black, white whatever

Although Hispanics are getting more love due to their sheer numbers, race issues in politics are still often discussed within a black/white scope. Even with this historical presidential election, mainstream media discussions rarely go beyond breaking down polling demographics by race. How about setting numbers aside and examining the issues concerning each group? While it is easy to cry foul, its more effective to force your way into the discussion. For example, why do Asian Americans get left out or shitted on? In part, because they allow it. Sounds simplistic, but there's some truth there.

Back in my freshman year in college, I dormed in a closet sized room with a half-Japanese/half-American from Tokyo. Next door to us was a black football player and his South Jersey hillbilly roomate - they obviously didn't choose each other because that pairing would have made a great reality show. Two strong headed dudes from totally different worlds cooped up in tiny room. Lots of typical race-baiting discussions like "Why do you people use lotion so much?" "I don't know. Why are you white people always serial killers?" So, it wasn't suprising that they agreed to me and my roomate's idea of permanently opening the adjoining door between our rooms. I wanted more space and access to their video games...they wanted more space from each other. So we opened the adjoining door, shoved all 4 beds in one room, and kept the other room open as a 24 hour lounge for music, video games and parties.

There were only 5 percent people of color in this college - and they all seemed to hang out at our lounge. So the hillbilly, perhaps feeling left out or threatened, verbalized his frustration over the constant hiphop controlled by us 24/7. He turns to me and says, "Why do you listen to this black music?? You're not black!" Before I responded, the football player (who affectionately called me his n***a) jumps in, "He aint white either?! Why should he listen to your countrified bullshit?!" As they glared at each other, I interjected, "Yo, I just listen to GOOD music."

Nice spoken-word piece from Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (from Def Poetry fame) pointing out that race discussions are more than just B&W.


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