Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

Short Comment: Brown Babies, Denial & the International Order of Race

Many books and articles and blogposts, that mention racism in Japan, Korea and the Philippines, Vietnam, point to the racism of these countries, against mixed-black folk and black persons.

People don’t know (for real), or chose to not know (refusal), or don’t hear or see because their perceptive ability is somehow locked into a certain way of perceiving.  In any case, much of the racism we see against darker skinned people in Asia, were intensified by the presence and experience of seeing how white people treated blacks.  It is not that Asians wanted to be whites exactly, although this is also an element.  It is how power is displayed, especially by nations espousing a global system with whites already at the helm.

United States officials and white persons as well as the European whites, who were a major presence in these Asian nations from the colonial slave-trade times, then intensely in the Philippine War, Asia-Pacific War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, including the intense presence of US military bases and US occupation of some of these countries.  In those periods, Asians saw how the technologically and militarily superior US Americans treated the blacks–not just African-American servicemen and women, but also the darker Gujratis from South Asia, for instance, as inferior (violently and condescendingly and often treated like animals).

This, mixed with the traditional histories of darker-skinned people in Asia, which were more based on elitism rather than racial identity.  Race is a European construct of a human, based on identity and unchanging, bio-physical and psychological qualities).

In these various Asian nations, this international ordering of nations continues, as the Asian nations continue to want to get rid of their black-skinned mixed-race citizens, shipping them to the US and Europe through transracial adoption–which is a more legitimized and perhaps necessary way for the children themselves but provide easy ethnic cleansing for the Asian nations.  As well, there are the more violent businesses that often run through some orphanages and other institutions that seem legitimate, but are fronts for outright kidnapping of street children who are mixed race, who could provide much capital in places such as Rumania, Turkey, France, the United States, Brazil, etc. as entertainers and sports figures and models.

When I arrived in the US in the 60s, I made many friends.  But equally, I lived through humiliating and often violent episodes of racism targeted against me.  This has continued today in all of the East and Southeast Asian nations, with implicit support by the US and Europe.  Not every individual, like other places, practices overt racist dominance and/or violence upon mixed-race children.  But there are enough. Even more important are the various laws and policies, subtle and not-so-subtle, aimed at keeping mixed-race people “foreign” and “impure” and needing special governance. To point the finger at how “primitive” these Asian nations are, to be so racist, is to miss the picture.  Racism still exists in the US.  It doesn’t often look like it did before the Civil Rights movement.  Even still, the same types of incidents occur.

For mixed-Black Asian children living in the US, there are no communities and ghettos and mainstreamed communities of mixed people.  Often, the families feel shame themselves, or even resent the children, while others are afraid and over-protect.  For many mixed-black Asians, American racism is painful in that isolation without community is very strong.  Individualism is valorized and therefore the racism against mixed-people are hidden.  Many make their way as “Black” and “African-American,” sometimes forgetting their other heritages.  This serves the US melting pot well, where African-American vs. White supremacist notions of racism are supreme.  Both of these groups, in varying degrees, practice hegemony–corralling difference into one or the other.  They become “Shades,” “grays” and other such notions of being less important, less clear, vague, therefore less important.

This is one reason why I’ve started this blog.  No one can blame the Asian nations alone.  It can be a form of racism if done as a white person, especially.  However, I’m not saying we shouldn’t critique and criticize  We just need to remember that there is racism where we are and mention it as a work we do together; to take responsibility for living in Europe and the United States, Australia or New Zealand or South Africans, as internationally privileged and culpable in this global hierarchy.

We must combat racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and forms of oppression everywhere.  Each country, bar none, has their forms of racism.

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