Prompt Uncomfortable Conversations: A Call to Action for Asian Americans

May 31, 2020

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I’ve been quiet the last few days so I could do some serious introspection about my own privilege & internalized racism. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to contribute that is additive to the conversation, not just taking up space; that holds me accountable to action, and is not just performative.

 

First, us Asian Americans need to show up for our black sisters & brothers. We need to donate to organizations helping the victims acquire justice, sign petitions, call legislators, educate ourselves with works by black writers, protest, and send money to support black activists.

 

But that is not all. We also need to ACTIVELY DISMANTLE racism from within our own spheres of influence. We need to address anti-Blackness within our own communities. Saying we “stand in solidarity” means we need to act to back it up — and that necessitates doing things that make us extremely uncomfortable.

 

Here’s my proposal for fellow AA's: commit to having at least ONE CONVERSATION A MONTH about recognizing & combating internalized racism and how to be anti-racist with the “Amy Coopers” you already have a relationship with.

 

Yes, I am asking you to contribute your emotional labor to do this. Us AA’s sit at a unique intersection of privilege & discrimination, which makes it even more critical that we use the privilege we have to fight against systematic oppression. Remember: the privilege, access & resources we enjoy now were not always the case. It took protesting — even rioting — and the work of many Black men & women standing with us to realize.

 

No, it is not “fair” & it is “a lot”. I know pressing 'send' on my own outreach message made my stomach churn. But change has never been achieved comfortably, and white supremacy thrives on silence from its opposers. Overturning bias one by one is a slow & unsexy slog, but that is what needs to be done right now, and the best place to start is within our own personal connections.

 

P.S. Taking this step does not mean you or me are off the hook for self improvement. I still have lot to work through, and I know I will screw up many times in that process. It is okay that we are imperfect & continually learning.

 

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