Happy TunesDay: Collection 34 – A Thank You in Racial Solidarity

Happy TunesDay: Collection 34 – A Thank You in Racial Solidarity

This is a different kind of TunesDay.  I am taking this time as a thank you–a sharing of weight and burden. It is an expression and acknowledgement of the unbearable struggle that my Black and brown family constantly endure.

I am unbelievably grateful to every single person, across racial plains, who has taught me about solidarity, Black struggle, and what that means in creating a better world.

You have shared your triumphs and your pitfalls. You told us about your losses and fears. And sometimes, often times, we do not believe them.

It makes me incredibly emotional to know that there are people who do not value our shared humanity, who hijack every opportunity for learning and turn it into defensive ignorance.

Still, you speak your truths as if your lives depend on it, because it does.

It was never and is never your job to keep teaching and keep educating those around you. But still, you do. And I have benefited from that every step of the way. I promise to do more teaching. To let you take a break and stop your wounds from reopening.

Your resounding resilience comforts me.  It tells me that despite oppression, hatred, and magnitudes of barriers, it is always possible to overcome.  It tells me that eastern Asian womxn like myself can also be strong and outspoken. You tell me that my voice also matters.  You confirm that racism and exoticism isn’t just in my head; that it impacts as all–some in worse ways than other. But we never play oppression olympics. We’re not at Rio. We never displace or remove or hide.  You always let us express our shared frustrations and our differences. In doing so, you uplift us all, without question or compromise.

There are no words to explain how thankful I am for the womxn of color, especially in the Black struggle, who teach me, guide me, and love me in spite of my missteps and high learning curve.

We rise because of you.

So this is just a thank you, plain and simple.  Because even though thank you’s don’t change the world, you still need to hear it.  You need to know that your work and your presence matters.  Thank you, a million times over.  I have learned to love myself because of you and in turn, I will do everything in my power to ensure you too feel love, safety, and acceptance in this society that constantly tears us down.

With a love that knows no bounds,

On Children and Race

On Children and Race

People love children.

They’re adorable, innocent, and wondrous, little human people.  For the most part, anyway.

And I fall into the societal assumption that children are these beautiful things to be protected and sheltered from harm.  It’s not that I don’t think they should be or aren’t amazing.  I love kids and I think everyone should value and respect them.

But I’ve been thinking that it’s strange how much adults love children compared to other human people.  And when kids are going through tough situations, for some reason, it seems like everyone feels that pain more than the pain adults or teenagers feel.

Today, I felt helpless.

A little girl told me that she didn’t like her skin.

It wasn’t because it was sunburnt or dry or scabbed over from falling while playing a mean game of double-dutch (do kids even play double-dutch anymore?).

It was because of the color.

And I have studied the theories of racism –internal, institutional, personally-mediated.  So, it shouldn’t be a shock when I hear that people dislike, or even hate, the race they are.

And I’ve met grown people who have internalized racism.  And I feel bad for them and it makes me angry beyond belief to think that a person would hate themselves so much because of something so arbitrary (and when I say arbitrary, I don’t mean it is meaningless), as race.

But hearing and seeing a child–a happy, funny, sweet, caring child– look down at her skin and say she hated it, then look at my lighter skin and say that’s what she wants…it completely broke me.

She didn’t say it in a sad voice either.  I think that’s what made it more difficult.  It was just a simple truth to her.  Just like a kid saying they didn’t like brussel sprouts or doing math homework.

I told her she was funny, talented, and beautiful, no matter what color her skin.  But, it didn’t seem like enough.  She nodded and sighed.   Even if I or her family or her friends say reassuring words, the world around her denigrates blackness to such an extreme.  Working towards an equitable society that values and respects the color of someone’s skin is so much more than one person can handle.

And I know that this little girl isn’t a needle in a haystack.  I know there are people, children and adults alike, that dislike how they look.  And just because someone is or isn’t a child, doesn’t mean their feelings are any more or less valid.  Racism, internalized or not, hurts everyone.

It’s going to take a lot more than reassuring pats on the back to make this right, and in the meantime, I don’t exactly know how to move forward.