Mk 3:25 " If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
Lord, make me an channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love;
where there is injury,pardon Lord;
where there is doubt, true faith in you;
where there is despair in life, let me bring hope;
where there is darkness, only light;
and where there is sadness, ever joy.
O Master, grant that I may never seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my soul.
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in giving that we receive;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Lk 19:41-42 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Mt 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."
Lk 11:17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall."
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
Speak gently - it is better far To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently - let not harsh words mar The good we might do here.
Speak gently - love doth whisper low The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently, friendship's accents flow - Affections voice is kind.
Speak gently to the little child Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild; It may not long remain.
Speak gently to the young - for they Will have enough to bear;
Pass through this world as best they may, 'Tis full of anxious care.
Speak gently to the aged one, Grieve not the careworn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run. - Let such in peace depart.
Speak gently, kindly to the poor, Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure, Without an unkind word.
Speak gently to the erring - know They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so - Oh, win them back again.
Speak gently - 'tis a little thing Dropped in the heart's deep well -
The good, the joy that it may bring, Eternity shall tell. - D. Bales
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Webcast in Sydney
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
1 Corinthians 13.4 Love is patient, kind. It doesn't envy, boast, isn't proud, rude, self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, doesn't delight in evil, rejoices with the Truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. It never fails.
Why did God create the world? You want to know your Lord's meaning in what I have done? Know it well. Love was his meaning.
Who revealed it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For Love.
John 13.34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John15.12-13 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one
than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 4:20-21 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Luke 19:41-45 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
Interesting article (if you have the time... it's long!)2012 Time Space Experience
by Guest Contributor CVT, originally published at Choptensils
A while back, I was talking to a friend of mine (a black female, which is relevant) – we’ll call her “W.” She’s telling me about this guy she ran into at some store; this Vietnamese guy (”or Chinese or Korean or something”) comes over and starts chatting her up, hitting on her, trying to get her number and all that. She’s not feeling it. She gets irritated on a number of levels. But her primary annoyance is that she feels like he’s just messing with her, so she ends up telling him “give me a break, you don’t date black women,” and (tamely) telling him about how racist Asian guys are.
She finishes her story, looks at me, and, laughing, says “can you believe that?”
I give a one-word response. “Yes.”
But my mind was reeling – because there was so much going on in this one interaction (sort of two interactions, including the re-telling) that just sum up the state of oppression-related affairs in the U.S. First, there’s a (black) woman getting hit on by some random guy, which always carries a tinge of objectification, dominance, etc. In this case, it’s an Asian guy – so we’re bringing together two notoriously “undesirable” race/gender combinations in this country. Then there’s her confusion over the exact ethnicity of this Asian dude. Then there’s her belief (based on real past experience) that he’s not really interested in dating her; that he’s more or less mocking her, because – as an Asian man – he’s probably crazy-racist against black people. And, finally, the beauty of it all – she’s casually relating this story to me, her friend – an Asian (okay, mixed-Asian) male.
And it all made perfect sense to me. Because, you see, I happen to be a sort of connoisseur of the black-Asian interracial experience, and everything that happened in that story follows the confusing, tense narrative of a relationship that has been being shaped for the last couple-hundred (maybe far more) years. It’s a long story – with a lot of loops and twists – but it’s one worth reading, so I hope y’all follow me to the end.
Prologue – “Setting it Straight” (aka “Prepare to Have Your Mind Blown”)
We “all know” that there’s this big rivalry between Asian and black folks. The “opposites” of the PoC spectrum, there just is no bridging the divide. I’ve heard it a million times (from both sides).
And so the look of shock on the faces of this one particular group of Asian folks I was with shouldn’t have surprised me when I asked what should have been a stupid question: “You all realize that there are black Asian people, right?”
But, you see – that’s what this post is about. In spite of all the claimed “differences” between the two groups, there are black Asian people. There are Asian black people. There are actually quite a lot of them. When I talk about my mixed background with my students, it never fails to bring a grin to my face (and give me hope) at how many of my “black” students tell me that they have Asian blood, as well. Filipino and black mixes are the most common, but there are so many other mixed-race black/Asian people out there. Because, get this –the communities are entwined.
Problem is, we’ve been conditioned for so long to buy into the whole concept of the division between the two, that we can’t even see it. No matter what I say here, no matter the evidence out in the world, in the end you’re all still going to believe that these communities are not connected because the messaging has been so strong in the other direction. Black folks with Asian blood will just call themselves “black,” and nobody ever knows otherwise, because they never think to ask (or even consider the possibility). Asian folks won’t reach out to Asian-blacks because of the same reasons. They blame each other, call each other out, and love to throw stereotypes at each other. Each group desperately clasps to racist notions to make sense of a frustrating world where they’re oppressed by racist notions.
One more situation where the epic construct of racism in this country prevails because of its genius simplicity. So huge. So obvious. We’re in the same boat. Working together would be a giant step in actually solving both of our problems. But the system’s power is in its knowledge of history, and employing the dividing tactic so brilliantly.
But I, for one, am tired of hearing (from both sides) about how different the black and Asian communities are, culturally-speaking. The stereotypes and media-based prejudices fall out differently – yes. But damnit – I lived in Tanzania (in East Africa). I currently live in China (in East Asia). I’ve lived in the SF Bay, California, Michigan, and Portland, Oregon (in central North America). I’ve run with all-Asian groups, all-black groups, all the mixes in between. I’ve mentored African refugees, Asian-American immigrants, and “at-risk” youth of both shades. There’s no epic, insurmountable divide in history and culture – it’s the opposite, actually. So often, I find myself having pieces of black (African andAfrican-American) culture slap me in the face as being so eerily similar to Chinese (and other Asian) cultural practices. So many connections, right in front of our eyes. Yet most people are too damn lazy to see it – because accepting media-inflicted messaging is so much easier.
Because the truth is hard to dig up. It’s hard to see if you’re used to having your eyes closed and opened for you by outside teachers, mentors, newscasters, etc. It takes time. It takes some real thought.
Well – today’s your lucky day – because I’m going to give you a crash-course in history and explain to you the unbreakable ties between black and Asian folks (and others) in the United States of America. Read it, digest it – but don’t just take my word for it. When it’s all said and done, feel free to think for yourself and dig up your own truth, as well.
Part I, “Jews and the Creation of the Buffer Class”
Historically, it begins with the Jewish people and the beginnings of their persecution. A strange way to begin a story about Blacks and Asians, yeah? But stay with me – everything’s connected.
We’re in Europe, around the time of the first Crusades, early 1000s A.D. (*1) Christian scripture has been largely standardized at this point, and Jews are now – almost universally – determined to be a people rejected by God. Leaders of the European nation-states issue decrees and laws that effectively prevent Jews from being fully integrated into Christian community. However, various Christian tenets leave gaps open – jobs that “good” Christians should mostly avoid – and, out of a lack of other options, the Jewish people fill those gaps. They start handling the money – they become merchants, bankers, accountants. Would they like to hold other jobs, make their livelihoods in other ways? Sure. But they can’t – it’s not allowed. And they have families to feed.
So they get good at what they do. They make it work. And now, there are actually Jews who – in spite of oppression against them – are doing quite well for themselves. Other folks look on, and don’t like what they see. “They” shouldn’t have that kind of money. Something fishy must be going on.
Bring on the First Crusade. As the Christians invade the Holy Land, Jews shift over from “tolerated” to becoming “the enemy” (along with Muslims, of course). Suddenly, oppressive laws and decrees change to outright violence. The “huddled masses” of Christian have-nots are spurred on by the haves to take it from the Jews. Massacres. Pogroms. It has all begun.
More options are taken away, job-wise. The only “gap” left is that of “money-lender,” and so the Jews take on that role. This is convenient for the ruling classes, of course, because it’s easy to deflect class-rage aimed at themselves (the true perpetrators of this inequality) by having the oppressed target the people who are seen to be directly handing out the money (and asking for it back, as well).
This method of keeping the poor and oppressed from demanding real change by encouraging them to take out frustrations on a “buffer class” works so well, European leaders more or less make it state policy. (*2) Stereotype development as public policy has begun.
Part II, “the Age of Imperialism”
Hop-skip ahead to the so-called “Age of Imperialism” (as if it’s one that ended): the UK (and other countries, but we’re focusing on Britain here) has spread its grip over the world, with colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. As they murder and subjugate the more-pigmented peoples of the world, they butt up against a little problem – the more they devastate and debase the peoples they’ve conquered (and now – enslaved), the more likely it is that those people are going to someday snap and realize that there are just too many of them, and too little British, to let this continue. How to blunt that rage and frustration?
They look to the Jews and their historic use as the Buffer Class. Of course, they’ve effectively kept the Jewish population down through this technique, so there just aren’t enough alive to spread around the world like they need. So they look abroad (to their conquered peoples) and decide to import a new Buffer Class: the East Indians. Brilliant.
Suddenly, all over the British colonies East Indian folks are running little shops, small businesses. In the day-to-day, it’s the East-Indians that subjugated peoples (never mind that the East Indian people are also subjugated) see taking their money. Living a little bit better than themselves. Dots are connected (with the subtle support of the colonizers), so that now – when violence erupts – it’s mostly aimed at the new Indian buffer class, and the colonizers hold onto the spoils for a little longer.
In Africa, especially, it falls out like this: Stereotypes are created. Enforced. Inequality is demonstrated and questioned. Mistrust goes both ways (the Indians don’t trust the Africans because they’ve been attacked by them, the Africans don’t trust the Indians because they appear to be in all snug with the colonizers and are taking African money). All the while, the British are laughing their asses off and crushing both peoples under their heels.
“Independence” is eventually attained, but it’s too late. The damage has been done. To this day, tension and mistrust continues between the Indian “buffer class” and African peoples. In fact, this exact same racial scenario (between those of Asian descent and those of African descent) remains strong on a newcontinent.
Part III, “A Brave New World”
Okay. So now we’re ready to move over to the Americas – the “New World.” The U.S. has gained its “independence,” and the British monarchy no longer holds sway. But alas – their influence is most sorely felt.
In their zeal to achieve “Manifest Destiny,” the government has murdered too many indigenous Americans. They wanted to use them as their slaves to handle all the manual labor, but there just aren’t enough of them left (can you see a theme developing)? So what are these barbarians to do? Well, they look to the past as their guide and they find a solution – they import their slave labor from elsewhere (in this case, Africa). Great. Plantation life can carry on as planned and “equality and justice for all” can continue for the rich white men who coined that phrase.
Absolute tragedy and mental scarification of an entire race of people ensues. More stereotypes are developed and enforced that carry their weight into the present day.
Eventually, the Civil War erupts, and black slaves become “free.”
But that creates a problem – because how is the U.S. going to continue its rapid development without all that free (the only kind of “free” that really matters in a society like ours) labor it was relying on back in the day? And, suddenly, with “freedom,” these black Americans suddenly want to have equal rights? Get paid real wages? Be counted as real citizens? Hell no. But how can the top keep ravaging these “free” black folks without some heavy repercussions on down the line?
Once again, the dual-pronged solution is imported from abroad: immigrantlabor. In this case, largely Chinese immigrant labor (among other Asian ethnicities as time rolls on). See – immigrants are a great solution because they aren’t citizens. They have no idea what to expect out here. Hell – they don’t even really speak the language. So you can do all sorts of evil sh– to them without them ever having the ability to do something about it – because you can always threaten to send them back, send their family back, randomly imprison them, kill them . . . the sky’s the limit. (*3)
Even better – you’ve now got that buffer class you needed to keep the “free” black folks from fully blaming those who deserve the blame. (*4) Because – don’t misunderstand – black folks are still on the bottom around here. And the best way to keep that going is to deflect their frustrations – so once again, the Buffer Class plays its role. (*5) With just a tiny bit of rhetoric, the ex-enslavers get black folks pissed at the Asian folks living in more or less the same squalid conditions as themselves, so the real oppressors can focus on more important matters – like rolling in money, for example.
Due to various lack of opportunities, Asian folks start getting pushed into certain roles (ala the Jews in Europe). The power-structure encourages Asian-black interracial tensions. Asian folks are slapped around but given a few bones to seem a step “above” black folks so, from the bottom, Asian people seem to be all cozy with “the Man;” while Asian people are encouraged to look down on black people and do all they can to exaggerate their “difference” (so as not to give light to the truth – that we’re all getting f—ed).
Stereotypes are developed. Enforced. Etc.
Part IV, “The Common Era”
And now here we are: here. Now.
Black folks are still a subjugated people in the States. Asian folks are still playing the role of the buffer class/model minority – subtly pushed into filling gaps that those at the top don’t want to be in – hence, all these Asian shopkeepers in predominantly-black neighborhoods. Young black folks are rightfully frustrated and angry about their place in this country. Yet where is that rage going to go? Not to the top, of course – because you’ve got these Asian folks directly taking their money right there in front of them. Do the math. (*6)
On the flip – Asian folks living in these neighborhoods are trained to mistrust the very black folks they are relying on for a livelihood. The messaging isn’t accidental. So you get Asian shopkeepers stereotyping black folks, to the point of murdering them in perceived “self-defense.” (*7)
On a less-dramatic level, you have ridiculous tensions between various Asian and Black communities throughout the U.S. You get recent spates of violence in schools. In communities at large. And the media has a field day with it all – because misdirection is the best way to keep oppressed people from doing anything constructive about it.
Because we have this tendency to throw ourselves into this one, taking sides, getting right into the middle of it. Black folks (rightfully) reference the massive color-based racism of many traditional Asian communities. Asian folks (factually) cite instances of black folks targeting Asians. You’ve got the two “least-desirable” romantic partners – Asian males and black females – lamenting their lack of love then each explaining why they “just aren’t interested” in dating the other. It’s too personal. So frustrating. Somebody needs to bear the brunt of this frustration . . .
Oppression Olympics. “We’ve got it worse than you because . . .” “You’re just as racist as white people because . . . ” “I’m not racist, just telling it like it is . . .”
Bla, bla, bla – back-and-forth, forth-and-back until both sides just prove each other right and reinforce stereotypes over and over again. So caught up in how this other group of oppressed peoples is so dangerous, so racist, so different. Meanwhile, “They” are laughing their asses off because these groups are sosimilar that “They” can use the same simple tactics to oppress both of them. Oppressed people are just so easy to manipulate . . .
Part V, “Open Your Eyes”
So I’ll tell you what - y’all need to just back the f— up and get some perspective for a second. Because, by being so caught up in the middle of the storm, we’re missing some huge, glaring points that are just so incredibly obvious when we look at the bigger picture (which is, of course, exactly as the top wants it).
If there’s all this tension between the two communities; if there are all these incidents where they clash – in schools, communities, corner stores, etc. . . . If that’s the case, what’s one very obvious reason that that is possible? Well, because the two communities are entwined. Asian and black folks live in the same neighborhoods. They’re going to the same schools. Which means that – well, they’re actually going to be facing a lot of the same challenges. And these similar challenges are going to create a lot of the same frustrations. These frustrations breed similar pressure, and a similar mis-directed backlash . . . etc.
Historically? Pretty much anywhere there was black slavery, there were soon to be Asian immigrants living within the black communities (and, yes, living as part of those communities). And that has continued to this day.
But that can’t be true, right? Cuz “we all know” that black and Asian people are so completely different. There’s no overlap. Asian people live in the suburbs and black people live in the “inner-city.” Right?
Here’s my answer to that:
F— the stereotypes. F— what “we all know.” Stop watching tv shows and movies for your understanding of race in the U.S. If Asians are really doing so well on a large level – if they’re all really the well-off “model minorities” that “They” all want us to think they are- why are the majority going to the same underfunded, over-crowded, gerrymandered public schools that all the other brown folks are relegated to? If all Asian-Americans are living the “American Dream” and getting rich at the expense of black folks, why do the majority live and work in the same societally-ignored (and avoided) neighborhoods? There are Asian-American gangs, too. Violence. Poverty. Oppression.
On the flip side – if all black people are criminals and die young, how come there are so many old black people living in real houses, far from prisons? If all black folks are uneducated, what’s with all these historically black colleges and universities I’ve heard about? If they’re all poor, how come I keep hearing about all these black politicians being called “elitists”? And isn’t that “Obama” character a perfect example of a “Model Minority”? There are tons of black folks who are doing just fine. Who have never been involved in violence or any sort of crime. Black kids raised by two parents. Going to good schools. College. Yuppies.Republicans.
You getting me? In both cases, these communities are entwined. Sharing challenges and struggles – and successes.
But, in spite of that, I still have to ask stupid questions like – how can Asian people be all pissed off about false stereotypes and depictions of Asians in the media and then completely buy into stereotypes about black people peddled by the exact same media? How can you read only the articles about black criminals or violence (in relation to Asian folks) and feel satisfied that you actually know anything about what’s really going on? Asian-American organizations completely dismiss or ignore the plight of black folks in this country – and then we get mad that black organizations don’t support us?! Flip all those statements (to regard black folks with Asians), and it’s all the same damn thing. Have we all gone mad?
It’s a crazy, frustrating situation – where there’s so much reason to work together and fight against shared problems, but all this faulty history, all this brainwashing, all this careful manipulation by the dominant classes turns us into self-defeating hypocrites.
And yet . . . and yet . . .
There’s hope. Things can change. It will take a lot of work and a lot of understanding how the system created this infighting for us. But there is hope.
Which brings us all the way back to the story that began it all: “W” and her “Vietnamese” suitor. When you first read it, you probably thought I cited it as an example of the divide between black and Asian. The misunderstandings. The unavoidable conflict. How the two can “never get along.” An Asian guy hitting on a black woman, and racism is assumed . . .
But that actually wasn’t it. Because that story was one of hope. It’s an illustration of how the divide just really isn’t that big. Because, in spite of all those assumptions and defenses, etc. revealed in that story, “W” was sharing it with me, her friend – an Asian guy. At the time, her first and only Asian friend. The very same Asian friend that came over and celebrated Thanksgiving with her and her family. Needless to say, I was the first Asian guy to share a special occasion with her family like that. Of course, I was the only non-black person there. And I’ve never felt more welcome.
Because we’re friends. And with friends, you’re able to get over the B.S. weight of stereotypes and other assumptions and go with what the person is actually like. What they actually know, do, etc. You give each other a real chance, instead of letting some self-interested third-party tell you who the other person is.
So all of you – take a step back. Breathe deep. Stop buying into the nonsense and open up your minds the same way you ask others to about you. Black AND Asian. And Jewish, even. We’re all connected. More so than we’ll ever even know.
And that doesn’t mean that individuals – on both sides – aren’t going to have racist notions. It doesn’t mean that communities – acting in concert- aren’t going to further the misunderstandings. What it means is that if you really want to represent, then represent – your own community AND oppressed peoples as a whole – and give yourself and others a big-picture view. It’s going to take work – but it’s far from impossible. Stop being lazy and only touching the surface. Do something real.
Stand up. Head up. Fist up.
Use your free hand to shake hands with the causes across the way,
And then – and only then – can you honestly say:
“I want to get free.”
(*1) I use the “A.D.” label most intentionally here.
(*2) And be damned-sure that Hitler was taking notes on that one.
(*3) That’s another standard-play that’s been in the Inequality Rulebook for centuries.
(*4) Do I really have to point out that this continues today?
(*5) At this point, you should realize that the “Buffer Class” and “Model Minority” go hand-in-hand.
(*6) It’s an indication of how the media plays into this feedback loop that I don’t need to cite anything here for y’all to know exactly what I’m talking about.
(*7) Latasha Harlins being the most well-known example.
(*8) If you’re wondering at the lack of citations for this article – I keep asking y’all to not be lazy and do the work yourselves (not even just taking my word for it), and giving you citations wouldn’t accomplish that. Because then you’ll just stick to that. So put some work in. Find your own answers (but look on both sides and in between), and then hit me up with your comments, questions and concerns: “choptensils AT gmail DOT com”.
1. Hapa wrote:
CVT, you’re the man!
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 10:37 am
2. Anali wrote:
Incredibly insightful post. Wow. This is deep.
I’m African-American and have always had Asian-American friends. Some people question this and I find it odd to have to explain that it’s just random. Many people that I get along with just happen to be Asian.
If people let friendships develop naturally without imposing racial judgements, there would be much less racial tension in the world and we’d see how much we all have in common.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 11:16 am
3. Aristo wrote:
That was absolutely wonderfully written and deserves a million rounds of applause.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 11:19 am
4. Gregory A. Butler wrote:
This article makes sense if you believe that conflicts between Blacks and Asians in this country are simply a misunderstanding, that could be cleared up by a few friendly conversations – plus the acknowledgment of the existence of a handful of half Black half Asian biracial folks.
Problem is, I very much do NOT subscribe to that view.
I feel that racism has it’s roots in Corporate America and the US government buying the loyalty of some Americans by granting them special economic and social privileges – privileges which are very much at the expense of other Americans.
That’s a simplistic and yet basically accurate summary of my view of the White Black conflict.
As for inter PoC conflicts – in this case Blacks vs Asians – it comes down to a battle over resources.
There are only a finite number of jobs, educational opportunities, funding for social programs and business opportunities that the ruler of America allow to trickle down to People of Color.
And Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Middle Easterners get to fight over those resources.
A LOT of the disputes between Blacks and Asians have their roots in the existence of a large number of Asian-owned stores in Black neighborhoods, and the resentment that Black entrepreneurs feel towards those business owners for taking up business opportunities that they feel should go to Blacks (since we can’t open stores in White communities – or in Asian communities, for that matter).
That is a dollars and cents conflict, and quite a severe one – stores have been boycotted and people have even been killed because of it – and personal friendships between Blacks and Asians (no matter how genuine or heartfelt they may be) will not in any way negate that commerce-based rivalry.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 11:44 am
5. Noneinaye wrote:
My mind, it is blown.
A little of a history lesson and a new perspective on an old problem.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 11:56 am
6. Val wrote:
CVT, I see this conflict between an Asian community and a Black community being played out now in San Francisco.
There have been two or three robberies by African American youth and the victims have been older Asians.
Many people believe that these crimes are not hate motivated but crimes against people who seem vulnerable as the Asians who were robbed and attacked where elderly and or smaller people.
But there are many in the Asian community who believe these are hate crimes simply because the perpetrators are Black and the victims Asian.
So now the media jumps in and of course rather than simply reporting the different angles of the stories they have only reported the racial aspect and naturally that’s made the situation worse.
Now there have been town hall meetings given by the Asian community and town halls given by the Black community and nothing is really being solved because people are putting their racial blinders on.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 12:45 pm
7. Julian wrote:
once again, racialicious posts awesome.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 12:47 pm
8. dr. dri wrote:
this article is really great. there’s an awesome book written about this topic, if you didn’t already know it: Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity. it’s by vijay prashad.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 1:09 pm
9. Mike wrote:
Another amazing piece, CVT.
Related to what you said about the media playing up Asian/Black tensions, whenever it can… not only do they play up those tensions, they IGNORE cases where minority groups support each other.
Latoya Peterson’s piece earlier this week quoted Resist Racism on the recent Arizona Immigration controversy. And the question was: where’s the media coverage of the APA groups supporting Latino Americans? Nonexistent. According to the media, immigration’’s a completely Latino issue – and of course Asian Americans aren’t involved, because we’re all submissive, quiet, and self-involved.
And the Muslim American experience, ever since 9/11?
One of the first groups to speak out on behalf of the Muslim community was the JACL. Why? Because Japanese Americans remember Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans remember the internment camps. And they don’t want it to happen again – to ANYONE.
But who cares, right? Terrorism/civil rights issues are about Muslims. Urbanization is about blacks. Immigration is about Latinos. And none of us care about each other.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 1:26 pm
10. its debatable wrote:
Thank you CVT! You always manage to put into words what I feel intuitively.
Growing up in the midwest, I didn’t have much exposure to Asian people or culture. When I learned about the British colonialism in Asia while I was in high school (up until that point I falsely assumed & was told they were only in Africa), I began to wonder why there was such tension btwn the two races. Ironically I also always thought thatblacks and asians got along famously b/c all the asian ppl I knew were also black! And I saw how much asians loved hip-hop(sorry for the generalisation)! I never saw the tensions that were in bigger cities w/ a longer history of black/asian interactions & never understood them b/c in Ohio all seemed peachy! Except when my classmates would mock the english of a friends Chinese father. But they did it to my Nigerian father as well, so what was I as a brigth eyed nine year old to think?
I know I am rambling, but I can say that I have always had affinity for other oppressed peoples and still naively belive that they do as well. All a person has to do is look @ how the chinese were treated when they were building our cross continental railroads & of course the japanese during wwII, and they will know that we are in the same boat!
I will never stop reaching out to the few asian-americans in my own sliver of the country to once and for all bridge the gap.
Again, thank you!
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 1:29 pm
11. Fireball wrote:
FINALLY, somebody finds the proper words to describe what’s really happening around here: minorities fighting each other over scraps on the floor when they should be demanding an equal share at the table.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 2:33 pm
12. inkst wrote:
This piece uses a pretty broad brush to paint history, but I definitely see the point, and there is truth, in my experience, in the main point about the power structure creating a “buffer class.”
@Gregory A. Butler you make a good point about commerce being a prime motivator in pitting one group against another, but in my reading of the original piece, that is part of the point. The services historically provided by what CVT refers to as a buffer class are necessary for someone to do. In the examples outlined (Jews in Europe, East Indians in the British Empire, and Asians and other immigrants in America), a large part of the constructed resentment is due to exactly what you point out, “These ___________ open a store in my neighborhood, handle my money, and get rich off of me and others like me.” I do not think that the piece is trying to say “Can’t we all just get along” rather it’s making a point to call all of us PoC to task and make us think about the fact that infighting only benefits oppressors. Berating stereotypes about our groups while swallowing stereotypes about others hook, line, and sinker.
This post called to my mind immediately the montage in “Do the Right Things” when everyone fires off racial epithets only to have DJ Love Daddy scream into the camera for everyone to stop.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 2:38 pm
13. inkst wrote:
*Typo, “Thing” shouldn’t be plural!
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 2:39 pm
14. Kat wrote:
Val, it’s not just now. The White media has been feeding this conflict for years now, I feel, through its coverage of the nearly-annual changes in how kids are assigned to schools in San Francisco. Message (supported by white parents) to (some–the Right Kind of) Asian parents: Menacing diversity (of the Wrong Sort) is coming to your neighborhood school; protect the inequitable status quo. Then when someone calls them on it, “Oh, if this is racism, then look at all these racist Asian parents too!” The violence thing is just the logical next step in this saga.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 3:32 pm
15. Kendra wrote:
Thanks CVT! I notice these similarities, esp. due to my academic experience in Asian American studies courses. Being that I’m not much involved with student groups, being a lil socially awkward, I always get the impression there’s not enough talks on a larger scale at the university about bridging gaps, forming significant relationships with POC and overcoming this apparent historical amnesia. Historically POC have fought together on similar issues, inhabited the same spaces, have had significant relationships (business, romantic, friendship and so on) and I doubt the complaints about lack of compatibility were any different then. We’re still re-hashing the same arguments and tactics. Most of what I learned about activism came out of International-Hotel and Berkley 1969. The Bracero Program, Civil Rights Movement, Chol Sol Lee (who I believe came before Vincent Chin), Alcatraz and so on. For someone as socially strange as I feel I am, I feel very thankful for the opportunity to attend my university and learn more about different POC groups and their issues and struggles. I see both similarities as well as differences which I do respect, even as I try to see ways for us to unite and become even closer. I’m hoping to branch out a little more before I graduate, maybe return to old orgs for volunteering and sitting in different group meetings to expose myself, open myself to other people and let them know I wish to acknowledge my POC brethren and learn more. I really appreciate the past few posts. I feel bad that I lurk more than I contribute. I know some posts receive less “attention” than others. I definitely read more than I comment, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to say . . .
Esp. if you don’t have background knowledge or you feel like what you say will detract from the main topic.
I’m still working on acknowledging responses to comments I make. So, sometimes I don’t even know someone has responded to me . . . so gotta keep on that, lol.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 3:37 pm
16. Christina wrote:
verrrrrrrrrrry insiteful. I feel like I learned something. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for future discussion or reference. I wish there was an organization that collaborative effort amongst all ethnic groups to overcome the oppression, racism, and classism that goes in on out country. Then we’ll see REAL change.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 3:48 pm
17. Crommunist wrote:
Unbelievably great post.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 3:51 pm
18. JLA wrote:
This is an awesome article. Though I have to wonder how concious, verbalized, and comprehended oppression is for the people in power. You know, I just don’t think kings and councils steeple their fingers and maniacally cackle after a long-winded monologue about setting those colored imbeciles against each other. Mwahaha!
Also, did people forget about Tiger Woods? He is quite a famous black Asian person! You would think his presence in the media would make people go, “Ohh, right.”
Recently some people were offended by the first interaction between Demetri and Zoey in FlashForward (”I WOULD NEVER DATE YOU!”). Now I see why.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 4:33 pm
19. J wrote:
I must admit, though, I have had (and I guess,shamefully) still have that reaction anytime a guy who is not black or hispanic hits on me. I always feel like they’re mocking me, I can’t help it for some reason. It happens all the time at school, no matter how much a dude might insist he is actually interested in me (I get the “what is so unbeleiveable that I might want to hook up with you? spiel) I still can’t shake the feeling that he’s tryna play me, what with all these white girls around why would you even bother with me? I guess I have to condition myself out of it, but it’s incredibly difficult, especially when you live in a society where basically you are held up as the epitome of what is ugly.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 4:54 pm
20. Montclair Mommy wrote:
Loved this. A few years ago I was at one of my friend’s birthday parties (she is East Asian) and we looked around and noticed that out of the couples at the party: ALL of them were Asian/Black interracial couples. I was like, “Huh! That’s kind of unusual!” and her comment was, “I guess not, though, right?” And, she’s right. The media puts out this myth that there is NO interaction between the communities when many people’s actuall experiences indicate otherwise.
Where I live, I see LOTS of interracial black/Asian couples (and lots of other interracial POC couples as well). At first, it seemed unique and now it just seems…standard. And I like it that way.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 5:15 pm
21. Shelby wrote:
@its debatable: Yes! Me too! I’m from Michigan and I always thought we (Blacks and Asians) were great friends and allies. It might be that my fam does have some distant Asian ancestry that shows up in our surname. Older Chinese Americans always stop when they hear it and say, “Hey! You’re Chinese!” My dad used to always come home with info from his Chinese coworkers about the province our name comes from and its history in the US. And now, in college, I see several Desi, Filipino, and East Asian students that identify with the Black community. Some mixed (with Black), and some not. So yeah, the tension is definitely regional and has a lot to do with demographics. Here in Metro Detroit I hear more about conflict between Blacks and Chaldeans or Arabs.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 6:12 pm
22. CVT wrote:
@ Gregory Butler -
You and I are in agreement here. Most of this article was about the creation of that battle for resources (jobs, money, housing), that you mention above.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 6:42 pm
23. Sharon Cullars wrote:
Years ago I read somewhere on the internet that more than a few Asian workers on the Transcontinental railroad married black women, some of them ex-slaves. I was surprised b/c I believed these two groups had too many cultural barriers between them to ever consider one another romantically, especially in the 19th century. Since it still seems a rare pairing today, I can only imagine how hard an AM/BW pairing was back then.
That kernel of information stayed with me so I used it as a plot line in my novella. I’ve received a few responses from black women who are interested in AM/BW romance, so maybe one day this pairing will not seem outside the norm.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 7:52 pm
24. xboxhueg wrote:
Also, we both like chicken.
But seriously, I was told by a music professor that Asian American laborers had something to do with the creation of the blues (the evidence being how typically Asian pentatonic scales are similar to blues scales). But I could never find any historical evidence of this. Is this true? Because I was really excited about Asians actually being part of something incredibly, incredibly important in music history.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 10:02 pm
25. Val wrote:
You’re right. I remember when all of that stuff with the schools started a few years ago. The media did its usual job of instigating rather than reporting.
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 10:25 pm
26. TN wrote:
CVT… I love you!
I’ll take this opportunity to link to AAM’s post yellow peril supports black power (only boo boo is lack of women in the pic but… *sigh*)
Posted 29 Apr 2010 at 10:28 pm
27. miga wrote:
Brilliant article! I wish they’d teach more about the diversity WITHIN civil rights movements–when I was in school, they only taught about the”black” Civil Rights Movement and then only mentioned that white people were allies too, COMPLETELY leaving out asians, first nations people, and only briefly mentioning MLK’s ties with Caesar Chaves (otherwise they skipped latinos period).
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 1:40 am
28. AMarie wrote:
Thank you for articulating everything I’ve thought about Black-Asian relations. As child, I lived in neighborhoods where Asians [South, Southeast & East] were the majority. After that, Blacks, hispanics, whites. I knew more Hmong, Chinese and Tagalog [and Spanish, esp. Mexican Spanish] slang than English slang. [note: I am a Black woman]
I never understood the anger at Korean-owned hair/beauty supply stores in majority-Black neeighborhoods. I also never understood the conctruction of Asians as “model minorities” when most of the families I knew were 1st or 2nd generation American citizen, and working-class.
This explains it quite nicely.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 3:18 am
29. Hapa wrote:
Obama said the only way we can overcome racism is through organization of people of color. We need to become one massive and powerful entity. Stop listening to racism about each other through the white lens.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 9:07 am
30. Bill wrote:
Great article. I see a similar (not identical) dynamic when the media accentuates and perpetuates a vision opposing various groups of PoC to LGBT groups.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 9:19 am
31. Kandeezie wrote:
Wow. I’m in tears! I really am. That was a wonderful article. Thanks so much.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 10:04 am
32. TAB wrote:
Thank you for this insightful article, CVT. As an East African, whose dad grew up under British colonial rule, I do have one quibble with what you posted:
Mistrust goes both ways (the Indians don’t trust the Africans because they’ve been attacked by them, the Africans don’t trust the Indians because they appear to be in all snug with the colonizers and are taking African money).
Perhaps I misinterpreted it, but that statement seems to imply that the Indians’ distrust of the Africans arose from the Africans’ behavior – as if, somehow, the Indians would be more respectful towards the Africans if the Africans had just been more civil. I respectfully disagree. The Indians’ distrust -and, to be perfectly honest, contempt- toward the Africans was bred of British racial hierarchy stereotypes that preceded any violence by Africans. And in my country, the British built separate neighborhoods and schools for the Indians, away from the Blacks but, notably, away from the whites, too, so I agree 100% with you that this was part of a greater scheme to support white-supremacist oppression. In my country, the Blacks were clear about who was responsible for these conditions. That’s why, during the fight for independence, whites were definitely targeted.
Your discussion of how poor American Blacks target Asians who appear to be doing slightly better, instead of targeting the true source of their oppression, reminded me of how that resentment, in my real life experience here, in the U.S., is also class-based (some middle class Blacks are targets) and ethnic (African immigrants targeted). These are all manifestations of the white supremacy you brilliantly discussed.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 10:05 am
33. jordan wrote:
@JLA, this piece also got me thinking about how white people fit into this picture. At first, I thought about how white people often read racial antagonism between black and Asian people as “everybody is racist,” and how that is often a passive dismissal of structural racism and white privilege. That line lead me to imagine that creating a buffer class helps to hide racism from lower class whites, who implicitly agree to take white privilege in exchange for economic mobility.
However, you make me wonder if the buffer class system also helps to hide white privilege from the ruling class. Granted, a full discussion of white privilege might be for another time.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 10:19 am
34. D. BryAnn Chen wrote:
Brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass on this link to everyone I know.
BTW, I am Asian American, working at Refugee Women’s Network, Inc. (www.riwn.org) . The refugees and immigrants in our constituency from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Caribbean, and Europe. All our programs are deliberately multiethnic and we always find more similarities than differences.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 10:46 am
35. Mickey wrote:
@ Sharon Cullars,
You might want to read about the Chinese immigrants who lived in the Mississippi Delta and their interactions with both blacks and whites. The intermarried with both groups. The book is called “The Mississippi Chinese : Between Black and White” by James W. Loewen.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 11:03 am
36. Crispy wrote:
Why did you put black in quotes?
Yes, I realize that the Civil Rights movement affected everyone (in some way) in the U.S. then and impacted people all around the world at the time. Even so, I still feel that at its basis it was a “black white thing.” (As we’ve been talking about in these recent posts.)
Some non-black people expressed support. However, isn’t it a stretch to site the involvement of a few Asian-Americans as evidence the Civil Rights movement was not “just about black people?”
How does a few Asian-Americans marching translate into overwhelming Asian-American support? My great-grandfather, a black man, was not for “all of the marching and protesting.” He felt black people should keep waiting. (Seriously.) This is indicative of ONE man’s feelings. I wouldn’t conclude that all African-Americans felt the way he did.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 11:12 am
37. re.sister.with.love wrote:
I confess I have not read through this post, or any of the comments. You lost me at East Indian. This is a term I have been hearing a lot ever since I moved to Canada. Can the author of this blog post please explain to me who this term is supposed to refer to? And who the West Indians/ South Indians/ North Indians/ Central Indians are?
Also, the buffer class from british colonies that he speaks of was created through extending job and immigration opportunities to people fro Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. The term for those nations is South Asian.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 11:53 am
38. G.K. wrote:
I love this subject! Check this website where the intertwining histories of Africans and Asians have intertwined throughout history:
The most recent issue of GIANT ROBOT has an article written by a brother about black asians—he’s got some old pics from the early 1900’s to the early 1960’s showing black Philipinos, Malaysians, and even black Thai folks either posing or just chillin’ in their day-to-day lives. They were the earliest known people in their countries (they migrated from Africa thousands of years ago) just like Papua New Guinea, which is also a majority-black Asian country (I did a report on them last semester–got an A on it).
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 12:02 pm
39. Me wrote:
I haven’t finished the post yet but I had to stop and say ‘PREACH SISTAH, GIRL!!” The more divide POC’s the long it will take us to succeed.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 12:13 pm
40. izebe wrote:
thanks a bundle for this, for latyoa’s earlier post on black american and asian-american connectivity (& or lack thereof) and for racialicious! yay! some of the similar issues between east-indian and african descendants appear in the west indies and more and more, we are seeing what happens when these issues have been never been properly unpacked, grappled with or interrogated. british colonial rule skips off–easy as you please–independence comes, and you are left with these issues bubbling and festering and yet to be worked on.
the posts cited above have been beneficial with helping me look for frameworks to discuss race, identity and nationhood inside a west indian construct, especially with regards to politics. man, i do wish more caribbean people had these kinds of constructive dialogues! i really do, cause it’s election time in trinidad & tobago now, where i am from, and what’s going on now is a prime example of what happens when some people who haven’t been having these on-going discussions suddenly have them and some folks frame them in a politicised, racialised frame at the height of electioneering. (with two of the major political parties being perceived to be sole representative entities of each of the majority racial groups).
basically, you end up with a bunch of people of colour: east-indians, afro-trinidadians and everyone in between, trying to throw each other under the bus–and none of it is particularly helpful. some of the conversations some folks are having now are especially counterproductive. this notion of the construction of a ‘buffer class’ then, aptly sums up where some of these afro-trinidadian and east-indian tensions are historically rooted.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 1:43 pm
41. Angie wrote:
Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I nearly cried.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 2:13 pm
42. Sharon Cullars wrote:
Thanks Mickey for the heads up. I’ll definitely look up the book.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 3:36 pm
43. Crispy wrote:
Part of my family is from the Caribbean. When I read this article I immediately thought of T&T!
We (my family at least) call Indians East Indians. West Indians are black people from the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 3:57 pm
44. CVT wrote:
I use “East Indian” for those from India; “West Indian” as Crispy wrote; and “American Indian” (sometimes) for indigenous Americans.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 6:36 pm
45. CVT wrote:
I actually was only aware of “East Indian” people as a buffer class in British colonies, so I was not referring to any of the other peoples you mentioned
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 6:38 pm
46. CVT wrote:
- which is clearly my mistake (but was not lumping them all together as “East Indian,” as that likely appeared, either).
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 6:38 pm
47. CVT wrote:
We’re in agreement here. Mistrust was fostered, THEN came conflict, furthering the mistrust. Africans definitely didn’t “start” it at all.
Posted 30 Apr 2010 at 6:41 pm