By Ed Diokno
Conversations on Race, the New York Times’ year-long series of Op-Docs, or videos, featured some young Asian Americans this week. The subjects who appear to be in their 20s, talk about how stereotypes unfairly confine them – particularly the “model minority” myth.
The stories might sound familiar. Most of us have had similar experiences.
One young man remembers the first time he realized he was “different,” when he was 6-years old, a playmate told him, “You’re the color of poop.”
Another subject is amazed that children at such a young age already know the derogatory implications of calling someone, “chink” or “gook.”
A young woman relates, “When my parents talked about Americans, they really meant White Americans.”
Hopefully, the Op-Doc lets non-Asians know that racial discrimination and biases affect not just African Americans or Latino Americans, but also the so-called “model minority,” too. And that AAPI have more in common with other minorities than people realize.
“The experiences expressed here provide complicated narratives of race and identity that we hope can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of how institutionalized racism works — especially as it has affected the Asian American community,” say the filmmakers.
“As the people in this film suggest, the way we usually discuss race does not reflect the vast range of experiences of discrimination and opportunity in this country. If we’re going to change that, we need to embrace diverse voices — and also work harder to understand and dismantle the biases around us. We think the people in this piece do exactly that — and approach these difficult themes from a position of both vulnerability and strength.”
The mini-documentary has received some criticism from Filipino Americans for not including them in the documentary. You can read about that here.
To watch the Op-Doc Conversations on Race with Asian Americans, see the clip below.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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