Why is it that when a marginalized group of people choose to voice their grievances, the group in power tries to make it all about them? For example, I recently participated in an interesting discussion about feminism which stemmed from the TT #notyourasiansidekick.
Asian American women voiced their grievances about how they are treated in American society. Some of their grievances included the concerns of Asian American men; however, it mainly addressed feelings of oppression among AAW. I myself have never even viewed Asian American people in today’s society marginalized because they tend to be well-educated and thus have a higher socioeconomic status. BUT I realized that in my assumptions, I too was guilty of some of the things they had mentioned. I took this time to learn about how Americans oppressed AAW, but others decided to hi-jack the topic and interject negative ethnic stereotypes and racial slurs because they felt insecure in their white privilege and failed to acknowledge their white guilt. Funny when it was what was being spoken out against, eh?
Over the course of this dialogue, one of the things that resonated with me was that AA are always asked where they come from as if they simply can’t be American. When this question was answered by naming a particular area in the US, they were then asked no where are you really from? It is our cultural sensitivity that prohibits us from acknowledging that other people can be true Americans or is it that ol’ white privilege rearing it ugly head? As Americans we have to do some soul searching because history has taught us that this is land of the immigrants and nobody is a true American, except the indigenous people who were killed off in an effort to colonize this land.
Another thing that called for my attention was that many people stated that AA were the ‘model minority’ or they’re considered white anyway and should not have any grievances as a result. Why is being white synonymous with success and why do Asians have to adapt another identity once they achieve it?
Lastly, why do white people feel that because a person of color voices their grievances or struggles, it is their platform to discuss how they have been wronged?We all know that the power in this country is heavily skewed toward whites (if you say respond by saying Obama is president or something along those lines you really don’t get it). So if you have all of the power, how have you been marginalized? When POC are voicing their grievances, it should be a time to listen to understand rather than listen to respond. If the dialogue continues this way, nothing will ever be accomplished. When whites feel uncomfortable, they play the ‘I bet my struggle is greater than yours’ game. This is usually done by stating that they were not admitted to a college due of quotas for minorities. Never does anyone think that they just were not good enough. Now I know this stuff exists and only a small minority of people are actually affected otherwise most universities wouldn’t have a majority white population when many studies state that Asians clearly have superior grades. Even though this does happen, why must the ‘struggle’ of the majority always be included when the struggle of the minority is the topic of conversation? Is it your dying need to belong or do you feel that your privilege is just that great?