3 Things “Enlightened” White People Can Stop Saying


By Sophia Chang

So you’re an enlightened, non-racist, totally conscious white person. In that case, you can stop saying these 3 things:

1) “My husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/superPCterm is Fill-in-the-Color so I get it.”

You know how when skinny people talk about how fat they are, it’s totally obnoxious? It’s because they’ll never know what it’s like to actually be in a body that isn’t skinny.

It doesn’t mean skinny people don’t have self-esteem issues (we do, all the time) – but it’s NOT THE SAME. It will NEVER BE THE SAME. And pretending we get it is not only pointless, but annoying to people who actually have bodies that don’t fit the cultural beauty norm.

When I had a black boyfriend, I experienced what it was like to walk down the street and see someone cross it when they saw him coming. I viewed the police differently. Does this mean I get what being black is about? No. I will never know what being black is like. When I walk away, I’m still Asian. I grew up in this skin, not his skin. I have my family, not his family. The world sees me like me, not him.

2) “I experienced racism too; this one time…”

You know that friend who always needs to turn the conversation back to themselves? If you got mugged three times, they need to talk about that one time their wallet was almost stolen, but it wasn’t, it was just a false alarm and not anything like the trauma you experienced repeatedly.

Don’t be that friend.

And while we’re at it, let’s cut the reverse racism bullshit. You want to date an Asian and you’re annoyed her family is weird around you? We don’t want to hear it any more than you want to hear about how we hear stupid shit EVERYWHERE WE GO and we just have to let it slide because if we go around complaining every five seconds, we wouldn’t have time for all the violin practice.

3) “It’s not just Asians, MY family also…”

Remember when Black Lives Matter started and lots of people were against it because “All lives matter”? And we were like, “Yes, they do, but…THAT’S NOT THE POINT.”

White people, YOU DON’T NEED TO OWN EVERYTHING in the world. It’s like a compulsion. Like you get itchy if Asians are allowed to be unique and have our own culture.

What is it, does it remind you that we’re actually different from you? (And different is bad!) Does it threaten you so much that our culture has things you’re not a part of for once, that you may not know how to deal with? Things we may be proud of, or hurts and pains that we accept enough to joke about, or just something that isn’t yours?

It’s okay. Let Asians have some things for ourselves. You’ve already taken my people’s masculinity, let us have our in-jokes the way the other minorities do. We need it to get through our day, trust us.

(Flickr photo credit: Tomi Knuutila, used under Creative Commons License)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sophia is an aerial dancer, an admissions coach, and the world’s first iPod silhouette model. She graduated from Harvard at the age of 20, worked as a film/TV actor and playwright, and now writes fantasy novels. Sophia just completed 13 months of nomadic travel around the globe. Follow her adventures at www.sophiachang.com

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