Monday, February 29, 2016

What Asians can Learn from the Racist Oscars "Jokes"

Bring 3 Asian kids onto a stage, prop them with suits and suitcases, glasses, and no voice, and call them "Oscar accountants". Follow that up with, “If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids." Then, hint at the, "very hard-working, little, yellow people, with tiny know, the minions."

One question before I move on. Sacha Baron Cohen, so, when are you going to release your sex tapes with the minions? 'Cause, clearly, you must have slept with ALL the minions to come to the conclusion that they have tiny dongs. 

Ok, moving on.

These tasteless, ignorant, and archaic lines that are tossed around by Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen sound very much like the corny gag trash that comes out of a typical racist bully's mouth. 

One part of the problem is the racist, anti-Asian stereotypes that consistently propagate mainstream media and have no intentions of dying. The other part of the problem is the Asian community's willingness to ONLY stand up to these injustices when it makes it convenient for us to do so. 

Day in and day out, I constantly see Facebook feeds of Black, Latin@, and Muslim people being harassed, discriminated against, or worse, killed. I witness nothing but silence from my Asian community. No voice of anger, protest, or boycott. 

But when Officer Peter Liang gets charged for killing Akai Gurley, or when Chris Rock and Sacha Cohen hurl insults to our faces, THEN sleeping Snorlax wakes the FUCK UP and goes on a Twitter rampage about how butt hurt he felt and storms the streets protesting the criminal charge of one of our own. 

I hate to say it, but Asians can be just as brainwashed, ignorant, and naive as the next white folk who proudly wears a "Trump 2016" T-shirt and an infamous red "Make America Great Again" hat. 

We should be standing up in solidarity with our Black, Latin@, Muslim, and LGBTQ sisters and brothers, arm in arm, hand in hand, and challenge our primary enemy that keeps holding us back - White Supremacy (AKA Insitutional Racism). 

It is only then will we truly realize that racial damage is a thing of the past.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Asians Should Take Advice from Beyoncé's "Formation" Performance

Beyoncé, with the release of her "Formation" music video and performance at the Super Bowl, basically said, "Excuse me, white stage director, outfit my dancers with Black leather tops and shorts, black platform boots, black fishnet stockings, and black berets. They will be keeping their hair natural. Oh, and one other thing - replace the white dancers with Black dancers."

Beyoncé made sure that her music video got released the day after Trayvon Martin's birthday and a day before Sandra Bland's birthday, on February 6, 2016. Beyoncé commemorated the 50th anniversary of the origin of the Black Panther Party. In Black History Month. During this significant election year. In concurrence with the momentous #BlackLivesMatter movement. And on the most populous day for white folks to be glued to their TV screens, Beyoncé showcased her Black anthem during Super Bowl's halftime show.

Beyoncé unapologetically, single-handedly slapped Blackness, Black Pride, and #BlackLivesMatter in the faces of every mainstream media outlet known to humankind. Beyoncé proclaims her endearment for her negro-Creole mixed heritage, Blue Ivy's natural coily hair, and "Jackson Five nostrils". Beyoncé inspires Black people to love everything about their Blackness, so much so that she made me love my boo's Blackness even more than I thought possible.

While Beyoncé brought Black people up, I cannot help but wonder, "Where are the Asians bringing other Asians up?"

Where are the Asians encouraging other Asians to love our distinct almond-shaped eyes, compact noses, and darker-than-pale skin tone? Where are the Asians showing that an appreciation for their own heritage and culture is a wonderful and cherished sentiment? Where are the Asians assuring other Asians that dating another Asian does not remove you as an outcast? Where are the Asians inspiring other Asians to pridefully love their Asian-ness? 

More often than not, I see us Asians sitting quietly on the sidelines, merely wishing and hoping that our days of unabashed pride would come. Unfortunately, not taking actions ourselves equates to us raising white flags of surrender to our current predicament of empty self-love. Instead of wishing upon a wishing star, we should follow in 
Beyoncé's footsteps and lift one another up. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why People of Color Should Vote for Bernie Sanders Over Hillary Clinton

With the Democratic nomination for presidency tightening between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and with a few weeks to go before the February caucuses, I would like to pitch in my 2 cents. 

Imagine that you are a person of color (POC). You reside in a home located in the backdoor to a large factory that spews nitrogen and sulfur oxides, arsenic, and lead, among other pollutants. You put on your work shoes, finish your last bite of a home-made peanut butter jelly sandwich, and rush out the door to your 1993 used Honda Civic. Once outside, you immediately breathe in the air pollutants, not because you want to, but because you have no other option. You pull out of the driveway, and head on your way to work. Suddenly, you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror, to see a cop car signaling you to pull over. So, you pull over. 2 cops step out of their Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. From your side mirrors, you identify both cops as white males. Both have their hands on their gun holsters, ready to draw their Glocks at any moment's notice. They arrive at your car, and demand to see registration and license. You show it to one of the cops, who heads back to the cop car to run some checks. The other cop tells you to step out the car, put your hands on the hood of the car, and starts to handcuff you. Your heart starts to race. You have no idea what is going on. You have a squeaky clean record. You ask, quivering, "What's going on?! Why are you arresting me?!" The cop tells you aggressively to "shut up!!" The other cop comes back from the squad car, and begins "searching" through your vehicle. The cop then pulls out a small plastic zipped bag from his pocket that appears to have some sort of white powder nearly filled to the top. You scream, "That's not mine!! I don't even do drugs!!" With nobody around to videotape and witness the arrest, you have no legitimate recourse. Instead of going to work to punch in your hours, you get booked. Instead of coming home from work and enjoying a home-cooked meal, you do jail time. When you come out of jail, no one will hire you because of your criminal record. You have been forced into a systemic cycle of oppression. 

Given Hillary Clinton's plans on tackling gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform, along with her voting history, and her accepting donations from corporations, I can clearly picture the above scenario to occur habitually to POC with a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidency.
 It appears that Hillary Clinton does not support the end of civil asset forfeiture, civilian oversight of police departments, feedback and contribution from civil rights activists and leaders, laws on allowable use of force, and reducing funding to police departments that do not make progress toward policing reform. Truth be told, Clinton's proposed policies seem to very well make an impact, but may only put a dent in the system. Due to her stances on these aforementioned issues (and more), Clinton's policies, to me, seem to be more and more band-aids on a never-healing wound.   

Now, imagine again, that you are a POC. You live in a neighborhood, sharing the same block with a diverse group of individuals. You step out of the front door of your house, and take a heaping breath of fresh air. You smell the fresh grass, you see one butterfly courting another butterfly, and you smile happily as you trot towards your 1993 used Honda Civic. Absent are the polluting factories. In place of them are sources of renewable energy. As you drive off to work, you wave to your community police, Alex Doe, who is riding along on a bike. Alex Doe has been a neighborhood police for the last 5 years, and knows the history and inner-workings of the neighborhood. As you see Alex fading into the distance, you can't help but feel safe that you are in good hands.

Given Bernie Sanders' plans on tackling racial justice issues (including supporting the aforementioned policies that Hillary Clinton seem to not support), along with his voting history, and his civil rights activism and morally consistent actions since the 1950's, I can vividly picture the above scenario to happen in neighborhoods across the nation with a 2016 Bernie Sanders presidency. Bernie Sanders' proposed policies may very well be the beginning of the break down of institutional racism, systemic oppression, and white supremacy. If his civil rights policies do not produce desired results, I feel confident that Bernie Sanders will work with civil rights activists and leaders to enact policy changes that will uplift POC and intrinsically heal broken wounds.

Beyond Bernie Sanders' racial justice platform, the following are Bernie's other policies that may benefit many POC's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. As you read the following, think about how each of these policies might affect you as a POC and your community.

  • Bridge the income and wealth inequality
    • raise the minimum wage to $15/hour (including enacting paid family and medical leave, and universal childcare) 
    • ensure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes (including closing tax loopholes, imposing the estate tax, and tax on Wall Street speculation)
    • bring outsourced jobs back to America
    • invest in youth jobs program to help the youth climb the economic ladder
    • expand social security
    • strengthen unions
  • Make public college education tuition-free, so we can afford higher education and move up in the economic ladder
  • Reform the way the political process works by reforming campaign financing, so each and every one of us has a voice and a vote that can be heard
  • Instill Voting Rights Act and make voting easier (including making election day a national holiday)
  • Combat climate change, so that people do not have to succumb to living near environmental hazards
  • Create fair and humane immigration policies, so families can stay together 
  • Fight for equal pay for women
  • Fight for LGBTQ rights
  • Ensure healthcare for all (including more affordable prescription drug prices) 
  • Break up big banks
  • Support organic farming 
Bernie Sanders' vision of America is a near-identical embodiment of that of Martin Luther King Jr. Bernie Sanders is instilling massive enthusiasm in the American people and is surging in momentum every single day. We may only have one chance in 2016 to elect a president who will fight for POC, who is committed to righting the wrongs for the past 200 plus years, and who will work hard to make America work for everyone. 

Don't just take my word for it. Do your research. Be politically educated. And engage in the political process. 

How you can help

If this post resonates with you, please, share it with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers. Also, with the February caucuses coming up, please go to Bernie Sanders' website to find out how you can help the early caucus states nominate Bernie Sanders. After all, a presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders may come and go like a flicker of light. 

Who will you vote for, and why?