Racism in the street

Yesterday night, my new housemate moved in. 

It just so happens to be that he’s from China — and I just so happen to be Asian American.  So here we are, minding our own business, walking down a sidewalk in a city that’s known for progressive politics.

The next thing I know a car drives past and the white driver rolls down his window and calls, “Ching chong!” at us, his white passenger laughing and heckling us along with him. 

Not even 24 hours in America, and my housemate already experienced, first hand, what it’s like to be a person of color — an Asian — in America: seen always as foreign and other, where even walking down the street becomes an exotic spectacle. Our bodies and our identities are transformed by the white gaze into something entirely abject — illegible bodies that don’t really count as real bodies endowed with humanity. We are merely racialized bodies to be gawked at, to be told we do not belong. That this is not our country, and that we have no right to it. 

While his response was to react in silent shock and surprise, perhaps even shame, mine was entirely “American.” I screamed after the car, “Way to be racist, assholes!” 

They probably didn’t think I was capable of speaking English, let alone capable of retaliating in such a manner. 

But I refuse to be turned into a passive spectacle, something to be seen and commented upon but incapable of representing myself, or having a voice. I refuse to be hurt into silence, into the very conditions of invisibility that have long come to define the Asian American/Asian diasporic experience. 

I am not a model minority. I am too fucking loud.

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  1. colorblinding posted this

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