As someone in the liberal sphere, I occasionally encounter people who seem oddly proud of the fact that they believe in #BlackLivesMatter. Often, these people are Asian American women. One AA woman I went to school with constantly posts about BLM in a condescending, chastising way, in between photos of herself with black men tagged with captions bragging about how she is “down with the people”. I saw another AA woman on the subway wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt as she walked up and down the subway car repeating, “We want to change the world.” She was alone, and everyone on the car was left really confused.
Obviously, it’s great that these women believe in the cause. Of course Black Lives Matter. But I’m a little suspicious of the motives of these women, because of how ostentatious and showy they are about their support. In such cases, I tend to think there is something self-serving about why these women support the BLM movement, especially because these women often share certain traits–one major trait/red flag being that they refuse to befriend or date or otherwise voluntarily interact with other AAs. They complain about how other Asians are racist, Asian men are so patriarchal, and come up with other various excuses about why they don’t like other Asians. Traits and opinions common to self-hating Asians.
So I’m very suspicious of these types of AA women. They seem to think they are very special and cool for being outspoken. “I’m not like THOSE Asians”, they insist, and are so unique for supporting black people, apparently ignoring Grace Lee Boggs and other activists who have long supported various civil rights and other similar movements. I have the inkling suspicion that for these women, at least a part of their motivation is to want to be seen as cool, and this is almost like a phase for them, kind of like how some non-black women date black people to be rebellious. Obviously that’s not always the case, but I’ve encountered this kind of attitude enough times that I suspect their motives.
To these women, I want to say this. Look, I get that it might seem like most other AAs don’t care about these issues, and again, it’s great that you believe black people’s lives matter, but that doesn’t make you particularly commendable or special. You should believe all of that if you are a decent human being who is not a racist. Most importantly, this is not about you, and it shouldn’t be a platform you use to prove to the world or yourself or your family how down you are.
In the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, there is a minor character, an outspoken AA woman who is an African-American Studies professor. The character was so oddly specific that I would venture to guess Ms. Adichie also met similar AA women in real life, and this was her small way of calling them out. I could also be totally off base, but this portrayal certainly piqued my interest. And obviously I’m not in any way qualified to comment on how actual black people feel about these kinds of AA women–maybe I’m even being too harsh on them. But I am puzzled by the attitudes of these AA women, who seem to collect non-Asian POC friends and act like they have something to prove.
If you’re really woke, great. But there’s no need to pat yourself on the back or shout about this from the mountains.