A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism’
by Lindy West and Jessica Yee, April 2012
$5-7 sliding scale at POC Zine Project Tour
18 pg. at 1/2 letter size
Man, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just say you’re not racist and it’d be so? If you could just hop right out from under hundreds of years of history and cultural baggage and that’d be that? Ha, gotcha, you totally can’t do that.
In fact, if you say “I’m not racist” (even if you don’t follow it with “but…”, in which case what you are about to say is bound to be the worst), I would go ahead and assume you are pretty racist, since you seem to be excusing yourself from doing the hard work we’re all stuck with, of trying to not be so damn racist all the time. And realizing that it’s a process without an end, that you’re not gonna have any epiphanic moment when you’re Not Racist Anymore. Sucky, right?
Zines on Amtrak.
Lindy West, a white writer, offers tips for other white folks on how not to be an asshole when you talk about race: how not to excuse or exempt yourself from the unrelenting work we all have to do around that issue.
Jessica Yee, a Chinese-Mohawk writer from Toronto, rages against cultural appropriation of Native ideas & symbols, arguing that ideologies of colourblindness allow white people to take credit for Native art, medicine, and traditions.
As a white North American, I benefit every day of my life from the systematic decimation of Native people & cultue. Fun as it usually isn’t, it’s my duty to remember and be aware of that that and do what I can to be an ally to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis folks who are working against racism and colonialism.
I foud this zine really useful. I’m a white person who thinks and talks about race a lot, both because I find it an endlessly interesting set of phenomena, and because I think it’s my responsibility to continually interrogate my own privilege. I’m aware that I am very lucky that I only have to think about race when it’s interesting or convenient for me to do so.
In my capacity as a white person talking about race, I am always concerned— and I think it’s a good thing to be concerned about— whether I am making assumptions, speaking for people who should be speaking for themselves, or making a joke about something that’s not mine to joke about.
So, I try to seek out opinions and testimonials and manifestos and anecdotes by people of all different backgrounds so I can read them, point to them, and refer people to them, rather than speculating on what people might think or feel about a thing. Plus, it is much more a delight than an obligation.
Shotgun Seamstress Zine Collection
by Osa Atoe
233 pg. at 7” x 10”
$18 from Mend My Dress Press
I picked up Hipster Racism at the final stop of the POC Zine Project Tour, which, happily, was in Brooklyn a short walk from the home of some friends I was visiting last weekend. I was tremendously excited to see some of my favourite zine writers read, and I was not disappointed. Osa Atoe, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Ana Vo, Jamie Varriale Vélez, and Cristy C. Road shared their powerful, hopeful, angry, funny work, and it was awesome.
I was also delighted to buy a copy of the Shotgun Seamstress Zine Collection from its author, Osa Atoe. Although I already own every issue of this zine, I couldn’t wait to buy the book and have all six amazing issues at my fingertips. I’m super stoked about all the awesome zine anthologies that Mend My Dress Press is putting out, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.
It was also really cool to be in a space that wasn’t predominantly white and wasn’t “for” white people (although the organizers made clear that white allies were welcome). It made me more vigilant about being aware and respectful, which is always a good thing.
- Lily Pepper