“We Are Racialized Because We Are Women”
Ha Na Park is an ordained United Church minister in Winnipeg, a mentor to a CCS diaconal student, and continuing studies participant in CCS learning circles. She has granted us permission to reprint some of her recent reflections on racism, particularly naming anti-Asian racism, and the experience of women.
My witness and observation over many years has shown me that the Anti-Asian racism experienced by women is different in many ways from that experienced by their male counterparts. Why does the racism experienced by racialized women seem to be considered a secondary subject, a specialized subject, categorized as an issue of “intersectionality”? Does the experience of racialized women fall more fittingly in gender studies rather than the studies on race? Why does it seem that when we talk about intercultural ministry or anti-racism work, the experience and perspective of racialized men is considered to be “neutral” and, therefore, standard?
Is there a standard for anti-racism work?
I believe that racialized women’s experience shows particular aspects which are integral and critical to the understanding of racism; It is not just a topic for gender studies or feminism. Racialized women experience double discrimination – as women and as racialized people – and they are treated differently because of double marginalization.
This is how I explain to people to help them understand:
We are racialized because we are women; We are women, because we are racialized. Patriarchy affects our experience because we are racialized and also women. Our experience is different from that of White women. Our experience is different from that of racialized men. I am impacted by patriarchy – in Canada and in the United Church – more than White women are, because I am racialized. It’s the fact I have experienced in United Church for many years.
Now, think about racialized women who are immigrants – racialized women who speak English as a second or third language, who learned English after coming to Canada, or in adulthood. Now, it is a triple barrier.
Why can’t the voices, perspectives, hopes, and work of racialized women be more centralized in our work? That is the question that I want to ask.