A new wave of discrimination has emerged in the recent past called intraracial discrimination as a result of the increasing surge of people in the United States leading to a wide use of the term “pig pot” to denote America. Unlike in the past when discrimination was basically considered interracial, the current on has buffed the society. This kind of discrimination is mainly prominent among the minority groups in America, comprised of Asian Americans and that Black Americans. These groups find themselves in the different social ladder, mostly separated by their social class. The intraracial discrimination within racial cycles and people from a similar group is becoming a common issue in the diverse community of the Americans. Its widespread is what indpired Hsiang to write the book , “FOBs” vs. “Twinkies”: The New Discrimination is Intraracial. Intraracial discrimination is a critical social problem that needs an urgent address within the minority groups in the United States.
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Intra-racial discrimination among Asians
In a recent workshop for the Association for Asian American Student, we decided to take a walk to the restaurant in the Chinatown, Philadelphia so that we could have a dinner. When the waiter approached us with our orders, he gave chopsticks to the three of us but the fourth member of our company, who was half Japanese and half Spanish he decided to give a fork. When we complained he simply stated, “He is American, isn’t that so?” By this he meant that our friend was an American while we were not, a very surprising incident considering the fact that the waiter is also of Asian origin. Even though this was surprising, it is a common happening in America to have intraracial discrimination. The waiter however did not want to identify with us despite having that ability to speak Japanese, which all of us could speak. Hsiang however says, “You should identify with your heritage because of who you are” (111). Intraracial discrimination is and has always been part of the American culture but more prevalent within the Black community. Other individuals consider themselves privileged than the other hence the prejudice. There are also some class divisions among the Asian Americans who often express intraracial tensions around issues of language, immigration and assimilation (Rosenbloom 420-451). This is why Grace Hsiang states that “in the Asian community, the slurs heard more often are terms such as ‘Chink’ or ‘Jap’, butr rather than ‘FOB’….” (Hsiang 110)
In the Asian community for example, insults such as “chink” and “jap” are no longer heard. Instead they use “FOB” meaning Fresh off the Boat or “white- washed” meaning too assimilated (Hsiang 2). Asian Americans often divide themselves into two major groups that criticize each other very much when they reach puberty (Hsiang par.2). One of the groups fully associates itself with the Asian heritage, relate with ’real’ Asians only and want to remain so, while the other detaches itself from the Asian ways of life and want to look American (2). They even try to show that they are ‘no longer’ Asians. She cites an example of a Vietnamese who will “yell at you if you speak it to her and pretend that she does not understand” (2). This kind of attitude may invoke biasness from a preservative individual of the same race. An example is the way some ethnocentric Asians speak with disgust towards their counterparts who put on the Fitch referred to as the “white’’ brand and those who cannot communicate in their parents’ language (4).
Black Americans and Intra-racism
A close friend who is a fourth generation Black American has embraced American culture and often calls his fellow African Americans “dumb niggers” whenever he disagrees with any of them. He has no friend among the African American community would only associate with the “white skinned”. Hsiang however advises that it is good to “embrace all sides of our identity, rather than identifying with one culture of another” (111). Black Americans have always had trouble in finding their identity due to the fact that they were brought over as slaves or servants and incorporated into the dominant white society. This society forced them to view themselves negatively and their white counterparts positively resulting into racial division among themselves based on everything from skin color to physical features (Nadra 1). Skin color which is the most divisive factor, also known as colorism, is the cause of privileges and power given to those lighter in complexion than those darker. A common example cited during the days of slavery when light skinned blacks were assigned to the house and those with darker skin to the fields (EU policy 5). Another example is election or appointment of black leaders such as Robert Weaver, the first black United States cabinet member among other light skinned blacks (Smith 5). Another factor that has divided the black race is the physical features. These include the size of a black person’s nose and lips and their hair texture which have been a great contribution to the degree of success they achieve in life (Houghton Mifflin Company 9).
It is evident that racial discrimination has shifted from being an issue between two different races as in the case where blacks were considered less intelligent than whites, to a kind of prejudice that exists among people of the same race. This is caused by difference in opinion and hence different choices. It therefore becomes necessary to curb this upcoming practice first before extending it to other races. The easiest way to stop this kind of discrimination among the Asians is for them to understand that they belong to two cultures and should use it as building strength than a weakness. For the black Americans they should realize that they are one regardless of their skin color and build on this unity. This should be despite their different unknown identities. In colleges African Americans and Asian Americans should be registered as different and not of homogenous origin.
EU policy. What is Discrimination? 2009. Web.
Houghton Mifflin Company. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Ed. Houghton Mifflin, 2009.
Hsiang, Grace. ‘FOBs’ vs. ‘Twinkies’: The New Discrimination is Intraracial, New America Media. 2009. Web.
Nadra, K. Which Ethnic Groups Benefit From Affirmative Action in College Admission, The New York Times Company 2009.
Rosenbloom, S. Youth& Society, SAGE publications, New York University, vol. 35 No.4, 420-451, 2004.
Smith, Roger. Intraracial Division and Black History. 2004, Web.