Railing Against the White Man

As an Asian woman, it’s not a big surprise that I’m no fan of the white man. My feelings towards the white man have usually been quite tempered, thanks to the idea that people (especially women) of colour are not allowed to be angry about issues that make them angry. We’re not allowed to be angry because if we are, people will focus on the fact that we are outraged, as opposed to the message we’re trying to convey. (White people, though, can get as outraged as they want and still get their message across).

But in the last couple of days, a series of events have occurred that have made me angrier than usual. The first was this incident with Michael Cathcart and Paul Beatty, which many have written about already, so I won’t go over it again. (Google it!) The second was receiving an email from Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless, asking if Pencilled In (the print publication) accepted submissions from people of non Asian Australian descent, before stating that they also support publications of marginalised voices.

It was not necessarily the question that I was offended by, though having to ask the question itself, to me, means that this person did not bother peruse the website properly, or read it and interpreted in the way(s) they wanted to interpret them. It was the tone, too – a tone of entitlement that I am all too used to. It’s the tone that is responsible for the phrase “confidence of a mediocre white man”. To be honest, there was a part of me that was surprised that it had taken so long for me to receive such an email. Shit like this happens all the time. A friend recently put out a call for Asian Australian photographers, and had to eventually shut the post down because their inbox ended up “being colonised by white people”.

The whole world is the white man’s fucking oyster – and yet they still insist on entering our spaces, and sometimes, even calling them exclusionary.

In any case, I took a screenshot of the email, blotted out any identifying features, and posted it on Facebook and Twitter as a kind of “sigh, why are people” thing, and wrote a terse email in reply. Before I sent the reply, I read and reread the whole website just to make sure there was nothing that implied that people of non Asian Australian descent could submit for the magazine.

The second email I then received from this person was not totally unexpected. They made a bunch of excuses (which, again, could have been rectified by just reading the website properly), and also accused me of being “inappropriate and unprofessional” for taking a screenshot of this email, blotting out names, and posting it on social media. But propriety had actually been breached when a person of non-Asian Australian descent had asked me if they were able to submit to a publication that was obviously only for Asian Australian artists.

My anger at this particular person may have been exacerbated by the fact that earlier this week, I received another submission from someone who did not identify either as Asian or Australian. Either way, I still feel as if I don’t deserve to, or can’t be publicly angry. (I’m trying to get over this, slowly). I imagine incidents like this occur quite often for publications similar to Pencilled In, and I feel like the people who are sending such emails or requests need to be called out for their actions.

So, in conclusion – I’m railing against the white man. Or really, just the man. Get on board, or get out of my way.

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