May 26, 2010

brown solidarity

back in january the nytimes released a report about the influx of chinese immigrants crossing the US border through Arizona- the numbers have increased TENFOLD this past year. the reason is primarily economic within a super complex transcontinental human trafficking system but whatever the reason, these statistics are grounds for evidence that there is growing solidarity amongst brown people within the immigrant rights movement. standing FIRM reports that the asian & pacific islander community in arizona is one of the fastest growing minority populations in the state, nearly doubling in size between 1990 and 2005. this week the asian pacific american legal center and the asian american justice center filed a lawsuit with other national civil rights organizations to challenge SB 1070.


there's also a really cute moving video by a young undocumented gay iranian student named mohammad - LOOK.

i'm interested in the intersection of this stuff on a personal level cause my dad immigrated "illegally" the to US from china when he was young, and like mohammad i grew up with the expectation of being able to take advantages of opportunities he never had. unlike mohammad, i didn't have the traumatizing experience of having my opportunity to go to college taken out from under my nose, because of the simple difference that i was born here. i went to college- in fact i was lucky to get a stellar education but the point is there are so many many many young people out who are in this same position. if you take 2 MINUTES to read or watch youth responses to SB1070, i think nuff said.

just to bring it all back to da club, when wildness was getting criticized for gentrification at the time of LA Weekly's 'Best of LA' article - there was an obvious backlash that we didn't "belong" at the bar and our presence was destroying something. did we belong? the question revolved around whether we wildness (myself TOTAL FREEDOM & NGUZUNGUZU) could be a part of the Silver Platter community, or even claim solidarity on the basis of identity race class etc. were we specifically trans Latina immigrant? no. we were collectively trans, Latino, African American, South and East Asian, and queer. i'm not saying that's the answer either, but those are facts. another fact is that we came from different class backgrounds- we were predominantly 1st & 2nd generation immigrant, from varying lower-to-middle income backgrounds. some of us had higher level education (including myself), some no college education at all... more facts that don't necessarily answer the question, but it's a place to start thinking.

speaking of education- there is something that continues to kind of blow my mind when i think about wildness being criticized as an "art school party" - not to say that it was or wasn't. i mean anyone who walked into wildness (or THE TABLE/Jalisco) might look around and make a judgment about the people partying based on age, style, and perceived income level, race and class etc. but actually just the idea that art and school is an inherently bad thing- and it makes me uncomfortable to question this. but i guess i want to put it out there since i've been thinking a lot about the immigrant rights youth movement. because i guess the underlying assumption that i question is: what do people WANT when they encounter oppressed/low income/immigrant community spaces? do we want communities to remain separate and oppressed or do we want to exchange? who decides? what are we really saying when we say that classes don't belong together?

another thing that stuck with me from the whole wildness debate was a comment someone made about asian not being BROWN, which is also unfortunate cause it reminds me that we often don't focus on racism between communities of color, or mixed race communities (i'm mixed) etc. and how that finger pointing just perpetuates the larger (white) racism...

i guess it REALLY comes back to the problem i have with the idea of privilege. i want there to be another way to talk about power. the word privilege is a problem for me because it implies you have like PITY on someone else. it's like this idea of owning one's XYZ privilege (racial, economic, educational etc) is really like saying "i have something that other people don't." but then it's like- who am I to decide what other people DON'T have? how about instead focusing on what I HAVE- isn't that all we can ever really know? or at least if we can start from there, instead of being ashamed, because that is how i often see privilege played out around me... and it causes a LOT of anxiety.

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