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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Thank goodness we ended racism

By Matt Won

Being an “Asian-American” from Hawaii, I was glad to find out in coming to the mainland that we’ve killed racism.
It’s gone, done with. That ugly back-of-the-bus strain that ravaged our country for so long? Ended.
It’s wonderful living in a post-racist world. We’ve confined and catalogued racism, and insulated ourselves from any taint of it. Freud would say that we’ve “psychologically projected” racism onto “those people.”

In Hawaii, we don’t hyphenate ourselves. People are just Japanese, Filipino, or Chinese. There’s not a lot of recent Asian immigrants there, since most families have been in Hawaii so long. We’re assumed to be “American.” We have independent identities, cured from growing in comfort, not like mainland Asians, whose identities react to mainstream pressures.
Maybe that’s why the racism, especially at Macalester, has shocked me so much.
The Crash (anti?) racists
We watch Van Wilder teach effeminate and sexually inept Kal Penn about chicks and sex, and crack up at Penn’s outrageous incompetence in bed.
But it’s all cool, because at Macalester we work hard every day to fight racism, and then chill out and watch Crash.

Whitey is so insecure that he had to give that movie the Oscar. What a useful film–everyone is so conveniently an overt racist, so that we can project our racism onto them.

I’m not saying that I am “oppressed” in the old sense–where I need to ask Whitey when and where to take a crap. When I use words like “oppression” and “racism” I know eyes roll.

But many at Mac help assert a cultural hegemony that demands integration or alienation. When I say that just about everyone at Macalester is racist, I’m not saying they want to put blacks in the back of the bus again. I’m saying they have unexamined racial attitudes and fail to detect racism in themselves or the media (à la Van Wilder).

Oppressors have always been able to cover up their manipulation in a pleasing patina of progressivity.

I’m not condemning you all as tools of the KKK, but I am pointing the finger at every member of our community (white or not) to put his or her personal conduct under a harsher lens.

It’s all about hip-hop
Hip-hop is the “Big Question” in race in America. It is the cultural battleground where racial identity and hegemony are established. The way that it is socialized, and its place in our culture, is extremely important.

Plenty of Americans don’t see a black person every day, but they see hip-hop all around them. After decades of pimping black culture, America’s white-controlled culture industries have made breaking these hoes down into an art form.
The vast majority of Americans don’t have a conversation with a black person every day. Blacks are underrepresented as employees and misrepresented as subjects by media and government. Their voice is not heard. The black voice the Average American (AA) hears comes from the Ying Yang Twins, 50 Cent, and Rick Ross.
I’m a huge proponent of rap as an art form, but that’s not really important here because the AA doesn’t care. The AA isn’t grading Rick Ross on his flow, breath control, rhyme schemes, etc.
Sure, “Hustlin'” is “catchy,” and that’s officially why the AA “likes it.” It’s also a spectacle, an exhibition marketed to amuse, and the obnoxious way in which that chorus has socialized itself is obviously racist, but no one realizes that because they’re not black.
It’s a simple fact that one is vastly more attuned, on a very intuitive level, to racism against one’s own culture than to another, the way I am to anti-Asian racism, and to a lesser extent racism in general. You don’t get it because you’re both not black and not examining your own actions/words.

I wonder a lot what it must be like for a black person to flip on MTV and see the “Disco Inferno” video, with 50 pouring two 40s over a black stripper’s gyrating ass, with the alcohol splashing every which way in sublime fashion. I imagine it’s something like how I feel watching the Asian guy playing video games in his rice rocket right before getting pwned by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious.
But back to “Hustlin.'” So, when the AA says “Who the fuck you think you fuckin’ with, I’m the fuckin’ boss,” the AA is (unconsciously, of course) shrinking black culture and identity down to a caricature word jingle. Specifically, here, the foolish black man thinking he’s all big. There’s a wink here, a mockery that no one will dare admit.
This is hegemony, this is oppression. This black man really thinks he’s something, huh? Well, we amuse ourselves by singing his stupid song, and writing it on each other’s white boards.

Oh, right! I forgot! My apologies. You were being irooonic. As you can tell, I’m not so much talking about just the AA now, I’m talking about the Mac Student (MS), and the MS is getting a college education at a New Ivy. Which means two things: one, the MS has smarter excuses than the AA for racist behavior, two, the MS should fucking know better.

Sarcasm and irony-best excuses ever
The thing with sarcasm is that in most situations, you’re not being totally sarcastic.
My buddy back in Hawaii (let’s call him Rory) is the shortest guy I know. His sister is also incredibly hot.
He’s a pretty quiet guy, and we don’t say too much to him, other than, one, periodically asking “Where’s Rory?” and checking under our shoes, and two, “No, I didn’t sleep with your sister last night. It was a threesome and no one slept!”

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