Been wrestling with hard questions. Particularly, how has the model minority myth, following the silent/submissive stereotype, and allowing others to make racial slurs/comments/jokes against me perpetuated and normalized racism against Black America?
I’ve been hesitant to be outspoken about identifying as a person of color, being brown, and my own experiences because I never wanted to diminish or lessen what my Black friends live through and being raised in a predominantly White community led me to feel like I should lean more towards having a White-er identity. Even now, I still hardly know any people who share my ethnicity (from school, from the industry, from church you name it). I’m realizing my silence on what Asian racism looks like in my own life and in this country has normalized systemic racism which directly (or indirectly) puts my Black brothers and sisters at a greater danger than what I’ve ever had to fear for fight against. And I’m ashamed.
Growing up, I’ve shrugged off and made self-deprecating jokes about my own identity because I was insecure. I’ve allowed others to poke fun at my stereotypes. I’ve shyed away from embracing my own Chinese ethnicity & adoption, feeling that my life should be aligned more with a white-er & quieter persona so that I could relate with others. Even now, I still struggle with not fully embracing the way I look, wishing some days that I had a white nose, that I was taller, and had a slim white face…I think primarily because that is what America predominantly deems as beautiful in advertising campaigns and in Hollywood.
I see more clearly now that my actions or inaction unintentionally enabled others to think that racism was okay (because it was often never malicious towards me) – and my silence partook in normalizing it.
I’m embarrassed, convicted, heartbroken. But my heart and mind is where the change begins. I feel humbled that I even get to have the responsibility and opportunity to reflect and have conversations, and that we have the power and freedom to change this country and the narrative.