Establishing interminority coalitions
The notion that society is becoming increasingly sensitive and “soft” presents itself as one of today’s popular unpopular opinions. Whether one agrees or disagrees, the fact remains true that Generation Z has bec
ome more aware and less afraid to speak up against issues that have been rooted in America’s history for hundreds of years. The recent Black Lives Matter movement stands as proof.
However, America’s discussion of racial prejudice is often framed as solely a white problem which insinuates that all minority groups are allies in this fight against the effects of European colonialism which is simply not true.To bring inclusivity to this discussion, America needs to broaden her perspective when it comes to race relations so that Asian Americans are not forced to limbo between White and Black groups. As such, when establishing coalitional and inter-minority justice movements, there is a necessity to uphold inclusivity with factors to keep in mind: addressing the model minority myth and the false construction of interminority conflict, as well as assuring that within this movement, a safe space where all identities are welcomed is created.
This usage of Asian Americans as a success story, a minority group that “made it” is a key issue to confront before establishing any sort of coalitional interminority movement. On the surface, it may seem as if this myth uplifts and rewards the hard work of Asian Americans. However, its true intent is much more sinister as it “is an incredibly powerful ideological political tool” that by shining the light on Asian Americans, it “can juxtapose to the bad minority, the failed minority, that is black people,” says Claire Jean Kim, a political scientist. The Model Minority Myth is really just a cover for White Americans to push down and ridicule other minority groups’ failure by comparing it to “the quiet success of Asian Americans” that “provided evidence that the American dream was still available to all those who worked to achieve it” states Erika Lee in her best-selling novel, The Making of Asia America: A History. It also allows them to get away with discussing the true issue at hand: how minorities are supposed to maneuver in a society that is endlessly made for Whites. This myth creates dissent and tension between Asian Americans and Black Americans. When there is dissent, there cannot exist a coalition therefore, it is paramount to address and dissolve this myth before establishing a movement.
In relation to the Model Minority Myth, discourse by which primarily White conservatives discuss affirmative action in actuality illustrates “how the false construction of interminority conflict serves to protect White prerogatives from minority” says Kim in her article The Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans. With such conviction, conservatives believed that Asian Americans have “made it” as a minority group and as a result, don’t require such “preferential treatment” that affirmative action provides. This sets up a playing field in which Asian Americans and Whites are on one side and Black Americans on the other. From then, it is “easy for them (conservatives) to paint Asian Americans as the hapless victims of ‘reverse discrimination’ engendered by affirmative action.” This interminority conflict drives a racial wedge between primarily Asian and Black America which when it comes to establishing a coalition, this is the last thing that one would want. As such, it is necessary to propel forward the idea that conflict is merely a false construction when it comes to concepts of minority.
When it comes to establishing a successful interminority movement, one of the fundamentals is creating a safe environment for many different identities to feel welcomed and included. Professor of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies in UCLA, Grace Kyungwon Hong, adapts the story of Christine Choy, a member of Third World Women’s Alliance (TWWA), to discuss the role of Asian women in American society in her essay Intersectionality and Incommensurability: Third World Feminism and Asian Decolonization. TWWA was an organization formed in 1971 that brought together Black, Puerto Rican, and Asian women in socialist, anti-imperialist solidarity projects. Using Christine Choy’s story as an example, in moving to America, she found that she had “less in common with other Chinese immigrants than she had with radical Black and Puerto Rico Women.” Her experience “undermines any assumption of solidarity or shared experience based on racial categorization.” Compared to recent times, Choy is undoubtedly not alone with her identity crisis when immigrating to America. Many second generation immigrants have told their stories of feeling torn between embracing their ethnic culture and wanting to resemble white appearance. As a result, many Asian Americans are labeled “white washed” or as “FOB (Fresh off the Boat).” This interminority movement should not ever exclude any identities, especially that of “white washed” Asian Americans. Of course, this applies to all minorities under this movement. Propagating this movement as a safe space to share political ideas and as a melting pot of identities is crucial.
With all things considered, the parallel between the three is the core idea of inclusivity which is paramount to uphold when establishing a coalitional and interminority justice movement. The silver lining of such a movement is,wd of course, equality for all. As such, it is endlessly necessary to dissolve any notions -- Model Minority myth and the false construction of interminority conflict -- in order to establish a union that is free of exclusion. It is only then can this movement cultivate and progress into any direction it sees fit.