I know that I’m only one small voice, but it’s too hard to stay silent anymore. The murder of George Floyd is the latest sign that racial tension is still very real in America.
How would I know? As a Chinese American, I’ve had firsthand encounters with racists during the COVIDー19 outbreak. Some subway riders would stare and move away from me, only to stand closer to even more people. A group of teenagers mockingly coughed at me while passing by on the streets. I consider myself lucky; the news reported even worse racist attacks against Asian Americans. In my community, Asian parents actually lined up to buy guns to protect their families.
Sure, I was the butt of plenty of racist jokes when I was a kid, but this was the first time I felt like a pariah in our society – like there was physical danger to having an Asian appearance. I can only imagine what that must be like every day for African Americans!
I can’t stay silent anymore if there are people are mistreated or even killed at scale, especially our black brothers and sisters. It’s easy enough for everyone to get along (or at least pretend to) when times are good; it takes true character to take care of each other when shit hits the fan. People of ALL races and socioeconomic backgrounds have to support each other while we’re enduring these brutal times of health and economic hardship.
Instead, it seems like we’re more divided now than ever.
Take care of each other…
Over the last few years, peaceful protests have been ignored, taking a knee has been ridiculed, and change hasn’t always been for the better. Unfortunately, the pent-up frustration with racial inequality and police brutality over such a long period of time has resulted in violence today.
Violence and looting have no place in our society, but I’m disturbed by how many people have used them as grounds to put down the ENTIRE protest movement. Look no further than Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed (if you’re brave enough!) to see it in action. The President has further divided the nation by stoking the flames, as opposed to reuniting our nation’s factions through healing words.
Here are my two cents on the matter – don’t let the violence by a few detract from issues affecting the many. Don’t let the President ignore the peaceful protests that are happening every day and bringing people together. Don’t let the haters deny that something is wrong – only for another terrible incident to happen again in a year or so.
… and that applies to everyone
I believe this same principle has to be applied equally to both sides. Just as not all protestors are looters and not all black people are criminals, not all white people are racists and not all cops are crooked. We need to find some common ground in order to reach a peaceful resolution, and I hope everyone can agree with that.
For now, I encourage people to peacefully protest to pave the way for political changes and police reform. I also encourage skeptics to use this time to listen to their communities instead of pushing back against protestors. Save the politics for debates and Election Day come November.
Now is the time for unity, not even more division.
I stand against racism. I stand with peaceful change. I stand with Black Lives Matter.