on the importance of names and jimmy kimmel’s sweet embrace of white supremacy

I can’t count the number of times people have mispronounced my last name. (Hiyama. Hee-YAH-muh.) I’m shocked if someone says it correctly the first time. My 93-year old grandpa has pronounced it wrong on purpose for a lot of his life so he doesn’t have to constantly correct people.  It’s really not hard to say once you know how to say it, and people generally get with the program quickly, but there is still something that feels crappy about having to explain myself and how I came to be whenever my last name comes up.

Our names beget our personhood and confirm our existence.  To have a name that is consistently fucked up by other people is to always feel like you’re abnormal, other, less. You feel simultaneously conspicuous and invisible. Everyone notices the difference, but nobody sees beyond it. In the United States, family names are important, but as an unapologetically individualistic nation, our first names are even more essential to our being. So as much as I identify with that experience of people mispronouncing my last name, it is a wholly different experience to not only have people mispronounce your first name but also to make fun of it.  And while anyone can have a name that is tricky to pronounce by American English standards, names are racialized and the mockery is certainly a racialized experience. Continue reading on the importance of names and jimmy kimmel’s sweet embrace of white supremacy

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DO NOT WEAPONIZE US

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I am Asian American. I’m not a model minority. I am queer and a woman. I’m not a reason to go to war or economically devastate another country.  I made these specific signs because my people, my groups of people, have been used in service of oppression. Continue reading DO NOT WEAPONIZE US

white women, are you fucking kidding me

Yesterday, Libby Chamberlain, founder of the secret, Hillary-supporting Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation,” announced that she was going to publish a book based on the posts in the group. She said that the profits from the book will support her new nonprofit and other progressive organizations, such as the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. She said that nothing will be published in the book without express, written permission from the poster.  The comments exploded. Some are angry that she is going to be making a profit off of the group, even if that profit is not necessarily financial. Others are defending her, claiming that this will amplify the voice of Pantsuit Nation and raise money for good causes.

To be perfectly frank, for me, this is just the cherry on top of a year in which liberal white women* disappointed me more than I could ever have predicted.  These disappointments varied in degrees of seriousness, but altogether, they paint a picture of the tightly-woven fabric of liberal white women’s bullshit. Continue reading white women, are you fucking kidding me

what white people gain from racial justice

Though it is still a relatively new area of thinking, there are now many books, articles, thinkpieces, and movies about the toxicity of masculinity and the fact that men- in addition to cis women and trans and gender nonconforming folks- are also negatively impacted by sexism and misogyny.  Though I wish people with privilege were ready to commit to movements for social justice that don’t address them, it is an extremely important and powerful message that puts the responsibility for emotional, psychological, and intellectual healing from sexism on everyone, regardless of gender.  Men, in addition to those marginalized by gender, have to negotiate the harm that has been done to them by sexism, and then together, no longer victims, we will move forward into a new, better era (we hope). Continue reading what white people gain from racial justice