How I learned to be Okay with being an Ally for Myself
I read about it. I clicked away.
I saw a video about it. I cried. I clicked away.
I gave myself some time to absorb it all and yet I thought to myself, “Why am I not feeling as impacted as I should be right now? I should be more concerned. These are MY people now being murdered.”
But then I thought — it’s NOT that I’m not feeling impacted, I’ve bawled my eyes out. I’ve held my grandma just a bit closer, thankful she rarely leaves the house. I worry about my Dad every day he goes on his morning walks around the neighborhood. My thoughts above are not because I’m not worried, terrified or anxious — it is because that so much of this past year has perpetuated every one of us to be an ally for others. That when it came down to being an ally for ourselves, our parents, our YehYehs and PauPaus, or our auntie who owned that spa, worked at that nail salon, shopped at that Chinese grocery store or even walked down Market St San Francisco, terrified and scared, it felt harder to acknowledge. It felt hard to turn the attention onto us now, and dare I say, I felt guilty feeling and saying that we are now a target of yet another racist hate crime. Because how could we be, right?
Asian-Americans have a racist history — Chinese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Indian Americans and Pacific-Islander Americans. Period, point blank. This is not, and I repeat, NEVER should be a competition to see who has had it worse growing up in America.
And then you’ll hear the occasional, “But Asian-Americans don’t have a jarring history of racist experiences. How could they if they’ve worked so hard for their success in America — they’re the model of what every minority here should be.”
Every minority in America has had their fair share of influential and devastating experiences. Many minorities are products of their immigrant parents. Their immigrant parents have one wish — to build a unique life for their children they never had. They came to America to experience a better life, one they could never have achieved in their motherlands — ironic, isn’t it? The phrase, “model minority” is when one uses the accomplishments of a minority group to diminish racism in America. And to combine this with a real xenophobic problem (perpetuated even more so by the most recent administration) in the US is wrong on all levels and therefore ultimately drives the racial divide between human beings today.
President Trump’s America has fueled every White Supremacist’s boldness and tenacity to think they can defy the very decent, compassionate human behavior we’ve come together to build since the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the 1940’s Japanese-American Internment Camps, the 1946 US Occupation of the Philippines, the 1950’s Civil Rights Movement — and it is to treat every single human being with the same love and empathy as you’d like to be treated. Unfortunately, a large part of America still cannot put themselves in others’ shoes.
Just as we did the research, we did the educating and we did the supporting of our fellow Black Americans this past summer— PLEASE come with that same energy. Come with that same passion. Make those signs, repost those videos, march in those streets and keep pushing for the uncomfortable.