The first thing I always say when an Asian POC use the “My Asian parent said it’s okay or it’s admirable for white people to—” excuse is COLONIAL MENTALITY, LOOK IT UP.
Plenty of Asians, especially from formerly colonized states, are totally okay with cultural appropriation because they don’t realize the dehumanizing aspects of commodifying and wearing someone’s cultural garbs as a costume. Colonial mentality is entrenched in the idea of feeling inferior under White imperialists’ rules, and that in order to gain the White imperialist’s approval, we need to accept their appropriation of our cultures as a sign of “respect.” And most white kids today translate this appropriation into “appreciation” without understanding the cultural sacredness of belonging.
We, (formerly) colonized peoples, are often desperate to impress the very same people who oppressed us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across Filipinos or Indians who “appreciate” the fuck out of whiteys learning our languages or wearing barongs or sarees, or whatever else.
But if you look at the reverse situation, white people will never appreciate your mother or your father for speaking English or French or Dutch or Spanish—it was imposed on them. White people will even taunt you for your accent or chastise you for “bastardizing” THEIR language, and then call you backwards for wearing your people’s traditional garbs. And what do we do when this happens? We try our best to perpetuate appropriation to appease them in order to preserve what remains from our cultures, because we think it’s our only choice.
European and American imperialism put us in this position in the first place. Let’s face it, most POCs are always trying to gain approval from white people due to historical oppression. I think the first thing we need to do, to eliminate white supremacy not just in the context of USA or Britain, is to teach our kids that colonial mentality is real. IT’S THERE. IT EXISTS. AND WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF IT BEFORE WE ACTIVELY REMOVE IT FROM OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUS.
So I was thinking whether or not to respond to this. I could tell from just the first paragraph that it was going to annoy the hell out of me. But I always get a negative reaction because people are kind of knee-jerk-y when it comes to racism.
But I think that regardless, this is a horribly condescending and patronizing post, and opinion to have. And I’m curious if the OP has actually been to Asia or not, but that’s another thing. If you have been, you don’t seem to have really understood the context.
In any case, it’s a sweeping generalization about a huge continent with a vast variety of people. And it’s horribly pretentious: “Poor you, you just don’t know any better.”
It also utterly ignores the reality of the people who live there and live their lives as they do. People in various countries in Asia live within the various infrastructure created as a result of colonialism. One way or another, several countries do have their political systems, infrastructure, legal systems, and so on, as a result of colonial administration. They don’t thank anyone for it, but there’s no harm recognizing where it came from and its influences on what is their present system.
Just FYI, it’s a sweeping generalization about Asia, from an honestly ignorant perspective.
This, to me, is you appropriating Asia.
I don’t care if you want to feel strongly about Asian-American issues. That’s fine. I don’t mind if you want to point out all the blatant racism that happens in America. That’s your beat.
But these wild assumptions about Asians in Asia? It’s just as bad. Please stop.
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