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Pet Sins November 1999

White man denies privilege conferred by Asians' pro-white racism

I work with an European American guy who is the sole white guy in an office with many East Asians. The white guy is fluent in Japanese, and always has a crowd of Japanese co-workers hanging around him. (not for work purposes, for socializing) It is obvious to me he is not just one of the gang. If he is just one of the gang, that would be normal. He is in fact the center of attention. Individual Japanese seek him out all the time.

Maybe some people like to interact with people outside their race to expand their experiences. But there are other non-Asians in that office, so why don't they get attention? It happens that they are not white. No person of any color is as popular as the white guy is. And I have reason to think it is because of his race.

So I said to him, "Doesn't it bother you that these same Asians probably won't be hanging out with you if you were black?". He replied, "So what? If I were a cow people would be eating me." These words came from a person who is always talking PC and talking about all the black, Asian and Latino people he knew, and how familiar he is with their cultures.

I do not have any idea if he realized what a ridiculous thing he just said and what a cowardly escape he was using. But he got defensive and instantly pointed out examples of 2 Asians in his office who were dating blacks. As if that would change anything. I replied by telling him about the 'gatekeeper' syndrome - how white people like to point to the exceptions among people of color (the gatekeepers), instead of the norm, just to make themselves feel that things are equal. A prime example, I said, is how white Americans like to point at General Colin Powell and say that there is racial equality in the U.S. military. What they fail to note is high-ranking blacks like General Powell are the exception, not the norm.

He agreed with my explanation of the "gatekeeper" syndrome but he apparently did not notice how it just related to his line of reasoning. The sight of him with a crowd of fawning Asians just makes me sick. He is blind not to see how wrong the picture looks.

non-white professional
2000

Comment from 'N.J.'
That so-called PC white guy is using typical derailing tactics and he probably doesn't realize it. He needs to read Derailing for Dummies to get a clue about his privilege.

Comment from 'White American in Japan'
I observed much of this race-related 'popularity' which white people enjoy in Japan. And a lot of whites want to deny it exists because they don't want to accept the fact that their 'friends' are with them for the color of their skin, not for their personalities.