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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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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