‘Yellow Privilege’: College Residence Adviser Anonymously Distributes Document On Asians As Oppressors

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A document explaining “yellow privilege” was distributed to students by an anonymous residential adviser at the University of British Columbia (UBC), according to the Montreal Gazette.

The six-page document defines “yellow privilege” as the advantages East Asians are granted, including protections under criminal law, the Montreal Gazette reported. 

A disclaimer is included, stating that the document is not to “perpetuate and enforce an idea but to stimulate much needed healthy discussions on racial issues in society today,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

To support its claims, the document points to the model minority, which it defines as an East-Asian stereotype that is furthered by the idea that Asians are successful due to their innate talents, the Montreal Gazette reported. 

The author of the document argues this has led to East Asians acting as both the oppressors and the oppressed, per the Montreal Gazette. East Asians face oppression because they keep quiet to avoid losing their status as a model minority, according to the document, per the Montreal Gazette. However, East Asians act as oppressors by separating themselves from poor Southeast Asians, the document argues, according to the Montreal Gazette. 

Georgia Yee, vice president of academic and university affairs for the UBC Alma Mater Society, said, “This is completely unacceptable to see. I’m a little horrified to see this, both as a former RA and in my current role. Glad to see actions are being taken to report this incident,” in a post on Reddit, according to the Montreal Gazette. 

The document urges the students to contemplate which privileges they’re afforded that they may or may not be aware of, the Montreal Gazette reported.

“We sincerely apologize for this communication and its impact, in particular to members of our Asian communities. We recognize the email and its content have even greater implications in the midst of a pandemic that has spurred a climate of increased negativity towards Asian communities,” Sean Ryan, associate director of student housing, said in an email to students, per the Montreal Gazette.