Our racial identity is never just about the colour of our skin. Thanks to pervasive prejudicial standards and assumptions, under a white supremacist society, we are always being made to perform our racial and ethnic identities against the backdrop of racist stereotypes. A good performance allows us to be legible as “valuable” citizens “worthy” of the opportunities and “advantages” of the “privilege” of living in a rich country like KKKanada. For Asians in the diaspora, the model minority archetype sets a standard for performing an Asian-ness that is nonthreatening to white people. It allows us to prove our humanity via our proximity to whiteness while simultaneously distancing ourselves from the threatening “Other” – i.e. Indigenous and Black people in Canada. We are taught to strive only to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, to be politically neutral, and turn the cogs of the neoliberal machine.
We learn to keep our hears down and never threaten the status quo.But I’m not interested in assimilation, or “representation”, or diversity for diversity’s sake. I want a revolution. Being visibly queer, Tamil, Malaysian, South Asian, everything about my insistence to be under the Asian umbrella disrupts and upsets said status quo. It is essential that we use the opportunities afforded to us, not to separate ourselves from related struggles against white supremacy, but to align ourselves with other BIPOC struggles, with sex workers, with queer and trans folks, with disabled people, with houseless people, with those for whom the possibilities of model minorityhood were never an option.
The revolution is coming. Which side will you be on?
Collaboration::JE SUIS MTL
June 14, 2021