Vicky Zhuang Yi-Yin
Enough with the Racism
I wrote about some of my experiences with racism previously. I wrote in my article Compassion Corona about my concerns about how this virus was going to create another face of racism towards the Asians who look like me. I also wrote in it how some of my friends and people around me stood up for me, even when I didn't want to put up a fight.
Right now, the world as we know it is going through a time of major transformation. We are ALL going through a pandemic. But in the middle of this pandemic another issue has made waves on the internet, and on the streets: Racism.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Are. Complicit. To. It.
Which is why I wanted reflect on what I wrote previously, and what's happened since.
I believe that racism is a systemic problem. It is a problem that is ingrained and taught to everyone. It is taught to our kids. It is internalized. In some places it is normalized. And we don't talk a lot about how it affects the people the discriminating is directed at. We all suffer from some form of internalized racism. And we need to keep a check on it.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been hearing about black people losing their lives in the hands of police brutality. But wait. It's not been a past couple of weeks. We have been hearing about this for a very long time. Why hasn't this changed? We are living in 2020, and racism still has to be a topic of discussion. Racism still has to be dealt with by people. People still think it is fine to be a bit racist. Are we in the wrong place, time, dimension?
I received a ton of responses like, it's the people, don't worry about them. Be strong. But that's exactly the problem! The world has ignored racism because it has always normalized it. And. We. Are. Complicit.
The people who say that to me obviously have concerns for me. But that concern for me is not going to help the system. It's not enough to tell people to ignore, really. If you ignore it, you, are complicit.
Like living in Pakistan, I do find that people care so much about the color of their skin. The fairer the better. But why? What has skin color got to do with anything? It doesn't change the fact that you are still human. Your skin color should not be a determinant of your life's future successes. It shouldn't be a litmus test of whether you are a good person or a bad person. The only thing it is a litmus test is your identity, and that's all. Nothing more, nothing less.
If who is the fairest after all is what people are going for, then they need only to look at Snow White's guardian, who got what she deserved trying to be the fairest of them all in the land. But that's just me simplifying it.
Yet this is all a remnant of colonialism's abuse. Racism is a product of colonialism and imperialism. It has, for generations, stripped the confidence and the pride of many people. And for what? To tell the difference between the people with power and the people who are being oppressed?
Colonialism may have become outdated now. It may be part of our history books right now. But it hasn't left our mindset. We still look down on people. We create stereotypes about groups of people that are completely baseless. We allow people to make stupid jokes, and laugh it off. We hear people justifying why a certain group's people should get treated the way they are. We learn to generalize things. We tell our affected friends to ignore it, that people are being silly, or are uneducated. Well then, right the wrong. Make the other racist person think twice about doing it again!
I always respect my friends for standing up for me, even in times when I never asked them to. So know this, if you stop racism, you will be respected. You'll actually be like a hero. (I mean whatever works to get you to understand why it is important to stop racism.)
Right now, my social media is full of images of the Black Lives Matter protests. And you know what, the Black Lives Matter movement has been going on for years. They have been fighting the good fight for years. What happened to George Floyd, what happened to Breonna Taylor, What happened to Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and so many others being wrongfully killed at the hands of the police is not just about police brutality but also the internalized racism. They aren't individual events anymore. It is exposing a deep seeded wrong that needs to be corrected. Not only is it a human rights violation. It is bad training. It is bad teaching. It is bad upbringing.
If 2020 is to usher in a new decade, let this be a part of the new era. Let racism be finished. Do your part. No more people should die because of the color of their skin. No more should people feel bad about their skin color. No more people being hurt because they were apparently born in the wrong country. But who the hell gets to choose where they are born?
I can't do anything about what is happening in the United States of America. I'm not a part of the country. Heck I can't do the fundraisers on Youtube when a I watch a video there. But the least I can do is ask my friends, family and readers to call out racism. Everything starts from home. So let's start doing our small bit. Let's end racism. Let's not be complicit anymore. Let's do better for everyone. Let's do it for the future.