Censorship here is a funny thing. This speaks to the Asian reality whites here ignore and these Asians here pretend doesn't exist. We Will Not Be Used: Are Asian-Americans the Racial Bourgeoisie? By Mari J. Matsuda This is from Matsuda’s address she gave to the Asian Law Caucus in April 1990. It is a special honor to address supporters of the Asian Law Caucus. Here, before this audience, I am willing to speak in the tradition of our women warriors, to go beyond the platitudes of fundraiser formalism, and to talk of something that’s been bothering me and that I need your help on. I want to speak of my fear that Asian-Americans are in danger of becoming the racial bourgeoisie, and of my resolve to resist that path. Marx wrote of the economic bourgeoisie — the small merchants, the middle class, the baby capitalists — who were deeply confused about their self-interest. The bourgeoisie, he said, often emulate the manners and the ideology of the big-time capitalists. They are the wannabes of capitalism. Struggling for riches, often failing, confused about the reasons why, the economic wannabes go to their graves thinking that the big hit is right around the corner. Living in 19th century Europe, Marx thought mostly in terms of class. Living in 20th century America, in the land where racism found a home, I am thinking about race. Is there a racial equivalent of the economic bourgeoisie? I fear there may be, and I fear it may be us. If white, historically, is the top of the racial hierarchy in America, and black, historically, is the bottom, will yellow assume the place of the racial middle? The role of the racial middle is a critical one. It can reinforce white supremacy if the middle deludes itself into thinking it can be just like white if it tries hard enough. Conversely, the middle can dismantle white supremacy if it refuses to be the middle, if it refuses to buy into racial hierarchy, if it refuses to abandon communities of Black and Brown people, choosing instead to form alliances with them. The theme of the unconventional fundraiser talk you are listening to is, “we will not be used.” It is a plea to Asian-Americans to think about the ways in which our communities are particularly susceptible to playing the worst version of the racial bourgeoisie role. We Will Not Be Used: Are Asian-Americans the Racial Bourgeoisie?