A completely horrible thing happened in Australia today and I’m going to make it all about me.
So this thing happened today. If you haven’t heard already, you should go read it now before you read on.
As I read the article, I was appalled and disgusted like any decent human being, followed immediately by shame and dread, knowing full well that if I go on social media and read up on the comments, the words “gook” and “filthy Chinese scum” would inevitably crop up. Fighting bigotry with bigotry, it’s what we’re good at, isn’t it? There are also some choice comments from other Asians, leveling abuse in forms of Mainland China specific racism. (Which, incidentally, was the form of racism that always hurt me the most. I have no come back for it, because there IS no come back for it. I flat out do not understand it, apart from it being a longstanding prejudice.)
You know how when ugly shit goes down in your family, you want to just sort it out within the family first before you let anyone talk about it? It’s absolutely ridiculous that I should feel anything resembling sympathy for this cafe owner in question, but to the outside eye, when horrible shit like this happens, it affects me.
I’ve joked about that moment when a friend would make some crack about made in China products being shit, and give me a look like “I’m sorry but you know it’s true.” (Happens more often than you’d think.) Or when friends make any other kind of Asian joke, and then laugh “with” me in a way that says “Oh but you’re not that”, or worse still - “I love you in spite of that”.
I get it; they’re not “actually racist”, they’d only say those things to me and not anyone else, I can take it in stride, funny is funny and I can appreciate funny, blah blah blah. I can certainly laugh along, and if the joke is genuinely funny, I can absolutely appreciate it, but it still makes me feel smaller. It’s the kind of everyday casual racism that they’re making ads to address, and yet still goes unchecked.
I’m sorry I’m not addressing the main issue of the article, but I feel like the bigotry there is so blatant, there’s no need for me to add to the vitriol. The man would most likely lose his business, along with his bid for a visa, and be promptly deported in not much time. As well he should be. What I’m worried about now are all the Asian kids who have to show up at Australian schools tomorrow. It’ll be like if your whole neighbourhood heard your drunk uncle’s rant at Christmas, and judged you for it. Except instead of your whole neighbourhood, it’ll be the whole country (or anywhere that picked up this news piece), and instead of a drunk uncle, it’s some ignorant dude you’re not related to. Oh and instead of judging, they’d be telling you to go back to where you came from, even if you were born in the same hospital they were, even if the country they nominated as your country of origin has nothing to do with your nationality, even if they were just joking around, mate.