Yesterday, a white person made a comment (of which I did not listen), and it was followed up with a reply from a Hispanic person telling her “that’s racist”. She immediately defended herself saying “Whoa. I’m not racist. I am so offended you would call me racist. At least half of my past boyfriends are not white”.
That is one of the most racist defenses I have ever heard.When a person of color accuses another of racism, the best way to react is to ask “How?” and “Why?”. Growing up in a racist environment, it is inevitable for everyone to make mistakes. Black people to white people can say racist things and perform racist acts; even I, half-East Asian, half-Jewish*, am guilty of racism, internalized or not. If we, white people and others alike, do not question ourselves, how can we expect the status quo to change?
*Percentages are not to scale.
Black people have always been on the worst end of racism. They are taught that white, eurocentric features are prime: fair skin, blonde hair, (large) blue eyes, thin lips, etc. Additionally, their self-esteem plummets when they see white people choosing to “enhance” themselves with darker skin, larger lips, and other trends I do not know, but their own, natural features have yet to be plastered on all of the same places Black people saw the whites. Am I saying that we, white people, are ugly and undeserving of appreciation? No! It is about time that Black people were given undivided love and attention, similar to the love and attention we have given ourselves for years. There are many people who assure themselves they are “not racist”, but they give priority to white people when acknowledging beauty (ever heard of “ALL women are beautiful! or more similarly “ALL live matter”). If you are not racist, you understand the recent history of people of color and recognize that activism does not have to include those whom have been previously represented.
The effect of eurocentrism also applies to East and South Asians (i.e. Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan), who, I believe, get less attention. I have been ridiculed for my “chink eyes”, though a mixture of Caucasian and Chinese-Viet genes. My brother of the same concoction has faced worse harassment, even physically. Long story short, a girl, who we barely met 12 hours previously, “loved” his “blemish free” skin and took the liberty of pinching his cheeks, putting her hands all over his face, and opening his closed eyes asking “Does it hurt?” without permission. (I told her no when she asked to take a picture of my brother with her “eyes just like his”/the finger squint.) For some reason, our East Asian hospitality through masseuses, merchants, and workers alike has been mistaken for submission; somehow, we East Asians are some commodity that white people (especially) exploit. Do not touch us without asking. Do not pry open our eyes, closed or not. Do not promise us love and security when all you want to give us is your dick.
Which brings me back to the topic of dating people of color (POCs). There are NUMEROUS white males who search for East Asian women who long to come to the “free country” of America. These males do not just date these women, they MARRY them. I know and know of too many women who have been brought to this country by a white male who fantasized about having an oriental-house-maid-sex-doll only to realize their husband does not care for them. He cheats on her with various women, perhaps at massage parlors. He deprives her of freedom by denying her the ability to drive. He does not give her money or take care of her needs. He does not even care to learn her language, sometimes not caring to teach her English. He ignores the fact she is a woman, a human, a person and assumes everything will be alright for him.
And then there are stories of white women dating Black men who call them n*** in bed and have the nerve to use him as some sort of “I’m not racist” card.
The big idea is that we white people need to stop being so defensive when we are presented as racist. We as a collective have proven to live up to this label/stereotype/whatever you wish to call it. Truth of the matter is racism is still present, and unless we shift our effort from defending ourselves to defending those who need it the most, we are still racist. Just because we sexualize or date POCs does not mean we are absolutely clean.
Tips to prove to yourself racism still exists-
1. Read your favorite magazine and count each person. How many of them are white? How many of them are Black? East Asian? South Asian? Hispanic? American Indian? Others not represented? Calculate these percentages.
2. Pay attention to the goals of each party in an interracial relationship.
3. Interpret the punchlines of your favorite show that just made fun of that East Asian man who happens to sound silly with his accent and consider how this “silliness” can affect immigrants who want to be taken seriously in America.
4. Consider the pay gaps between ethnic groups, additionally divided by gender.