“Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
— Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,” Sister Outsider
My younger brother is 16-years-old. He is six feet, four inches of gentle, timid, and awkward. He loves baseball and breakfast food, family and faith. He is quiet and complex, an introvert who often laughs with me about our frustrations with growing up in a small home with six people.
But in our Orange County hometown, he is feared. A Black teen with a physical presence that far eclipses his white and East Asian peers, he bears the psychic toll of being seen as a walking threat before being seen as a boy. He knows the police are not on his side. He is right; every 28 hours a black person is killed extrajudicially by law enforcement or vigilantes. And that terrifies me. Keep reading »
Last year, the upscale department store Barneys in New York City was hit with several accusations that it engages in racial profiling of its customers. On Friday, following a nine-month-long investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s civil rights decision, Barneys admitted it discriminated against Black and Hispanic shoppers. In addition to a settlement, the store is hiring an anti-racial profiling consultant and adopting an anti-profiling policy. Keep reading »
Sigh. To anyone who thinks racism is over and we should all stop complaining about it, there are still states with segregated proms and segregated sororities. The fact of the matter is that at these sororities, like the ones at the University of Alabama, a lot of the girls who get in or pledge, White and Black, don’t even really know what’s going on or don’t get to have a say. It is a major bummer. Read more on College Candy…
The jury has spoken: Theodore Wafer, the Michigan man who shot unarmed Black teenager Renisha McBride on his doorstep, is guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and one count of felony firearm. Back in November, 19-year-old McBride got into a car accident and found her way to Wafer’s front door, which she knocked on at nighttime. Wafer shot McBride in the head through a closed and locked screen door on his front porch, killing her. Wafer, who is white, had initially claimed that his gun went off accidentally; he had also claimed that he didn’t know his gun was loaded. Wafer now faces life in prison with the possibility of parole. [New York Daily News; MSNBC]
1. I’m 15 and for the first time in my life, a teacher calls me out on sleeping in class when I’ve been awake the whole time. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier, because kids have made fun of my eyes since preschool. Times are a-changing I guess. I’m the only Asian in my class, one of three in my entire high school, and people bring it up all the time for the rest of the year. I get it. It’s funny, that time our old, kinda-racist teacher thought I was sleeping because my eyes are small. My eyes aren’t even that small!
2. I’m 12 and my mom is teaching me how to smile so that my eyes don’t disappear. No one likes a squint. I’m 0 percent invested, so I don’t learn. I do know that the word for squint in Mandarin is mī, and it forms your mouth in a squint when you pronounce it, like a lyrical “me,” lips tight for the ‘m’ and barely parted for the ‘ī’. I don’t read much into that. It’s just a happy coincidence, like how “groovy” ends on a smile.
3. I’m 20 and sometimes my friend points out that my eyes disappear when I smile really hard. I think — I know — I think she doesn’t mean it in a shitty way (“I always forget that you’re Asian,” she’s also said), but every time I hear it, it burns red hot in my brain for the rest of the day. I’ve learned enough to know that when I was 15 and people said, “It’s funny because your eyes aren’t even that small,” they were also saying, “You don’t look that Asian.” I suspect this is the same kind of thing. Then I suspect that I’m doing a lot of introspection for a hang sesh with my friends. Keep reading »