Writer and activist Suey Park has sparked a cluster of conversations, first on Twitter and now moving to more longform platforms, about race, stereotypes, feminism, privilege, intersectionality and more with the
#NotYourAsianSidekick hashtag which trended globally for over 24 hours.
In an email quoted by Buzzfeed, Park writes:
My dear friends and I have had growing critiques of how patriarchy in Asian American spaces hurts, while white feminism leaves much to be desired, so we created this space instead. We talked about queerness, disability, immigration, multiracial/biracial issues, compulsory coalitions, challenging anti-blackness, mental health, body image, and all things feminism. It was all of the things we were told to never talk about.
There are also articles on Salon, BlogHer, the BBC and Al Jazeera right now, and no doubt that will only be the start, because Park is determined that these conversations centering Asian American and Pacific Islander women will become much more than just a Twitter trend, and more than just an American conversation too.
This is not a trend, this is a movement. Everybody calm down and buckle down for the long haul, please.
— Suey Park (@suey_park) December 16, 2013
Like the #solidarityisforwhitewomen conversation earlier this fall, this discussion revealed a lot of ways that even feminist or progressive communities don’t acknowledge the issues of Asian American women. #NotYourAsianSidekick also raised awareness of the unique and particularly tense place that AAPI activists often find themselves in: caught in the push-pull between black and white. Even when advocating for people of color, our own presence and histories have often been erased. [...]
The longer #NotYourAsianSidekick stayed on the Twitter trends, the more angry commenters started posting with the hashtag. But I’m encouraged the the outpouring and also to see non-Asian feminists such as Mikki Kendall, Liza Sabater and Lauren Chief Elk joining in the conversation this time. I hope this is a discussion we’ll continue to have.
Inevitably the trolls have found the hashtag, as have the defensive ‘post-racial’ talking points bleaters, and some of the discussions linked above are as a result moving into “don’t read the comments” territory. Let’s see if we can do better here; as a start I urge readers to be vigilant in alerting the Moderator Team any time the conversation moves away from centering the voices of AAPI women.
UPDATE: a couple more reading links – will add more as I come across them.
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