Solidarity is Love: Taking Asian Diasporic Feminists Back to Black and Asian Feminism in the ’60s

The cover of the Sept-Oct 1972 issue of 'Triple Jeopardy'.

By: Victoria M. Huỳnh

Nearly eight months into 2020, and there is so much to grieve. We are amidst a global pandemic leaving Black, Indigenous, incarcerated, and immigrant communities most vulnerable. Black-led uprisings in the imperial core enraged by the white supremacist murder of George Floyd should have shaken the world awake again: the US internally robs and exploits Black life in duty of its imperialist project that is the US empire. Worldwide, the US empire continues to manifest its devastation in crippling US economic sanctions amidst the bombing of Lebanon, ongoing US-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine, impending US imperialist aggression to China towards a Cold War 2.0, and more. 

To locate this moment, as non-Black Asian diasporas in the imperial core seeking solidarity with Black and other Third Worlded peoples, is to know this moment is fraught with deep struggle since times before ours. It is also yet a  urgency of committing to Black revolutionary praxis in their fight for a new world— knowing no Black life should have been lost to US empire in the first place. If we fall back on bell hooks’ reminder that, love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth,” we are forced to rethink what is so necessarily meant by “love” in and beyond these times. And if solidarity is love, we should be pushed to pursue a solidarity that is not just conscious of being against white supremacy, US imperialism, patriarchy, or global capitalism [wrongfully marketed] as separate systems– but a solidarity for an anti-imperialist, socialist, decolonized world that necessitates Black liberation– and which knows we must take down the US empire in its entirety to achieve so. 

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Dear Black Folks

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By Guest Contributor: Stacy G

Dear Black folks

I don’t know what it’s like to question authority because I had the privilege of never having to do so
I don’t know what’s it’s like to have an authority figure see you as a threat before seeing you as a child
Demonizing you before they get to know you
I donft know what it’s like to watch your classmates be called overzealous
While you do the same, and your teachers send you to detention and call you rebellious

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what its like to be followed around a store
Or to feel like a suspect as soon as you walk through the door
I don’t know what’s like to have to tell my future son to fear the police because anything he might do
Might be construed
As a threat and force them to shoot

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what it’s like to live a lifetime of anger and frustration because of what happened to your community
What happened within your community
I don’t know what it’s like to have your tongue ripped out by having a bullet
Strike your heart before you have the chance to have your voice heard

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Unprotected by Assimilation: Lessons from the Case of Duy Ngo

Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By Guest Contributor: Bao Phi

When I began reading that a White House petition had collected 100,000 signatures — many of them reportedly Chinese names — in defense of Peter Liang, a cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black man during a patrol of a housing project in New York, I was perplexed.  At a time when the horrible abuse and killing of nonwhite bodies, predominantly Black, was making the news every week, why were so many Asian people defending an officer who wrongfully killed a Black man?  And where were these 100,000 people during the wrongful death lawsuit by the family of slain Hmong teenager Fong Lee, killed by a white officer (awarded a Medal of Valor for the killing) with a history of abuse against Black and Hmong people?

But I took a step back, and read about some of the Chinese people who were in support of Liang.  Some of them felt he was scapegoated.  Some claimed the Liang case was about political maneuvering.  Some said they were tired of being pushed around.   What was going on here?  How was the information on this case being broadcast in non-English media?  It’s hard to get more than 100,000 Asians in America to sign onto anything — who got them to sign on to support this officer?

To some, it all may seem cut and dried.  Asians are just being selfish and anti-Black again, only coming out of their wannabe white lifestyles to support one of their own.  But then what about the cases where Asians have been the victims of police violence that don’t draw anywhere near the same zeitgeist?  How do those instances of racist violence against Asians, statistically not as frequent but still racist, fit into our understanding of state sanctioned violence against Asian bodies?

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#AAPI groups & writing in support of affirmative action | #IAmNotYourWedge #BlockBlum

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With Monday’s news of two lawsuits filed by a conservative anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum hoping to challenge affirmative action policies by framing the debate around purported anti-Asian bias in selective universities’ admissions policies, the AAPI community has been once again thrust into the spotlight in the national affirmative action debate. Opponents of affirmative action suggest that these latest legal efforts are on behalf of the AAPI community. They suggest that most AAPIs are against race-conscious affirmative action, yet several studies reveal that more than 65% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders support affirmative action, both in professional and academic settings.

It’s important that we accurately represent the political opinions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by rendering our support for affirmative action visible.

Earlier this year, I aggregated a list of AAPI groups and writing in support of affirmative action in relation to the SCA5 debate in California. I have replicated and modified that list in this post, and will update it over the next several months with additional writing from around the internet.

Please feel free to link to this post as a resource regarding the attitudes of AAPI on affirmative action in the upcoming national debate on this issue. The abundance of this writing demonstrate clearly that while affirmative action is a polarizing topic within the AAPI community, there is strong and vocal support for race-conscious affirmative action in our community that deserves visibility.

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Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 11 | Horizontal Allyship

What does it really mean to be an ally? Is the language and debate that we’re using right now on solidarity and allyship too hyper-focused on White/non-White power dynamics? I invite on awesome Asian American Dawn Lee Tu (@dawnleetu) to discuss the concept of “horizontal allyship”, a term that Dawn coined to address the specific ally relationship between different marginalized communities, which may differ from conventional social justice allyship.

To listen to this podcast, you can stream the video and audio version through YouTube above (where you can see my wacky bang that refused to stay behind my sunglasses) or stream the audio only version from the mp3 player below. To catch all episodes, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel or to the Reappropriate podcast through the iTunes store.

Next episode: The podcast is on hold until 2015, since the holidays are kind of a rough time to schedule guests. We may have one more episode between now and the new year, but it is unscheduled and unplanned at the moment. So, please stay tuned to this blog for an announcement of the next episode.

Audio only version of Episode 10: