Do "White Passing" PoC have White Privilege?

Do "White Passing" PoC have White Privilege?

"White Passing" privilege is complicated.
Julia
Julia
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Racial passing is when a person of one racial group is also accepted as a member of a different racial group.

Many people of color occasionally "pass" as White, but does this give them the same privilege as those who identify as White?

There is a difference between "White Passing" privilege and "White Privilege." People who are "White Passing" do not always pass for White and also face their own kind of discrimination, identity issues, and alienation.

As a half-Asian and half-White woman of color, I have often been mistaken for White.

One of my high school friends was shocked when she found out I was half-Asian.

“You’re not Asian," she told me, "If you were Asian your eyes would look like this.” She used her fingers to make her eyes into tiny slits, laughing. I didn't know what to say.


My racial identity has been questioned or denied by those around me because my outward appearance does not match the cookie-cutter "Asian" appearance. I have brown hair and I am almost a foot taller than most of my Asian relatives, including my mom and my brother.



My mom is half Japanese and half Filipino. My brother looks much more Asian than me, specifically Japanese. He was asked if he needed a translator for his driving exam even though he spoke English to the test administrator. I don't usually have to handle this type of discrimination.

People have told me that my brother looks more Asian than me, as if I decided to look more White than him or as if I should laugh at my non-Asianness. I just nod, touching my lighter brown hair, not knowing how to respond.

Throughout my life, I have been much closer to the Asian side of my extended family than the White side. I can say with confidence that I feel more Asian than White.

What is it like to feel Asian you may ask? It is having millions of cousins who aren’t really related to you (and millions that are). It is huge weddings and eating lechon, bibingka, homemade egg rolls, leche flan, sushi, and siapao.

It is the smell of fried pork dipped in vinegar or warm fried bananas coated in crunchy sugar. It is saying “Oy!” after making a mistake, or stubbing your toe.

At first glance, people don’t see my experience of "Asianness." I've been mistaken for Latina, White, or Native American.

In some circumstances, I may have "White Passing Privilege," since I do not automatically face the stereotypes of a minority race. However, to fully benefit from White privilege, you must agree with the assumption people make that you are White.

Since I do not feel 100% White, I would say that I do not benefit from White privilege.

Just because I sometimes "pass" as White does not mean that I didn't hear the ever-popular "Asians are good at math" or "Asians are bad drivers" stereotypes. It doesn't mean that I've never been called exotic or asked if I am Chinese.

I still grew up in a world where the stars on TV or the Disney princesses did not resemble me or my family. I saw Mulan and thought I wasn't Asian enough to be as beautiful as her.

Marina Watanabe, a half-White, half-Asian blogger for Everyday Feminism, does a great job of addressing the issue of "White Passing Privilege" in one of her videos:

She says:

"When I talked to my other white classmates, I definitely felt like my race was hinted at more than it should have been and in a not so positive way. But when I was around other Asian people, I definitely felt like I wasn’t Asian enough either.

It was really confusing because I never knew what category people were putting me in or if they were perceiving me or treating me differently. It was frustrating because I was simultaneously made to feel that I was not white but then too white to be able to talk about it.

When I would talk about racism, I definitely had white friends tell me, 'But you’re like, basically white, Marina. You’re just like essentially a white person,' and then the next day, it would be like, “Oh, that guy is into you because you’re Asian and he likes Asian girls.” Like pick one or the other? You can’t have it both ways, but I would be white when it was convenient to them and Asian when it wasn’t."



Marina shows one of the main issues with assuming that people who are "White passing" have the same kind of privilege as White people: others try to define us, to fit us into a category.

In an i-D magazine article, "Uncovering the 'Privilege' of Being a White Passing Person of Colour," Niloufar Haidari, a white-passing British-Iranian woman, writes:

"Being a person of colour with white-passing privilege means that my experiences of discrimination will never be akin to those with darker skin, to those whose otherness is painted clearly across their face and not only evident when you are at a close enough range to recognise racialized features. However to have my identity reduced to white by well-meaning white friends and strangers on the internet is a silencing of my lived experiences...I appreciate the privilege my pale skin affords me, but allowing white people to decide the boundaries of what constitutes non-white is inherently dangerous, particularly as the borders of whiteness are policed often in self-interest rather than out of genuine attempts at inclusivity."

It is important not to silence the lived experiences of others, even if their racial appearance might suggest otherwise. Let others identify themselves and be understanding of the multitude of different human experiences.


To learn more about the experiences of mixed race people, or the issue of White passing privilege, visit:

A blog dedicated to the experiences of mixed race people: http://weareallmixedup.tumblr.com/

Everyday Feminism: On Being Non-White, But Passing Terribly Well

Everyday Feminism: Colorism in the Black Community: Perspectives on Light-Skinned Privilege

Cover Image Credit: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/t1oPYkbzQuI/hqdefault.jpg

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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