This story was originally published in the February 2, 2018 edition of The Slant. Want Asian American news, media and culture in your inbox every Friday? Subscribe here.
It’s BHM, and we are here for it. But as the man who inspired Black History Month, Dr. Carter Woodson, argued, this month doesn’t compensate for the rest of the year … but rather shows what should have been discussed all year.
Which is why we’re gonna discuss some less than-appealing things Asian Americans have been doing when it comes to the Black community.
‘cos, uh, it’s not their fault
Far from the 1970s Asian American activists who stood in solidarity with Black Power, tweets hashtagged with the derivative #OscarsSoBlackAndWhite have emerged, accusing Black actors and actresses of stealing the spotlight from other minorities.
Which is funny, because that kind of hashtag paints the Black community with the exact same brush we hate seeing: the idea of minority privilege, similar to Asians and the “model minority.”
As Mark Tseng-Putterman writes on The Root, it’s “wildly ahistorical” to think Black people have some kind of privilege over other people of color, for a couple hundred years’ worth of very obvious reasons. And it’s pretty silly to think that “justice is a limited resource.”
Gotta do our own work
Real talk: Asian American media visibility is in dire straits. But saying that’s the fault of Black people is like saying it’s your roommate’s fault that the ceiling’s dripping.
So, hey. We all live together in this drippy house with peeling wallpaper, and we shouldn’t wait for other folks to do our chores for us. Like Tseng-Putterman says, our work’s cut out for us … but it’s our work.
—Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who’s re-reading some of these Letters for Black Lives