If you’re a light-skinned or white-passing “person of color” and you’ve ever spoken out against social justice, you’ve most likely heard these words before.
“What do you know? You’re white.”
“No I’m not,” you might have said, perhaps equally confused about how they could have categorized you so wrongly and why your race even matters in the first place. Personally, “I’m biracial,” or “I’m Asian,” are my follow-ups of choice.
“You don’t count,” they almost always dismiss. “You’re not a real person of color,” might come next if they're feeling charitable. If they’re not, phrases like “race traitor,” “self-loathing,” and slurs such as Uncle Tom and coon will most likely make appearances.
Although there’s certainly no love lost between SJWs and the oft-memed “straight, white, cis males” who criticize them, there’s no question that social justice warriors reserve a special type of vitriol for those in the allegedly oppressed class who go against the party line.
As someone who's biracial, if I were to bemoan my lack of belonging to any one culture and the struggles of being racially ambiguous, I would be celebrated as symbol of strength and bravery by the social justice community. Sites like Salon and Jezebel would write articles commending me for breaking the mold of mono-racial individuals in the public eye (that’s probably what they call them, right?).
As someone who's Asian, if I were to criticize the way society fetishizes me and argue how harmful stereotypes, even positive ones, can be, by now I might have the backing of giants like MTV News or heck, even the Huffington Post. They’d market me as a dangerous force against the prevailing white narrative in independent media. Or something.
However, since I am, in reality, someone who actively speaks out against victimhood and identity politics, and praises our society for the opportunities it offers all people, regardless of race, there’s no fanfare waiting for me from these people who proclaim to be champions for us non-white individuals.
Not only are there no congratulations from the regressive left, when it comes to critiques of my work there are usually harsh words, and perhaps most frustratingly, denials of my status as a person of color.
You see, social justice aims to paint race not as something biological, but rather something social, something that isn’t inherent in our genes, but rather a construct perpetuated by our racist, imperialist culture. We see the extreme forms of this manifested in African-American wannabes like Rachel Dolezal and (although he denies it) Shaun King who are in actuality whiter than a layer of freshly fallen snow. If race isn't biological, then there's no reason why someone who feels black and identifies with black culture should be unable to really be black with the help of a perm and some self-tanner.
Obviously (to most of us), this concept of race makes as much sense as anti-capitalists organizing rallies on their smartphones. However, one of the more interesting side-effects of viewing race as a social construct is that, if race is indeed cultural and not biological, then denouncing someone as not being of a certain race when they go against the prevailing political opinions of said race makes perfect sense.
The fact that my DNA is of the Han Chinese people doesn’t matter to these constructivists. For them, race is all about experience, and nothing about biology. My race isn't determined by my heritage, it's determined by the fact that I can sort of look white, I might have been “treated” as if I were white, and my political views line up with those of the whites. If I'm unable to identify with the lived experiences of most people of color, then to heck with what science says, I must clearly a white girl. Right?
Wrong. I have news for these SJWs: races aren’t clubs. Races aren’t political parties. Races aren’t ideologies, and races don’t have rites of passage. You don’t get to determine or dismiss someone’s race simply because they don’t fit your narrative as someone who’s oppressed, down-trodden and victimized (or rather, someone who at least thinks they are).
SJWs are obsessed with moral relativism, but this relativism just doesn't translate to something like race. Attempting to paint race not just as our phenotypes, but as our cultural experiences, characters, and political opinions will only ever lead to more racism and more division. So I’m sorry if non-white people like me ruin the narrative of a society that mistreats anyone who isn't European, but that doesn't mean you get to define my ethnicity.