Tagged: social issue

Issues of Racial Attraction: Arbitrary Racism or Personal Preference?

language

If you only like a certain race, or don’t like a certain race, are you racist?

The former reveals a narrow-minded person who refuses to branch out, and the other is arbitrary.

But both are personal preferences.

My friend once said that to claim that people with personal preferences are racist isn’t logical, because a straight person isn’t necessarily homophobic, right?

There’s some sort of difference between being friends with people of a certain race vs. having romantic feelings for people of a certain race. Of course, the difference gets muddled as easily as it does when we don’t consider racial aspects, such as when friends fall in love or conversely, get friend-zoned. Continue reading

Yellow fever

Asian invasion, takin’ over your nation…

I think that growing up in a Christian private school, the way for me to most feel singled out is not by gender, since I had half of the students there to back me up. It was not by sexual orientation, because I am among the majority and because these sort of issues had not surfaced entirely. It was not by class, although that was certainly a pressing issue that I felt most junior high students could not handle responsibly. In middle school, my race was definitely the issue that I felt was most contested, albeit indirectly, by the students around me.

Ah yes, the issue of race. An aspect of ourselves that we cannot hide, that blatantly displays itself on the very pigments of our skin. Even if not directly contested, it comes up subtly in conversations. It manifests in our very interactions with others, as if mere interactions are tinged with the acknowledgement of one’s race.

This destabilizing form of stereotype, considered with the irrational tendency of adolescents to want to fit into society, is a rather disturbing combination. Kids might go to extremes to avoid the generalizations inherent in junior high kids, as they pertain to broad issues, not just race.

…and then I realized I was rejecting my everything.

My personal response was to literally cast away my culture, my race, the one that I had grown up with since day one. Characterized by Chinese food, Chinese holidays, and Chinese language, my very life was molded by these influences, and I didn’t think twice when I left it all behind as I struggled to fit in.

Mind you, I didn’t dye my skin. I didn’t change my black hair, and I couldn’t control my Asian eyes, but I had no desire to change those things. I was as content as a middle school student could be with my looks, and other concerns were irrelevant to race.

Rather, I started regretting everything. I regretted that my parents had come all the way from China, had learned a completely foreign language, but still somehow had thick accents. I abhorred the accents. Every mispronounced word, every stutter, every pause as my mom or dad read English, made me cringe internally.

I questioned why some kids ate mashed potatoes and green beans everyday, where I had those maybe once a month, at a restaurant. I wanted to leave my culture behind, everything that seemed foreign or made people scrunch their eyebrows.

I didn’t want to be known as another Asian girl, and I didn’t want to have only Asian friends.

That was basically me and my struggles all through middle school.

But somewhere between the transition from middle to high school, I let the resentment dissolve. Somewhere along the way, I stopped wincing at Chinese accents, I started enjoying my family meals, and I stopped alienating my Asian friends. No more shame…

I haven’t forgiven myself for the way I regarded my race. I don’t understand the significance of abandoning good things for people who aren’t willing to accept you with all of your racial quirks. Why can’t the raised eyebrows signify interest? Why aren’t people more willing to accept people of a certain race as individuals, instead of people of one personality?

I promise to never let myself forget the past. Why leave behind traditions and memories that are utterly invaluable to your personal development?

If I ever hated my appearance because of my race, then shame on me. There’s something unique about it.

Uhm, high school hasn’t just magically erased these social discomforts. I still face really awkward discrimination, but it definitely occurs behind my back. People stereotyping and grouping, making assumptions about my ambitions and goals in complete relevance to other people of my race (you know what I’m talking about; I don’t have to say it).

That being said, I think it’s me that’s changed. My response to this and the way that I no longer let these sort of problems bother me, that’s what’s significant. These problems don’t just disappear once I graduate high school, either. They still exist in the halls of universities, in the offices of wherever I get a job, but I think the most important thing is to in general, never let people’s assumptions and opinions shape the way you act.

Merp, I’ve got yellow fever.

If you like it, then you should be able to put a ring on it.

You saw the big red equals sign and wanted to run, didn’t you? You read the title of the post and thought with exasperation, “Dang it, she’s gonna defend her opinion.” Well don’t worry, I won’t try to preach about one thing or another. I will express my opinion, but not directly about the extremely controversial subject of gay marriage. This is merely a reflection about an assembly that we had today.

A young, handsome man came to our high school to talk about LGBT awareness and inclusion. Hudson Taylor started the non-profit Athlete Ally because he had initially never really been very active about these issues before. He talked about his interactions with these sort of social issues when he was in high school and college and I must say that I agree with the majority of the things that he said today.

First off, I believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBT. I find that as I grow up, even in a school that is viewed as Christian and conservative, more people are coming out of the closet, or questioning/exploring their sexuality, at least. I personally am not LGBT; I’m pretty sure I’m straight.

To be completely honest, I was definitely not always like this. I didn’t know anyone in my childhood that was not straight; at least, I was too ignorant and young to be able to distinguish someone as “different”. I do believe that the first time I even learned that there was such a thing as men loving men and women loving women and everything in between was in seventh grade. I heard the term gay being thrown around derogatorily, as you would probably expect seventh graders to do, being very impressionable, having conversations that they don’t understand. I asked someone what “gay” meant, and they looked at me as if I were stupid and said, “It’s when guys like guys.”

The concept was completely alien to me and thus I shunned it for many years; it took so long for me to even accept the idea. Gradually though, I started seeing more blatant gays in the streets and when I went on vacation with my family. Once, when we went to Boston, I saw a pair of lesbians making out very passionately in public. Young and innocent as I was, it was sort of disturbing to look at simply because I had never seen a girl kiss a girl like that. Now that I look back at it, I’ll admit that I was weirded out due to a mixture of surprise and disgust at the general show of such obvious PDA. Ew.

The issue with LGBT, I think, is that there’s an ongoing debate between two radically different groups of people about whether or not being LGBT is “moral” or “right”. If that universally controversial question is decided, it’s onto the next contentious topic of what to do about gay marriage, as is evident from the debates that happen in the political world. But there’s a difference between dealing with this issue on a governmental level and on a personal level, such as for a person like me, who is not at all involved in politics (still 16 woot).

By distinction, the government’s role is to deal with laws that dictate the way that the public lives. They aren’t really supposed to settle on whether or not being gay is “moral,” but rather, how to deal with the fact that gay couples want to get married. They also have to consider external factors such as spending, priority issues, and backlash. It’s frustrating but I can sympathize with the government on this issue; it is hard to make such big decisions, when the country is so divided about it. They definitely feel pressure to please as many people as possible, without causing a huge stir.

But what I’m concerned about, and what is more relevant to my personal life, is the way that we deal with this issue in our everyday lives, whether it be face-to-face in this place that we call high school, through the internet, which is rapidly changing, whose utility is transforming everyday. Our actions and words often demonstrate our positions on these sort of issues. The guy that come today, Hudson Taylor, sort of articulated that we should be open and accepting of anyone. Victory through unity, I think he said, was the motto through organization.

Now, I am not an athlete. I haven’t played a team sport in such a long time. I am, however, on our school’s debate team; the national debate community is probably overall more accepting of LGBT people than lots of sports. We’re radical radicals. There are lots of openly LGBT people out there that manage perfectly fine at debate tournaments. I’m so glad of that. When the drama subsides and everything else fades away, all you have left is your identity, and if the environment that you’re in accepts you, it makes everything else SO MUCH EASIER.

Not only is it unnecessary to try to preach what you believe in to other people, it’s also extremely annoying. My opinion is as arbitrary as yours. This issue doesn’t even come down to religious or faith-based questions. Regardless of what you believe in, and what you were taught, you still have an obligation to be as objective as possible. If you don’t try to change my opinion, I won’t try to change yours. Homophobia, while illogical in my opinion, is still a very ideological force of sorts that people strongly embrace.

If push comes to shove and you still believe that it is wrong to be LGBT, that is fine with me. But still, there’s no need to express your arbitrary opinion in such a negative way, as you never know what the people surrounding you believe in.

(Daily Post)