i dream of being possible

western cultural imperialism and 'eastern' purity

now that i”ve seen the invocation of west vs. east twice on my dashboard (here and here, perhaps it is time to talk about a thing.

i”m going to pick the short of the two to analyze:

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh okay this is really gonna be awkward, but poc is a western political identity and shouldn’t be readily applied outside of the west, particularly outside of the US

so. like. i get what you’re trying to say, op, but japanese people living in japan don’t abide by western politics source

i”m not really sure how it is possible to push past the cognitive dissonance necessary to use an east/west framework while asserting that “japanese people living in japan don”t abide by western politics.”

not only are they factually wrong about what poc is and how it ought to be used (but i guess we know where they stand on the topic of interracial solidarity), the other linked post claims that ascribing or using ‘poc” to describe non-white people outside of the us (and living in their respective homelands) is a form of ‘western imperialism.” which is interesting — on the grounds of cognitive dissonance again — that they can assert this at the same time as using ‘asian” in a uncritical and ‘neutral” fashion.

1) east vs. west

claiming to reject one type of ‘culturial imperialism” vis a vis the ascribing of ‘poc” to Japanese peopel in Japan while using ‘west” to refer to the colonial, imperial settler government occupying Indigenous territories under the name of the ‘united states of america” is to actually accept a fundamentally white supremacist framing of the world.

particularly, it accepts a white supremacist framing of the world grounded in Indigenous genocide.

imagining the ‘west” as equal to ‘white” requires accepting that settlers have become ‘native” via the completion of genocide.

except. while Indigenous genocides within the americas are ongoing, they are not complete. the Indigenous peoples are still here and still resisting…

and it is definitely not a step in the right direction to uncritically accept a framing of global politics that necessarily erases this struggle and contributes to their oppression.

especially if you are trying to make a point about ~western~ cultural imperialism. if by ‘western” you mean american, then okay. and if ‘poc” and the politics behind it are part of what you want to resist. fine.

but it is highly… suspicious that you wish to resist this but not the white supremacist framing of Asia as the ‘east” and NA + europe as the ‘west”.

and yet ‘poc” is apparently the hill you want to die on.

2) imagining Asia as somehow ~beyond~ global white supremacy

japanese people living in japan don”t abide by western politics

r u sure?

interestingly, i hear this argument come up a lot when it is time to talk about how Asians (of all kinds) enact anti-Blackness via cultural appropriation, Blackface, entirely terrible treatment of Black populations within Asian countries, etc. and so on.

relatedly, i also hear this argument a lot by white supremacist europeans who attempt to distance themselves from white supremacy by fundamentally positing these as ‘american” ideas or innovations or whatever.

as noted in the previous section, this is often just factually true. now, i know at lest one of the linked people isn”t actually a Japanese person living in Japan (not the person quoted here — in a cursory look, i couldn”t find any biographical info on them). so, taking the charitable route, let us assume that the person who wrote this is, indeed, a Japanese person living in Japan (and, thus, is able to assert this as true with some confidence).

i note that Japan is a democracy. already abiding by ~western~ politics.

i note that both cited people use ‘asian” in an uncritical fashion. again. abiding by ~western~ politics1

i note that images and representation of Black people in a lot of Japanese media relies on white stereotypes about Blackness. abiding.

i note that Japan also is capitalist. abiding. by. ~western~. politics.

it is always a critical conceptual error to not fundamentally understand how wide reaching and global white supremacy is. it has touched every single corner of this planet. white supremacy drew our maps. it has forcibly organized mostof the world”s states and governments. it has settled on Indigenous lands and never left. it has colonized other lands (and even when the people are expelled the messes are left behind and structure the present).

imperialism, colonialism, and settler colonialism needs and must be resisted in all its forms.

but if your resistance isn”t actually grounded in reality, historical fact, and the actual world we live in….

then your resistance is futile.