journal 4


Answer questions through articles and videos. Each question requires 7-8 sentences.NO MAS BEBES:…the NEW Latinos: PUBLIC SCHOOLS:…I am Not Your Negro:…Name________________________
Journal #4 – Post-1965 Immigration & Social Movements in the 1960s-1970s
Take copious notes on these film clips and readings. Then, give thoughtful
responses to the following questions for each film/reading selection. For each
question, bring in analysis from our weekly readings.
“No Mas Bebes” (Film)
1. How did the doctors make sure they legally had ‘consent’ to sterilize the women?
2. What is the argument of the legal team representing the women, and how does it
differ from what the former Head of Gynecology (Dr. Quilligan) says?
3. Explain the patient interactions with doctors, and some of what the doctor’s
perceptions of these Mexican women was
4. How was “The Population Bomb” (book) influential for having children, and
population control?
5. How are the stories of Mexicans the same as the stories of Black women, and poor
white women, with regard to how they obtained ‘consent’ for sterilization?
6. What role does eugenics (think of what we have discussed earlier in this course) and
the “Burden” play in the sterilizations
7. What were the reactions of doctors who were residents at the time? Do they take
8. What is the responsibility of modern day physicians, understanding the lived
experiences of women of color who have been harmed historically?
“Latino Americans – Episode 4: The New Latinos”
9. Moreno in West Side Story and using her personal experience while acting on set
10. How were Puerto Rican ‘threats’ to society used to vilify the whole population in
11. Literacy tests keeping people from voting
“The Women Behind White Power”
12. What roles did women play in maintaining segregation?
13. What is significant about the role of women in maintaining supremacy in the South?
14. How might the history be remembered now, if there is an equal focus on the role of
both men and women in the resistance against racial equality?
“Jackson Public Schools”
15. Comment on the students setting up students of color to feel unwelcome in class
16. What reasons might Black families be scared to send their children to integrated
17. How much was spent on students, based on race, in Jackson in 1962? How does that
affect the quality of education?
18. What hegemonic issues affect these schools modern day?
“What’s Your Emergency?”
19. How do the women making calls to the police justify their behavior, to themselves
and to the public upon the backlash? What is significant about that?
20. In what ways does this removal of Black bodies from space relate to the removal of
Indigenous bodes from space?
21. Comment on the direct racist language used by Duncan in her “hunting” video; why
is that ‘hunt’ culturally relevant to the experience of the victim’s ancestors?
“The Myth of the Model Minority”
22. Explain what the “model minority” stereotype is and why it’s harmful
23. How does the trope of the model minorities cause issue with other minorities? What
is the implication if you are not the “model”?
24. Describe what are considered advantages for people who emigrate from Asia to the
United States?
25. What type of issues do disadvantaged Southeast Asians face in America?
“The Emergence of Yellow Power”
26. How does Uyematsu say Asians have tried to transform themselves in the process of
27. Explain how she says Asians are stereotyped, and how they have responded to that
“The Cult of the Country Boy”
28. Describe what style Elvis embraced, and why it was important at the time
29. The role of American suburbia, and who belonged and who did not
30. Explain the imagery behind ‘trailer park’, ‘vermin’, and those labeled ‘trash’
31. What threat did integration pose for people like Hazel Bryan?
32. How does the southern stereotype lend to imagery surrounding the ‘trash’?
Jim Crow Guide, “Chapter 9” (Forced Labor)
33. Explain how much the forced laborer has to work, and analyze where the ideologies
of their work load stem from
34. Elaborate on the concept of ‘debt slavery’ and explain the issues with it
35. What role does forced labor take on the entire victimized family?
“I Am Not Your Negro” (Film)
36. What reason does Baldwin say is why Whites are preoccupied with the “Negro
37. What does Baldwin say is the root of hatred for Black Men, and for White Men
38. Explain the double standard for heroism in America
39. What do you learn about the American sense of reality by entertainment on
40. How has the American dream failed? How do you think it can be remedied?
What’s Your Emergency?: White Women and the Policing of Public Space
Author(s): Justin Louis Mann
Source: Feminist Studies , Vol. 44, No. 3 (2018), pp. 766-775
Published by: Feminist Studies, Inc.
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Justin LOUIS Mann
What’s Your Emergency?:
White Women
and the Policing of Public Space
On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Starbucks closed eight thousand stores so
that its nearly one hundred seventy-five thousand employees could
undergo racial bias training. The company scheduled the training after
a Philadelphia store manager, a white woman with a history of calling
the police on black customers, called 9-1-1 on Rashon Nelson and Donte
Robinson. The arrest sparked outrage when video of the incident was
posted on social media (Melissa DePino, a customer in the coffee house
at the time, filmed the arrest and posted the video to Twitter where it
was shared four million times in forty-eight hours). Although different
from the types of police encounters that have dominated news reports —
encounters that often end in the murder of black people — this episode,
and the many others like it that have come to light in the months since,
is equally important to understanding contemporary race relations in
the United States. Here and in other incidents in which white people,
especially white women, make false reports to the police accusing black
people of criminal activity where none is present, gender often plays a
pivotal role in producing notions of fear and safety. In this essay, I am
most interested in how discourses of security and rights enable and sublimate racism, encouraging white women to call the police on black
people. The implications of such acts are magnified in a context where
police encounters often end in the violent death of innocent “suspects.”
Feminist Studies 44, no. 3. © 2018 by Feminist Studies, Inc.
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I also want to consider the unique response engendered by social media,
in which accusers are lampooned and turned into memes.
In the time since Nelson and Robinson were arrested, numerous
other incidents in which police were called on innocent black people
have been reported in the press. Although recounting all of these incidents would be impossible — especially because we might imagine that
each story that garners media attention eclipses countless others that
do not— a few examples reveal a compelling set of consistencies. At Yale
University and more recently at Smith College, white female students
called police on black students who were using common areas to study
or sleep. A white woman called the police on Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Donisha Prendergast, and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan as they moved out of
their Airbnb, and former Obama-administration staffer Darren Marten
was questioned by police while he moved into his apartment in New
York City. In Pennsylvania, a white man called the police on five black
women while they golfed. His complaint: the women were playing too
slowly.1 A woman in Oakland called the police on two black men who
were barbequing in a public park in Lake Merritt. This incident was also
filmed and posted to the internet where it went viral, with viewers dubbing the woman #BBQBecky. Her image was also digitally edited so
that she appears standing behind Martin Luther King on the steps of
See Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “A Black Yale Student Fell Asleep in Her Dorm’s
Common Room. A White Student Called Police,” The Washington Post, May
2018,; “‘All I Did Was Be
Black’: Someone Called the Police on a Student Lying on a Dorm Couch,”
The Washington Post, August 2018,
/grade-point/wp/2018/08/05/all-i-did-was-be-black-someone-called-the-policeon-a-student-lying-on-a-dorm-couch/?utm_term=.d0f1afbe4e75; Patricia
Mesachio, “Bob Marley’s Granddaughter Donisha Prendergast Demands
Police Protocol Changes After Airbnb Run-In,” Billboard, May 2018, https://; Julica Jacobo and Erica Y King, “‘Profiling Is Real’:
Former Obama Staffer Mistaken as Burglar While Moving into New York
City Apartment,” ABC News, May 2018,
Christina Caron, “5 Black Women Were Told to Golf Faster. Then the Club
Called the Police,” The New York Times, April 2018,
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the Lincoln Memorial, peering through the window of the Oval Office
at President Obama taking a phone call, and popping up in Wakanda.2
More recently, a woman in San Francisco nicknamed #PermitPatty was
recorded making a 9-1-1 call to report an eight-year-old black girl for
selling water. She complained that the girl did not have a permit. The
list is alarmingly long. Indeed, from California to New York, from gyms
to parks, from department stores to universities, it feels like it is open
season on black people.
I want to linger over #PermitPatty and #BBQBecky, two figures who
have risen to iconic status. “Becky” and “Patty,” whose real names are Jennifer Schulte and Allison Ettel respectively, typified the kind of racism
that saturated the false reports listed above. They were also unique in
that they enabled a humoristic stance in the response from black critics. These women achieved the status of internet infamy, becoming cartoon caricatures of a mode of white femininity obsessed with eliminating black people from public space in the name of rule-following.3 In
this, they typify the “exceptional citizen[-ship]” that Inderpal Grewal
describes in Saving the Security State. In fact, they exemplify “exceptional citizens’” desires “to access and maintain the privileges of whiteness to become exceptional and sovereign.” 4 As Grewal notes, women
play a unique role in the machinations of exceptional citizenship, fusing
a race-blind regard for equal opportunity with the ambitions of a whitesupremacist security state. While this may be true for the many women
who work in the defense and intelligence sectors, as Grewal describes,
other noncredentialed women living in American cities during this age of
“white return” also seek to express their desire for police power through
the emergency calls they make to police. To my eye, Becky and Patty
advance the agenda of US empire in the gentrifying neighborhoods
See Malinda Janay, “These Hysterical Memes of the Becky Who Hates Black
Barbecues Deserve Some Kind of Twitter Award,” Blavity, May 2018, https://
In Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad (New York: Doubleday, 2017),
Fiona, the white Irish maid, evokes the same sensibility. Fiona reports the
white family protecting the escaped slave Cora, ostensibly to raise her own
social position.
Inderpal Grewal, Saving the Security State: Exceptional Citizens in Twenty-First-Century America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 4.
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of America’s inner cities.5 That is, the general and pervasive specter of
black criminality underwrites Becky’s and Patty’s fears and makes their
calls to police appear reasonable and fair-minded. It leaves some, myself
included, asking “what’s your emergency?”
In the course of their responses to critics, both in the moment
and after the fact, they reject the notion that blackness contributed to
their decisions to call the police in any way. Indeed, both attempted to
explain their antiblackness through the language of the public good, language that ultimately invokes the rule of law as its justification. In so
doing, they frame racialized conceptions of safety and risk in supposedly colorblind terms. In Becky and Patty, we see the true contour of
securitized femininity in the contemporary moment. See-somethingsay-something logic enshrouds white women like Becky and Patty in a
purportedly colorblind veil of rule following, enabling them to carry out
the work of white supremacy by insisting that black people are always
already worthy of suspicion. Their problem, as they themselves claim,
is with their victims’ disregard for the regulations governing the use of
public space — barbequing in a zone where children might get hurt or
selling water bottles on a hot day without a permit. They justify their
emergency calls through what I would term prophetic mental gymnastics foreseeing their own victimization or, notably, the victimization of
(white) children. (In Patty’s case, the victimization of Jordan Rodgers,
the eight-year-old girl on whom she called the police, seems not to have
concerned her). In short, Becky and Patty purport to act in the public’s best interest, ensuring the preservation of a pristine, and implicitly
white, public order predicated on the oppression of black people.
The orderly world Becky and Patty seek in their recourse to regulations is saturated with white claims to public space. The ties between race,
property, and rights have long been a central object of inquiry for critical
race theorists, especially for black feminist critics of the law. As Cheryl
Harris explains in her foundational 1993 article “Whiteness as Property,”
Both Michelle Alexander and Elizabeth K. Hinton describe the growth of
domestic security regimes that developed out of the War on Drugs. See
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: New Press, 2010); and Elizabeth K. Hinton, From
the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in
America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016).
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“In ways so embedded that it is rarely apparent, the set of assumptions,
privileges, and benefits that accompany the status of being white have
become a valuable asset that whites sought to protect.” 6 For Harris, it
is almost impossible to disentangle notions of property and ownership
from the legacy of racial domination that preconditioned their existence.
Through various legal mechanisms, notably the sexual abuse of black
women, “Whiteness became the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings.” 7 Similar forces, she notes, allowed for the
legal dispossession and removal of native peoples from land they had
inhabited for generations. Together, these two capacities invested whiteness with the essential characteristics of property and disallowed black
and native people from enjoying the privileges conferred by property
rights. Read with this theory in mind and with an eye toward contributions to black feminist legal and social theory, from Patricia J. Williams’s crucial discussion of rights and need in The Alchemy of Race and
Rights to Jennifer C. Nash’s recent work on black female sexuality and
waste, the policing of public space by white people, especially by caricaturized white women, renders black people toxic, despoiling public
property, and thus worthy of removal.8
The practice of policing public space has strong ties to the democratization of surveillance that has been a key feature of the War on Terror.
Especially in contemporary cities, the fear of terrorism and crime deputizes
everyday (white, female) citizens as surveillance officers. As scholars such
as Grewal, Amy Kaplan, and Melani McAlister have shown, the language
of “women’s rights” has produced the white female subject as a model citizen for right-less brown and black women in Africa, the Middle East,
and Asia. White women simultaneously bolster the imperial ambitions
of Western powers, leading to dispossession and disenfranchisement of
Cheryl Harris, “Whiteness as Property,” Harvard Law Review 106, no. 8 (June
1993): 1713.
Ibid., 1721.
See Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991); Jennifer C. Nash,
“Black Anality,” GLQ 20, no. 4 (2014): 439–60. Indeed the relationship of
black people, especially black women, to legal categories of rights and rightlessness forms the foundations of black feminist legal theory. See also, Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black
Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and
Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989, no. 1, art. 8 (1989).
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the brown and black women who supposedly engender humanitarian
concern. At home “security moms” serve the essential role of bolstering the
state’s surveillance functions in the name of a tranquil domestic, a word
that should register both the public nation and the private home.9 The
see-something-say-something logic of the War on Terror/War on Drugs
invites civilians to perform the surveillance functions of the state and
ensures an endless war abroad. This logic has important implications
when we consider that the practices of civilian policing, or vigilantism
as it might (rightly) be identified in other contexts, began in the service
of protecting white American women from black and native men. As
Grewal notes, “In the period of Jim Crow, white women’s safety was used
to justify the lynching or imprisonment of black men.” 10 White women
are thus understood as always already victimized and as perfectly pure
and chaste. Vigilantism thus works in the service of preserving female
purity and chastity while simultaneously exacting vengeance on the
apparently corrupting forces of black presence. In the context of twenty-first-century US cities in the grip of white return and gentrification,
this means removing black (and brown) people from the neighborhoods
they were sequestered into in the era of white flight. White people who
self-segregated out of urban centers, such as San Francisco, Oakland, or
Philadelphia, seek the elimination of black people and culture from their
parks, street corners, and doorsteps. They use the police as a private
army, marshalled to cull those deemed undesirable from their neighborhoods. In short, they have declared open season on black people.
The recourse to law and order is subtler here than in the recent
political rallies in Indiana and West Virginia. This is, therefore, not a
partisan problem, but a problem of uninterrogated racism. For example, in her insipid mea culpa, Allison Etell describes Jordan Rodgers as
“screaming” and “yelling” and claims that Rodgers disrupted Etell while
she was working from home. Etell, we might imagine, was disrupted in
the course of managing her online marijuana oil business, by the shouts
9. See Grewal, Saving the Security State, 118–43
10. Ibid., 127. See also Amy Kaplan, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of US
Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East
since 1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Simone Browne,
Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015).
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of young girl trying to earn some money, like many other kids who sell
lemonade and other iced beverages on hot days. Etell likely would have
preferred the pigtailed-respectability of cul-de-sacs and hand-made
signs to the hawking of cold water on an urban street. Etell’s ludicrous
request that her victim produce a permit overtly invokes the rule of law
in order to justify her racism. In a world in which police interactions
with black people — especially children — end in fatalities, emergency
calls for innocuous violations may end in death. Perhaps activist Shaun
King put it best when he tweeted the following in response to the video
of Etell’s 9-1-1 call: “They want police to kill us. The girl was causing no
harm. They know what happens when they call the police. This is evil.” 11
Humor in Response to “Spirit Murder”
King’s alarm is not misplaced. The seemingly banal cases in which white
people use the public-serving police as a private security force reveal the
insidious contours of whiteness (and, in these cases, white-womanhood)
in the contemporary moment. It is, unfortunately, remarkable that these
encounters ended without the kind of violence that claimed the lives of
Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and too many others gunned
down in the course of living their lives. Yet, because these encounters
reflect a different kind of violence, violence that is closer to what Patricia Williams calls “spirit murder,” there seems to be more room for creative protest.12 Such protests have included the public outing of these
figures, many of whom have lost jobs and friends because of their behavior. While I am concerned about the implications of sharing personal
information about white victimizers (which uncomfortably evokes
the tactics of misogynist white supremacist internet trolls), I want to
consider the unique capacity of humor to combat this form of spirit
murder. 13 Social media, especially “black Twitter”— a loose association
of black activists, culture-makers, intellectuals, and everyday figures —
has enabled the comedic rejection of Becky, Patty, and others. The viral
sharing of stories of public-space policing by white people, especially
11. Shaun King, Twitter post, June 23, 2018, 10:36 AM,
12. Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights, 73.
13. This practice, known as doxxing, has been widely used by antifeminist and
racist internet denizens who use personal information to attack progressive public figures.
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white women, enables the elaboration of extended networks of care-givers who share support and empower victims to recontextualize these
events. The characterization of white women alarmists through a
hashtag is especially interesting; the memification of Becky and Patty
lays bare the one-dimensionality of their fears, while it also provides
an outlet for what might otherwise be incapacitating feelings of anger
and sadness. As Glenda Carpio suggests, humor, such as those memes
lampooning Becky and Patty, “pillories the ideologies and practices that
supported slavery, and that, in different incarnations, continue to support racist practices.” 14 Becky’s inscription onto the image of the historic March on Washington, for example, juxtaposes the pervasive distaste for black people against the narrative of racial harmony following
the Civil Rights Movement. Becky (and contemporary white supremacy
by extension) appears as both a socio-cultural relic of a bygone racial
order and an indicator of the recalcitrance of white supremacy despite
the apparent victories of legal civil rights. Put differently, the object of
humor — that is, the thing we object to as out-of-joint— is juxtaposed
against its latent or implicit target. Becky’s opposition to racial progress becomes foregrounded, both metaphorically and positionally, when
she is inscribed over the historic photo. Her disdain for black presence
in public places cannot hide behind the veneer of public decency. She
is a joke not only because her prejudice is incongruous with the narrative of racial progress (a narrative we should constantly question, to be
sure), but also because of its diminutive stakes. Such a meme simultaneously signals the gravity of white women’s disdain and its fecklessness. Depictions of these figures as humorous memes highlight the
absurdity of their behavior and, in so doing, bring the implicit assumptions of black criminality and white property and propriety to the fore.
Despite the oppressive reality that any of these encounters might have
ended more violently, sarcasm, hyperbole, caricature, and various other
forms of ridicule bolster feelings of solidarity of black social media users
and therefore complement other forms of public expression that enjoin
people in their various acts of resistance. The hashtags #BBQBecky and
#PermitPatty name the absurdity of suspicion that led to the encounter
14. Glenda Carpio, Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slavery
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 7.
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and suture that absurdity to a stereotypical white woman. They are rendered as cartoons, two-dimensional, and stock, simple in their animosity and opprobrium.
I conclude with a final incident, one that might, at first blush, appear
distinct from what I have outlined above. In early June 2018, a SnapChat video depicting Tabitha Duncan and two white, male companions
went viral. Duncan, a white waitress and US Air Force enlisted reservist from Missouri, and the two men are shown drinking beer on a dark
country road. Duncan smiles at the camera as a male voice offscreen
asks, “Are we going nigger hunting today or what?” “We’re going nigger
hunting,” another man, this time on screen, replies. “You get them niggers,” Duncan responds, smiling into the camera and sipping her beer.15
Duncan bolsters the predatory and potentially murderous intentions
of her white male companions. She poses and grins, flirting with the
camera and the men around her as they set out, ostensibly to find black
men or women to insult, torment, assault, or kill. In this way, she exemplifies the feminized security figure that Grewal describes. It is easy to
dismiss Duncan as extraneous rather than endogenous to the system of
racism that produces Becky and Patty. Duncan’s use of the taboo n-word,
and its repetition in the discourse, suggests an easy acknowledgement
of racism that Becky and Patty disavow. I would imagine that the latter
would object to the use of such language in polite conversation. Yet, it
is important to consider these two discrete forms of racism as linked in
a shared project of seeking out, finding, and ultimately removing black
people from white space. To me, these figures are cut from the same
cloth. Duncan names the desire Becky and Patty have: to hunt black
people, bring them to heel, to see them in chains or perhaps, worse, dead.
Duncan, Becky, Patty, the Starbucks manager, and the Yale graduate student are all engaged in the current phase of “nigger hunting.” With its
roots in earlier modes of antiblack violence, contemporary pursuits are
dominated by an explicit disavowal that race contributes at all to the
desire to maintain an orderly world. Duncan’s candid racism serves as
15. Although the video has been taken down, it can be seen on the Facebook
page for Real STL News. See also Breanna Edwards, “Missouri Waitress
Fired Over ‘N-Word Hunting’ Video Swears She Isn’t Racist, Claims to
Have Black Friends,” The Root, June 12, 2018,
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an important indicator, showing us the hateful forces animating these
desires. Truly evading the venatic ambitions of figures like Duncan, or
Patty and Becky for that matter, may ultimately be impossible. Yet, the
capacity of certain forms of social discourse to mock and cajole the
forces of oppression shouldn’t be overlooked or understated. Turning
figures such as Betty, Patty, and maybe even Duncan, from poachers to
punchlines is an important life-giving practice, one we should enthusiastically embrace.
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The Emergence of Yellow Power
Amy Uyematsu
Asian Americans can no longer afford to watch the black‐and‐white struggle from the
sidelines. They have their own cause to fight, since they are also victims–with less visible
scars–of the white institutionalized racism. A yellow movement has been set into motion by
the black power movement. Addressing itself to the unique problems of Asian Americans,
this “yellow power” movement is relevant to the black power movement in that both are
part of the Third World struggle to liberate all colored people.
The yellow power movement has been motivated largely by the problem of self‐identity in
Asian Americans. The psychological focus of this movement is vital, for Asian Americans
suffer the critical mental crises of having “integrated” into American society–
No person can be healthy, complete, and mature if he must deny a part of
himself; this is what “integration” has required so far.‐Stokely Carmichael &
Charles V. Hamilton
The Asian Americans’ current position in America is not viewed as a social problem.
Having achieved middle‐class incomes while presenting no real threat in numbers to
the white majority, the main body of Asian Americans (namely, the Japanese and the
Chinese) have received the token acceptance of white America.
Precisely because Asian Americans have become economically secure, do they face
serious identity problems. Fully committed to a system that subordinates them on
the basis of non‐whiteness, Asian Americans still try to gain complete acceptance by
denying their yellowness. They have become white in every respect but color.
However, the subtle but prevailing racial prejudice that “yellows” experience
restricts them to the margins of the white world. Asian Americans have assumed
white identities, that is, the values and attitudes of the majority of Americans. Now
they are beginning to realize that this nation is a “White democracy” and that yellow
people have a mistaken identity.
Within the past two years, the “yellow power” movement has developed as a direct
outgrowth of the “black power” movement. The “black power” movement caused
many Asian Americans to question themselves. “Yellow power” is just now at the
stage of “an articulated mood rather than a program‐disillusionment and alienation
from white America and independence, race pride, and self‐respect.” Yellow
consciousness is the immediate goal of concerned Asian Americans.
In the process of Americanization, Asians have tried to transform themselves into
white men‐both mentally and physically. Mentally, they have adjusted to the white
man’s culture by giving up their own languages, customs, histories, and cultural
values. They have adopted the “American way of life” only to discover that this is not
Next, they have rejected their physical heritages, resulting in extreme self‐hatred.
Yellow people share with the blacks the desire to look white. Just as blacks wish to be
light‐complected with thin lips and unkinky hair, “yellows” want to be tall with long
legs and large eyes. The self‐hatred is also evident in the yellow male’s obsession
with unobtainable white women, and in the yellow female’s attempt to gain male
approval by aping white beauty standards. Yellow females have their own “conking”
techniques‐they use “peroxide, foam rubber, and scotch tape to give them light hair,
large breasts, and double‐lidded eyes.”
The “Black is Beautiful” cry among black Americans has instilled a new awareness in
Asian Americans to be proud of their physical and cultural heritages. Yellow power
advocates self‐acceptance as the first step toward strengthening personalities of Asian
Americans ….
The problem of self‐identity in Asian Americans also requires the removal of
stereotypes. The yellow people in America seem to be silent citizens. They are
stereotyped as being passive, accommodating, and unemotional. Unfortunately, this
description is fairly accurate, for Asian Americans have accepted these stereotypes and
are becoming true to them.
The silent, passive image of Asian Americans is understood not in terms of their
cultural backgrounds, but by the fact that they are scared. The earliest Asians in
America were Chinese immigrants who began settling in large numbers on the West
Coast from 1850 through 1880. They were subjected to extreme white racism, ranging
from economic subordination, to the denial of rights of naturalization, to physical
violence. During the height of anti‐Chinese mob action of the 1880’s, whites were
“stoning the Chinese in the streets; cutting off their queues, wrecking their shops and
laundries.” The worst outbreak took place in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in 1885, when
twenty‐eight Chinese residents were murdered. Perhaps, surviving Asians learned to
live in silence, for even if “the victims of such attacks tried to go to court to win
protection, they could not hope to get a hearing. The phrase ‘not a Chinaman’s chance’
had a grim and bitter reality.”
Racist treatment of “yellows” still existed during World War II, with the unjustifiable
internment of 110,000 Japanese into detention camps. When Japanese Americans were
ordered to leave their homes and possessions behind within short notice, they
cooperated with resignation and did not even voice opposition ….
Today the Asian Americans are still scared. Their passive behavior serves to keep
national attention on the black people. By being as inconspicuous as possible, they
keep pressure off of themselves at the expense of the blacks. Asian Americans have
formed an uneasy alliance with white Americans to keep the blacks down. They close
their eyes to the latent white racism toward them which has never changed.
Frightened “yellows” allow the white public to use the “silent Oriental” stereotype
against the black protest: The presence of twenty million blacks in America poses an
actual physical threat to the white system. Fearful whites tell militant blacks that the
acceptable criterion for behavior is exemplified in the quiet, passive Asian American.
The yellow power movement envisages a new role for Asian Americans:
It is a rejection of the passive Oriental stereotype and symbolizes the birth of a
new Asian‐one who will recognize and deal with injustices. The shout of Yellow
power, symbolic of our new direction, is reverberating in the quiet corridors of
the Asian community.

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