Suey Park, Asian-American feminist and queer activist, decided this past Saturday that Twitter needed a little shake-up: She announced that Dec. 15 would kick off the hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick, to spread awareness on the daily microaggressions that Asian-American and Pacific Islander (otherwise known as "AAPI") feminists undergo.
Here is what Park told BuzzFeed via email:
In Asian American spaces, particularly in the non-profit sector, I have been disappointed by the narrow ways in which we define Asian American and who we leave behind by way of those narrow definitions.#NotYourAsianSidekick is a new space, in which voices of those of us marginalized and silenced within Asian American circles get to tell our stories…
My dear friends and I have had growing critiques of how patriarchy in Asian American spaces hurts, while white feminism leaves much to be desired, so we created this space instead. We talked about queerness, disability, immigration, multiracial/biracial issues, compulsory coalitions, challenging anti-blackness, mental health, body image, and all things feminism. It was all of the things we were told to never talk about.”
Soon enough, though, the hashtag veered off from discussing feminism and patriarchy to discussing racism against AAPI at large, media stereotypes of Asian-Americans, and even the term "Asian-American" itself. It didn't take long for the hashtag to go global.
#NotYourAsianSidekick provided AAP a chance to unite over experiences of racism, sexism, and homophobia alike. Many of the tweets speak volumes about privilege and hierarchies.
Some people — ahem, some white people — felt "shunned" by the hashtag, and were convinced it was "racist" against white people. Take Debbie Palm, for example.
She was, unfortunately, not the only one.
They clearly haven't watched Aamer Rahman's video on reverse racism.
Others were under the impression that Twitter was middle school.
But several people beyond the AAPI community actually "got it."
To be fair, not everyone's critiques of the hashtag veered on the end of crazy.
Whatever the arguments about the hashtag, it's started a global discussion about these issues — and, as Suey Park said on her Twitter, it has started a movement. We're looking forward to what she has in store for us next.