acism doesn’t label anyone. It confiscates one’s identity.
And none of the 19 stories about Asia Prime and/or #RacistRager I’ve read reported on that aspect.
On Feb. 1, a Duke University fraternity hosted Asia Prime, a party where people dressed as stereotypical Asians.
The university suspended the Eta Prime chapter, but, the suspension had “nothing to do with the Asian theme party.” (Bullshit.)
But instead of elaborating on the party itself, this post will shed light on a criminally underreported story, racism’s psychological impacts — and how it impacted personal identities.
Only seven Korean-Americans attend there — only one as a journalism and mass communication major, the other six science-related.
That is I. And fair or unfair, I am the token Asian to many because of it.
I’m consciously aware that I could perpetuate or change any stereotype. One overreaction and it could impact how many view all Asian-Americans. (The amount of racist jokes I endure …)
And that pressure impacts my mental health. Heavily.
Even with Asians, I’m a branded as a rouge individual focusing on arts rather than science. Back in high school, the “Asian group” outcasted me because of a Korean pop culture knowledge ineptitude. Some called me a traitor for having a Japanesse girlfriend.
This microcosm led to an identity crisis. Bullying has nothing on feeling you’re a less than human, feeling like a fraud no matter what mask you have on. A chip on my shoulder? More like an eye-soaring visible scar on the back of my hands.
Asia Prime could have set distinctions at Duke: outraged Asian-Americans and others, and those who thought Asian-Americans overreacted and others.
Many of those individuals will go through an identity crisis, one caused by Kappa Sigma. Unintended or not. The party planners should ask themselves: Was throwing that party worth impacting potentially generations of individuals?
Racism forced many to create a new identity, one stemmed from what others claimed what one should be, so they wouldn’t feel outcasted. And no one would wish that feeling of being stared at and judged, one that animals at the zoo may liken to, for being themselves.
One racist act, small or big, psychologically makes a pebble-in-a-pond-like effect — and not just for its victims. It impacts potentially generations more of that racist mindset.
And leaves many victims ashamed of who they are.
Next time a racist event or comment happens, be mad not of the wrongness but how it changed the lives — and mindsets — of generations, perpetuating more stereotypes, further away from the change we all want to see in the world.