The worst people on the Internet came after me last week after I wrote an article about an upcoming MTV documentary called White People. If you missed out on the drama, here's a quick recap: White People (out July 22 on MTV) is a new doc directed by Pulitzer winner Jose Antonio Vargas that aims to get white people to have discussions about race and acknowledge their white privilege. I ended up writing a quick news post about it in a part-joking, part-serious manner, but boy were some white people NOT HERE for that. And after all the hate messages I've gotten this past week, it's been made even more clear this is a film that may, unfortunately, be very, very necessary.
When I wrote up that piece, of course, I expected terrible comments, as always, but things got quickly out of hand after an Infowars article got published and #Gamergate and White Supremacy Twitter slid into my mentions with their Confederate Flag avatars.
What I thought was a semi-humorous post gently poking fun at white people being uncomfortable about race issues turned me into some anti-white crusader. It's amazing how butt-hurt white people get when we point out their white privilege. From my article, here are the things that people were most hung up about:
- 1) "I have white friends, I promise!": People obviously missed the fact that I was making a joke about white people using the go-to "I have black friends!" card when called out for their racism. People can be so daft sometimes. Jokes aside, I actually do have plenty of white friends.
- 2) "Check out the trailer below (warning: lots of white people tears lie ahead)": Y'all acting like I drink white tears for breakfast. I've had a lot of people tweet at me being like, "CAN'T WAIT 'TIL YOU SHED ASIAN TEARS" which okay, I cry all the time anyway, so I guess you got what you want, but ALSO white people do cry tears in the trailer. I was LITERALLY stating a fact. Never have I gotten more heat for stating an undeniable truth, damn.
- 3) "Still, it's always a good time poking fun at white people": This one is hard to explain to the Confederate Flag-toting community on the Internet but here goes... Poking fun at white people is a comedic defense mechanism rather than a weapon of cruel intentions. This is a show that attempts to get white people to think critically about race and privilege. When white people are the target of a joke, people are usually laughing about their overpriced J. Crew fits or debutante balls or country clubs or whatever privileged white people are fond of. When people of color are targeted for stereotypes, you get Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Remember, racism = prejudice + power. White privilege is always having the law on your side. White privilege is being the butt of a harmless joke. White privilege is seeing yourself represented in pop culture. White privilege is not even having to think about race until a doc like White People forces you to.
On that note, a handful of people also told me that I, being a light-skinned Asian, am also a white person and experience white privilege. I'll acknowledge the fact that I lead a very comfortable life, being a fortunate person of certain privileges, but in no way am I Caucasian or accepted the same way white people are in this country. No matter how pale I look in my Twitter photo. (The vile racist messages I got bombarded with will drive that point home, thanks anon emailer):
Another thing people seem to love pointing out is that white people aren't the only racists out there. There are Asian racists! Yes, I'm VERY aware. People of color can be racist toward each other, too, and it's terrible. But that wasn't the point of the article. Also for those who are questioning Complex for hiring an "illegal immigrant" like me, wow how did you know I fooled HR with my shoddy paperwork?!
On the other hand, the crying white man that I gently poke fun at in my original post was very nice to me on Twitter, possibly because he's taken away a lot from his experience, understands white privilege, and knows that I'm not coming at him with malicious contempt.
There's really nothing worse in this world than being called a racist by racists who are saying very, very racist things to you. If you want to lose faith in humanity, sit back and read some of the worst messages I got this week:
Lastly, I'm really digging this dude's attempt at tweeting me in my mother tongue, telling me (in broken Korean) to choke on my own laughter and go to hell along with my fellow dog-eating people: