I found a new phrase.
Hipster Racism, I found it at Racialicious, the ladies over there are so smart.
“I define hipster racism (I’m borrowing the phrase from Carmen Van Kerckhove) as ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning “ironic” nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy.”
AJ Plaid, Racialicious
I used to just call it the “tattooed, pseudo progressive, over-educated, asshole” problem, but this is much better.
Back in the day (the 90s) an ethnic minority in Los Angeles only had to stay away from Republican areas and never visit the Southern part of the United States (or the South Bay, oh let’s throw in Covina and Tujunga too) and they would be shielded from being openly mocked owing to what they were ethnically (not from being harassed by the cops, they will always be a problem), but those days are over.
We can now enjoy being mocked by Obama supporting, vegetarian diet, Ivy League graduate liberals, with “multi-colored” sex partners. Well thank god. We’ve come so far.
I first noticed this phenomenon at a party in Culver City during an Al Gore support party. Lots of white liberals, saying all kinds of appropriate things, you know referring to black people as African-American. The kind of liberal that learned a second language on a mom and dad financed gap year in some “exotic” locale, you know the type.
As the drinking started there seemed to be some kind of consensus that Armenians were a menace. Joke after joke was told about them. Some Asian people can’t drive jokes where also thrown in for good measure. I asked them, “WTF?” And they told me to loosen up and stop being so, “PC”.
At that point I left and went back to Silver Lake. I thought this must be some kind of 310 thing. I decided to never return to the 310.
But as a few years passed, my little 323 began to change. Silver Lake, became SILVERLAKE and the bohemian artists (with day jobs as baristas and office temps and maybe an AA from up the street and cheap college) types moved away to be replaced with more refined richer artists (with day jobs as film production big wigs and ad people with a BA from NYU) type people with very expensive tattoos, not the type you get in exchange for a cool zine collection, but the type you get when you have 500 dollars to drop at one time on some nice ink.
Hell, even Beck moved the hell out of there.
But it wasn’t just Silver Lake that changed. It’s changed across the whole country.
Racism has gone from being an old man game of the greatest generation and baby boomers to the Generation X and Generation Y set. I foolishly thought people of my generation wouldn’t be that way. I thought people of my generation, regardless of race, if they were educated and liberal they would never be racist, but unfortunately that has not happened.
In Williamsburg, Brooklyn (hipster capital East) at the Air Guitar Championships the ugly face of racism popped up:
Here’s an except of a letter than recounts what happened in Williamsburg.
“Many of us were shocked and astounded that US Air Guitar would allow one of the judges (the man on the right) to spew racist comments about Asians (apparently referring to Japanese or other Asian contestants as “nips” and “riceballs”). The gist of his rant was that Americans had to defend their honor by not letting Asians dominate the competition” from a letter to the US Air Guitar Championship Organizers by Francis Hsueh and Steven Hahn Jimmy Lee Christine Lee
And it’s not just incident like this. It’s how people and neighborhoods are referred to on blogs. The term illegal is viewed as a free speech issue (a very entertaining one in fact), the fact that it is insulting to human beings who live here seems to be a minor point.
The San Gabriel Valley a predominantly Asian-American suburb in Los Angeles is called Far East LA and that’s supposed to be funny and clever. It’s not funny nor is it clever.
And the use of the term bitch in the blogosphere to denigrate women and to denigrate men (which is a double insult, because it implies acting like a woman is weak.) Bitch is used so much, I almost forget that it’s sexist until I look at the staff and topics of the blogs and magazines that like using it.
This sarcastic witty liberal humor is also in our high schools (no doubt encouraged by the very youth geared blogosphere.)
At Charter Oaks High School in the Los Angeles suburban community of Covina the yearbook staff thought it would be funny to change the African-American students who were members of the Black Student Union to the “entertaining” names of: “Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White.”
Pretty fucking funny, isn’t it?
People in the past always said, “We didn’t know.”
So for your information I’m just putting it out there that we don’t like it.
Women and people of color don’t think this new kind of clever “sarcasm” is funny or clever or thought provoking and while we know you are not going to stop, don’t say we didn’t tell you.