Being Asked Where You’re From is ‘White Supremacy,’ Says Asian-American Actor Peter Kim on PBS Newshour

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    Being Asked Where You’re From is ‘White Supremacy,’ Says Asian-American Actor Peter Kim on PBS Newshour

    There are few things more concerning to the special snowflake than microaggressions. When people ask you where you got your accent or where your parents came from—that’s a microaggression, and it hurts. It’s “death by a thousand cuts,” and it weakens your resolve, turning you into a blubbering mess because people can’t stop being inquisitive about you and who you are. How awful!

    In a new talk on PBS Newshour, the publicly funded broadcaster interviewed Asian-American actor and comedian Peter Kim, who declared that asking a person where they’re from is a form of white supremacy. He called this microaggression a part of his struggle.

    Whites make up most of America—it’s a fact, but it’s one PBS refers to as a “commonplace cultural assumption.” Feelings over facts, as it were.

    Kim tells the host, Antonio Mora, that most people think of white supremacy as members of the Ku Klux Klan or Adolf Hitler screaming into a microphone. But for him, it’s “a lot less dramatic and a lot more commonplace,” and offers an “updated definition” of the term to refer to the microaggressions he deals with daily.

    The actor says most of the roles he auditions for are written as white characters, although they accept people of any ethnicity—and goes on to lament the racism present on the gay dating app, Grindr.

    “I was overwhelmed by profiles saying no fems, no fats, no Asians,” he said.

    I can sympathize with his romantic failures, but sexual preferences are what they are—and no one should be forced to be romantically interested in anyone they have no interest in. If you’re gay and you don’t want to date women, would that make you a misogynist?

    Kim, who’s traveled around the country performing standup comedy, goes on to complain about how “well-meaning white people” sometimes get short with him when they ask him where he’s from and he replies “New York.” He laments that his boyfriend from Sweden is never asked the question.

    The problem is two-fold. Asking someone where they’re from isn’t the same as inquiring about their ethnicity—so if you intend to ask someone the latter question, don’t mince words. The second issue is that there’s really no reason for Kim to be upset at anyone who asks him were he’s from, especially when he knows they aren’t intending malice.

    “So, my definition of white supremacy is embedded in the fabric of our everyday lives. It’s in our schools, in our movies, and on our televisions,” says Kim.

    If we go by his definition, then the term—which should only refer to actual racists—loses all meaning and makes it all the harder to deal with actual white supremacism, which still exists outside the progressive liberal bubble.

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