To Asian-American People Like Me: Stop It

We don't have white privilege, but we have privilege nonetheless.
11/11/2016 08:37 am ET Updated Jan 30, 2017
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To my fellow U.S. born, middle and upper class, non-LGBTQ, East-Asian American brothers who happen to live in areas where being anything other than white is acceptable,

We will be okay. It will get worse, but we will get through it.

So let’s stop it.

Stop with the “I’m moving to Canada” jokes. Stop with the “the world is ending” tweets.

We got our likes. We got our laughs.

Enough.

Let’s set aside our need to hop on the bandwagon of jokes and memes, get real for a second and ask ourselves: is it really appropriate to be checking into Ontario? Do we really need to take the time to post Snapchats of us packing our bags, knowing that we’ll be hanging our clothes right back up?

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that these are jokes, but with Trump being elected as our president, there are many groups of people whose fears we’ll indirectly miss if we’re not careful.

If there’s one thing that people with circumstances similar to myself must do today, it is to recognize our privilege.

We must be able to swallow this pill, no matter how bitter tasting it may be.

We weren’t the face of Trump’s deportation plans or temporary bans. We weren’t called rapists and drug traffickers throughout this election process.

I will state it more clearly: People with circumstances similar to myself have a form of privilege that is not afforded to those with a darker skin tone than ours or who live in geographically red areas. It’s not white privilege, but it’s privilege nonetheless.

If there’s a single take-away from this political nightmare, it’s the fact that East-Asian Americans are still borderline irrelevant in the realm of politics. Our race came out nearly unscathed and untouched. Our vote was never truly a topic of debate. Neither Hillary nor Donald fully attempted to win us over. Yes, our voter turnout doubled and tripled this year ― which should be celebrated to its fullest ― but was that due to an actual interest in politics or was it more just the result of an ever-growing hatred for both candidates? This is a legitimate question by the way.

We weren’t the face of Trump’s deportation plans or temporary bans. We weren’t called rapists and drug traffickers throughout this election process.

And our biggest worry during a traffic stop is how we’re going to try to connive our way out of a ticket.

Yes, our lives will get tougher from here on out because, yes, we are still minorities in a white America. I am not rejecting that notion. But our racial fight is in places like Hollywood where we’re underrepresented and on sidewalks where people tell us to “go back to where we came from.” These battles aren’t anything we haven’t seen since we walked into a classroom with “stinky” oriental food.

Again, I’m not saying that these fights are not worthy of discussion because they are. We are still prone to racism and bigotry and we will, without a doubt, have to deal with an intensified version of the shit thrown at us day in and day out.

But what we will experience as a demographic in the next four years pales in comparison to what black, brown and other Asians will have to go through with Trump at the helm.

What we will experience in the next four years pales in comparison to what black, brown and other Asians will have to go through with Trump at the helm.

Let’s face it: Our livelihood is not in any real danger. We will be able to walk out of our doors knowing we’re coming back in one piece.

So when we post statuses about packing our bags and send out tweets about how we can’t live in America anymore, it better encompass the fact that we can’t stand to see other minority groups being marginalized, ostracized and even killed while we have mostly been shielded by the armor of privilege that conveniently comes both in the option of male and in the shade of yellow, whether we asked for it or not.

What we need to do now is to step down from our privilege and dig in with our fellow black and brown neighbors, our fellow LGBTQ community, our fellow sisters, and our undocumented friends and family who are in for one hell of a dog fight during the next four years.

2016 was the year our voice chirped here and there, but come 2020 ― and I say this with the utmost confidence ― our voice will be a force to be reckoned with.

But for the time being, let’s stop doing it for the ‘gram and stand side by side with the good half of the country. Let’s let them know we’re not going to Canada or Korea or anywhere else.

We’re going to stay right fucking here and fight like hell to make America actually great again.

A version of this post originally appeared on Opinions of Gu.

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