Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


So I've hit the 500 posts mark, and that's pretty cool. Happy 500 to me! (Well, no it's 501.)

I was watching Michelle Obama in Columbus Ohio and I can't describe how much she inspires me - just look at all the faces of the young, the variety of skin tones, the eyes all intent. Damn the woman is a fine speaker. And she will not be a first lady in the model of Laura, but rather, and I say this with the best of intentions, Hillary Clinton. A strong first lady who was unafraid to speak her mind and to show girls across America that it's okay to grow up bold, powerful, and beautiful. And I don't think that girls have to only choose to be First Lady, they can definitely run for President, and I appreciate Hillary for setting that example. That said, women and people of color have to look beyond the color or the shape of a vessel to someone's politics and what they would actually do for our communities - how they would represent us.

I'll admit that when there's a politician of color, that gets them in the door with me, but when I examine their record, their goals, that's what matters.

Feminism takes so many forms, and women of color who have felt the need to choose as Helen Zia has laid out before, who felt the need to check off one box or to splinter their identities, need strong models who acknowledge their birthright in all its shapes and colors.

I was listening to public radio and there was a story about a Latina who looks white owing as her heritage is mixed, working at FAO Shwartz, and her job was to get girls to adopt these baby dolls. For the longest time, she worked hard to get girls to buy the dolls, and then they hit a promotional breakthrough and they couldn't keep the dolls stocked. First, all the white babies sold out, so that when rich upper crust NYC matrons came to buy their girls dolls, they were dismayed that all they could buy were black and brown girls.

It's not unlike the Girl Like Me video where we get taught at a young age to value whiteness as beauty and strength. As desire and as power. I reject all that in favor of hope and a brighter future.



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