we can never compare weights.  The burdens held by Black folks are very different than the burdens held by Asian American folks.  Our histories of oppression, struggle, and “privileges” have intersected, but have existed in very different arenas.
So as I pulled into Koreatown off the 101, thinking through what we would say to White people, what questions we would ask of ourselves, and how logistically we would even start the movie, it occurred to me that before we can get to “Dear White People” we would need to start with “Dear Asian America.”
The creation of “Asian American,” as a term, is credited to Prof. Yuji Ichioka.  The word has been adopted for many contexts and uses, but it was first coined as a self-determined identifier in a political and communal sense.
This term, while great as shorthand, is inadequate to address the full breadth of our community.  Asia, as a concept, only exists in the eyes of the Western gaze; our homelands do not traditionally recognize that some 50 countries have a link beyond an arbitrary continental border.  So when we discuss “Asian America” (not even to introduce the “Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian” communities which are often haphazardly and shamelessly appended by Asian American non-profits as a funding tactic) we are talking about a relatively absurd designation.
So where does that leave us then?  Why even consider the term “Asian America” as useful?
When we are able to accept the limits of “Asian America,” this is when we are able to likewise build with our fellow explorers.  If we can understand that this cage we have built as a defense mechanism can serve as an organizing —and ultimately empowerment— tool, we can find ways to advocate for our own communities, work toward our shared hopes, and use the tools we have built individually to collectively push speakers from stages and take down the system that has cornered us all in.
In thinking about “Dear White People,” if our community is to continue analyzing our complicated relationship to Whiteness (a conversation we have been going in circles on since we immigrated), like the BSU slackjawing past Sam and her White boyfriend, we too need to be open about our dysfunction and willing to dialogue amongst ourselves.
Like a good Tumblr takedown, the party scene was satisfying beyond compare as it expressed a common element of confrontation that so many of us, publicly or not, fantasize for ourselves.  Will there be an Asian American “Dear White People?” Perhaps it is being made right now.  Perhaps it has already been made.  But above all, I hope there is conversation leading us towards open, direct, community-wide dialogue about what we mean when we claim “Asian America.”
As impossible as that may seem.
  • Camera: iPhone 6
  • Aperture: f/2.2
  • Exposure: 1/15th
  • Focal Length: 4mm

The first thought I need get out is how satisfying the party scene was in Dear White People.

Spoiler alert.

Spoiler alert.

I guess I already spoiled something.

Spoiler alert.

The minute Lionel pushed the speakers off the stage my mind inverted with dopamine as it does when I daydream about setting fire to kimono halloween costumes and the phrase “honorary Whites.”  This was the scene I didn’t know I’d been looking for as I walked into the Arclight.  This was the moment I mulled over as I got into my car and drove home through the cluster that is Hollywood on a friday night.

And as I made that drive I laid out my autopsy.  Writer Justin Simien's approach to the story, a complex throwback in which no one can claim to wholly “do the right thing,” allows us to live out the fantasy of confronting racism while armed with the words and the people to kick ass.  Not only is Sam armed with rad ideology, comfortable in firm action, and laced on point (Coco throws out a Lisa Bonet joke, and to be real this movie is going to be replacing A Different World in my Cosby headcanon), but she has backup in the form of her house and organizing community.

Armed with those tools, she is able to cut down the son of the school president in two minutes and expose underlying racism in the click of a mouse.  It’s beautiful, it’s simple in its complexity, and all and all it is satisfying.  It’s the movie we’ve all wanted to see.

So as an Asian American who has always kept an eye on Asian American media and discourse, I am left with the logical next question: What would the Asian American “Dear White People” look like?

Now before we go anywhere, we can never compare weights.  The burdens held by Black folks are very different than the burdens held by Asian American folks.  Our histories of oppression, struggle, and “privileges” have intersected, but have existed in very different arenas.

So as I pulled into Koreatown off the 101, thinking through what we would say to White people, what questions we would ask of ourselves, and how logistically we would even start the movie, it occurred to me that before we can get to “Dear White People” we would need to start with “Dear Asian America.”

The creation of “Asian American,” as a term, is credited to Prof. Yuji Ichioka.  The word has been adopted for many contexts and uses, but it was first coined as a self-determined identifier in a political and communal sense.

This term, while great as shorthand, is inadequate to address the full breadth of our community.  Asia, as a concept, only exists in the eyes of the Western gaze; our homelands do not traditionally recognize that some 50 countries have a link beyond an arbitrary continental border.  So when we discuss “Asian America” (not even to introduce the “Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian” communities which are often haphazardly and shamelessly appended by Asian American non-profits as a funding tactic) we are talking about a relatively absurd designation.

So where does that leave us then?  Why even consider the term “Asian America” as useful?

When we are able to accept the limits of “Asian America,” this is when we are able to likewise build with our fellow explorers.  If we can understand that this cage we have built as a defense mechanism can serve as an organizing —and ultimately empowerment— tool, we can find ways to advocate for our own communities, work toward our shared hopes, and use the tools we have built individually to collectively push speakers from stages and take down the system that has cornered us all in.

In thinking about “Dear White People,” if our community is to continue analyzing our complicated relationship to Whiteness (a conversation we have been going in circles on since we immigrated), like the BSU slackjawing past Sam and her White boyfriend, we too need to be open about our dysfunction and willing to dialogue amongst ourselves.

Like a good Tumblr takedown, the party scene was satisfying beyond compare as it expressed a common element of confrontation that so many of us, publicly or not, fantasize for ourselves.  Will there be an Asian American “Dear White People?” Perhaps it is being made right now.  Perhaps it has already been made.  But above all, I hope there is conversation leading us towards open, direct, community-wide dialogue about what we mean when we claim “Asian America.”

As impossible as that may seem.

microsoftbob:

seanmiura:

Hi all,

Just a reminder on this Indigenous People’s Day that the US military continues to occupy land on Okinawa, a kingdom that was colonized by Japan and subsequently used as a battle site by both Japan and the US until the US eventually started using it as a major base in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beyond horrific incidents such as military exercises gone awry that have led to deaths, US servicemen continue to commit crimes such as theft and sexual violence. There have also been talks of further base construction that would lead to filling in a chunk of the ocean ecosystem Okinawa is known for.

Okinawans are a native group with a unique language and culture (separate from Japan), and have faced waves and waves of colonialism and oppression.

There is much work to be done.

also don’t forget Guahån (also known as Guam) which is basically the last colonially occupied place on earth since the UN special committee on decolonization has rejected their appeals every time
as US troops move out of Okinawa, they move to the military base on Guahån and as expected they’re destroying indigenous ways of life, culture, and education systems, as well as destroy the local environment on the island
young Chamorro (native people of Guahån and other Marianas islands) men are also drawn into the military industrial complex at the highest rate in the country because enlistment is often the only option for natives in an environment wrecked by modern-day colonialism, driven by US imperialism and Obama’s project to “pivot to Asia”
read more at:
http://www.weareguahan.com/
http://hawaiiindependent.net/story/blue-washing-the-colonization-and-militarization-of-our-ocean
http://decolonizeguam.blogspot.com/
http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/gacol3210.doc.htm

Thanks for adding!

We can also make parallels to Hawaii.  Especially being a member of the Asian settler diaspora, I’m trying to undertake a lot of self-education…the narrative is not a simple one.

yellowxperil:

seanmiura:

yellowxperil reblogged one of my posts and now my notification thing is melting.

a lot of you have random japanese words/anime-sounding names in your handles.  i hope you’re cool.

none of my followers are weeaboos don’t worry sean

we should all be so lucky.

Anonymous: See, it's funny to make fun of people like they make fun of you but just because they make fun of you, does that all the sudden make it okay for you to make fun of them?

yellowxperil:

frantzofanon:

me: *makes fun of white people for putting chopsticks instead of hair sticks in their hair*

white people:

"damn look at these chinks. let’s laugh at one of their languages. let’s check out the people’s vaginas to see if the vaginas are sideways. let’s laugh at them for boiling their water while we die from water borne diseaseslet’s ban them from immigrating to this country so we can protect the jobs to help our people. let’s kill vincent chin. oh they’re doing well in school??? remove them. they’re a threat.  orientalism is cool. let’s make it harder for the chinks to get scholarships.  but damn, chinese women are so exotic! will they be my china dolls? 

wow anon. you got me. 

wtf is this fucking nerdass elementary school teacher doing trolling tumblr inboxes

whitepeoplestealingculture:

Yesterday I attended a protest against Columbus Day in Los Angeles. The rally started on Olvera Street across the way from Union Station then  to the cathedral in downtown L.A. We stood in front of the church for a half an hour, preaching of what obscenities the church allowed against the indigenous people of the Americas. The church was also built on sacred land.

While we were there, there was a group of white people staring at us as we protested on the other side of the street. A little whitey mocked us while the ignorant white girls sneered. An old white man we nicknamed Skip shouted “Boo!” while our words were said through the microphone of the injustice the church brought upon 100 million people.

Later, we marched with our signs held high to the Columbus statue in Grand Park of downtown L.A. It was set there in the park in 1976 (first picture of the set), the plaque stating the Columbus discovered America and is a “legend among immortals”. We returned to Olvera street where there were dancers celebrating the indigenous people that were once here.

It was hot but it was worth marching for this—to change Columbus Day  just as Seattle has done. There should be no holiday marking a terrorist and murderer. 

Happy Indigenous Day!

- Jess

(Source: takingbackourculture, via raybg89)

seanmiura:

Hi all,

Just a reminder on this Indigenous People’s Day that the US military continues to occupy land on Okinawa, a kingdom that was colonized by Japan and subsequently used as a battle site by both Japan and the US until the US eventually started using it as a major base in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beyond horrific incidents such as military exercises gone awry that have led to deaths, US servicemen continue to commit crimes such as theft and sexual violence. There have also been talks of further base construction that would lead to filling in a chunk of the ocean ecosystem Okinawa is known for.

Okinawans are a native group with a unique language and culture (separate from Japan), and have faced waves and waves of colonialism and oppression.

There is much work to be done.

A friend posted this entry on Facebook.  Actual comment:

"And why the fuck do you care about people half a world away? You might as well make us feel guilty about Kony, too, to make yourself feel better."

yikes.

Hi all,

Just a reminder on this Indigenous People’s Day that the US military continues to occupy land on Okinawa, a kingdom that was colonized by Japan and subsequently used as a battle site by both Japan and the US until the US eventually started using it as a major base in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beyond horrific incidents such as military exercises gone awry that have led to deaths, US servicemen continue to commit crimes such as theft and sexual violence. There have also been talks of further base construction that would lead to filling in a chunk of the ocean ecosystem Okinawa is known for.

Okinawans are a native group with a unique language and culture (separate from Japan), and have faced waves and waves of colonialism and oppression.

There is much work to be done.