Aziz Ansari was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert a couple of days ago and he continued to address issues of race in Hollywood but this time he pointed his statements towards CBS. Some people (by people I mean the comments section on YouTube, which is also the worst type of person) seemed to find this portion of the interview a little awkward because of the way Ansari brought up the issue.
I didn't think it was an awkward moment though. It seemed like Colbert completely understood where Ansari was coming from and I think people (again, the worst kind of people) are projecting their own feelings on to the people they're looking at on screen.
The things that Ansari has been saying for the past couple of weeks, though, are ideas and statements that I personally agree with. It's something that I've understood or went through my whole life as an Asian-American and it was something that I couldn't (sometimes I still can't) explain to white friends, colleagues, and peers.
I've recently started watching his show Master of None and there are moments in the show that reflect the statements he's made. I'm honestly really happy with everything he's saying (both on and off the show) because it gives a wider audience and idea of the experience certain people of color might have.
One of the most interesting things about all of this, is the way some people seem to be reacting. Like, reading through the comments (again, the worst place on the Internet, the comments section) I've found that a lot of people still believe that reverse racism is something that exists. With statements like, "Why can't white people have or do this [insert stupid fucking point]" just shows the lack of awareness people have in modern society.
It seems as if certain people believe that there is no such thing as white privilege or that I can't speak on the subject because "I don't know what it's like to be white", which is an insane concept it seems like that would be the fucking dream. I mean all of everything would be about me if I was born a white person. And whenever someone says that above statement to me, it seems they don't realize they're making ANOTHER THING about them.
I mean, like, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a television show where there were two Asian-American actors appearing on screen without having an accent.
In the piece he wrote for The New York Times, Ansari goes even further with his idea (along with some self reflection about the world around him). The people who misinterpret statements like the one above and statements like the ones I'm making seem to believe there's some kind of white-hate spell going around and that definitely isn't the case.
There's a lot of this, "I don't see color" stuff and if I try hard enough I can be on a television or a movie or respected as a person. But naturally, that shit just doesn't happen. Even though people of color make up a lot of the United States a lot of us are still looked at as "the other". And the media reinforces this idea.
I have a large group of friends and we're all from different places, we all have different cultures. Yet, the show Friends about a large enough group of friends, only star white people. And I guess that might be cool for everyone else but when there isn't equal representation it's sort of hard for me to believe that I can be like anything I see on screen because I've (I as in my race, my people, etc. come on, keep up) been systematically hidden from view. America at large only know Asian-Americans as accented people who are bumbling around all the time, or as submissive women.
I kind of let this get away from me for a second. But I guess the thing I'm starting to realize is that, yeah, all those people were right. I probably don't know what it's like to be white. But it's probably pretty fucking easy.