Yellow Allies – Spoken Word

Kristy Moua, Features Editor 

Kristy Moua is a second year here at Augsburg University. She plans on becoming an English teacher. As a Hmong, Asian American woman, Kristy is very passionate about her identities and most of her writings revolve around these identities. During Kristy’s free time, she loves hanging out with close ones, listen to music, and is always looking for trying something new. 

Below is a spoken word piece written last spring in 2019. 

It is Black History Month. It was exactly last spring when I read the novel, ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison for AP Humanities. The novel was first published in 1947. Ellison is a Black author and wrote this book with a unique take on the identity on what it means to be a Black man in America. As I was over half way through the novel, one of the characters, Ras, begins talking to the Invisible Man. At the end of Ras’s passionate speech, he says, on page 375, “You need allies to win…That there is sense. Black allies. Yellow and brown allies!” I remember reading that sentence in my room and I stopped. I was shocked because of the word: Yellow. It was the first time I’ve ever read in a novel that took place around the Civil Rights Movement that mentioned Asians. That mentioned my community as a possible ally for the Black community. 

So the next day in class I quickly raised my hand when my English teacher asked if any of us had any questions about the reading. I remember asking her: “So when Ras said ‘Yellow Allies’ he means Asians right?” I needed that verbal confirmation that what I read was real, that that sentence was published for 71 years for the whole world to see. My English teacher replied with a yes and asked respectfully if there was anything I would like to add upon that sentence. I went on to say, “I agree with that statement because Asians are the closest thing to white privilege yet at the same time we understand the struggles of racism and discrimination.” My English teacher then mentioned how ironic the title of the novel relates to the Asian identity. It made me think about how American history books have erased the Asian narrative, how Asian voices are often buried underneath the soil of America, and how the Asian presence is ignored. 

Today as I think about what Ras said, “You need allies to win”, I find it ironic once more that AASA, our Augsburg Asian Student Association, has their motto for this month titled as: “No Allies, No Community”. I am convinced once more that everything somehow connects in some illogical way, something I cannot explain. As I thought about the quote and what AASA is focusing on right now, I then thought about how our American society has shown unity between our Black and Yellow communities. I’m not going to lie, the first thing that I thought about was how in Rush Hour 3, Chris enters the scene to save Jackie and says, “He has me. His brother from another mother.” And I thought of something more recent that happened this year, the beautiful and glamorous photo of the Marvel Black Panther cast and the Crazy Rich Asians cast. Ras was right, you need allies from your community and you need allies from other communities.