Check out Rachel’s response to some of the critiques of this piece:

Rachel Rostad of Macalester College, performing on finals stage at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

Check out more of Rachel, and some of the dialogue surrounding this piece, at

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For the full text of the poem, go to

It’s a new quarter so it’s time to upload some old work.

The model minority myth is a racialization of Asian Americans that operates in a circular logic: Asian Americans are smart and successful. They succeed because they work hard. They work hard because they do not waste time on civic engagement or complaining about racism. And they do not waste time on these things because they are smart. Under this logic, Asian Americans are generalized as upwardly mobile minorities who have overcome historical racism through narrowly defined views on success to become differentially included as an accepted racially group still marked as inherently different from the white cultural body.[1] Justin Lin plays on this stereotype in Better Luck Tomorrow, a crime thriller released in 2002. Set in a wealthy Orange County suburb, Better Luck Tomorrow  follows Ben, Daric, Virgil and Han, four Asian American high school students who use their “straight A’s [as their] alibis” to descend into a life of drug dealing and abuse, theft and violence for money and status.[2] Essentialized as model minorities, Ben and his friends use the model minority myth to their advantage by hiding their criminal behavior behind their perfect student facades. In this essay, I argue that Lin challenges and complicates racializations of Asian Americans as model minorities through the juxtaposition of Ben and his friends’ consumption of citizenship and wholesome images with the ways in which they deal with their complicity with racialization in the way they profit from the self-regulating nature of idealized citizenship and become hegemonic rebels who resist the model minority myth, but ultimately uphold racializing hegemonic institutions.


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Let’s remember the politics of marriage itself. The simplistic formula that claims “you’re either pro-marriage or against equality” makes us forget that all forms of marriage perpetuate gender, racial and economic inequality. It mistakenly assumes that support for marriage is the only good measure of support for LGBT communities. This political moment calls for anti-homophobic politics that centralize anti-racism and anti-poverty. Marriage is a coercive state structure that perpetuates racism and sexism through forced gender and family norms. Right wing pro-marriage rhetoric has targeted families of color and poor families, supported a violent welfare and child protection system, vilified single parents and women, and marginalized queer families of all kinds. Expanding marriage to include a narrow band of same-sex couples only strengthens that system of marginalization and supports the idea that the state should pick which types of families to reward and recognize and which to punish and endanger.

We still demand a queer political agenda that centralizes the experiences of prisoners, poor people, immigrants, trans people, and people with disabilities. We reject a gay agenda that pours millions of dollars into campaigns for access to oppressive institutions for a few that stand to benefit.

We are being told marriage is the way to solve gay peoples problems with health care access, immigration, child custody, and symbolic equality. It does not solve these problems, and there are real campaigns and struggles that would and could approach these problems for everyone, not just for a privileged few. Let’s take the energy and money being put into gay marriage and put it toward real change: opposing the War on Terror and all forms of endless war; supporting queer prisoners and building a movement to end imprisonment; organizing against police profiling and brutality in our communities; fighting attacks on welfare, public housing and Medicaid; fighting for universal health care that is trans and reproductive healthcare inclusive; fighting to tax wealth not workers; fighting for a world in which no one is illegal.

Statement by Dean Spade and Craig Wilse from

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from SBNation

At UFC 158, Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre wore a gi, designed by Hayabusa, adorned with the rising sun. On his facebook page UFC Featherweight contender “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung penned an open letter to Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, imploring St. Pierre to consider the implications of the rising sun symbol, a symbol that is often used as a decontextualized aesthetic:

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Writing a play about race may sound hard, but reading This Is How It Goes by Neil LaBute and Race by David Mamet has shown me that it’s really not. Here are ten basic guidelines:

1. Be white. Better yet, be a straight white man. Straight white men rule the world, so who’s more qualified to write about race than a straight white man

2. Cast blacks. Plays about race need colored people and blacks represent all colored people. The world is black and white and racial binaries keep things simple for you and your audience.

3. But make the main character a provocative white male.  The main character represents the everyman and the everyman is white, even in a play about race. Give him the most meaningful dialogue; he has the most important and insightful things to say.

4. Be offensive. Race is an uncomfortable topic, so make the audience feel uncomfortable. Deliberately and unapologetically using words like “nigger” in a decontextualized manner for social commentary makes your play seem edgy and nuanced. Copy Chris Rock’s comedy.

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Looking through my files, I found some poetry from a lower division poetry class vaguely related to my personal experiences.

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Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is an African American mixed martial artist. Although he is a former UFC light-heavyweight champion, he is more known for being a clown, beloved for slamming opponents into oblivion and charming antics like dry-humping female reporters, howling like a wolf and hyping fights with other African American fighters as “black on black crime.” While Rampage has become one of the most adored fighters in the UFC, Rashad Evans, a black mixed martial artist and former light-heavyweight champion is routinely booed. Evans attributes this to his refusal to pander to the fans and has accused Rampage of being an Uncle Tom, putting on a minstrel show to appeal to the predominantly white UFC audience.


Current UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones lies on the other side of the spectrum. Jones is vilified for being too arrogant. Too phony. Evans even went as far as to call him a “fake ass white boy.” Whereas Rampage is beloved by fans and dismissed by black fighters like Evans for playing up his blackness, Jones is criticized by both for not being black enough, or being too white. Jones has dismissed these charges. Being an amateur wrestler, Jones has heard these accusations before, but normalizing such sentiments doesn’t absolve the problematic elements behind them.

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Black Men Ski” is an amalgamation of clever wordplay and biting satire brought together through a narrative of Stew’s experience as a black man vacationing in Aspen from Stew & The Negro Problem’s ironically titled album “Making It”. From plays on stereotypes (we make postmodern art with bacon grease and hot combed hair/we secretly play beethonven inside our bass-mobiles/we can tell you how cool looks, but cannot show you how it feels) to cultural appropriation (Chinese guys can jump real high and Germans cook soul food/white boys rap and hippies nap up their dreads to look rude/jazz is now suburban, it’s Marsalis-ly clean/and now we’ve got Viagra everyone’s a sex machineStew facetiously problematizes essentialist racism, but imparts listeners with a powerful message on white privilege, individualism and what it means to “make it” as a black man in a nation built on white supremacy:

some kids i’ll describe as friends say i am race-obsessed
the luxury of your opinion shows you that you are blessed
i have poems about sunsets, flowers and the rain
i’ve read them to policemen, but it was all in vain

so black men ski
black men ski
black men ski
black men ski

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Thanks to reader Helen Huynh for showing me the article

Superficially, “Tackling Asian Privilege” is a satire on the Asian model minority, mocking the utter ridiculousness of blaming Asian success on the “’invisible knapsack’ of unearned perks and benefits that an Asian is able to unpack wherever he or she goes…” But the article isn’t supposed to be about Asians. Written by Gavin McInnes, a satirist (in)famous for being unapologetically politically incorrect  ignorant and for being “the Godfather of hipsterdom,” the article mimics Peggy McIntosh’s article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” to dismiss the reality of white privilege. Readers are supposed to think, “gee, if it’s silly and racist to attack Asians for advancing in a meritocratic system, why is it okay to blame whitey?” Except, white privilege is not about blaming whitey or lambasting meritocracy. It’s not about subjugating or punishing white people for success. It is about recognizing the accumulation of advantages of whiteness and how exclusion from these advantages handicap people of color from the start. It is about lambasting  covert systemic racism that makes meritocracy a myth. It is about leveling the playing field because…

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On “American Tune” and white privilege from Zachary Tomlinson’s interview on Suburban Apologist:

Speaking for myself, I say it’s a lot easier for someone who is in a place of privilege to be in a band. That’s not to say there aren’t people who belong to different races, genders, and classes that don’t make amazing music, but I don’t think I’m a strong enough person to do that if I had other things to worry about that are oppressing everybody in this country. Oh, I’m sounding so preachy. I think if I wasn’t in such a lush position already, I don’t think I’d bother with being in a band – just myself alone.

On the band’s name from The Ruckus’ Q&A:

It is an arbitrary, offensive punk band name. Well, the utterance of “Andrew Jackson” should be offensive to anyone who took U.S. history in high school.

How refreshing.

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