Peace wrote a pretty good summary of asexual people of color (POC) issues, and I’m not just saying that because I was cited a few times.
This is entirely tangential, but I was reflecting on how I became a voice for asexual POC, and how unworthy I feel to be such a voice. I don’t talk about asexuality and race anymore, for the same reasons I don’t talk about my experience with sexual assault. There just isn’t a whole lot to tell. I was not traumatized by my assault, and I did not encounter difficulties due to being asexual and Asian American. But I know that other people do have such problems, so I end up mostly talking about other people’s experiences. And that’s really not ideal.
Here’s what happened: In 2011, I wrote a post about race and asexuality. It was actually in response to a Carnival of Aces prompt. I wasn’t the only one who talked about POC issues, but I did it on Blogspot. Blogspot is just really googleable for some reason. (Tumblr is not: take note!) Apart from the Carnival of Aces, basically nobody was talking about asexual POC. So even though I wasn’t trying to speak very loudly, in the silence it sounded like a shout.
I wasn’t really speaking from personal experience. I could predict asexual POC issues because I was part of an ethnically diverse queer community at UCLA, and we talked about queer people of color (QPOC) all the time. Honestly, I’m a bit burnt out on the subject. As asexuals, we don’t really need to reinvent the wheel, we can borrow from the massive amount of discourse that already exists on QPOC. It’s just another advantage of making connections between the queer and asexual communities.
But even though I wasn’t speaking from personal experience, I guess it’s good that I did it anyway. I hope I encouraged other asexual POC to speak up, and speak about their personal experiences. Or maybe I had nothing to do with it, fine with me! Now that many other people are speaking, I can shut up. Maybe things are getting better these days–the other day I saw a standard news story about asexuality, and the main person profiled just happened to be Black. Great! Don’t get complacent!
I have one other thing to say, that I do not entirely agree with every single thing people say about asexual POC. For instance, Peace claims that asexual activists “have taken credit for spear-heading the critique of the sex-positive movement” (ie away from Black women activists). I don’t know of anyone who has ever taken credit for such a thing, and frankly the idea seems nonsensical. Similarly, I disagree with some of the points made by GradientLair, Alok, and even Ianna Hawkins, whom I interviewed. I also wish we had a more sophisticated discussion of the fact that the asexual community is an international one (AVEN especially), and how ethnicity doesn’t always translate across national borders.
Actually I just disagree with people all the time. I disagree with things said here on The Asexual Agenda on a regular basis. I don’t really speak up about it much, because I think it’s part of the culture we have, that people don’t like to openly disagree with each other. If you agree with someone, you leave comments saying, “This. This so much.” and if you disagree with them, we don’t hear from you. I don’t know, maybe I’m used to atheist culture where it’s the exact opposite.
The point is, I wish we had some livelier discourse, including people who disagree with each other. But it’s hard to do this with POC topics, because then we just end up with a bunch of white people saying they disagree with POC people, because they think racism was solved decades ago, and the solution to racism is to ignore it. Ugh, the thought of it… maybe we’re better off without the lively discussion.
When we talked about QPOC stuff at UCLA, there was plenty of lively disagreement–how could there not be, with so many people? How did we manage? Oh yeah, we had safe spaces! Unfortunately, it’s harder to do this online, and there hasn’t been enough sustained activity in the spaces that exist. But special shout out to the asexual POC tumblr and the asexual POC AVEN thread!
Dammit, I hope this post doesn’t become a hit on Google!