On: Hip Hop and Me

I did not grow up around Hip Hop. I did not discover her until I was in 5th grade. But I was immediately captivated when I first heard her voice. It was love at first hearing, and my love has never waned.

People often state that music has the power to deeply influence people, the power to reach someone’s soul. Hip hop has touched me in this way; I have often told friends that Hip Hop saved my life.

My love for Hip Hop has also left many people dumbfounded. They can’t see someone like me, an Asian immigrant to the United States, finding solace in something that is engrained in Black culture. I guess they figured I was too busy solving algebra and physics equations, as the stereotype goes.

My parents were one of these astonished people. They couldn’t understand why their son was so fascinated by what they saw, at the time, as people talking really fast with curse words. Why didn’t I catch on to classical, jazz, or rock & roll?

Honestly, I can’t provide an answer to that question either. Hip Hop is an art form created by black folks out of the struggle and marginalization they felt under white American society; and for some reason, when I first heard Hip Hop, I deeply identified with that. That feeling has always been a part of my love for Hip Hop; indeed, it was what made me love Hip Hop. Maybe it was because I was an immigrant, maybe it was because I felt different in a white world, or maybe it was because I’ve been through mental traumas in my life. Even though I can never identify with the black struggle in America that led to the creation and continuation of Hip Hop, I empathized with it, and I knew what it felt like to be different from the mainstream.

50 Cent was the one who really got me hooked. 5th grade was when 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ came out, and man, did that album mesmerize me. “In Da Club” was my favorite song, and I tried to recite every lyric on that album. It was also during this time when I would come home from school excited to watch 106 & Park with Free and AJ. I remember “In Da Club” was on top of the charts for weeks, alongside B2K’s “Girlfriend.”

It was from 106 & Park where I would learn more about Hip Hop. There was a day during the show when the “New Joint of the Day” was Talib Kweli’s Get By.” It was my first time hearing Kweli. Little did I know he would be one of my favorite artists and “Get By” would become one of my favorite songs.

When I was in 8th grade, I had a humanities teacher that was also a college student. We bonded really close as friends, and she told me that she spent time performing as an underground rapper. It was her that introduced me to Black Star (and I reconnected with Talib Kweli) and Dead Prez. Musically, I was radicalized. I fell in love with this brand of Hip Hop.

As such, I explored the genre on my own. I discovered Common, Erykah Badu, The Fugees, The Roots—all of which would become tremendous influences. When Kanye West came out, I was thrilled to see an artist that delivered the message like he did. Similarly, two years ago, I was elated to see Kendrick Lamar release his debut album.

I’m not sure what prompted me to write about my story with Hip Hop, but I felt an urge to. Perhaps it is because people denigrate the art, or disrespect it. The art is increasingly becoming white, and it is sad to see. Hip Hop will forever be a black art telling the stories of black people.

On: R.I.P. Ezell Ford & Picking a Bigger Weapon

Another day passes, another black man dead. On Monday evening, the racist LAPD pigs fatally shot down Ezell Ford, who was unarmed.

Every 28 hours, a black man in America is shot down by the pigs. EVERY. 28. HOURS. The police are at war with black and brown men in America.

I urge everyone who is for justice to research how to legally get a gun in your state and learn how to use it. The bigger the weapon, the better.

"Be peaceful, Be courteous, Obey the law, Respect everyone; But if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery." - Malcolm X

On: R.I.P. Mike Brown and Ferguson, MO

RIP Mike Brown and the countless others who have died under the racist pigs.

Today would have been Mike Brown’s first day in college. It would have been the start of a new life for him and his family. College is where young people grow to become adults. Tragically, his life was cut short by the Ferguson police.

Ferguson, Missouri is 67.4% Black. Even though Ferguson is predominately Black, Ferguson’s mayor is white. Moreover, Ferguson’s police chief is also white. Why is it that a predominately Black community has white leaders in such important positions? Black communities should be run by black people.

Those crackers should be run out of city hall. 

BLACK POWER! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

On: Racism, Anti-Racism, and Reverse Racism

This post is a follow-up on my article yesterday on “What is ‘Racism’?” and further explores what racism is, what anti-racism is, and point out the fallacies of people who claim “reverse racism.”

All words known to man are rooted in historical consequences and maintained through relevance. Words do not magically appear out of the blue. Thus, in order to understand what the term “racism” is, we must look at the origin of the word, and how it has been maintained in history to modern times.

Racism is:

  1. The subjugation and abuse of Native Americans by the Europeans when they first arrived to the Americas.
  2. The trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought native Africans to various parts of the world to do hard labor without compensation.
  3. The genocide of indigenous peoples by Europeans.
  4. The colonization of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other regions of the world.
  5. Slavery of Africans who were brought to work throughout the Americas.
  6. The expulsion and internment of Asian peoples in the Americas.
  7. The lynchings of black people throughout the Jim Crow era.
  8. Relegating Native Americans to reservation camps.
  9. The disenfranchisement of non-white peoples.
  10. Terming non-European cultures as “barbaric.”
  11. Segregation of facilities for whites and non-whites, with non-whites receiving inferior treatment.
  12. The mass incarceration of black and brown peoples in the Americas.
  13. The stereotyping and exotification of non-white peoples.
  14. The subsequent attempt by white people to erase the history of oppression and subjugation.

Now, this is not a complete list; in fact, racism is still being defined because we still live in a racist society. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll leave it at that. Now that we have a list of what racism is, we now know the formula for opposing racism, or as I like to call it anti-racism.

Opposing racism (anti-racism) is:

  1. The subjugation and abuse of whites by non-whites when non-whites first landed in Europe.
  2. The trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought whites to various parts of the world to do hard labor without compensation.
  3. The genocide of Europeans by indigenous populations.
  4. The colonization of all white territories by non-whites.
  5. Slavery of European whites that were brought to foreign non-white territories.
  6. The expulsion and internment of white Europeans in Asia.
  7. The lynchings of white people throughout the Jim Crow era.
  8. Relegating white Europeans to reservation camps.
  9. The disenfranchisement of white peoples.
  10. Terming European cultures as “barbaric.”
  11. Segregation of facilities for whites and non-whites, with whites receiving inferior treatment
  12. The mass incarceration of white people in non-white territories.
  13. The stereotyping and exotification of white peoples.
  14. The subsequent attempt by people of color to erase the history of oppression and subjugation.

If people of color successfully engage in anti-racism, then all people of color will then be equal. It is after people of color have successfully engaged in opposing racism that it is possible for people of color to engage in reverse racism. Using the above lists and assuming that people of color have successfully completed anti-racism, we can compose a list to see how people of color can engage in reverse racism.

Reverse Racism is:

  1. The continual subjugation and abuse of whites by non-whites.
  2. The continuation of the trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought whites to various parts of the world to do hard labor without compensation.
  3. The complete genocide of Europeans by indigenous populations.
  4. The complete colonization of all white territories by non-whites.
  5. The continuation of slavery of European whites that were brought to foreign non-white territories.
  6. The permanent expulsion and internment of white Europeans in Asia.
  7. The continuation of lynchings of white people throughout the Jim Crow era.
  8. Permanently relegating white Europeans to reservation camps.
  9. The permanent disenfranchisement of white Europeans.
  10. Continual terming of European cultures as “barbaric.”
  11. The permanent segregation of facilities for whites and non-whites, with whites receiving inferior treatment.
  12. The continual mass incarceration of white people in non-white territories.
  13. The continual stereotyping and exotification of white peoples.
  14. The continual subsequent attempt by people of color to erase the history of oppression and subjugation.

Now, that these lists of been completed, we can clearly see what racism is, how we oppose racism (anti-racism), and how we reverse racism (reverse racism). Because non-whites have not even successfully opposed racism (engaged in anti-racism), it is impossible for non-whites to engage in reverse racism. Indeed, racism against non-whites still exists today. “Reverse Racism” is a term created by conservatives to destruct every attempt by non-whites to oppose racism, when the act of reversing racism is actually impossible for non-whites to do. There is a stark difference between “opposing” and “reversing”.

People of color believe in opposing racism by any means necessary (preferably peacefully); we do not believe in reversing racism.

On: What is “Racism”?

Please read before accusing someone of “racism.”

I’ve been having conversations with people about what “racism” really means. Hence, I feel the need to educate, because people who have never studied race are claiming that they know “racism” when they actually have no idea what they are talking about.

Let’s take the definition of “racism" from dictionary.com. According to the dictionary, racism is "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among various human races determine cultural of individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others." I actually don’t think this is a bad definition. It’s better than some other definitions that I’ve heard.

The common definition I hear on “racism” is “prejudice or discrimination based upon race.” Anyone who has taken a basic course on race, talked to people who know about race, or read about race—basically had any contact with race studies—will know that this definition is utterly insufficient. It ignores that fact that institutional racism is racism. Hence, the term institutional racism. Institution racism refers to racism in institutions such as government, businesses, and other institutions. Because people who control these institutions are white, white people have the power. You need power in order to exert institutional racism.Thus, people of color cannot exert institutional racism. By definition then, people of color cannot be racist against whites because people of color don’t have the power to institute systemic anti-white institutions.

As a comparison, let’s look at the dictionary definition of “radio.” According to dictionary.com “radio” is “wireless telegraphy or telephony”. Anyone who knows radios will probably say this definition is insufficient. The definition doesn’t mention transmitters or antennas. By using the definition provided by dictionary.com, one might think that televisions are radios because televisions are also “wireless telegraphy or telephony.” Radio always means wireless telegraphy and telephony, but wireless telegraphy or telephony does not always mean radio.

Similarly, racism is always discrimination or prejudice based on race, but discrimination or prejudice based on race is not always racism. People of color can prejudice or discriminate against whites, but that isn’t racism. As I said earlier, racism as just racial prejudice and discrimination ignores institutional racismwhich is an inherent part of racism. The better definition of racism”is the one provided by dictionary.com. Specifically, I like to define "racism" as ”the systemic oppression of people of color through prejudice and discrimination by white people, manifesting in white supremacy.” But these different definitions basically mean the same thing, just in different words.

Now, what I’m about to say may be slightly controversial for people who study race. I believe that even though people of color do not have power, they can still be racist against themselves or other people of color by supporting white supremacy. People of color who engage in self-hatred are racist against themselves, and people of color who support white supremacy can be racist towards other people of color.

I think the reason why "racism" gets distorted has many reasons. One, white people always want to be victimized even though they have power; thus, they distort the definition of racism. Two, dictionaries distort definitions of racism, and who writes most of the dictionaries? White people who probably have never studied race. Three, people who study racism and race are generally people of color. Because of racism, our definitions and opinions are ignored because of the white power structure. We suffer from institutional racism because we don’t have the power to define or change what terms mean.

As I wrote before, please read and study before accusing people of racism.

On: Devil

So I had a conversation on Tumblr with a white man today. He calls himself  some type of “philosopher.” He informed me that he will be visiting my blog regularly, so let’s all welcome him. In fact, I have dedicated this blog post to this devil.

Let’s all be nice to him. He has been through so much oppression as a white man—stealing other people’s culture as his own, seeing himself represented in a positive manner in the media, not being harassed in stores and other public venues, shutting out opinions of people of color, defining other people’s oppression for them. It really takes special courage and great responsibility to be white in America. I can tell from his anger that his whiteness has taken a great toll on him.

Anyway, this post will be about the white devil. For those of you who have read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you will know what I am talking about. Since I read the book, I have wanted to write about this because I think it is one of the strongest metaphors and encapsulates how Malcolm X overcame his racial ignorance.

In fact, I was talking to my friend about this last week. I told him that if I hadn’t been raised any better, or if I wasn’t educated, I would probably believe—as Malcolm X did—that white people were the devil. I look back in my life, and just about every white person I’ve encountered, there was some element of race involved—that somehow I was inferior, that somehow I didn’t belong, either overtly or through microaggressions.

When Malcolm X was first introduced to Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam in prison, he realized and believed that the “white man was the devil.” He looked back at every single incident in his life that involved a white person—from his father being killed by the KKK to his mother being taken away from him and his siblings to his incarceration, all of which were caused by white people. At the time, it became the central truth that defined his life, and that’s when he started becoming the Malcolm X we all admire, the one who spoke out against white oppression and liberation for his people.

It wasn’t until Malcolm X went on his pilgrimage to Mecca did he change his perception about white people. In Mecca, he met practicing Muslims from all corners of the world who treated him like a brother. He slept and ate with white Muslims who did not treat him as an inferior. There, he realized that white people were not the devil, that they had human capabilities such as love, compassion, and respect. 

It was a profound impact that changed the course of his life. He came back talking about unity of all people to fight for justice and against oppression, regardless of their race. It was too bad that he couldn’t live long enough to captivate this change. The same white people that he came to see as human beings—and not the devil—killed him. You can argue with me on this, but I have absolutely no doubt that the FBI and CIA plotted to kill him. The same thing happened to Dr. King.

Now, like I said before, I recognize that white people are not the devil early in my life. For the most part, unlike Malcolm X, I grew up with white people. I have white relatives. Some of them are my closest friends. However, as I stated earlier, I also realize that just about every significant encounter I’ve had with a white person, I was somehow seen as inferior.

So, when I first read that “the white man is the devil”, I had a similar revelation as Malcolm X. It was if I had discovered some type of truth. Like I’ve stated in some earlier posts, I am already repulsive to whiteness, and reading this added to my disdain. And as people of color, I think we ought to be angry—it is a natural human instinct. We ought not be satisfied until we have justice and freedom.

But we ought must use our anger in the right way. I’m glad that Malcolm X changed when he went to Mecca, and I’m glad I was raised better with white people who treated me well, albeit unknowingly seeing me as inferior. If they hadn’t, I believe that I would likely see all white people as the devil.

And I urge all my brothers and sisters to do the same. White people are not the devil. Their history has shown that they act like the devil, and many still do today. But I believe deep down that they have human capabilities of love, compassion, and respect. They are just too blinded by their power and privilege.

On: White People and Chinese

I’m fascinated by white people who learn Chinese. Many of them only hang out with Chinese people. When I go back to Taiwan, I see white people on TV shows showing off their Chinese.

Why do you want to learn Chinese? It’s one of the hardest languages in the world. I don’t even want to learn my own language. Wasn’t it only a few decades ago when you thought Chinese people and culture were inferior? Now, you want to learn my inferior language?

And it’s one thing to learn my language, but why do you only hang out with Chinese people? You’re not Chinese, you’re white. Are you going to start exclusively dating Chinese people just because they’re Chinese?

Why do you want to go to Chinese-speaking places and show off your Chinese? Are we supposed to be amazed at how “cultured” you are?

To all the white people who “love” Chinese culture and people and language: Fuck off a little bit. You’re rubbing us the wrong way.

On: Reclaiming Our Struggle - Defining Racism

White people like to steal. They stole our peoples, our cultures, our ancestries, our traditions, our lands, our religions, our music, our food. White people have stolen—or at least tainted—everything that you can think of that was originally ours. Now, they have amassed an effort to steal our struggle. Let me tell you what I mean.

"Prejudice" was a word created in the thirteen century. Since then, the term has become to mean something like "belief that someone is inferior based upon a characteristic." When it was first used in a racial context, it meant white people being prejudiced against people of color. Racial prejudice literally meant white people believing they were superior to other races. However, as time passed, white people tried to claim prejudice. White people claimed that people of color, too, could be prejudiced against whites. We, as people of color, gave white people that. We acknowledged that we could also harbor negative beliefs about whites.

"Discrimination" was a word that was created in the 17th century. It was created under the context of race. When discrimination was created, it literally meant an act of prejudice by a white person against someone of color. Over time, however, white people also started to claim discrimination. They said that, they too, could be discriminated against. We, as people of color, were hesitant, but we generally started to agree to that concept. We, as people of color, acknowledged that, in certain areas, we could discriminate against whites.

"Racism" was a term that was created in the 20th century. It, of course, was created under the context of race. The precise definition was initially unclear; but in the 1960s, race and ethnic studies boomed, and the definition of racism became solidified as a system of oppression based on the power to systemically discriminate and prejudice people of color, manifesting in white supremacy. If you ask race scholars, they will give you a similar definition of racism. However, this definition of racism hasn’t really been widespread except in academic communities. People, especially conservative whites who have never studied race, provide an alternate definition of racism or claim that racism no longer exists. What has happened now is that—just as white people claimed prejudice and discrimination—they now want to claim racism. Many whites now cry that "reverse racism" is a phenomenon. This is absurd. How do people of color have the power to systemically oppress whites?

We gave whites prejudice and discrimination. We acknowledged that it is possible—even with white power structure—for people of color to prejudice and discriminate against whites. Now, whites also want to claim racism as theirs. They, too, want to be seen as participants of our struggle.

What they really want, however, is to minimize our struggle. If they can claim racism, that means that white supremacy doesn’t actually exist. We can’t let them have that because if people start believing that racism and white supremacy don’t exist, then people also start becoming ignorant to the struggle.

Always be unequivocally clear that POC cannot be racist against whites. We cannot let whites steal what racism means. Educate and advocate. We need to reclaim what racism actually is. We need to reclaim our struggle.

On: White Victimization

I am just fascinated by how white people love to use the N-word, love to protest against race-conscious policies such as affirmative action, love to exploit housing discrimination policies, love to ignore incarceration rates for minorities, love to support laws that restrict minority voting, love to deny the hiring of minorities, love to support the war on drugs, love to protest against immigrants of color on our borders, love to whitewash our education with their history, love to racially profile, love to gentrify communities of color, love to steal other people’s culture and call it their own, love to fetishize people of color for their own sexual interests, love to depict people of color as white in the media, love to exploit developing economies, love to engage in wars in other countries where there are predominately non-white people, love to proclaim that we are in a post-racial society.

But when someone of color says “Man, white people are racist!” or we use the term “cracker”, white people go CRAZY and proclaim “racism!”

I call this phenomenon “White Victimization.” The cracker feels so bad for his guilt that he wants to deny his history of racism. Indeed, he wants to proclaim himself as the victim! He wants to exploit the suffering of people of color so that he can call it his own. These crackers don’t want to give up their power, and they can finally see that white supremacy is slowly coming to an end, so now they want to play victim and fit into their sorry and pitiful victimization narrative.

It’s a pathetic story. Sometimes I do feel bad for these crackers…but not really. Actually, not at all.

On: Miseducation

I went to school in a predominately white neighborhood. Most of my teachers were white.

My favorite subject growing up was history. I always believed that one couldn’t understand the present if he didn’t study history. As far as I could remember, all my history teachers were white.

Now I’ve realized that the only thing more dangerous than being ignorant is being brainwashed. I wish I never liked history when I was young—I could have stayed ignorant. Instead, I was worse than ignorant, I was brainwashed.

I was taught that there were “compassionate” and brutal slaveowners. Who in their sick mind comes up with the term “compassionate slaveowner”—that’s a oxymoron in itself! How can a person in any way justify the slaveowner?

I was taught that we must look at slavery “in historical context”—that we can’t use our own “morals” to judge slavery. In what sick universe is slavery justified? Slavery anywhere at anytime is immoral. Should I look at my own current oppression “in historical context”?

My point is: We, as a people of color, have a duty to teach our children our own history. We can’t let whites define who we are and what our history is. The whites have never told the truth—they aim to justify everything they’ve done. If it was up to them, they would cover up every wrongdoing they’ve ever done to us.

Education of our people is the first and most vital step to the revolution.