This post isn’t going to be like most with fun photos and funny anecdotes because honestly the last few weeks have been brutal. I’ve always been passionately vocal – like you will know my opinion even if you didn’t ask for it! A huge reason for that is ever since I was a child, my dad taught me that I need to speak up and sometimes speak up louder than most because as a female and as an Asian, most people will overlook me and just assume I’m submissive. I just took my dad’s words as wisdom and went about life not really thinking about the why.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely realized the why because I’ve gotten people who will say to me “you’re not like typical Asians” or “why aren’t you like other Asians” and I used to just laugh it off and/or wear it like a badge of honor that I wasn’t what they expected, but now I’m tired. I’m so tired of pretending it’s okay. We should never be overlooked or silenced due to the color of our skin or hair or how our eyes look.
I’m also mad and sad at how Asians are “suppose” to be unassuming and not draw attention. Culturally Asians tend to have the mentality of just work hard (like seriously we aren’t allowed to bring home anything lower than an A) and keep your head down so we don’t rock the boat. I didn’t even realize the micro aggression of how we are told to be wall flowers and how invisible we can be until now. I always chalked it up to just the culture, but now it seems that not bothering anyone has led to people assuming we don’t need help and that our pain is invisible.
It’s gotten to a point, where I worry about my parents and aunts and uncles who go on walks or just go to the grocery store and just live. My auntie (quick lesson in Chinese culture, family friends are called auntie and uncle out of respect even if we’re not blood relatives) was recently attacked and robbed at a nearby park that is literally a minute away from my parents’ home! It’s a park where my friends and I grew up and would have picnics and play dates. I still run through that park every time I’m back home. I’m from a relatively small hometown and yes, it can be boring as a single 20 something (hence I moved to LA), but I have always felt like it was a great place to grow up and a safe place. Well I guess I should say it WAS a safe place, but now even my hometown is not considered safe 😦 I also hate how going on a run has become a gymnastic event in my head as I’m contemplating if I should bring my pepper spray or my stun gun just in case? And is my hair tied up properly so it’s not easy to grab? And are my shoes laced up properly so I can escape if needed? How did a workout that is suppose to be a mental break become so stressful?! I admit that seeing hate crime after hate crime after hate crime filling my newsfeed has made me so livid and depressed and exhausted.
As much as I want to just fix everything myself, I can’t. And as loud as I am, I’m not loud enough. We can never make change alone so I’m asking you to please help – don’t just stand by. Don’t chalk this up to someone else’s problem. That someone could be your auntie. That someone could be me. That someone could you.
I know that each ethnicity and race has a different trial and pain, but it really is when we come together to help one another that change can happen. I have to believe that. I have faith that there is more good than bad in the world.
I don’t really know the perfect solution (other than racism needs to end and man oh man I wish I could be like Thanos and just snap my fingers for that) that we can do right now for immediate results, but there are some resources that have helped educate me and have helped bring attention and help to our Asian community below:
Resources, including how to stay safe, how to support Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander communities, and where to donate:
- Healing Circles: Healing Asian Communities — A series of therapist-led Circles, designed to address anti-Asian racism that has grown since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. *Free*
- https://www.pbs.org/weta/asian-americans/ — Documentary on the Asian American experience
- National Geographic: Scapegoating Asians, a timeline of racism
- NBC Asian American: News, features, videos and more that aim to elevate Asian American and Pacific Islander voices across the U.S.
Suggested accounts to follow:
- AAPI: Stop Asian Hate
- UK centric: @dearasianyouthlongn – Empowering British Asian youth & communities
- General: @everydayracism_ @thevoiceofcolour