Not Your Yellow Fantasy: #StopAsianHate intersectionality

I went to the #StopAsianHate march in DC because I have experienced verbal and physical assault because of my Asian identity. After hearing of the shooting in Atlanta, I realized that the targeting towards Asian women was not accidental. My friend and I hoped to stress the intersectionality in the march by posting signs such as “Not Your Yellow Fantasy” and “Solidarity with Massage Worker.” I am glad to see the Asian community organizing and protesting, and hope the visibility in politics can last. 

Actually, the slogan “Not your yellow fantasy” is not my original idea. Last summer, I read about crowdfunding on Instagram to help publish a book written by a young Korean woman. In the book, she talks about her experiences being discriminated against and sexualized in the US. I donated some money for her, and in return, I can read her book chapters in advance through email. Through her emails sent to potential readers, I came to know that her book’s name changed from “Yellow Fantasy” to “Not Your Yellow Fantasy.”  So when brainstorming the signs with my friends, I immediately thought about her book’s name. The book, Not Your Yellow Fantasy: Deconstructing the Legacy of Asian Fetishization is now complete.  I have only read the Introduction but I will continue reading the whole book in the future.

(By Xiyuan Wu)

(Photo by Xiyuan Wu)

No, Actually, This is Exactly Who We Are

Tuesday, a 21-year-old white man went on a killing spree, murdering 8 people in Georgia. His targets were mostly Asian American women, working in massage parlors across Cherokee County and in Atlanta.

He was arrested, alive. He was called a kid. He had had a bad day and was mentally ill with a sexual addiction. Apparently, the Captain decided to buy a shirt a year ago telling everyone that COVID came from “Chy-na”. 

Funny how, for men who have committed violent acts can use the mentally ill excuse. If we were really using violence as an indicator of mental illness and trauma women would have burned this entire country to the ground centuries ago. 

There must be something else to this story. 

Maybe the deaths of these women were a culmination of nearly two centuries of anti-Asian racism, policies that were designed to bar them from citizenship and deported them when they finished laboring out in the west. 

Maybe it was the continuing fetishization of Asian women, because it is not lost on me that massage parlors and happy endings are still somehow a joke that is acceptable to be shared. Maybe it’s the over-sexualization of Asian bodies, while simultaneously infantilizing them, fantasizing of raping Asian women, and seeing them as nothing more than objectified pieces for white male pleasure. 

Maybe it was the coronavirus, and an entire year of the president calling COVID-19 the China Virus, The China Flu, disparaging Chinese citizens as dirty, diseased, disgusting. 

I wonder, why the English virus hasn’t caught on (because of the COVID variant, and not the bubonic plague, or syphilis, or the many diseases that the English brought to America and wiped-out indigenous populations with) the same way all those amazing slogans above caught on. 

So, when I hear politicians or White Americans tell us this isn’t who we are…I’d like to remind them that this is exactly who we are. We spent a year blaming a group of people for “creating” a virus, when viruses do not have a race, an ethnicity, a nationality. We spent the Second World War interning Japanese Americans because of anti-Japanese racism; we’ve denied citizenship to Chinese because of anti-Chinese sentiment when they built the west; and we continue to other Asian Americans into the model minority to create tensions between other groups of people in this country. 

This is exactly who we are. This is how white supremacy works. The next shooter will still be a white man, and will be called a boy, and we’ll told he was mentally ill and just “snapped”. We’re not going to do much better until we reckon with our history. 

By Nichole Smith

(Photo Credit: AlJazeera)