Do You Feel Safe Being Asian?
What’s going on everyone? I typically don’t post emotionally charged posts like the one I’m posting right now but I will this time. I want to use this platform today to stand for something. Today I was walking my dog around the neighborhood. I saw this elderly asian woman walk out of her house. As soon as she walked out she did the sign of the cross. So if you’re catholic, it looks like this. As we crossed paths we exchanged smiles as she said cute dog. I asked her something that I probably wouldn’t ask as I don’t talk about religion or politics for that matter. I respect people’s personal beliefs. However, given our political and social environment I was curious. I asked “Why did you do the sign of the cross?” She said, “Because I’m an asian woman and I don’t feel safe.” I wished her well and walked away thinking. Wow. What is happening to this world? You’d think that all the attention about racism and BLM made a difference but it’s getting worse. I’ve read posts where people are saying all this Stop Asian Hate is fake. It’s not. I’ve experienced a ton of racism personally. The difference is that I believe asian cultures are taught to follow order and not be disruptive. We are taught to be the prototypical subservient minority. I also read posts from other cultures saying, well now you know how we feel? I understand the comment but what that person is doing is exactly what other cultures said when they said their lives mattered. They even said Asians are racist. The reality is many people in all cultures are racist. My sister is black, my nephews are half black, my best friend is black and people in my own community had their stupid opinions. On the flip side, I’ve seen dummies like Steve Harvey say straight up racist things about asian men on national TV. I saw a post of a middle eastern woman proudly posting that she was Canadian. In the comments section, someone wrote you’re not the real Canada. Heck even in my culture, Filipinos are racist against themselves and other islands. It’s crazy. Look, the point I’m trying to say is that the world needs healing. Many are hurt. So how do we fix this? I don’t have all the answers but here’s what I’m doing and will continue to do.
- Acknowledge it. Racism is racism. We all know that. Here’s where I think we need to look inwards. Acknowledge our own racism. Don’t say you’re not a racist when you know you have even a little bit. I’m guilty of it. I’ve said some insensitive stuff when I was younger that if I said it now, it would hurt people. I was a young kid and we thought it was funny. If it hurts someone, it’s not funny. If it hurts an entire culture, it’s a problem.
- Practice Empathy. When one culture expressed their pain. Don’t dismiss it or marginalize it as it isn’t real. It’s real. I have personally had people tell me to go back to my country or spit us while we drove. Worse off, don’t compare it and make it about you by saying “Well I got it worse.” . Be genuine and say, I believe you because I’ve been there.
- Call it out. Look, there are some people who will use the race card to cover up for their own shortcomings. They are insecure lazy people. There will always be people who will game the system but when there is flat out racism, call that shit out and tell them to stop. Oftentimes, people will say it because they don’t think people mind. People will make fun of Asians because of that stigma of a submissive culture. And for the asians, I’ll call you out if you say racist shit to other cultures. Call out a bully and most of the time they stop.
- Educate yourself. We are not born racist. Racism is learned. It’s taught by uneducated people who weren’t taught properly. It may not be their fault initially as they see the world through the information that form their lens. Take a look at a black man named Daryl Davis who convinced many KKK members to give up their roles simply by having mature conversations. Learn about other cultures. We eat other cultures’ food but do we know the beauty in which that food was inspired?
- Be forward thinking. Right now people are afraid. Asians are scared there will be violence against them. Black people are scared they may die in the hands of police officers. Mexican immigrants are scared their families will be torn apart and deported. White people are scared that they will be blamed for being racist if they say something. Not all Black people are gangsters. Not all white people are racists. Not all Asians are trying to take over the world with covid. Just look at your decisions. If we continue doing what we are doing, this will only get worse. Be forward thinking. The only way to fix this is to see a better future, talk about the issues and then work hard to fix them.
To all my brothers and sisters in the asian community. I stand beside you and I feel your pain. To all the other cultures out there, I hear you and can’t wait to educate myself. You have a Filipino brother in me. And to the politicians and authority. Get your shit together and reach out to the people you serve. I don’t know if this will end racism but my attempt to help.
I’m Michael Siervo. This is what I’m going to do. I hope you decide to do the same. One world, one life, one love. Be kind. Be human. Be you. Till next time. Sending you love and good vibes.