Typically I’d say something like “It’s our month. Get naked and do anything you want to do.” And sure, technically you still can, but this year I was feeling a little salty and I didn’t feel like getting naked and running around the block.
It’s like as much as we’re making all this progress, we’re still in some ways relegated to specific lanes. We’re still seen as Asian Only. While it’s now become “ok” to have some things of our own, there’s still a lot of places we’re not as welcome as we should be. There are still images that are too taboo.
At the same time, a thought keeps getting stronger and manifests itself is that we don’t need anyone else either. That we can rally around our general communities (Asian, Native Hawaiin, and Pacific Islander). And that’s good – I like that at least.
But when you put the two together, while they make progress, in some ways they breed false positives. I love Asian on Asian, and CRA and the upcoming spinoff help, but when will we truly see an Asian American Male Romantic Lead Across The Board? With the same parity and equity as other groups? And yes – we have The Rock and Aquaman, but they’re action.
I know – small steps. Nothing happens overnight. We’re making progress. The outlook is bright. We’re taking what’s ours versus just waiting for it to happen.
But why does it feel like we’re still stuck in the mud sometimes? Why do we still not acknowledge that there are differences in a Vice President who is both Jamaican and South Asian, and someone who’s Chinese or Vietnamese? That there is hierarchy in the perception of who we are in the eyes of others–the others who help make those decisions that will decide futures and wealth and accessibility. I think in order to understand the ceilings that exist and the walls that are still there for so many of us you have to acknowledge that, just like you have to acknowledge Colorism.
Why is it that we are barely still brought into conversations that concern us, and then when we are, we’re gone in a blip afterwards, almost never to be heard from again (and huge kudos to Joy Reid on MSNBC who I think dares to pull us in more so than any other prime time news show does either via guests, or her own commentary)? Just the stories from newsrooms during the Atlanta Shooting Hate Crimes and how there was a fight to get Asian American viewpoints–to get the story straight–it just tells you all you need to know–because it was a killing spree of Asian Americans and we still had to fight for representation in the media.
Have we really come that far when we look at all the data en masse?
Or are we just tipping a little?
I don’t know, and who knows, maybe it depends on the month.
For now though I think I’m going with 1/2 glass empty in the hopes that maybe by thinking about what we don’t have, helps get the glass more full, and sooner rather than later.
Happy MF AANHPI month to you.