About racial discrimination, from someone who gets discriminated


Speech : Grace Ly

"Le racisme ne devrait jamais être ordinaire"Grace Ly nous parle du racisme anti-asiatique que de nombreuses personnes subissent au quotidien

Publiée par Konbini sur Mercredi 11 juillet 2018

In this video, Grace Ly talks about racism in France against Asians, about how women are hyper-sexualised or often subjects of sexual violence/ harassment. The most shocking for me is the part when she talks about how she was with a friend and someone comes up to them and asked “how much is she?”

I’ve only been in Marseille for 2 weeks, I’ve experienced many of the points she’s mentioned, it’s an amazing city for participation and civic engagement but I wish in this super hype about post colonialism in Europe the conversation around discrimination isn’t as singular as black vs white. Even on the streets I get discriminated against by Blacks. (Someone shouted ‘fuck you’ on his motorbike, a few came towards me and cursed in indistinct French, Among others include “ching Chong chang” “chinois? Japonais? Ça va?”) Why are we not talking about this?

It feels like a political game of “whoever has the loudest voice wins the attention”. But Asian culture is often non-confrontational and anti-conflict. If there is genuine interest in opening up conversations about post colonialism, Europe, please look at how many Asian countries you’ve colonised and reflect on how much you’ve done for the citizens from previous colonies who have settled in the region. What have been done for the Vietnamese who’ve settled in France after they fled the genocide in Vietnam war? Vietnamese who settled here raised their children to be “french-er than french” just so they are assimilated into society. Swallowing racism in in order to avoid conflict or violence doesn’t make the situation better. But is speaking up against such vulgarities really a safe option? Most arts projects here addressing discrimination are solely for black artists.

I hope for equality, I hope I wouldn’t be stared at or cursed at just because of how I look, my skin colour and me being a female, I hope I’d feel safe walking on the streets alone as an Asian woman. But this doesn’t mean I hope for white shaming. As much as I don’t get to choose being born Asian, people don’t get to choose being born white. This conversation isn’t about making whites feel guilty for being born white. It needs to be a progressive discourse, it has to be about education emphasising equality and the commonality of the human race, that we all experience the same human condition. It has to be discussion of the social, political and personal issues that people cannot address or solve and make them want to trample on others to vent their frustrations. Also, ultimately, may I remind that most people ARE being discriminated. For being female, for being muslim/ middle eastern(more prevalent since recent terrorist attacks), for being a refugee, for being LGBTQ, for being poor…

Observing, experiencing and reflecting during this trip made me feel really sad, especially the moment I met an older Asian man in the bus and we were the only ones who looked East Asian. My guess was that he came to France because of the Vietnam war. He looked at me a little longer, perhaps looking for some connection or maybe hoping that I spoke his language. I didn’t and I avoided his eye contact because I didn’t know what to say. Then the both of us just stood there, trying to blend into the crowd but never actually blending in because our features are just so different from the rest of the people.


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