I’m really pissed off. I let a white male higher-up fool me into believing that he might actually be on board with diversity as a reality, and not just as some abstract utopia. That’s a trap that I, as an Asian American, should’ve known better than to fall into. White academics (white people, really) will tend to say the right things in my presence. They find me easy to talk to about racial issues (at first), and they find my words easy to accept for various messed-up model-minority reasons. But all it takes is for a black person to say exactly the same things that I say in a slightly different setting, and all of a sudden, the response becomes extreme defensiveness and multi-faceted microaggressions, all horribly aimed at the black person. As far as I’m concerned, these two diametrically-opposite responses cannot both be true; you cannot be committed to diversity only when you’re talking to me. If you are only committed to diversity when you’re talking to me, and not when you’re talking to The Black One, then you’re not committed to diversity at all, and it is now my job to call you on it every time you pull these half-commitment shenanigans.
This happens everywhere, in all kinds of professional environments; white gatekeepers are always on their “good behavior” with The Asian One because The Asian One Seems More Like Them. They respond more sympathetically when Asian people point out internal/institutional racism to them than when black or Hispanic people do. (I have yet to see if the same holds true when it comes to reporting specific incidents of individual racism.) Somehow, it doesn’t occur to them that their 180-opposite response to The Black One is a situation that The Asian One would give two craps about, probably because they think they already placated The Asian One. Unavoidably, this means that The Asian One everywhere is now complicit in the systemic oppression of black people, LatinX people, disabled people, Other people.
To that, I say No, thank you. Also, How dare you? Nobody gets to play us against each other. To my shame, I used to go along with that game, but I’m trying very hard to claw my way out and I will kick the next person who tries to drag me back in. Metaphorically. Probably.