As a conscious person of colour, and namely Asian, living in a world that's exhaustingly trying to keep up with the racial-sensitivity joneses, I've been charged with the duty of calling people out for their casual slurs, microaggressions, or generalizations. I'm at a point where I sort of want somebody else to do the job for me because the duty means to call out everything and everyone for racial transgressions, a duty equally as tedious and frustrating as washing dishes-- they're just going to get dirty again. I mean, I'm not sure what throwing out a Chinese takeout menu means, sociologically speaking, but it probably symbolizes something harmful to my group and to society in some way, so whoever is tossing the menu, I have to write them a ticket. So that's what I feel like it is now; writing and slapping people with tickets for the jay-walking, littering, and loitering petty crimes of racial insensitivity.
And like I said, I just don't want to do it anymore, because I'm tired, even though it may mean that I'm letting somebody get away with throwing out that Chinese takeout menu, the very gesture that has probably spawned some serious political strife happening somewhere right now.
A more obvious and ongoing racial insensitivity crime is Asian fetishism, which I've gotten better at calling out. I say that I've gotten better at it because I never used to call out the main perps (caucasian males) for it. And I never used to call out these guys for it because about 95% of my Asian-fetishizing scenarios went like this:
Guy: "You're a hot Asian."
I will stand under that compliment like a hot shower and bask in it until I turn pruney.
But I'm saying that it's been hard to lay into a guy for being an ignorant assface when he was paying the compliment-- no matter how backhanded it was-- of me being a "hot". To call out a guy for saying that I'm a "hot Asian" is the equivalent of throwing flowers back into someone's face, even though I could break down in a thousand ways or more how problematic his compliment is.
Rather than getting racial-insensitivity Gestapo all over their ass, I'll politely just say "You can just say hot..." and they'll normally get the idea that me being Asian is irrelevant and that hot, whatever colour or shape it may come in, is just hot.
But my issue to call out a guy for racial fetishizing runs deeper, beyond wanting to slack on the job...
Real talk: I have an unquenchable thirst for latin European men.
More real talk: on an unconsciously discriminating level, most of the guys I've dated have been of this category.
So my dilemma here is-- figuratively speaking-- I'm a cop who works vice/narcotics and goes home to routinely cook a batch of meth.
To reiterate, I should be calling out Asian fetishizing as is my duty of a person of colour. But then when I commit the less than or equal to crime of Euro fetishizing, I'm pretty much the George Zimmerman of that game-- I get away with fucking murder and no one is going to charge me and make me stand trial for it. It is such an usual double standard when it comes to ethnic-fetishizing people with white skin.
I consulted my sister-- a more savvy individual when it comes to issues related to race-- and she basically said that what I'm doing "is not a thing"--
--that me drowning in a man's French/Spanish/Italian/other romantic-languaged-based accent while I completely ignore him talking earnestly about the orphaned children of Syria isn't a problem?
--that when we eat out, me suggesting we go look for his people's food because I just ignorantly assume he would know where to get "the good stuff" isn't a problem?
--that when I encourage that he go back and visit the motherland, I secretly and selfishly hope he takes me along so that I can vacay in that country isn't a problem?
--that when he acts a certain way and my immediate response is to base it on "oh it's because of such-and-such racial stereotype" isn't a problem?
--that something-something-something-I-like-the-way-your-uncut-dick-looks-something-something-something isn't a problem?
And on and on.
I'm turning myself in, I'm fucking guilty on all counts.
No doubt, Asian fetishizing is an exponentially more serious crime than "male Euro fetishizing" or whatever, but nonetheless, my moral conscience is making me confront this about myself. Just because something is a little more acceptable over another thing doesn't make it right.
So here, I'll step back and just be simple about it: no more fetishizing.
Fetishizing any race or someone of a certain ethnic background, on any level, is problematic. All people are above and beyond simply what colour they are and what their ethnicity is and we should take the time to get to know who a person really is, completely removed from their colour. Their colour is indeed a big part of their identity, and that should never be ignored, but it should be kept in mind that it doesn't wholly define them.
And while "just stop fetishizing" won't be easy because, hey, latin accents unexpectedly hit and hypnotize like when you suddenly hear Bach's 'Air on The G String', I think I'll be reformed enough to exercise extra sensitivity and be able to hold my hand back from asking the now socially-gauche question, "Where are you from?"-- something possibly as hazardous as throwing out a Chinese takeout menu.