Last summer, I got involved with this activist project that had nothing to do with Asian American stuff. The leader of the project–I’ll call him D–was one of those dudes who just had to have his voice heard on everything. He was a white man. He wanted to run the website, but when he was averaging 3 unique pageviews a day (one was me, another was him, and god knows who the other person was), I suggested some changes (since bigWOWO gets somewhat more than 3 pageviews a day). He was one of those passive aggressive types. He’d say, “Yeah, since you have web experience, you should do it,” and then he’d say something like, “What are you trying to do, take over MY website? I’m in charge here!” When I told him that he should just do his thing since he obviously knew better, he would get angry and say, “Why am I always doing the work?”
Anyway, towards the end of the summer, he decided to get racial on me. In the middle of one of our “discussions” about the website, he yelled, “Is English even your native language?” He was screaming at me and putting his hand in my face. I thought he was going to take a swing at me. (He’s around 55 years old, 140 lbs, and 5’5, so it wouldn’t have hurt.) I stood up, ready to push forward if he got violent. I’m not a violent person, but I also don’t think there’s any reason to take a punch (literally) sitting down. Another member stood between us and asked me to stand down. I spoke to this other member later about the racism that D was perpetuating, and the other member agreed that D was physically threatening and racist. I later spoke to D about it too and called him out on his racism. His response?
He said, “You’re acting like a brat. I will continue to talk to you like I talk to my children.” Translation: “You’re a man of color, and therefore I will call you a ‘BOY.’”
Racism is a disease that doesn’t go away.
In any case, I didn’t have the support of the rest of the group. Most agreed that D was a racist prick, but because he had more money and standing in the community (even though he somehow eventually weaseled out of paying a single penny of the money he pledged to the cause), most felt–probably correctly, I’ll admit–that they had to go along with whatever shenanigans came out of his mouth. They agreed (and I agreed) that it might be better if I stepped down and let the group become a bit more, um, homogeneous for the sake of getting stuff done. Only problem is they never got anything done. Both of the black members left the group soon after. The rest of the group (all white, thanks to the leadership) eventually broke up. We let little Hitler run the show, but unlike the real-life Hitler, this Hitler wasn’t so good at carrying out campaigns.
Anyway, I like the picture and quote above. It puts things into perspective. If you ever run into a D, use the picture to laugh at the situation.