When I first heard about a planned march to amass the nation’s women to highlight women’s rights and in protest against the Trump administration on the day after his inauguration, I was initially hesitant. In originally billing the event as the “Million Women March” and advertising it as the first street protest of its kind, organizers overlooked the original “Million Woman March” successfully organized by Black feminists two decades ago. When this appropriation of Black feminist history was pointed out by feminists of colour, event organizers were dismissive of (and even hostile to) the critique. Instead, (White feminist) event organizers and early supporters offered the same familiar, callous, and white-washing refrain: that feminists of colour were being divisive in raising the spectre of race, and that we should put aside racial differences to provide a united feminist front in opposition to the misogyny of Trump.
Never mind, of course, that we were being asked to rally in unity under the banner of White feminism, which too often overlooks and deprioritizes women of colour and other marginalized women through its uncritical universalization of the lived experiences of Whit straight abled cis-women. Over the years, I have been lectured at countless times by White feminists who resent and reject my brand of non-white feminism; I had no interest in voluntarily exposing myself to that kind of toxic and intolerant space yet again.
But then, something about the event changed. In response to criticism, event founders re-named the march the “Women’s March on Washington” and invited prominent feminists of colour to organize the event. The Women’s March began to embrace a more intersectional framework for its feminism. Organizers acknowledged the March’s relationship to Black feminist history and took steps to acknowledge and commemorate the earlier work of Black feminists. White feminists were reminded that even within feminist spaces, they should do the work of being better white allies to feminists of colour; and that there is never a time when they can or should stop reflecting (and respecting) more and “whitesplaining” less. When some early White feminist supporters spoke against the efforts to make the event more inclusive of women of colour, they were actually told they were wrong!
With these developments, my fears were (somewhat) assuaged. It seemed increasingly clear that while White feminism still has a long way to go, the Women’s March on Washington (and its many satellite events in local cities) was taking steps to be a safe(r) space for feminists of colour and other marginalized feminists.
And so, I have made the (cautious) decision: I will march on Saturday in the Women’s March in New York City.
By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya
As we devolve into a modern incarnation of white establishment politics, one that has merged the sensibilities of 1950s-era America with the advent of social media, the easiest and most natural response for us would be to counter through uniting around familiar concepts such as “Asian American” rights and empowerment. However, by doing so without a critical eye, I fear we will lapse into a politics that is neither revolutionary nor liberating.
Only by pursuing a path of deconstructive politics — one that takes apart ideas and identities we take for granted among ourselves — can we truly form an agenda that benefits all classes, all genders, and all those who will be further marginalized by this new and dangerous administration.
To encourage better and broader civic engagement within the AAPI community in Trump’s America, #DearMyAAPIRep is a new feature that will appear semi-regularly in 2017 that will feature an open letter written to specific Asian American & Pacific Islander elected officials. Each letter will highlight an issue of particular relevance to the AAPI community and will invite a response from our elected officials.
Dear Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Doris Matsui, and Rep. Bobby Scott,
On Friday, the power of the United States’ highest office will peacefully transfer from the nation’s first Black president and to a man who rose to prominence by fomenting a racist “whitelash” against his presidency. Over the course of the 2016 campaign, President-elect Donald Trump deployed racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, classism, ableism, threats of violence, and the promise of exclusionary immigration laws to cement his majority support among all subgroups of white voters. Today, it remains unclear exactly what legislative damage we might expect with the Trump administration – there is no need for me to list the many looming threats to our liberties and civil rights posed by Trump’s inauguration — but, it is certain that life will be much harder for people of colour under A President Donald J. Trump.
As of this morning, nearly 60 members of Congress have joined a national Congressional boycott against Trump’s inauguration. The boycott was inspired by President-elect Trump’s disdainful (and overtly racist) tweets against civil rights legend (and sitting US Representative) John Lewis. Trump ushered in Martin Luther King Day weekend celebrations with an accusation that Rep. Lewis — who grew up in Jim Crow segregation and who nearly gave his life to the Civil Rights Movement — was “all talk” and that he should focus on fixing soaring crime rates in his “falling apart” district. (In reality, Lewis represents one of the wealthiest, and least crime-ridden, districts in Georgia.) In response to this bizarre and offensive attack, Rep. Lewis mused that Trump was not “a legitimate president”, citing US Intelligence reports that Russia had deliberately influenced the election’s outcome for Trump.
In the wake of this latest Trump Twitter dust-up, members of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses rallied to Lewis’ defense with declarations that they would join him in a boycott of Trump’s inauguration. That movement has since spread throughout the House. Currently, four of Congress’ AAPI congressmen – including Reps. Mark Takano, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) chair Rep. Judy Chu – are participating in the boycott.
Rep. Lieu cited Trump’s history of “racist, sexist and bigoted” remarks as motivation for his decision to participate in the protest. “For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple,” said Lieu. “Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”
Conservative Tree House expressed shock and outrage today from a video published to the internet of an (East Asian or East Asian American) woman who appears to take a surreptitious cellphone picture of Rex Tillerson’s notes during a break from his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. The story was then soon picked up by the Gateway Pundit.
The two Far Right blogs that frequently serve as alternative sources for conservative news cited “Twitter folks” to identify the woman in the video as Doris Truong, former president of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and a current editor at the Washington Post. Indeed, spurred on by these headlines, Twitter’s Trump Trolls were quick to launch a torrent of hate Doris Truong’s way, tagging her with hundreds of tweets calling her “sneaky“, a “paid Clinton idiot“, a “bitch“, a “whore” and a “spy”. The racist and sexist hate has also called for Truong to be arrested and charged with espionage.
There’s a couple of problems with this. The first, of course, is that that woman is not Doris Truong.
Not all Asian women look alike. Let me say it one more time for the cheap seats: Not all Asian women look alike.
Ugh, seriously? What the fuck, Steve Harvey?
A reader tip to Angry Asian Man drew our attention to an ass-tastic monologue segment by comedian/daytime TV show personality Steve Harvey on his show last week. Harvey, who is the host of the self-titled talk show Steve Harvey in which this segment aired, spent an uncomfortably long stretch of time Friday morning telling unfunny racial jokes about Asian men.
Harvey is also currently the host of Family Feud, a morning radio show called The Steve Harvey Morning Show, and the Miss Universe pageant (where he famously announced the wrong winner on live television).
Last Friday morning, Harvey included a book titled “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men” in a list of ridiculous self-help and self-care books. The 200-page book was published in 2002 by Asian World Press, Ltd, which judging by its Netscape Navigator-era website and the fact that it lists this book as its sole publication, was created solely for this purpose. The book’s writer is Adam Quan, who describes himself as an “International Business Consultant [who has] successfully dated women of many nationalities”. For unknown reasons, the book is listed on Amazon with an asking price of over $1800.
Customer reviews of “How to Date a White Woman” are less than stellar: one Amazon customer reviewer who appears to have purchased the book in seriousness says that it is poorly written and unhelpful. The race and gender politics surrounding this book’s marketing and framing are clumsily regressive, and those issues do not appear to be dealt with in its writing. There’s clearly a lot of fodder here for making jokes about bad self-help books. Indeed, Angry Asian Man reminds us that he’s been making fun of this book since 2004.
Steve Harvey, however, doesn’t take that route. Instead, he deploys cheap and unfunny racial stereotype against Asian Americans, invoking caricatures of asexual Asian men and exotic Asian foods (video after the jump) in “jokes” (and I use that term very loosely) only funny to Harvey and his studio audience.