Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
I’ve yet to be attacked for my race,
So as I contemplate whether I have but haven’t noticed,
or consciously chose not to, to spare myself the pain,
my hope is that it’s neither.
But I know that’s not true.
I remember in middle school, I’d sit uncomfortably in my skin
as my eyes, my dick size, and my ability to drive were questioned
by kids just old enough to have been mean on purpose.
I’d be asked whether or not my diet consisted of canines and felines.
And I’d be lying if I said I never played along.
Now, this minion no longer wants to play. No longer wants to be passive in this game that casts him a bystander long before the chessboard is drawn. That is, if he’s lucky enough to be mentioned in this black-and-white game to begin. Because from these slanted eyes, the Oscars weren’t so much #OscarsSoWhite, as they were #OscarsNotBlack. I didn’t know diversity was monotone.
Why is it that almost every Asian(-American) role in American film serves to caricature, rather than reveal. One that seems intent on reinforcing the belief that Asian(-American) males are passive, mild, and undesirable. For those who’ve been accustomed to the Asian cuisine served by Hollywood, it may come as a surprise that math and martial arts aren’t the only tongues an Asian(-American) can speak without an accent. Today, my pen is dipped in anger.
So pardon my indignation.
Featured image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
3/4 Correction: There should only be one ‘my eyes’ in the second stanza.