Being The 'Model Minority' Is Not An Asian Privilege

Believe It Or Not, Being The 'Model Minority' Is Not A Privilege

Asian-American history is not something that is widely known or talked about, and for that, Asian-Americans are perceived as more privileged than other minorities.

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soniatam
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The topic of racism is one that is very much prevalent in the United States. However, in conversations about racism and marginalized groups, it seems that Asian-Americans are often excluded. The Asian-American experience is different from that of other minorities, with the model minority myth being a major contributing factor. While being viewed as a "model minority" may not seem like such a bad thing for Asians upon first glance, being a model minority does not equate to privilege.

There is a notion that Asian-Americans have suffered less from racism, and that they are privileged compared to other minorities. From elementary school, American students learn about Native American genocide and the history of racism against African Americans, but Asian-Americans rarely appear in any US history courses. They are not shown to have suffered a long history of systematic racism in the United States as other minorities have. Asian-American history is not something that is widely known or talked about, and for that, Asian-Americans are perceived as more privileged than other minorities.

Here's the issue: just because it isn't talked about, just because it isn't taught in school, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Discrimination against Asian-Americans is a part of American history, from the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the first immigration law to target a specific ethnic group, in 1882, to the Japanese internment camps in the 1940s, to the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, in which the murderers served no jail time, to the issues of media representation that still exist now. This is a history that has seemingly been erased and brushed to the side so that Asians can be used as the model minority.

I'm not asking that everyone become an expert on Asian-American history. It's enough to know that it exists, and that Asian-Americans are still a racial minority in the United States and still suffer from racism. Instead of dismissing them as privileged, acknowledge that Asian-Americans have faced discrimination and include them in conversations about racism.

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.

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While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.

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How The Rhetoric Of 'White Privilege' Is Used Incorrectly

Social Commentary: Maria Costello

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White privilege is a term that has been thrown around in American politics without the right context or consideration for what it means. The most common use of this ambiguous term in modern political conversation is that it acts as a social force that advantages the white community by affording it "perks" that minority races are not afforded. Furthermore, because this force advantages those of white skin tone, the white community is therefore unaware of its advantages and cannot speak to the "suffering" of minorities. In the current political debate, this term has been used in such a way as to go so far as to shut down the success of non-minorities by chalking up their success to their so-called privilege.

This use of white privilege is highly problematic. Firstly, it conflates privilege with racism. This is an important notion to consider because it misrepresents the term in a way that lends itself to miscommunication. It has become a term in modern conversation used to shut down those who are not of minority status; therefore, instead of speaking about white privilege for what it is, a false correlation between being privileged and being racist has developed. Simply because someone was born with supposed advantages does not mean that he is oppressing those who were not. The way that white privilege is used in the news assumes that if you are not of the minority, you must, therefore, be contributing to the marginalization of that minority by nature of your privilege. This notion is ridiculous because it assumes that America is inherently a racist country where the reason that white people get ahead is because of their privilege. It is easy to blame the advantages of one race over another on racist ideology; however, white privilege has nothing to do with racism itself. In fact, white privilege is no different than normal privilege, but by coining it as "white", the term has been weaponized in politics to shut down certain points of view.

The environment that a person grows up in can afford them privileges that others don't have. When one group of people has advantages another does not, that is called privilege and it is no different when it comes to white privilege. White people have advantages that minorities do not. That does not make white people inherently racist, it simply means they have advantages. Let's take a closer look at the most popular example of white privilege cited in modern political conversation: Living without the fear of being arbitrarily racially profiled.

The most commonly referenced example of arbitrary bias against the black community regards unfair assumptions of criminality. There are a few aspects of white privilege to consider when looking at this issue. In regards to mortality rates at the hand of cops, yes, according to whole population statistics, black people are more likely to get shot by police than white people. However, according to accredited professor Peter Moskos at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, for example, when the statistics being used are looking specifically at homicide cases in the black vs white community, white people are more likely to die at the hands of the cops on the scene of the crime than blacks. This statistic gets skewed in whole population data because the rates of murder cases are far higher in the black community; therefore, on the whole, more African-Americans die.

To be clear, this does not debunk the existence of white privilege. There is clear proof of arbitrary racial profiling against the Hispanic and African-American communities when it comes to law enforcement. However, according to Department of Justice crime statistics, a much larger percentage of the African-American and Hispanic communities commit crimes than in the white community. What this leads to is a social generalization that is formed against disproportionately violent minority communities which says, "if you are part of that community, you must be violent." This assumption, of course, is false, but it creates a bias where people become more wary of those communities. This does not occur because America is racist. This does not occur because white people are privileged. This occurs because there is a legitimate statistical basis for this bias.

So, after all this, what is white privilege? White privilege is the bias that exists against minority groups that do not exist in the white community. It has nothing to do with actual privilege. It has nothing to do with racism. It is simply a term used to point out how minority communities are being marginalized. We cannot deny the existence of this marginalization, but we also cannot deny that it has a legitimate factual basis that stems from the very communities claiming to be disadvantaged.

The purpose of this article is not to disprove white privilege. The purpose is simply to show that there is often a misrepresentation of what white privilege actually is. The statistics commonly cited to support the weaponized use of the term do not tell the full story, because they assume that correlation is causation. They conveniently leave out other factors that may contribute to statistics that show racial socioeconomic stratification. We must also be careful how we use this term so as not to conflate white privilege with racism in America. Using this term in order to shut down the voices of non-minorities hinders thoughtful debate and does not lead to the betterment of minority status. We should be striving to find common ground through clear communication in order to combat true racism instead of contributing to the division among racial lines through the misuse of terms such as "white privilege."

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