Internalized Racism

According to Dr. Karen D. Pyke, who was attacked at academic conferences by Asian Americans who refused to examine their own internalized racism:

“The internalization of racial oppression among the racially subordinated and its contribution to the reproduction of racial inequality has been largely ignored, reflecting a taboo on the subject. Consequently, internalized racism remains one of the most neglected and misunderstood components of racism. In this article, the author argues that only by defying the taboo can sociology expose the hidden injuries of racism and the subtle mechanisms that sustain White privilege. After reviewing the concept and providing examples of the phenomenon, the author draws on critical social theory to examine reasons for the taboo, such as a theoretical fixation on resistance, a penchant for racial essentialism, and the limitations of an identity politics. The author concludes by offering a method for studying internalized racism and resistance concurrently within the matrix of intersecting forms of oppression.”

Pyke is one of the only academics to do research on internalized racism in Asian American women because of the backlash she received for addressing it.

Dr. Liang Liao, a Professor at Arizona State University, outlines 5 specific factors that indicate internalized racism:

1) Endorsement of negative stereotypes about Asians

2) Sense of inferiority

3) Denial or minimization of racism

4) Emasculation of Asian men

5) Within-group discrimination (Asian diaspora groups discriminating against other groups of diasporic Asians)

It is our responsibility to lovingly but firmly call out these toxic behaviors. A pattern of toxicity, particularly from those who claim to be the face of the Asian diaspora, requires more vocal criticism.

Silence is complicity.