I haven't seen Get Out. I've tried to stay far away from anything close to the horror genre since I saw the Strangers in 2008.
However, I have been curious about Get Out. It's the movie that will finally show Americans what it is like to be black in America, to be a minority in America. Of course, 124 minutes of film could hardly show what it is like to spend a lifetime as a minority, but Get Out seems to have come close.
The headlines and reviews have been glorious, and the movie has been a huge success! It's made $150 million since opening day. White people can no longer hide behind claims of ignorance when it comes to racism! It's a movie you can feel good about seeing because you're finally acknowledging racism in America and the part you play in it.
Finally, a movie for me! Someone who is not only the product of an interracial couple but is also part of an interracial couple!
Unfortunately, my curiosity quickly drained away when I read this piece in Quartz. There's only one Asian character in the whole film! And the way the character is used is totally stereotypical. How could I, an Asian person, possibly enjoy this movie?
As Quartz puts it:
The "almost white" model minority stereotype denies Asians their own stories while simultaneously engendering resentment from other minority groups who see Asians as bypassing them on the economic ladder. In actuality, this stereotype merely obscures the real issues of systemic racism, which undermines Asian-Americans as well.
This really got me thinking about all the times I've been systematically undermined as an Asian American. Here are the top four:
- Do you speak Chinese? This comes up every time I visit my Chinese grandparents. They have lots of Chinese friends who speak Chinese. (I don't, for the record.)
- What are you mixed with? This one actually happens quite a bit. I often hear it from foreign cab drivers who are curious about my unique ethnicity. Maybe it's an effort to integrate into American society, but it's clear white racism against Asians has seeped into foreign cultures as well.
- You don't look Chinese. This one is a constant reminder that I am both half-Asian and half-white.
- Do you speak Spanish? I have on more than one occasion been approached by a Spanish-speaking person asking for help on the Metro. A clear sign that just because you're not white doesn't mean you can't undermine another minority.
I don't know if I'll ever recover from these microaggressions. But it's important to remember something the wise Kourtney Kardashian said: "Kim, there's people that are dying."