Paula O. has a fantastic post up addressing how racism superficially targeted towards one race is not diminished racism and still affects a wide range of people of color. Though you think your racism or your family’s racism is directed to a finite group of folks, the net it casts is far-reaching. Racism is not so neatly contained.
After hearing a “joke” (read sanctioned racist epithet) about African Americans, Paula, who is Asian, “felt hurt, disgusted and dehumanized by such ugly and hateful words.” Get that?
I know for a fact that there are people I’ve encountered in my life who feel that I am white “enough” for them to expect me to understand their compartmentalized racist attitudes and beliefs about other races without me feeling offended or hurt, simply because I am not the race of which they are attacking. That somehow it is excusable and even justifiable for them to hold racist views, as long as I’m not the one being marginalized. “Don’t worry, Paula”, people would say. “We don’t think of you as one of them.” How was I to explain that I AM one of them? That I AM an other. That I am not white.
This is why when I hear the same old tired excuse from white adoptive parents that they feel comfortable adopting an Asian child but not a Black child, I feel a lot of compassion for that Asian child and immense relief for that Black child.