I think may be speaking for us all when I say this week was hard. Not just on personal levels for many of us, but on a far greater scale. For however uncomfortable or upset you’ve felt this week, imagine how black communities feel every single day. George Floyd was a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis this week. Remember his name, tell his story, and make your voice and opinions heard by signing petitions, donating to grassroots organisations and speaking out against racist rhetoric, behaviour and mindsets. I’ve included a list of the places you can do this, further down in the post. I’d like to believe that 99.9% of you reading this post are not racist — but are you also anti-racist?
As a non-black person, what are some of the things that we can do to be anti-racist? Above all, we can and must listen to black people and their voices. Hear their stories and seek out the actions that we can take to help them. Amplify their voices: use your privilege, as a non-black person, to put their words in front of majority audiences. Far too many times, I’ve seen people say that as somebody that isn’t black, or another ethnic minority, they don’t feel like it’s their place to get involved or that it isn’t their ‘cause’. Wrong. It’s all of our causes. Black people live every day heavily impacted and struggling because of actions that’ve trickled down from storied oppression by white people against them. Call out any racist behaviour.
Everyday racism going unchecked is what builds and breeds more racism.
As an East Asian, I know I can do much more than I already do. I tread on the paper-thin line between genuine and performative allyship. Whilst I will always show up for those of ethnic minorities, there is a limit to what I can safely do. Of course as we are in the midst of a pandemic, I am not outdoors protesting. Nor would I feel safe doing so as a Chinese woman. What I will do is continue to amplify black voices. I’ll speak out against racist rhetoric amongst my own circles. I’ll be open and honest about the implications of white people ‘not seeing colour’.
Fellow Asians, we also need to be honest about the model minority myth. A direct result (and cog) of white supremacy, this mindset allows white people and oppressors to weaponise us. ‘Chinese people are intelligent,’ ‘they’re hard-working,’ ‘they’re quiet and comply with regulations’ These stereotypes sound simple and complimentary, even, but they’re dangerous. They contribute to the systemic racism against black people and other ethnic minorities, by reinforcing racial hierarchies. We are not ‘better’ than other minorities; that is racist in itself. There were Asian American police officers at the scene who stood back and did nothing. This is a reflection of their character, but it shouldn’t be one of ours. Challenge the model minority myth. Use your voice — it’s powerful — and speak up for those who can’t because it’s dangerous for them.
‘Live for a cause, not for applause’
In the spirit of this week’s more sombre Sundaze, I want to give focus to a little quote I came across years ago. Because it helped to give me focus in a world that’s loud and big, and often feels like it could swallow you up. Social media is a force to be reckoned with, and it feels like a big ol’ rat race of trying to be noticed for X agenda. I was caught up in that trap a while ago, blindly tunnelling after micro-trends in the hope something would click for me. But life isn’t about the applause, not really. It’s about finding the things that make you click. The things that are worthwhile and meaningful, and it doesn’t matter whether that also resonates with one person or a million.
There’s some food for thought for you.
Important Links This Week
- Change.org — Justice for George Floyd
- Anti-racism Resources for White People
- How White People Can Hold Each Other Accountable to Stop Institutional Racism via Teen Vogue
- Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People. via The New York Times
- 20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now by Michelle Kim via Medium
- A Letter to Officer Tou Thao: How Does it Feel? via With Risa
- Beyond the Hashtag: How to Take Anti-Racist Action in Your Life via Teen Vogue
Thank you, Daisybutter readers, for continuing to do better for our world.