I’m tired. And not muscles-are-achy-tired, or took-care-of-a-newborn-tired, or couldn’t-sleep-last-night-tired (well, maybe that a little bit). Update: I’m self-correcting. I’m not tired, I’m learning.
The sea is relentless, and when I mean the sea, I mean each drop that represents a moment of racism in my life.
- I think about the time, a couple years ago, I talked with a white friend, who said they don’t believe systemic racism exists. Now they’re posting about the injustices that people of color face.
- Or the time a white co-worker told me the best sex he ever had in his life was with his Filipino ex.
- Or when I was 12, and my family immigrated to Canada, and not knowing any better, I imitated Chinese accents for the better part of 6 months in class, during recess, during lunch time, before I realized there was something wrong in doing that.
- Or when I accidentally called the custodian at my work place “Jose” even if his name is Pedro.
- Or when I heard a non-black-person say the n-word while reciting song lyrics and I didn’t say anything.
- Or the time my voice got shut out in favor of a white person’s.
- Ugh. And so much more.
I’m auditing my life in the context of racism, and I’m definitely finding myself lacking.
In the last few weeks, and even few years, I would say, I’ve been examining my implicit anti-blackness. And it’s so hard, so insidious, so against what I explicitly believe and try to live by, because it means airing out ugly things like the memories above.
Asian communities can be racist, even explicitly so. I find myself trying to find faces that look like mine in the context of Black Lives Matter, thought-leaders that are Asian and have a strong stance on anti-racism and pro-black lives.
In a time of hashtag activism (is that a phrase, I don’t even know, it should be) and online sources that deluge my feeds every day, it can be easy to participate in social justice — and convenient.
It is a good thing to join a protest, support a black-owned business, share a post, spread the word, learn the vocabulary — but I find myself asking: is it the necessary thing?
I find myself asking: are we doing the work to struggle and reflect? Are we asking ourselves how we’ve benefited from a system that hurts black people?
Are we asking ourselves when in our lives have we spoken up, when we were not in a crowd of passionate protesters, but alone with only our own voices and hearts?
Writers Write prompt: Relentless