"Since everyone is getting rich and becomes better educated, our financial situation improves and we know more about the West. Now we don't admire Westerners blindly, but know how to differentiate between the good and the bad things about them." – Petula Sik Ying Ho and Adolf Kat Tat Tsang, “Negotiating Anal Intercourse in Inter-Racial Gay Relationships in Hong Kong"
This quote from "John," an interviewee in the ethnography cited above, embodies a critical moment before and after Hong Kong's 1997 Handover/Return to China. Intersections of race and sexuality – how gay male Hong Kongers negotiate them – become a nexus for understanding agency and self-love within a broader political moment.
I alluded to this ideal in my last post ("East Asian sexual minorities have been forced to engage a tactful cognizance of their own agenda"). There is a kind of stupor one must break out of in order to critically engage with one's surroundings – something urgent and/or easier said than done for some more than others. We must free our minds from the restraints of socialization and conditioning (intellectual, cultural, etc.). The blessing and burden of being Other is to be "woke," understanding things as they exist/became (think: Du Bois' Veil).
"Are ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ Western colonial exports?" Washington Post. Accessed March 6, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/
Similarly, when we question and argue whether or not countercultural politics or campaigns for "democracy" and "human rights" are "Western colonial exports," we are engaging a balancing act of self-interrogation – identifying how one has internalized the rhetoric and aesthetics of an oppressive outsider – and local/indigenous agency – the pragmatic self-awareness that one's circumstances have been irrevocably shaped by past and present foreign aggression. As such, when we describe "false consciousness" in this post-colonialist age, can we really say there is simply a dichotomy of consciousnesses to adopt or dispel?