As an Asian American raised in a suburban town an hour west of Chicago, I grew up pretty sheltered. I grew up privileged. I grew up feeling safe in my neighborhood and among my peers.
I usually remain silent in matters like this because of fear of opening up, fear of being vulnerable & uncomfortable, fear of being silenced after I speak, fear of being taken out of context, and fear of judgment, but most importantly, my LACK OF AWARENESS and LACK OF KNOWLEDGE has made me an ignorant fool for far too long. I can no longer remain silent.
I may not always find the right words to speak, but I’m trying to learn. I’ve learned more about the Black Lives Matter movement in a mere 2 days than I have in my 30 years of life. I’ve been such a fool, but what I can say is I am here now. I hear you. I see you. I’m educating myself. And if from time to time, I say the wrong thing, please correct me, for what I lack is information and my knowledge is limited.
I grew up so sheltered to the point where everything with a stigma was swept under the rug. No one talked about it. No one took the time to educate me in my youth, therefore I grew up never taking the time to educate myself. That’s no excuse though. It’s been how many years of this, how many years have people of color suffered and feared for their lives, how much longer will they have to endure, how many innocent lives will be taken in order for us to hear them, to love them, to accept them, and to treat them with the respect that we treat non-black folk?
The “I don’t have to fear for my life, why should I care?” attitude, is the problem. The lack of knowledge is the problem. The lack of awareness is the problem. The lack of discussion within the non-black community is the problem. We need unity. We need empowerment. We need to speak up and stand up for those whose voices are being silenced. But most importantly, we need to LISTEN. We need to hear those trying to speak up. We need to amplify what they are screaming at the top of their lungs. It’s up to us to help them be seen, be heard.
This is a topic that needs attention. It’s 2020 and there has been zero progress. Racism towards people of color needs to stop. The only way to grow is through talking about it. Discussions. Connecting to others. It’s important to listen and to hear their stories. It’s important to take those stories and pass it on. Change can only happen if you’re brave enough to partake in those uncomfortable & serious conversations. Change can only happen if we take the time to listen, educate ourselves, speak out, get involved, and help out in any way that we can.
Join the conversation. If you’re anything like me, start researching, start talking to your African American friends or other people of color, listen to their side of the story, listen to what they have endured throughout the years, but not only listen, talk about it. The only way to move forward is to get uncomfortable, let those emotions of how much they’ve suffered drive you to take action.
I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand with you. rebeccanne