Op-ed: On the Asian American’s Political Self-Awareness: Not “Basically White”

An op-ed by Danielle Tobey, Marketing Chair.

The more Asian Americans become politically engaged, the more Asian Americans will gain political influence (ex. hold office), and the more represented the Asian American community will be in politics and media. The Asian American vote matters. Not Being Represented Means…
  • Less resources directed to you (ex. Grants, bilingual education).
  • You’re seen as an outsider (ex. In the media, immigration reform).
  • Your problems aren’t prioritized (ex. Discrimination in the job market).
The Status Quo   danielleoped                       Asian Americans are least likely to vote, compared to their white, black, and Hispanic counterparts, even though “….[their] level of education and income, as a whole, [ranks the highest]” (1). Asian Americans are the fastest growing voting population (2). Asian Americans are progressively leaning democratic (3). The Hard Truth Although you may have grown up with a lot of white people, you will never fully be accepted in this country as a true American. Why? Well…you look different. And you do not have a “basically white” status simply because you personally don’t feel discriminated against. If we’re being honest with ourselves, color blindness — “I don’t see color” —is not a real thing. Everything we do and say, supports or alters a stereotype of the Asian American representation in someone’s eyes. “But I’m Korean American, not Chinese American.” “I’m not even from here…” “I’m not even Asian…” It hardly matters here. Because of the way we look, we are labeled as a part of the “Asian American identity.” Okay, I get it, what then? Embrace it. Though our differences do make us unique, in the political context, it is our common experience that we should celebrate. Only by coming together does our voice crescendo. The black community understands this, which is why they have historically voted as a bloc, and why they start strong movements like Black Lives Matter. Gaining clarity is not to reinforce existing divisions. It’s what mindset we choose to have and the actions we choose to take with our self-awareness. As an eligible voter, you have the chance to make a positive difference in the Asian American community by strengthening the Asian American vote. That’s the perspective I choose to take. What do you choose? Call to action
  • In CA, the voter registration deadline is on 10/24. Find out when yours is on rockthevote.
  • 2016’s general election date is Nov. 8th. Register to vote or check your registration on voteplz.
  • CA’s Prop 60 requires porn stars to wear condoms during sex. Stunned? Great! Read more about it on ballot.fyi. For other states’ ballot measures, visit ballotpedia. They will affect you more than you think!
Sources Pew Research Center National Asian American Survey Ibid.