YouTube celeb Natalie Tran recently gave a talk at Brown University on the depiction of Asians in the media, and it's worth a watch. She makes lots of great points about underrepresentation, tokenism, and stereotypes — but her real shining moment here is a flawless disclaimer that every activist should start using.
I usually shy away from talking about this kind of stuff in public, because, for me, it's a very ongoing, very evolving, personal, sometimes conflicting and shifting conversation that I have with myself. I don't know if that rings true for a lot of you guys as well. But I want to preface this talk by saying what I say today may not necessarily be how I felt in the past. It may not be how I feel tomorrow. It's just how I feel right now. And what I'm saying isn't trying to represent how you feel or any other Asians feel, it's just my personal thoughts.
So let's break this down.
1. It's so, so important to acknowledge that our personal views, our politics, and our ethics are constantly evolving as we learn new things, interact with increasingly diverse people, and read more Tumblr.
2. Letting go of impassioned moral righteousness and acknowledging that we might feel differently about our beliefs in the future is such a humble, easy, graceful way to cover your tracks if some asshole tries to catch you in a "gotcha" moment contradiction down the line.
3. Making space for marginalized people is what activism is all about. So it's key to acknowledge in our sharing of personal stories that we don't speak for all women or all people of color or all LGBTQ folks or for all the members of any persecuted group of people.
You can watch Natalie's whole talk below.