a rant on social stuff
No, I’m not ranting about feminism exactly. More like the fact that someone should have to ask, ‘Are you a feminist?’ Because feminism is about equality of the sexes, despite its possibly misleading name, and I’ve never actually articulated this thought, but it shouldn’t be necessary to ask if one is or isn’t a feminist. All of us should be for gender equality, regardless of whether you’re male or female. After all, how can you say you aren’t a feminist? ‘No, actually, I’m not. I don’t believe in equal rights for males and females.’
I really don’t like it when somebody says that someone’s hobbies, interests, tastes etc. are unusual or unsuitable for their sex. For example a boy knitting. This sort of discrimination isn’t even covert, it’s quite blatant when I see it. It might seem harmless, and maybe the person you’re talking about doesn’t even care, but it’s not a healthy mindset. I think there’s a bit of double standard here – I don’t notice this happening to girls as much – but either way. Don’t judge someone on their interests or tastes because it may not fit into your image of what a boy or girl is.
This is when it’s suddenly ‘cool’ or ‘acceptable’ to be racist. At school, for example, where we make jokes about us being thrifty and cheapskates due to being ‘Asians’.
Firstly, don’t use the term Asians like that. Asia as a continent is very large, and literally the term includes Middle Eastern people, Indians, Chinese, Indonesians, Filipinos, etc. I’m assuming whenever we crack jokes about somebody’s parents being Asian, we are specifically referring to their Chinese-Australian parents, because obviously, most of the students in our school population are Australian-Chinese. (Note that I swapped ‘Chinese’ and ‘Australian’ around in the two terms. I don’t know if there’s some sort of rule about which comes first, but I think we, the second generation Australians, are firstly Australian, then Chinese.) I might seem uptight and overly PC about this, but I don’t like this culture of stereotyping what is essentially our own backgrounds and parents into something we think we have control over.
The gist of it is that just because we are the group being discriminated/stereotyped against, doesn’t mean it’s alright for us to do it to ourselves. If someone who wasn’t of an Asian/Chinese background started making jokes about the study expectations of your Asian/Chinese parents, I’d imagine you’d be pretty annoyed. It might be true, and it might be funny, but is it fair?
Another socially acceptable thing is the ‘what background/nationality are you?’ or ‘where are your parents from?’
This most commonly occurs with strangers or people who you’ve just met who really are strangers anyway, but are curious because of the way you look.
The first boo-boo occurs when you ask about my nationality. I’m Australian, thank you very much. What’s that? Oh, you mean my background, not my nationality. My grandparents are Chinese. Yeah, that makes sense doesn’t it.
What in the world has my background got to do with you? If it’s a census, or you it’s easier for you to speak Chinese to me, sure, I can understand why you asked. But just because you want to know isn’t good enough. I’ll tell you, but you shouldn’t need to know. Also, another surefire way to tick somebody off is to compare their appearance with the other people you’ve seen of the same background, and comment.
Okay, the last bit of rage about racism
Has anyone ever noticed, in the newspapers or on the six o’ clock news, that the author/reader never fails to point out that the person was a ‘Korean-Australian’ or ‘Lebanese-Australian’ or ‘Chinese-Australian’, but no one ever says ‘Irish-Australian’ or ‘English-Australian’ or ‘American-Australian’. Okay, don’t go rushing off to prove me wrong, I’ve just noticed the non-English speaking backgrounds of people being mentioned much more than those who come from English speaking backgrounds.
This never fails to annoy me. Either stick with passive or aggressive, or be even better and be assertive! But if you’re making snide passive statements or remarks that are really directed to hurt or motivate me to do something, I’d prefer you come right out and say it, so I can either agree/listen to you or argue with you fairly.
Misuse of the word ‘gay’
If you’ve just missed the bus because of a super-long traffic light, your situation is not ‘gay’. If the Year 11 formal has been cancelled because the year before you stuffed up, that is also not ‘gay’. I’ve noticed people using the word gay to mean ‘stupid’ since Year 5, maybe? It’s not something you could really pick on people for, and most people our age have now realised the obnoxiousness of using gay incorrectly, however please don’t do it all. The excuse that you’re ‘being revolutionary and cool by changing the meaning of the word!’ is invalid. Gay means either homosexual, or happy/garish. Or maybe I could use your name to mean ‘stupid’.