Wednesday, October 6, 2004

On being political

I love Margaret Cho - and she brings up some really interesting points in her candid post about why she's political:

"I have not been able to make myself think or talk about the situation in North Korea. My avoidance stems from fear that my American-ness, hard won and fought for on a daily basis, might somehow be diminished because of my ethnic association with the perceived 'enemy' ... Going out of my way to prove that I am an American does not support the idea of being American. I should not have to lessen my interest in what might transpire between North Korea and the US in order to re-establish the image that I have created for myself as a patriot ... Trying to banish my ties with North Korea doesn't reinforce stereotypes that I currently do my best to fight, rather it creates new ones. I become the 'One who refuses to see the self.' I add to the culture of invisibility by becoming complicit with it ...

I am diminished by not seeming to notice that North Korea is there even though my family is from there, even though many of my family still live there, even though my ancestors were literally torn apart by civil war that divided the country while the people were still one. My association is painfully close and avoidance is the only way I know how to retain my American identity. It is ridiculous and embarrassing. I hate feeling this way, because it forces me to see how far racism has affected me. It has gotten into the way that I think, the way I live, the way I feel about myself, the way that I fear that I am being perceived. Not only that, it has gone entirely unnoticed, until the moment that I step outside myself and acknowledge the truth. I am a racist ...

I try everyday to challenge myself further and I believe in doing this, I slay the monster bit by bit. This is why being political is an essential part of my life. In the end, it is all that I have."

I believe that, in the end, being political is all that any of us have. It's how we know who we are and who we can be.


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