Sunday, October 26, 2008

On Asian Domination

I really enjoy seeing Asian people being better at things than other races. I really do.

Isn't that kind of f-ed up?

I just got home from watching a hip-hop dance showcase that featured a number of different dance crews from the Pacific Northwest, and I enjoyed it a lot. It wasn't the best talent in the world, but it was good enough to make an entertaining show, and some of the dancers were pretty good.

But guess who the best crew was? Yeah - that's right - the all-Asian crew. And if you don't know much about the hip-hop dance scene (specifically b-boy, but other forms, as well), Asians kind of dominate on a general level, these days. And so there was a very noticeable Asian presence at this show (both performing and attending), and it was really nice. In this town, where I seldom see Asian folks outside of very specific areas, it was nice to not be the "only one" by a long shot. It's also nice to see so many other Asian folks at a hip-hop related event (even if it was just dance).

And it was especially nice to see the Asian folks represent by making most of the other crews look a little shoddy.

Because I LOVE to watch Asian people dominate. I got all into tandem diving during the Olympics because the Chinese men were so much better than the other competitors. I'm all about international b-boy competitions because the Koreans win so handily on a regular basis. I loved watching Jet Li kick European asses portraying Huo Yuan Jia in "Fearless." "Letters from Iwo Jima" was a fine film, but it pissed me off.

And, in some ways, it's so very odd that I root for all Asian people against the world in this way. Because I have as much in common with most Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, etc. as I do with the French (maybe less). I'm so damn American in so many ways, and yet I will always clap happily when Daisuke Matsuzaka strikes a guy out. I love it when somebody's Ford gives them engine trouble while I drive my Toyota without a hiccup at 165,000 miles.

But I'm not Japanese. At all. I have no Korean blood. The Mongols invaded China, but I'm still a fan of Ghenghis Khan. I've still never been to China.

And yet . . .

It's a testament to the power of race in America that I am this way. That, in spite of all the opportunities I have been presented simply by being an American citizen, I have more conscious loyalties to foreign nations that have no connection to my blood, just because of hair color and the folds of our eyelids. That I have lived through media representations and stereotypes for so long, that it makes me want to cheer every time an Asian man kicks ass publicly. That the dominant people of this country have considered me "foreign" so long that I identify that way.

It's crazy. Because I am so American. My mannerisms. The way I dress. How I talk. My values. All so typically American. But, somehow, I have been pushed away from that identification.

And it's not even just Asian people that I root for (although they're at the top of my list - just being honest). I find myself hoping that Brazil scores a hundred goals on the American soccer team. I laugh when the Kenyans win another Boston Marathon. I hope that Jerome Iginla is the key to his Flames winning ten straight Stanley Cups (in the NHL).

Because - no matter how much I have gotten from this country, and how "American" I am, through and through - I can never think of myself as fully belonging to this nation, because those running this country do not look anything like me, and never have.

And until that changes - every four years tandem diving will be one of my favorite sporting events.


hexy: hexpletive said...

I love seeing women succeed. I love seeing QUEER women succeed. I love seeing Indigenous Australians succeed, which is pretty much the only thing that can convince me to go to community hip hop events.

I think it's relatively normal. :)

uglyblackjohn said...

I love to see anyone succeed in any activity that isn't usually associated with that particular race, gender, ethnic group or nationality.
When Jabawakees won, I had to look at my racist Black cousins and laugh at their expectations.

CVT said...

I've always been a big "underdog" fan in sports (and otherwise), no matter the particular racial (or other) make-up of the team - so I wonder which came first, my identifying as a racial underdog, or my appreciation of the underdog role in sports?

jaye said...

You got a lot from this country, but the people who made that possible for you are not the dominant, power-wielding group in this country. Older white men didn't wake up one day and decide to give everyone else the vote, or fair pay, or laws against discrimination. They let loose police dogs on the people who were fighting for those things.

The people who made those things possible for you have also been made to feel as though they don't belong or don't even have a right to be here. It amazes me that so many men and women fought so hard for those rights, and were kicked down at every turn by those in power, and now...those people in power claim those rights as examples of why this is such a great nation, even as they continue to fight against furthering those rights. A certain segment of America got those rights for you, another segment has tried every way they can to keep them from you.

mthgk said...

I totally relate. Although I am half-"white", I always root for people of color. It's not as much that I don't like white people as the fact that I have been bombarded with The Message that they are better than everyone else since I was very young. This message is kind of ingrained in the sub-conscious of our culture and leaks out all of the time in the media and in how the average person talks.

Intellectually, I know this is a fabrication of the dominant culture. But, seeing The Message contradicted makes me feel happy for myself and all of humanity. It is a very ugly, divisive message after all.

seitzk said...

I can so relate.