To commemorate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, I decided to make an abridged video trilogy, focusing particularly on the modern day implications of Asian women. This trek into the past is not only for general educational purposes but to properly understand how legacies of Orientalism and White imperialism and colonialism, affects us to this very day. There seems to be two camps of people when it comes to confronting racism and history:
- The Subtle-Asian-Traits-esque people who replace having a personality with juvenile boba memes. They seek to trivialize history and any cause for social justice in favor of “self-deprecation” to the point of a self-flagellation of their Asianess. They seek to be tokens.
- Model Minorities who may admit to racism happening in varying degrees but minimize it overall. Will say things like “Asians don’t have it as bad as [insert time/place/other poc”.
When we are able to have these dialogues and not get stuck into an Assimilationist Asian trope, it has to move beyond tinder match making racist pick-up lines. The concept of the Sociological Imagination differentiates the spheres of “private troubles” and “public issues”. Essentially we’re still stuck at internalizing racism as something we can fix with a basic self-help book or having an Asian in a movie.
“Know that many personal troubles cannot be solved merely as troubles, but must be understood in terms of public issues- and in terms of the problems of history-making. Know that the human meaning of public issues must be revealed by relating them to personal troubles- and to the problems of the individual life. Know that the problems of social science, when adequately formulated, must include both troubles and issues, both biography and history, and the range of their intricate relations. Within that range the life of the individual and the making of societies occur; and within that range the sociological imagination has its chance to make a difference in the quality of human life in our time.”
– C. Wright Mills
Sources for this video are in the video description if you’d like to do more reading. If you have any feedback please let me know.