The Power of Anti-Black Ideology

A protester holds up a sign that reads “Hands Up, Dont Shoot.” Photo credit: Flickr / Chris Wieland)

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

The acquittal of police officer, Betty Shelby, in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher was preordained.

The narrative follows a familiar pattern: A White individual (Shelby) encounters an unarmed African American man, and with no evident motive, chooses to end the life of the Black person standing before them.

Crutcher’s death is his fault,” she later said. It is hard to imagine how that could be the case. Dashcam video shows that Crutcher was shot and killed while unarmed and complying with police orders.

After my visit to Ferguson last summer, I referenced the writings of Simone Browne, Christina Sharpe, and Alexander G. Weheliye, to argue that unless we understand how Anti-Blackness/Whiteness operate in the U.S., we will consistently fail in creating a society that would treat everyone with dignity and respect. Without this understanding, we will never build a place that honors the hopes and dreams of someone like Terence Crutcher.

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26 Years After the Murder of Latasha Harlins, Asian Americans Still Have a Lot of Work to do Around Anti-Blackness

A screen capture of cellphone footage showing violence that erupted between an unidentified customer and the owner of Missha Beauty in North Carolina.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Black community is calling for a boycott of Missha Beauty  after the owner Sung Ho Lim and another female employee were caught on cellphone video physically assaulting an unidentified female customer, who appears Black. Both Lim and the unidentified female employee appear to be Asian American.

The confrontation apparently began when store employees accused the unidentified customer of shoplifting. However, the customer is heard in unedited videotape footage immediately denying the charge, and inviting employees to check her purse. Less than a minute later, Lim and the other store employee again confronted the customer which devolved into a shoving match. Lim then escalated the confrontation by shoving the customer in the throat, kicking her multiple times, and eventually placing her in a chokehold — a potentially life-threatening maneuver — while the customer pleads for him to get off of her. Indeed, eyewitnesses say that the customer was gasping for air while Lim was on top of her. Reports The Root:

“When he was choking her, he was almost choking her to death. She was gasping for breath, and he was continually choking her,” Teresa Mosely, a customer who buys from Missha Beauty three times a week but says that she won’t continue doing so, told the news station.

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Unpacking Get Out’s “Asian” character

Several characters gather in a party scene from Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”. (Photo credit: ‘Get Out’ / Universal Pictures via NextShark)

By Guest Contributor:  Melissa Phruksachart (@mphruksachart)

Though Jordan Peele’s Get Out has been primarily read (and marketed) as an excoriation of white liberalism, Peele actually asserts the multi-racial nature of white supremacy through the character of Hiroki Tanaka (Yasuhiko Oyama), a Japanese man.

This post contains spoilers of the movie “Get Out”. Please read on with caution.

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In Search of a More Authentic Metaphor for the Asian American Struggle

A political cartoon depicting Chinese laborers toiling in a plantation in late 19th century America.

Guest Contributor: Dr. Keith Chan

This article appears as a response to a recent guest writing by Mark Tseng Putterman that appeared on Reappropriate last week, “Against Antiblackness as Metaphor.”

Recently, Mark Tseng Putterman wrote “Against Antiblackness as Metaphor” as a discussion of actor and comedian Margaret Cho’s use of the phrase “House Asian” in an email exchange with fellow actor Tilda Swinton. Cho and Swinton had been emailing in relation to months of controversy over Swinton’s casting as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Dr. Strange, wherein a traditionally male, Tibetan comic book character was rewritten as a Celtic woman to enable Swinton’s portrayal; many Asian Americans had criticized Swinton’s casting as the latest example of Hollywood white-washing of Asian American roles. Earlier this month, Cho weighed in on the controversy in a podcast by revealing a private email exchange between herself and Swinton, wherein Cho described feeling as if she had been put by Swinton into the politically dubious role of a “House Asian”. While many have since focused on Swinton’s methods and motives in approaching Cho in this exchange, Putterman offered a slightly different take: he wrote to criticize Cho’s choice to use the phrase “House Asian” in her emails with Swinton. Specifically, Putterman suggested that Cho, like many Asian Americans, should reconsider our use of metaphors of Blackness to legitimize racial justice issues associated with the Asian American community, and that our continued use of such tactics undermine solidarity efforts between the Black and Asian American community.

I believe Putterman’s article raised many insightful points, and offered a fair caution against the appropriation of race identity, especially in the case of Asian Americans seeking visibility and acknowledgment of the discrimination we face. Cho’s use of the term “House Asian” during her email exchange with fellow actor Tilda Swinton is indeed controversial.

Based on his writing, I believe it was Malcolm X who coined the phrases “House Negro” vs. “Field Negro” to highlight the relative instability of the plight of all subjugated Black people. Along those lines, Ture and Hamilton’s work, Black Power, also assigned a commonality of experience of subjugation for populations of color across the globe, and coined the term “Third World.” This latter term has fallen out of favor since the 1990’s. Cho’s use of “House Asian” misses many of these nuances, and runs the danger of advancing an agenda where all experiences of discrimination, based on race or otherwise, can be viewed as equal.

Clearly, they are not.

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5 Lessons I Learned While Protesting a Trump Rally

An image of protesters outside a Trump rally held over the weekend in New Jersey. (Photo credit: Sudip Battacharya)
An image of protesters outside a Trump rally held over the weekend in New Jersey. (Photo credit: Sudip Bhattacharya)

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

“I need to pee, and I need a cookie,” I told my friend as we drove to Edison for an anti-Trump protest.

We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts where I used the bathroom and bought a chocolate muffin instead. I kept tapping my feet as we sat in the corner of the store. My heart was pounding against my chest.

When I first heard that the Republican Hindu Coalition was organizing an event for Donald Trump in Edison, New Jersey, I laughed. Another friend of mine – one who I’ve known since high-school — found out that the event was being held at the convention center, she quickly began organizing a protest. She’s quoted in this article at Quartz, where you can find more information about the background of what happened and why. She did the hard work of getting others involved, including me. Like I said, my immediate reaction was amusement and annoyance at the Trump event, rather than frustration or anger. But that mood changed as the week wore on. From watching interviews of Trump supporters online and hearing how gleeful they were about their misogyny and racism, flashes of prior incidences splashed across my mind, when protestors were pushed and assaulted. Plus, the election was nearing its peak, and it seemed like the true believers were prepared to do anything to win.

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