That’s about the gist of it in a nutshell: I am an Asian American Woman and when it comes to talking about racism, I don’t know what to say.
That’s not to say that I don’t have opinions, thoughts, beliefs, or even actively involved in the conversation — I identify as someone who is actively seeking to combat racism, A.K.A. an anti-racist. Whether through my church community – which has claimed also to “sing the song” of Anti-Racism, or elsewhere — but to be honest, I’m not quite sure what that looks like, or how to go about it, or where to start. So then, can I even claim to really be anti-racist?
Racism is an effect of a system that has developed and redeveloped over a really long time – and as an Asian American second generation woman, I always had a hard time identifying with any of the history or even the stark reality of it beyond my own experience of prejudice and micro-aggressions stemming largely from ignorance, amongst other things.
Everything else was American History – and as American as I may claim to be, I never truly felt any sort of ownership over it. It was always the “other” ‘s story – a story to which my family and I were perpetual aliens.
In fact, even in my own desperate attempt to find some semblance of ownership to the story – I found myself sitting in a strange duality of the varieties of Korean Immigrant Culture in the U.S. and White Privileged Culture. This duality being a simplification that only becomes even more confusing the second I dare to step outside Korea or the United States at which point I am always asked the question, “Where are you from?” to which if I answer “the U.S.” the immediate response is “No, like, your parents” or even a simple, “No you’re not”.
As Asian Americans, we aren’t allowed to claim the United States as our home or origin.
So how could we possibly feel any claim or ownership to the current story?
the United States is my home, my country, and my origin, and whatever is happening here, and whatever happened before, I am completely and absolutely a part of the story.
Documented or undocumented, born or immigrant, resident or citizen, we are part of the story.
So, now what?
I have spent a while listening, observing, & reacting, and feeling a lot of feels.
I’m going to continue to listen, observe, react, and feel a lot of feels, and I’m going to claim my identity as an Asian American, yes, AMERICAN is in there, and just as importantly, so is ASIAN –
And I guess we’ll see where that takes me.
Happy Ash Wednesday –
Thanks for Being.