all autocompletes were screenshots of actual searches on 12/3/2013
photo credit: Mike Allen
The idea was inspired by the UN Women campaign by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai.
Racism from Absence
In my 19 years in America, I’ve never been stopped and frisked. Cops are always nice to me. People have no problems sitting next to me on the bus. No one’s scared of me no matter what direction I pointed my cap.
The kind of Asian racism that makes headlines is cultural misappropriation -when some “insensitive” entertainer wears silk kimonos and painted faces to look exotic.
This never bothered me.
It’s the subtle, slippery racism that’s far more sinister. The absence of Asian leads in a non-martial arts movie or TV shows means I grew up knowing only non-Asian celebrities and role models. And if you’re an Asian guy, you are not the stuff of fantasies girls grew up dreaming about.
The absence of Asians from politics and upper management means that Asians can be hard workers and geniuses but never leaders.
Above all, there seems to be some perma-foreignness about Asians. It’s not unusual to be told to “go back to China” and to be mocked for an accent we don’t have. The manifestations of this viewpoint range from the seemingly harmless to the outright hostile. But the underlying message is the same. Asians are not real Americans.
I vividly remember seeing this racism first-hand in a conversation with one of my former business partners. I wanted to create a mentoring program in a predominantly Asian school organization.
He flat out told me he had no interest in helping Asians succeed in America. I asked him, “Are you serious?” He said, “Yeah.” He laughed a little.
He was serious.
It was a wtf moment for many reasons and was a major factor behind my decision to leave my position as a co-founder. I eventually heard from a mutual friend that he said I was a follower not a leader.
In retrospect, I’m fortunate to have heard him verbalize something that others keep to themselves. It allowed me to move on to bigger and better things instead of wasting time working with someone who never saw me as a partner.
Confessions of an ABC Banana Twinky
I’ve been uncomfortable being Asian since the 2nd grade. Back then I was the foreign kid who didn’t speak any English who became the butt of every joke.
This bullying motivated me to learn English fast. By 3rd grade, I was nearly fluent and huge chunk of my vocabulary were insults and comebacks.
In 4th grade I started seeing my race as a handicap. I thought the only way to be accepted is to break every Asian stereotype. As a result, I avoided the other Asian kids. I stopped caring about my grades. Then there was the denial. For a period of my life I was Chinese Clayton Bigsby. I actually felt like I was white.
In the 6th grade one of my friends picked a fight with me for no reason and told me to go back to China. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken it so hard. But I did. I couldn’t look past the fact he was just some 12-year old taking medication for hyperactive aggression. At the time I felt the full weight of my racial identity and caused me to stray further away.
When I moved to a better school district in the 8th grade, a lot of the overt forms of bullying disappeared. Despite this, I still scoffed at Asian cliques and was embarrassed to speak Chinese in public or do anything which reminded people of who I really was.
The only time I referenced my race was through self-deprecating humor.
In college, I became “ok” with being Asian. I didn’t feel embarrassed to speak Chinese in public anymore. I also started to see some value in Asian culture and re-developed interest in the history.
I was also in a serious relationship with someone who accepted me fully. I also joined a business fraternity that was predominantly Asian.
I took a lot of steps in the right direction, but I still felt divided. It wasn’t until my second time meditating with a Shaman that I finally confronted the self-loathing I built up through the years.
I learned that by acting opposite to my stereotypes, I’m still letting ignorance control my life. Instead, the only thing that matters is figuring out who I want to be, and seeing if my actions are consistent with that version of myself.
The challenge is being honest with myself and admitting when my actions come from a place of insecurity and defensiveness. Committing to change that behavior is one of the purest expression of “self” stripped of delusion and denial.
Note: I’m just a guy with a Finance background who rescues cats and makes videos. I’ve never had diversity and sensitivity training. I just know my own experience and how it shaped the way I think today.
But, I do hope some parts of this resonates.
If you have any comments, agreements, or disagreements please drop me a line via the confirm/deny link on the upper left corner. I’m also reachable by email here. Or tweet @stevesdrop.
tbh, i find the emergence of the concept of demisexuality very interesting, and i’m partial to thinking it’s a symptom of hypersexualized patriarchal culture that demands full sexual availability of women. wanting to develop an emotional bond before having sex is actually a very common and even normative thing, yet nowadays women seem to be under so much pressure to have casual sex that they strongly identify with demisexuality to justify the limits of their sexual comfort zone.
i wonder how the idea that not wanting to have sex with people you don’t know well needs its own label might be connected with the “sex-positive” movement and its ideas of “sexual empowerment”. we’ve conceptualized being sexual (as opposed to “half-sexual”) in very strict terms and reached a point where certain sexual behaviours, such as casual sex, are not just seen as normal and accepted but actually positioned as a required part of “full” sexuality, and by doing that we’ve abnormalized not wanting to have sex with people you don’t know well, which is alarming because there is an immense pressure on women to be sexually available to men.
My Sweet theme zine will be ready soon. Here is a little pattern with these drawings.
It is okay to love Sailor Moon. It is okay to be excited (or disappointed) about When Marnie Was There. It’s okay to critically engage and examine these things.
But please remember that we, as Westerners, exist on the periphery. When we examine and analyze media from other countries, we have to remember that we are not the target audience. Sailor Moon, and all of its iterations, are made by Japanese people for Japanese people living in Japan. I’m sure that Naoko Takeuchi and the production team for SMC are aware of the many international fans of Sailor Moon, but again, we’re peripheral. Expats in Japan are also peripheral.
These shows and movies are not about us. They aren’t meant to represent us. We don’t have the right to insist that our perspectives or desires be included. We cannot use our Western/US-centric lens to examine media from outside our counter(ies). We don’t have the right to say “BUT WHAT ABOUT US AND OUR CULTURAL PERCEPTIONS!”
Please be aware of Western privilege/imperialism (and let’s be honest, white feminism) when critiquing and analyzing things like Sailor Moon, Ghibli films or KPop/KDramas. I’m not saying you can’t feel disappointed, I’m saying you don’t have the right to ask the creators to cater to you.
Also, I *know* I’m going to get someone saying I DIDN’T DEMAND ANYTHING I JUST THINK IT SHOULD BE DIFFERENT, and I want to tell you: Stop. Assess your privilege. If you really want to see more representation for LGTBQIA in media overseas, then start looking for ways to support LGTBQIA people overseas. Believe me, they don’t want you coming in and screaming about queerbaiting. You wish there was more body diversity in media from Korea and Japan? There are plenty of Japanese people and Korean people IN Japan and Korea that want the same thing. Support them. If you want to learn about feminism in other countries, start educating yourself about what women in Korea and Japan think instead of dictating to them what you think they should do. Don’t be that fool. Just. Don’t.
SWEATS LIKE WILL GRAHAM
HAS MORE PETS THAN WILL GRAHAM
NO ONE OUTLINES MORE CHALK SILHOUETTES THAN WILL GRAHAM
"I USE ANTLERS IN ALL MY INVESTIGATING"
OH WHAT A GUY WILL GRAHAM
NO ONE DREAMS LIKE WILL GRAHAM
CHOKES BACK SCREAMS LIKE WILL GRAHAM
NO ONE’S COMING APART AT THE SEAMS LIKE WILL GRAHAM
"I’M ESPECIALLY GOOD AT HALLUCINATING"
OH WHAT A GUY WILL GRAHAM
FOR ALL MY SISTAS HAVING TROUBLE FINDING THE RIGHT SHADE OF FOUNDATION/CONCEALER, THE KEY IS TO KNOW YOUR SKIN TONE AND UNDERTONE. HOPE THIS HELPS :)
More info on artbecomesyou.com