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  • HyperHam 3:48 pm on May 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , racism   

    I can’t get over it till you get your head out of your ass. 

    So.

     

    So, on Come Round (a party/promotion thing), a group photo won first prize for an Indian food feast.  In the photo are 3 women dressed in lovely approximations of Saris, a dude with a sombrero on his head (okay…), a guy doing a cartoon facial approximation of an Indian man, complete with giant bindi (which makes no sense, as Indian men generally don’t wear bindi, but whatever), a guy who browned up with a bald cap and round glasses for a Ghandi look, and a woman in a Pocahontas outfit.  Yeah.  Wrong Indian.

    Anywhoo, some dude on Monkey’s f-list  just didn’t know what the problem was, and that everyone nowadays was way too sensitive, blah, blah, blah, and I immediately thought of the recent brilliant essay by John Scalzi, where he defines life as a game, and that Straight White Male is the easiest setting.  This guy happens to be gay, but we’ll let the premise stand.  In the game of life, certain people get bonus points right off the bat for having a certain parentage, nationality, etc.  Now, whether they choose to acknowledge the leg up they got is irrelevant; the fact is, they got it.   Fact remains, other people didn’t.  What bugs me is when people like this dude try to gloss over stuff like this in an effort to minimize the yuckiness that comes from it.

    Fact is, I used to do the same thing – put people and situations in little boxes in an effort to not have to think about them.  Gays were gross because they went against God.  Then in college I met  a girl named Trinity, who happened to be a lesbian.  She was a nice girl.  Studious.  Funny.  She wasn’t gross at all!  And from that moment on, things became more difficult.  I was forced to look at how other people were treated, and their history, and that stuff is hard, and made my head hurt.  It’d be easier to just pretend that pre-conceived notions were correct, that everyone is equal (except the ones we don’t like, like the gross gays, or the lazy blacks and Mexicans, or the shifty Jews, or the power hungry Chinese, or…), and that if everyone was just as cool about shit as we were, then it would all be okay.

    And here’s the eventual problem with that kind of thinking.  Just because *you’re* cool with a picture like that, doesn’t actually make it okay.  As I said to the fella who said it wasn’t fair that I was assuming that they were being racist, and they could just be getting into the spirit of the Indian food party:

    “Historically, in the US, white people have not blacked their faces in an effort to seem authentically black, hispanic, indian, etc. They have done it in a long standing effort to mock, belittle, and in many cases in the south, threaten. Perhaps, however, here in the UK whites have been far more advanced, and blacken up their faces, slap a MASSIVE red dot on their foreheads, and put costume facial hair on in an effort to truly understand the history, dignity, and commonality of the Indian people. But somehow, I doubt it. I’m willing to bet if you asked the bloke on the right about his bindi, for instance, he would probably not be able to tell you that it is a sacred symbol representing the most holy of chakras. Maybe, he would. But I doubt it. And maybe the lady on the far left, in the outfit 4 sizes too small, could tell you the history of the tribe of First Peoples of the Americas that she fashioned her outfit from. (fun fact: Pocahontas was of the Algonquian tribe). Or, and this is more than likely, she would say “Oh, it was Indian food, so I went as an Indian. HAR HAR”. So while I *could* go out on a limb and say that the fellow in the bronzer with the bald cap and sheet is going in order to bring awareness of Mahatma Ghandi and his nation’s non-violent resistance and eventual overthrow of one of the most powerful armies in the world, Occam’s razor would tell us he’s more than likely an asshole who thought it would be a larf.”

    As expected, his argument followed that I should be just as upset if a Brit put on a beret and pretended to be French, etc, conveniently forgetting the fact that he was describing another predominantly white, first world nation.   In his mind, because no one has ever lorded any kind of power or influence over him in an effort to take away his dignity, it no longer happens.  Black face?  Just a way to get in character.  Making a slanty eyed face around an Asian person?  All in fun!  Because he has never been victimized for his skin tone, everyone else should just get the fuck over it.  (I do wonder what his reaction would have been had they all been dressed in unfair gay stereotypes – the fey ‘faggot’, the pedophile, the butch lesbo, the early 1980’s dude rotting from AIDS.  I wonder if he’d have gone to bat for them so quickly then…)

    I think it’s this type of self-enforced ignorance that bugs me the most.  It’s one thing to never pay attention in class, and not understand the history of blackface/using the Asian features as a vehicle of fear-mongering/zeroing in on a ‘lower’ group in an effort to further push them down/etc, it’s quite another to see a complete representation of that, and then brush it off as someone else’s problem, and if they get upset, it’s them being over-sensitive.   It’s pathetic.

    A month or so ago, Monkey met me at the door with some news.  Seems he and Baby Alex were playing alone in the grass, when our drunk, racist as fuck neighbour yelled from inside their home “FUCKING CHINKS”.  Classy.  I wanted to go over there and rip their faces off, but Monkey stopped me.  He’s been called Chinky so many times, it doesn’t even surprise him.  Hurts him, yes, but doesn’t surprise him.  So you can say, “‘We’ve moved on”, but I know better, because I live in the world where this stuff still happens.  Where assholes haven’t “moved on”, and where only slightly less assholish people make excuses for them.

    I’m sure the guy I got into it with today over the photo would make excuses for my neighbour as well.  He’d probably say that because they were in their house, yelling outside to my husband and child, (who were alone in the garden), that I can’t be sure what they were yelling about.  Maybe they are Renaissance faire enthusiasts who accidentally ruined their chain-mail armor, and now needed to resolder the individual chinks in the pattern.  Maybe they were doing some DIY home renovation and found a fissure in the undercoating of the wall, meaning it was now structurally unsound.  Or maybe, just maybe, the neighbours who are historically known for making horribly racist jokes and being drunks, were combining those two, and called my baby a fucking chink.  Because in his world, it doesn’t happen.  To him.  So, it doesn’t matter.

    I accept that it’s a crooked game, but the only game in town.  You accept Occam’s razor.

     

    I’ll get over it, when you stop doing it.

     

     

     

     
  • HyperHam 12:00 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #riotcleanup, EDL, london, London riots, , racism, twitter   

    London Riots: Who do we blame? 

    It seems odd that a scant 48 hours ago I found myself on a Overground train in London, holding a broom and dustpan in my hands. Of course, in London, the last five days or so have been, to put it mildly, odd. A peaceful protest over the police shooting of a Tottenham resident Mark Duggan turned violent on Saturday, and by Sunday multiple riots were popping up all over the city of 7.5 million. On Monday, the carnage spread even further to northern cities, and by Tuesday night, Birmingham, Manchester, and Salford found themselves battling blazes.

    I was on a train on Tuesday to help fight in my own small way. On twitter, a group with the hashtag #riotcleanup was working within each community, coordinating citizen led cleanup crews to help businesses whose lives were ruined by the carnage.  As I arrived, I found over 300 other people, all with brooms and bags, ready to help.  I looked at the still smouldering buildings, and thought to myself, Who do we blame for this?

    A young David and Boris

    Do we blame the government, led by a Prime Minister who in his youth engaged in wanton destruction?  As a student in Oxford, he was a proud member of the Bullingdon Club, a group well known for destroying supperclubs.  He and fellow club member Boris Johnson (current Mayor of London) were lucky, however – their parents’ wealth and prestige ensured they were never charged for their ‘youthful indiscretions’.   Indeed, as London itself burned, both were on vacaction, and both happily stayed away from the UK until public outcry hastened their return.

    Do we blame the Parliament, an institution with a  long standing history of denying opportunities to the underclass while availing themselves of the finer things in life?   Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt lambasted the looting, but failed to mention his almost £20,000 theft of taxpayer funds during the expenses scandal.  Mr. Hunt agreed to repay the taxpayers half of what he owed back. Your average looter would have had to stack 500 42″ flat screen tvs in his arms to equate Mr. Hunt’s haul.  Meanwhile, as recently as late July of this year, the government was quietly attempting to siphon funds for medical care from the poorer areas of Britain and give it to the richer areas.

    Do we blame the Metropolitan Police, who in recent years have come under fire for discriminatory practices against the poor and minorities?  In 1993, Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death.  In the resulting investigation and later inquiry, it was found the the Met was “institutionally racist” and has been called “one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain” (quoted from the 1999 inquest, led by Sir William Macpherson).

    Do we blame the richest of the rich, who manage to weasel out of paying their fair share while everyone under them feels overtaxed and stretched?  Vodofone was forgiven almost £6,000,000,000 in back taxes by the UK government.  If they had been forced to pay those taxes, it would have completely covered the current budget deficiencies in the NHS.  (Vodofone is currently battling the courts in India, where they owe $2.5 billion.)

    Do we blame a society in disconnect, where neighbors don’t know one another, where material possessions are placed on a higher pedestal than basic necessities, and where (as evidenced by the arrest of an 11 year old girl by Notts police) parents are either absent or simply uninterested in their childrens’ lives?   Do we blame ourselves for not taking a stronger role in our community?

     

    No.

     

    As I kneeled on the pavement, picking shards of window shop glass out of the crevices between bricks, I could blame no one but the looters themselves.  These were not people protesting the gross inadequacies of their life; they had not stormed the Palace gates or held vigil in front of the House of Parliament. They saw an opportunity, and decided to burn their own neighborhoods to the ground.    Rather than protest the high unemployment and lack of job prospects, they put more people out of work.  Instead of ‘sticking it to the Man’, they ransacked their neighbor’s homes, people who are just as poor and tired as they are.  If their anger was with the police, it was bewildering when they mugged, beat, and killed innocent people who were either trying to defend their livelihoods, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I looked into the storefronts and under security doors – at Waitrose, food sat untouched on the shelves.  At the O2 store, the shelves were stripped bare.  If I was in truly dire straits, I would go for food, not smartphones.  On Craigslist UK, ads are already popping up, selling iPhones in lots (the photo in the advert is below – 40 boxes, new in wrappers, happily stacked).

    Apparently someone magically got 40 iPhones this week. Hmmmm...

    And while issues with the Met may be problematic, the cops I talked to on the street were exhausted, but helpful.  Many could not remember the last time they had been home, and all of them had a look about them that showed they had seen things in the last few days that would haunt them for years.

    Let there be no ambiguity, many of these areas have serious grievances – 98% of the most economically deprived areas of the UK are in cities.  However, many communities did not riot this week.  The city of Glasgow is the 3rd most populous city in the UK with major poverty issues, and as of this writing there have been no issues compared to what London has experienced.

    Unfortunately, this mass thievery will do nothing but harm already struggling communities.  Businesses that manage to collect on insurance will move away, leaving urban blight in their path.  People will think twice before investing or moving into the areas hit.  An already tenuous relationship between racial and religious groups will be even further strained, as is evidenced by the xenophobic group EDL’s proposed marchthis weekend.  The courts and jails will further groan under the weight of all the new defendants (almost 1400 people have been arrested in the UK, most of them in the greater London area).  While massive crimes have been committed to these communities prior to the past week, the crimes of the last five days lay squarely on the shoulders of those who chose wanton destruction of their neighborhoods over doing the right thing.

    
    

    The Prime Minister has recalled Parliament and issue a statement, condemning the violence.  In the coming weeks, people will find their own reasons for the riots, as well as solutions.  While many will use this tragedy to push their own agenda, I will defer to the words of Tariq Jahan, father of Haroon Jahan, one of the innocent victims of the riots, who said, “Today, we stand here to call to all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stay united.  As we stand here today, this is not a race issue. The families have received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of the communities – from all faiths, all colours and backgrounds.  I have lost my son – if you want to lose yours step forward – otherwise calm down and go home.”

     
  • HyperHam 9:50 am on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: assholes, , grrr internet, racism, racists   

    Mixed Race, or why I am about to curse a great deal 

    I was visiting a Guardian article about Takeaway (which had been reviewed on this blog and my hubby’s main blog), and came across a comment from someone calling themselves BBCZeitgeist.  (BBC in this context means British Born Chinese).  My hubby being a BBC, and my son being half BBC, I went to go check it out.

    Big mistake.

    At this point in the blog those of you with sensitive constitutions or who have children who are of reading age and are near the screen may want to just skip this entry.  I won’t feel bad at all, it’s better for you this way.

     

     

     

    Last chance, folks.

     

     

     

    WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK FUCKING FUCKNESS IS WRONG WITH THIS PERSON?!?!?!  Apparently I had baby Alex because I am a “Mixed race Chinese baby fetisher”, but that’s okay, because Monkey (as a Western Raised BBC’s Born to Foreign Raised Parents – a level 3 on this idiot’s Hierachy of ‘Chineseness’) only had Alex because apparently he is a self hating BBCer who wishes to create a “Hegemonic Western Cultural Assimilation”.

     

    Let’s get one thing straight, BBCZeitgeist.  I married my husband because I loved him, not because I wished to bear a cute baby.  He married me because he loved me, not because he felt some need to piss off generations of ancestors.  When we ‘met’, it was online – I didn’t see a photo of him till well into our emailing back and forth.  I met the person, not the skin tone.  Our baby may not be of ‘Pure Blood’, as you so proudly go on about, but he will be loved for the amazing child that he is – biologically Asian and Caucasian, culturally Chinese, British, and American.  You write that “It is puzzling as to why mixed race are ‘considered’ part of the British Chinese community.”  Frankly, I don’t give a fuck whether you consider him part of ‘your’ community.  His grandparents, proud HK immigrants, do.  They sing to him in the songs of their youth, they speak to him lovingly in Hakka, they showed him off proudly at his Full Moon Dinner just as if he had been ‘pure’.  They see themselves in him.  They see their heritage in him.  He is of their bloodline.  He is their grandchild.  That is all that matters to me.

    BBCZeitgeist, you are a flat out racist, no better than the EDL in the UK Stormfront in the US, or any other racial group that claims that ‘breeding’ within groups creates a “multi-generational cultricide, genocide and linguicide”. The only thing you are missing is a white hood and a burning cross.  You seem to think that the inclusion of my (apparently inferior) white blood suddenly excludes my husband’s entire heritage.  Heritage is not connected to the racial line – ask any kid who was born into a military family and can speak the language of the locals in whatever base they lived at better than their own.  You don’t speak as to whether ‘pure Chinese babies’ are born into happy, loving families, you are only concerned that they aren’t muddied with other races.  THAT IS STRAIGHT UP RACISM, FUCKO.

    Our child will know the Chinese language as well as English.  He will understand Chinese holidays as well as American-specific ones.  He will be a child of the Earth, no better and certainly no worse than someone whose parents happen to have the same facial features or country on their passport.  My child will be proudly Chinese.  He will be proudly British.  He will be proudly American.  And I will be proudly his mother.  Monkey will be proudly his father.

     

    My mother and father in law have been staying with us for the week, and I asked them point blank what they thought Alex was.  My MIL translated what I was saying to my FIL, who thought for a moment and then said in English,

     

    “Chinese.  White.  Mix.  Grandson.”

     

    That just about sums it up.

     

    Fuckwad.

     
    • Nikky Wu 3:28 am on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I'm so glad I found this…the similarities in thought are astounding! I came across that same article not half an hour ago, because I myself am a caucasian American–with the standard ambiguous melting pot background that comes from that, and my husband is Chinese (and, I actually call him Monkey as a nickname since we first started dating…just saying, this post blew my mind! haha) and we are about to have a little boy of our own. I couldn't believe how offensive the BBCZeitgeist article was…and even worse, how most of the comments under it were in SUPPORT of his horrific ramblings…Good to know someone out there felt the same way as me after reading it. My husband and I love each other, both sets of our parents already love our baby, and our child will grow up in a home that respects BOTH of his cultures. He will be in no way inferior to anyone else. And the part that really shocked me in his article is when he said:" It gets worse. Statistically, according to 2001 census, mixed race are more likely to marry inter racially than any other race, its not uncommon for their partner also to be mixed race like themselves but not necessarily the same mix nor Mixed race Chinese." WTF? LIke being a multi-cultural human being is a bad thing. That guy is a douchenozzle and he can go blow himself (to put it nicely).

      • HyperHam 6:15 am on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Girl, preach on. Yeah, that dude is, to put it very mildly, a cock knob of epic proportions. You have love, your child will know nothing but love, that is ALL that matters. My hubby read it and said it sounds like someone who came here with English not as their primary language, and is trying to make up for it by \’sounding\’ smart. What BBCZ doesn\’t realize is…IF I HAD ALL THE SHITS IN SHITDOM, I STILL WOULD NOT GIVE TWO ABOUT WHAT HE THINKS. 🙂

        I will say, keep reading for my misadventures in being mistaken for the child\’s nanny, or adoptive mother. Prepare yourself now, and you will be fine. And congrats on the wonderful new addition!!!

  • HyperHam 12:34 pm on March 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: racism,   

    Apologies 

    Dear Alex;

    Over the weekend a very bad thing happened.  Two mean old tectonic plates under the ocean didn’t want to play nice, and hit each other, and the water above them shook and splashed and came onto the land of an island called Japan, and hurt a lot of people.  Now, the good and wonderful thing is lots of people are helping out and trying to make sure all the Mummies and Daddies find their babies, and that is what makes me happy to be a human – we can show such love when we want to. 

    When you were very little, so little and hidden we couldn’t see you without a big machine, I asked your forgiveness.  I told you that people might be mean to you based on how you looked, or because of your nationality.   Your mummy looks different than you and Daddy, so she does not have to deal with those issues.  You will have to.

    A very stupid stupid girl went on the Internet and decided to make a fool of herself.  This is not odd, Alex.  People make fools of themselves on the internet every day.  But she decided to make fun of people who look like you.  Mummy does not like that.  There’s not a lot she can do about it though – it’s called racism.  Racism is when someone doesn’t like someone else, not because they know each other, but because of what they think about each other.  It is ignorant. 

    UCLA racist girl

    Some people also decided that the nice folks in Japan who got hurt somehow deserved it, because about 65 years ago they were mean to us.  These people are also ignorant, and lack a basic understanding of fault lines.  http://spaceghetto.org/images/efyye.jpg 

    These people are very dumb, it is true.  When you find them under the rocks (which are their homes), and they yell at you, I don’t want you to be angry, my son.  I want you to feel sorry for them.  You see, they had the chance to learn, from school, from libraries, from the machines they are writing their hatred on.  The girl in the first video, Alexandra Wallace?  She was going to college.  That’s big people school!  Her parents paid a lot of money for her to take classes every day.  They paid for her apartment.  I bet they even paid for her computer and camera that she was talking through.  She had every opportunity to make herself more aware of her world, opportunities that most people will never ever have, and she chose to close her eyes and ears, and make herself ignorant.   The people on facebook like Deborah Lawson, John Higgins, Jerry Kopp, Joe Cansdale, and the people on the radio who blame it on Islam, and the people from the pulpit who blame it on homosexuality,and many other willfully stupid people – they are to be pitied, like we would pity a dumb animal.  They had a chance to learn about history (and religion, and lithosphere), but they chose not to.  They choose to wallow in hatred and ignorance, till one day it devours their soul and they are left with nothing but a memory of what it was to once have goodness in their life. 

    They are to be pitied.  Because they are pitiful. 

    I am lucky, my son.  I have you, the most wonderful thing in the Universe, in my life.  You give me the strength to not find each one of these vile little creatures and beat them down, or make their online life a living hell.  You give me the joy to say to myself ‘These silly people are not worth my time’.  You give me the hope to believe their hatred and stupidity will die with them.

    I am still sorry, though. 

    I am sorry that people who look like Mummy will say bad things to you and Daddy, or to people who look like you two.  I’m sorry I can’t shield you from this.  And when I get really angry, I’m sorry Daddy won’t let me bootstomp these people into oblivion. 

    All I can do is hold you and Daddy close.  Luckily, I am very good at that!  🙂

    Love,

    Mummy

     
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