Remembering Denny’s April 11, 2007Posted by peterong in Asian American, Asian American Campus, Politics, racism, Rants, Social Justice.
Today is the tenth anniversary of the incident where three Asian American and a white student were attacked at a Denny’s after denying service. Syracuse University had a Remembrance Circle in the quad (see blog here and my pictures here).
I went to this event with a heavy heart and with a sense of something more significant that what was presented. When the testimonies of racism were presented they were little more than “oh, it is so hard to be Asian” and “everyone makes fun of us” and yet, I wonder what this whole “fight” against racism is a clutching for identity and dignity that is summed in this mundane and bland expression of “please someone do something about this teasing” which is called “racism.” One testimony that really got me was a Chinese girl who was dating a white guy said she dumped her because his friend told him he should date a blonde. I was like “what???”
Yet, I think we as Asian Americans have denied solidarity with others who really have strived to deal with racsim. Systematic Racism. I can’t think of anything more horrific than what is happening in our housing projects around this country…Katrina. Globally…where people are being collectively murdered as a nation and a people group is ignored as a race issue.
As the testimonies were being shared many of those in the leadership laughed and openly had this gleeful celebration. There were a contigent of African American students and leadership who were there and I wondered what they thought. “Is this what Asians go through?” It reminded me of my experience of growing up in the projects and thinking about how many of my African American men in the community who were being systematically being provoked into violence and drugs.
With the whole Imus incident which made the front page of the NYT, it makes me wonder how much or how little we have come in this understanding of racism. How there is so much outrage when someone pokes fun while there are close to a million people in Darfur are being murdered by our omission to deal with it. Yes, it is complicated but I also think it is because it is in Africa that we are complicit in the genocide by our silence. Only in Africa. Nowhere else would we tolerate this. It is Rwanda all over again.
So I am reflecting on how racism is such a useless and meaningless word now. A tease here and a poke fun here is racism…Being involved with community work where I am the only Asian, there are bound to be misunderstandings and statements stated that are ignorant but not racist.
There are so much bigger things to deal with and what I worry about is somewhere streets are flowing with violence simply because of our devalue of that country because of their skin color…It is Rwanda all over again.
But there is hope, I think of this recent article about how Japanese Americans are speaking out on the internment of Muslims. This is what our stand should be…so that we are taken more seriously. More about our role in the dialogue and less about our pain from people making fun of us. Sticks and Stones make break my bones…yeah, if we really believed that.