The Model Minority concept is a lie. It’s a coined term so that imperialist white patriarchal scholars can justify the white man’s perpetuation of violence towards other minorities, and mostly, to Black and Indigenous peoples. It’s classist, colorist and racist. Asians are being used as a buffer in between white people and other people of color.
Sadly, many still fall into the lie and take sides with the oppressors.
I will admit that for the longest time, I bought into it. I hid my heritage, passing off as a culturally ambiguous colored person so I can fit in the narrative of western culture a.k.a whiteness.
Even 4 years ago when I arrived in Montreal from Vancouver, I was perpetuating it. But I’ve grown since then and I’ve been radicalized, taking the form of my new home city. But Quebec doesn’t share the same sentiment.
I still feel like an outsider.
At first, I thought it’s because I’m Anglo, but it isn’t. There’s a very strong influence of whiteness in this city that gatekeeps Asian communities from flourishing and for us to remain second class citizens – unless you embrace the more dominant Quebecois culture i.e. cisgendered heteronormative white western european heritage with Christian roots, which is honestly identity erasure if you are of Asian background.
As a Filipino-Canadian, it’s hard enough that we’re not getting enough representation within the Asian community: a) because we’re scattered (due to politics, colorism and classism) and b) a huge percent in the Filipinx diaspora have proximity to whiteness (older generations and new immigrants exhibits them the most); we must also combat identity erasure and abuse from the backwards Quebecers/ Quebec government i.e. the forced Francisation, harassment from SPVM (which I’ve experienced first-hand), AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) hate that has increased due to the pandemic, and constant threats of deportation of essential migrant workers, specifically those who were front-line workers during this COVID-19 crisis.
If we are to combat this myth of model minority, then we must be active through decolonization initiatives, community organization and alliance building, not only within different Asian backgrounds in the diaspora, but to our Black and Indigenous kapwa (fellow-human beings in Tagalog) as well. We have to be more vocal when it comes to civil rights and involved when matters of socio-economic justice are concerned.
Collaboration:JE SUIS MTL x JÉ T'AIME
June 26, 2021