Tag: racist

The Asian-American Experience & How to Deal With It

Asian-American is a constructed demographic by some California-based Asian-American activists and promoted by the majority group in the US of A.  However, a collective Asian-American experience doesn’t exist and never did despite being promoted by vocal Asian activists in an effort to unite the various ethnic Asian groups living in the US of A for greater recognition, greater rights, and greater social mobility.

In reality, ethnic Asians in America are broken up based on their language, nationality and sometimes religion. First generation immigrants separate themselves into their local ethnic communities, and their children partly define their racial identities from their original cultures.   On the other hand, descendants of first generation immigrants become disconnected with their ancestral cultures and start to think of themselves are “Americans”.  Regardless of generations, many Asian-Americans will make friends outside of their own little cultural group and often feel necessary to compromise their own identity, culture, second language to fit in.

Because there are Asian-Americans who are willing to compromise themselves and their self-respect to fit in, many non-Asian Americans believe that it is more socially acceptable to disparage Asians because they are a “model minority” and will not assert themselves for fear of being excluded in American society.  As a result, Americans believe they can get away with producing racist garbage such as the Asian Girls music video and song with excuses that it was done with an Asian model and because they have a “cute” token Indonesian-American as a band member.

I was also told by many White, Black and Latinos that the Asian Girlz video is not a big deal because it has incoherent humour and to just “lighten up“.  At the same time, they would change their tune by complaining that the George Zimmerman acquittal is racist and unfair. Despite what some people say, Asian-Americans are expected to tolerate this kind of abuse as they are compliant model minorities while others such as Blacks or Latinos are expected to assert themselves in the face of abuse or racism.  This perception in America is simply a blatant example of double standards yet it is somehow accepted in society.

Over time, these ongoing stereotypes give the majority population the impression they can get away with casual racism against Asians and arbitrarily judge Asian-Americans on an abnormally higher standard than other ethnicities. While the racial discrimination is nowhere near the levels of Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment during the 19th and 20th centuries, Asians are still seen as perpetual foreigners or by historic stereotypes.

With all these problems surrounding Asian-Americans whether it is culture shock, discrimination or a lack of clear identity, much of the ongoing dialogue in this so-called community are ultimately tied to racism or identity issues.  This is because the core of the Asian-American experience is the ongoing frustration of not being accepted in American society regardless of how hard they try to fit in whether that involves compromising one’s original identity; jettisoning the family’s native language or culture; or screwing over fellow Asians in a misguided attempt to avoid being seen as disloyal towards America. The point is no matter how hard Asian-Americans try, they will never fit in and it is better to be happy with who they are and accept their multicultural background.

Latinos had these kinds of problems for decades and managed to gradually destroy these labels by asserting and actually retaining their dual cultures regardless of stereotypes and without generally compromising to fit in.  These problems facing Asian-Americans were faced by Latinos living in America whether they are natural citizens or immigrants and eventually became an accepted and defining part of American society.

While other Asian-Americans claim they have little to learn from the Latino experience because they also face discrimination and because Asians have a supposed advantage via the “model minority” stereotype, Latinos did change America’s perception of being perpetual foreigners to being considered an integral part of American society.  Many Latinos have been increasing their presence in media, government, and in the workplace at various levels.  They are valued due to their multicultural background, many are functionally bilingual and most of all they are free from the “bamboo ceiling” that keeps Asians from reaching management levels due to ongoing perceptions by Americans that Asians are uncreative, compliant and lack individuality, which they believe is not the case with non-Asians.

Latinos who are US citizens are able to assert themselves and become recognised for being a major economic contributor and voting group in the country.  At the same time, I do not see this kind of solidarity among Asian-Americans in the US of A since it has become too easy for US politicians whether they are Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Racist Party or Green party to divide and conquer the Asian-American community when it comes to elections (eg Taiwanese-Americans support any politician who gives lip service to Taiwan Independence and demonising China, Vietnamese-Americans support any politician who claims to demonise Communists, Laotian-Americans support anyone who claims to care about the overseas or Hmong community, Tibetan-Americans will throw their lot with any politician ranting about evil Chinese Commies or how they love the Dalai Lama, etc).

As long as the Asian community is divided and easily fractured, they will never have a voice in the American government and society at large. Also, Latinos generally assert themselves when they are mistreated or when they receive citizenship, which is not truly the case with Asian-Americans as seen by how Levy Tran took the gig without complaining about the Asian Girlz subject matter or when Marcello Lalopua, the band’s Indonesian member, did not speak out when the racist Asian Girlz song was being produced.

Most of all, many Latinos have learned they will never fit in American society no matter how they tried ranging from passing as white or abandoning Spanish as their second or foreign language. This is why many of them maintain a working knowledge of Spanish or express pride in their multicultural background unlike many in the Asian community. I still see the heavily Americanised Asians distancing themselves from the less Americanised Asians and labelling them as FOBs, weirdos, or Unamericans or becoming ignorant of their parents’ culture.

At the same time, I’ve also seen some Asian-Americans gravitating towards other Asian cultures that seem more popular than their own home cultures such as Chinese or Filipino-Americans learning Japanese and Japanese culture to the point they know more Japanese culture and history than their own or to the point Japanese becomes their second language instead of Chinese or Tagalog. This also applies to Asian-Americans who lean towards Korean culture or try to integrate themselves into the Korean-American community when they are not and never will be Korean.

I don’t see Cuban-Americans or Chicanos trying to pass themselves off as Puerto Ricans; or Colombians knowing more about Mexican culture and history than their own. I also don’t see many Latinos railing against other Latinos who recently moved into the US of A as FOBS or outsiders.

This is why it is would be better to look at how the Latino community went from being seen as perpetual foreigners to being considered part of America rather than dwelling on Asian-American frustration in a cultural bubble. It’s time Asians in the US learn from them and their struggles and victories to benefit the Asian-American community and to stop dwelling on these issues in a bubble.

A follow up to the hipster hate

A follow up to the hipster hate

Back a few weeks ago, I put together a quick blurb including my thoughts on hipsters and why their attempts at synthetic originality make my blood boil. The opinion generated a fair amount of feedback thanks to Diehipster.com, and in all fairness some of the negative commentary that came my way does make a tiny bit of sense seeing as, on paper, I could have better supported my reasons for having such hostility toward the brand that is a Brooklyn hipster. But, instead of methodically plotting out an itinerary of verbal-assault through which I take over Williamsburg by annihilating one hipster at a time consequently reclaiming Mother Brooklyn for the natives, I rather haphazardly ran with the ideas that spewed out of my mind and the result of such is here.

Consequentially, I decided to construct a follow up piece and have thought long and hard about how I’d like to present my thoughts accordingly. Originally I considered a clearly drawn out essay complete with supporting documentation and factoids that cannot and would not be debated may be the way to go, but that just seemed like it would lack flavor. Next I thought maybe something of a dedication to the douchery that is Williamsburg and Bushwick by means of a photo-tribute might work. I picture this piece containing things like this, or this(nice cheetah tat). Yet again, this just didn’t seem like the best approach. Then, within a period of only a week, NYC time, I realized that this piece was pretty much writing itself via the asinine comments that come out of many a hipsters mouth/hands on the internet.

And so, I bring to you – The top 5 reasons why this Brooklyn native is completely fed up and disgusted with the hipster population of 2010 Brooklyn. These appear in no particular order and each one provides to me an equal amount of nausea.

Example Number 1:

In Defense of ‘Hipsters’ and the Controversial Practice of Moving to a City Not of One’s Birth

In this piece written by Barret Brown of Bushwick BK, it is crystal clear that the general attitude of a transplanted Brooklyn resident is that of superiority and elitism. Brown actually goes so far as to refer to the non-hipstery folk who move to Brooklyn from afar as either ‘Puerto Rican’ or a variant of ‘awful Balkan‘. First point of interest here is why Brown feels the need to conjoin the thoughts in his sentence referring to one grouping of people as awful – and the other simply as Puerto Rican? He got a good tongue lashing from natives and transplants alike for that one, and even though he later produced a follow-up piece in an attempt to not be labeled the racist he is, the damage was clearly already done.

I have news for you Brown, each and every one of us Brooklyn natives ancestral lines can be drawn back to other countries. My family migrated over from Italy during a time that made them the lower-class working immigrant. They worked feverishly to establish themselves and create environments that were safe for their women and children. They brought over with them a work ethic and an understanding of what it is to worry about putting food on the table each night, something that you, you feeble minded arrogant idiot, obviously have no respect for.

Later in Brown’s blurb, he really shows himself – and all other hipster garbage, to be of the selective class in their own minds. He goes into detail by describing natives as seemingly falling into one of the following:

“People who honk at parked school buses, throw old televisions out of windows, play shitty Top 40 dance music from parked cars at 600 decibels, scream at bodega clerks, avoid branch libraries, give money to Pentecostal preachers, buy t-shirts that say “Hi Hater” on one side and “Bye Hater” on the other and then wear those t-shirts in public, await the Jewish Messiah, worship the Christian Messiah, and play the lottery.”

Now – here’s where I really get angry. Yes, Brooklyn natives do buy tee-shirts that say Hi Hater on one side and Bye Hater on the other and then wear said tee-shirts, they do play lotto, they do wait for the second coming of Jesus and they do scream at Bodega clerks. (That is Bodega with a big “B” out of respect for the working man – who may just be, gasp, Puerto Rican!) And you know what, Brown… They will continue to do all of abovementioned things because that is who they are. Their patient wait for the Messiah is not done so out of a deep-rooted need for approval, unlike your every day hipsters attempt to be an Eco-friendly vegan. You people don’t give a fuck about the environment – you’re out there spending your mommy and daddy’s money on a surplus of PBR each weekend when that money can easily be going toward Eco-research. What you do give a fuck about is fitting into the herds that make up the current face of Williamsburg, and now a good majority of Bushwick. Say what you want about a native Brooklynites propensity to play shitty top 40 dance music out of their car radio systems but this much is true: I’d prefer the streets be littered with nothing but inaudible track over track of every horrific dance song you can possibly think of, a veritable overlap of an unrecognizable mish mash of shit, than have to endure one more fucking Siren festival of Indy garbage that appeals to you spurious elitist snobs.

Example Number 2:

This just in: Hipsters disrespect Williamsburg tradition (shocker!)

There are various street festivals that happen all over Brooklyn every summer. This is Brooklynite culture. This is what we, as natives, looked forward to during the adolescent years. These festivals are a celebration of who we are, whether it be Italian, African, Hasid, Latino, or Asian – each and every summer there are myriad events honoring our roots. NY, the melting pot, is where diversity lives. And then you have some fucking asshole with absolutely no respect for lineage – or a culture outside of their own that will make a comment as offensive as this one:

“It was a tiny parade, and they shut down Graham Avenue?” said Mr. Tocco, 26, an actor. “There was one float and a horrible marching band. It was very ironic. The Latino parades are more festive.”

That’s right they shut down Graham Avenue you little asshole. They shut down Graham Avenue because this is a tradition. It is a tradition that lived here way before you and your 7 roommates. Williamsburg, pre-infestation, had a sizable Italian population. It still does, to some degree. The people who look forward to this event every year have deep rooted history in Taggiano, Italy. They are devout and they love their Saint – and not you or any other bearded conformist should have even the slightest commentary as it pertains to any inconveniences you may suffer as a result of a street closure. You don’t have to like the band, or the saint, or anything about organized religion for that matter –but you damn better respect it because you’re in THEIR home, not the other way around.

This total disrespect of a culture throws me into rage. The hypocrisy as I see it is that there is a devotion to Brooklyn in a hipsters writings and their artistic expression – and then there are the comments like that made by Tocco, one completely negating the other. Brooklyn today is not the only Brooklyn to have ever lived. If you want to love Mother Brooklyn then you better learn what she is about. She is about religion – and she is about street festivals and devout Christians or Jews or whatever other outrageous devotion that may exist. Brooklyn is about diversity and coexisting. Why is it that the neighborhood I grew up in had absolutely no issues when it came to Jewish and Roman Catholic Italian families integrating? My friends were a 50/50 mix of Jewish and Catholic – and we played together and ate together, and lived in peace and unison. There was no disrespect, ever. We understood our differences and we kept them in mind when dealing with each other. If I had a Jewish friend, I didn’t ring their bell for hide and go seek past afternoon on a Friday out of respect for the Shabbat. Why the fuck can’t you all put on some shoulder-covers and respect the Satmars of Williamsburg in the same manner? – I’ll tell you why: it’s because you have no interest in loving Brooklyn for what she is truly about. Your interest is in that of a take-over position. You are all in love with Brooklyn because you’ve come here and turned it into nothing but a mirror image of the small town plebeian existence that you came from.

Fuck Defending Brooklyn – How about Respecting Brooklyn?!

Example Number 3:

Flashback to August 2009 for The MOVE Party organized by the “Lowbrow Society for the Arts” – A moving “art” party that overtook 3 subway cars on the J line thus completely interfering with all of the other paying commuters’ rides to/from work/home/wherever. As reported by Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York (a GREAT blog!), the partiers rode the J line from the Bowery to Broadway Junction in East New York. They brought beer onto the trains, they brought food onto the trains, and they wore costumes and played instruments like banjos and accordions.

It’s reported that some folks enjoyed the scene and participated by clapping along to the live tunes – or by making use of the flowers that were being handed out to the female passengers, but for the most part it seemed as if the members of this ‘art party’ had pretty much confined the passengers, forcing them to participate in something they may, or very well may not, be into. The best is yet to come, however…

At Broadway Junction, the partiers exited the subway cars and continued their singing and dancing on the platform. The crowd was a mix of costume clad hipsters and black neighborhood locals who were waiting on their train. And then the magic happened, one hipster idiot breaks into song and declares that said tune is:

“All About how Money Doesn’t Mean Anything!!”

Right – Great idea there, douche bag. Come into an area that is completely depraved with your expensive instruments and your costumes and your elite attitude and have a fucking Kumbaya singalong about how money is unimportant… in the ghetto. Smart.

As Jeremiah Moss reported it, here is an exchange that happened between party goers and what I picture to be a local:

This is not a good stop,” he said. “Don’t you think if you were here all alone, you’d be mugged right now?

“I don’t believe that,” said the partiers.

“Believe it. You don’t know where you’re at.”

“Yes, we do,” said the partiers, “This is our train, too. We ride this train every day.”

And, here’s where I get angry, again. – The way I see it, there are two possibilities here:

ONE: The hipster really didn’t have any idea where he was and he was just acting like he did so as not to look like a complete dolt in front of his herd – (but I don’t believe this to be true at all)

Or

TWO: The hipster did in fact know where he was and went forward with his little ‘Money doesn’t mean shit’ song with absolutely no regard to the fact that more than half of the 90,000 East NY residents are reported as living below the poverty line and are on some form of Public Assistance.

It is this flippant attitude with respect to the struggle of another human being that enrages me. There is little understanding of the real fight. There is little attempt made to submerge oneself into the true grit and grime as it exists in these areas and instead of fully exposing themselves to the reality of poverty and strife, hipsters will come into an area and mock its residents with fabled stories of how life is grand and they shouldn’t have worries or woes because money is unimportant.

There is little more I can say about this one – I think it speaks volumes all by itself.

Example # 4

Candy Crack for Sale in Williamsburg & Greenpoint

This one is a favorite, and you’ll excuse me if I get really fucking obnoxious and irate as we go through the various reasons why pretending to be a crack dealer deserves a punch in the face.

Maybe they didn’t have a crack epidemic in Ohio but here in Brooklyn, the shit ran rampant for longer than I’d like to remember. New Jack City-esque Crack Houses do not exist only in Nino Brown’s world. They’re very real – and for a good while back in the day, Brooklyn suffered a serious setback with respect to its residents becoming Crack addicted zombies. And here comes Nate Hill, an asshole in a fish-hat, who not only glorifies the act of ‘buying crack’, but does so dressed as a cartoon character, you know, to appeal to the youngsters and such.

The article linked above will tell you that you can only buy his ‘crack candy’ between the hours of 10pm, and 2am, much like a “real drug dealer” – and this little tidbit is reason Number Uno to support my argument that these idiots have no idea what a toll a Crack addiction will take not only the addict but the families and friends of the addicted as well. Newsflash, idiot: crack sales is a 24/7 operation. Do you think that a crackhead limits their usage to an exclusive night-time habit? Do you not comprehend that this addiction will remove every particle of property, every interpersonal relationship will suffer, and every ounce of well being that may reside in your body will diminish as a result of the extreme hold it takes on the addict’s life? Is it funny, to you, Nate Hill? Funny to you that people are dropping dead as a result of over-dose because their feeble hearts cannot take it anymore? You explain your shtick as “amusing theater” that is meant to be taken in jest. Well, I’m sorry if I don’t see the humor in emulating a life style that results in deaths, murders, robberies, rapes, and the overall loss of a person’s livelihood.

This is just one more example of how a hipster finds it amusing to copy the life of the poverty stricken population with little or no understanding of what the real-deal is. The fake crack sales, the brown paper bag Miller-High Life 40’s (for $12.00!! Gtfoh!) they buy at hipster bars, the photography of graffiti in an attempt to feel closer to an urban oasis they’ve created in their little ill shaped minds, all of these acts are prime illustrations of the phantasmagoria they prescribe to themselves.

Example # 5 –

This is a snapshot of a flash ad that BushwickBK.com runs – because, apparently, this is now the face of Bushwick.

Nuff Said.

I could easily continue to build on this list on a daily basis but that would just be silly at this point. I will, however, continue to support sites like diehipster.com and latfh.com and I’ll do so with the feral attitude that supports my opinions above. In my previous piece some accused me of attempting to assign myself the position of Ambassador of all that is Brooklyn Cool – and that is not at all what I’m about. I don’t think I’m cool, lame, or any other variant of an adjective as it relates to my association with the borough of Brooklyn. What I do think, however, is that I am a girl who was born and raised here and that credential is enough to continue to voice my opinion accordingly. I know this place I call home – and until I up and leave, I will represent the Brooklyn that lives in my heart. If you don’t like it, that’s all the better for me and the rest of the natives out there who are sick of your unconcerned gentrified attitude. Add it to the list of reasons to leave.

http://breakingupwithbrooklyn.com/2010/06/08/a-follow-up-to-the-hipster-hate/