Kenji Yoshino: What should we be asking ourselves?

Academic and Author
What are the things I need to have a good life?
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TRANSCRIPT

Kenji Yoshino:  I think really that question, which is to say, “What are the things that I need to live a good life? And are those things really things that have to do with my particular group-based affiliations, as those affiliations have been handed to me by society?” So we’re all thrown into the world, right? So I could have been thrown into the world as any number of different kinds of person. I happen to be thrown into the world as an Asian-American gay man, and that has led to many forms of privilege and some forms of non-privilege, right? But instead of saying, “What should I do as a gay person? What should I do as an Asian person?” I would much rather ask people to think of themselves as, you know, “What do I need as a human being?” And part of what I need as a human being is, you know, the ability to marry. Part of the need . . . what I need as a human being is not to have people make snap judgments about me based on my racial identification, right? But I think that those claims are much broader and are much more . . . they . . . they . . . . they . . . Even to the extent that they focus on my demographic characteristics, they focus on those demographic characteristics as things that are contingent about me. And they focus on my humanity and my status as a human being as something that isn’t contingent about me. And I think that that’s a great place to end. Recorded on: 11/11/07