Subtitled: So glad I haven’t yet been xangaed.
So it appears that everybody’s favorite NBA player used to xanga. He can be forgiven for this since he was fifteen at the time. His xanga name reportedly was “Ch*nkBalla88.”
Asian Americans, you’re all on notice now: You have no right to complain, bitch or whine about the word “ch*nk” since Jeremy Lin apparently used it himself. In fact, you can’t play the race card at all! So just put away the deck. It’s open season on racism. I mean, good fun.
Yeah, we’ve heard it before (item 3C). We shouldn’t even have to explain this, but first there’s the absolute stupidity of claiming the “right” to use a racist slur against an entire group of people just because one person used it eight years ago when he was fifteen. Let’s get it straight right now: Fifteen-year-olds aren’t much of an expert on anything (except maybe eating), but they especially aren’t particularly good advisers or role models when it comes to race and racism. Even smart kids like Jeremy Lin.
True confession: Once upon a time I had a t-shirt printed with what I thought was a clever pun on a racist slur. And so did some of my friends. We claimed to be a rock band. Nobody said a word to us about it. Yes, I cringe at the thought. Fortunately none of us can be xangaed. It is still possible that one of the pictures could be scanned and end up on the internet.
I once asked my mother why she and my father did not often discuss racism. “We wanted you to figure it out for yourself,” my mother replied.
Yet just a few years ago, my mother and I were talking about race and racism when she told me, “You thought you could do anything. You thought nothing could touch you.” Her voice sounded accusatory and was tinged with anger and bitterness. I felt a little sick thinking about it, hearing the fear of a thousand nights in there as well. Wondering when I went from a child who thought the world was mine to finding out time and time again this was not so. Remembering all the times I still believed.
Well, I certainly learned (am learning?) my lessons. And I’m guessing they were lessons my mother never wanted me to learn. But there was a time in my life that perhaps I thought racism just maybe was part of the bad old days. Our post-racial America.
So yes, I used that slur. So no, you can’t call me that slur anymore. You also can’t call me by the nickname used by several very close college friends. You can’t use the name my sibling uses for me. In fact, you can’t even call me by my first name if I’m at a professional conference and most everybody (the white everybodies) are using professional titles.
Second thing I shouldn’t have to explain: We reserve the right to name ourselves.
Yeah, we’ve heard it before. White people complaining First they wanted to be called colored and then they wanted to be called negros and then they wanted to be black and then they wanted to be Afro American and now they want to be African Americans and who can keep up with that? (I always like to respond by saying Well obviously you are able to, which is really great!)
But yeah, we have the right to name ourselves. We can then change our minds about it. We can even say that we are reclaiming slurs for our own use. (I’ll even defend your right to do so, even though I don’t feel like I’ve got enough of the weight of the world to do so. Even though I know idiots will then use that slur and then argue they have a friend who is of that color/persuasion/ethnicity/whatever and so it’s okay! Really!)
We’ve heard this argument before, too. Black people say ‘n*gger’ all the time. So why can’t white people? Personally, I don’t think we ought to be giving out any permission slips for racism. But in addition, I find it disturbing that what people are really demanding is the right to be racist. Since free speech is generally privileged over the right to be free from racism, assent is implicit. So mostly they didn’t have to ask.
Yeah, you might sometimes hear black people say “n*gger.” Or Asians say “Oriental” or “ch*nk” or “g*ok” or any of a litany of slurs that I’m too tired to type asterisks in right now. But permission slips? No, we’re not handing them out. They’ve been forced down our throats.
Our communities suffer from internalizing racism on an ongoing basis. It’s part of the society we’re steeped in. Sometimes we make mistakes too. Sometimes we go along with the majority. Sometimes we back away from a fight. Sometimes we even endorse racism.
Third thing I shouldn’t have to explain: Living in a racist society harms all of us. Communities of color, children, young adults, old people, none of us are born with innate anti-racist sensibilities. That shit takes years to work out. And it’s hard to swim against the tide. The tide of whiteness that keeps telling us don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and can’t you take a joke and quit playing the race card and the word ch*nk is nothing compared to the word n*gger.
As if being a fifteen-year-old on a blog is anything like being a sportswriter for a major network.
It’s not, of course. It’s just an excuse for maintaining the status quo. Which is about to get an upset.
Go Lin! You’ve already made us proud. Thanks.