Stop Asian hate. Asian lives matter.
These statements should not offend you. They can, they might, but they shouldn’t. As a Black woman, I am going to explain why I won’t let them.
With the re-traumatization of the murder of George Floyd playing out live on multiple televised and online outlets, I want to make sure that the simultaneous trauma of hate crimes and violence against Asians are not drowned out. Asian lives matter, and being a Black woman in America does not give me any right to ignore one injustice over another.
The violence laying siege to our country does not end at racial lines but crosses them. In most major news outlets, we have seen the faces of those responsible for the mass shootings in Colorado and Atlanta. What we may miss in this era of constant emotional duress and social violence are the one-off, brutal, and seemingly random attacks committed by unexpected perpetrators: Black people.
Of course, Black people are not exclusively committing these heinous acts, but it has happened enough for me as a Black woman to be aware and to be ashamed. I cannot ignore that I am embarrassed. I am dismayed. I am disappointed. And I am sorry, so sorry.
To Asian American, Pacific Islander community and members impacted and affected by the increasing violence, racism, and hatred in Portland, in Atlanta, in New York, in California, everywhere in our country, we support you. You are valued. You are loved.
The contemporary relationship between all minorities can be complicated. Human beings of any persuasion can come with prejudices. In the echo chamber of community, they can fester. That festering can give birth to hatred – and hatred is the partner to racism. These atrocities, whether historical or ongoing, do not represent an entire people, culture, nation, or history; but the exclusivity of prejudice, hate, and racism is not owned by white America.
No one, regardless of race, is immune to perpetuating acts of bigotry and intolerance. There are numerous examples in history of racial prejudice on a global scale between racial and ethnic minority groups(1-6). While these events are larger and more prominent than what we are seeing in the United States, they all share a common and disturbing trend – they begin as one-off, under-reported crimes targeting a local community, before bursting into the national spotlight as a humanitarian crisis.
The narrative around the recent violent acts against the AAPI community here in the United States unilaterally condemns these crimes as acts of white supremacy. And while this is true for the hate crimes committed by white people, it fails to adequately describe the hate crimes committed by minority groups against one another.
By supporting the fallacy that people of color have no history or culture beyond and outside of American history, have no self-control or autonomy to govern themselves, or show common decency and respect, and can only learn from white people – thus are helplessly incapable of being responsible for their own actions – is insulting, inaccurate, and incredibly demeaning. It is deceptive, shortsighted, and arrogant to unilaterally blame racial prejudice between minorities on white culture and white supremacy. That thinking endorses the very thing it attempts to dismantle: white supremacy.
Anyone can be prejudiced. Anyone can be racist. Everyone can put an end to it. And so we will.
Myself, our board, and our organization condemn all forms of racism, discrimination, sexism, bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance against any human being for any reason. We condemn violence perpetuated in all communities against all persons. We are anti-racist and will work tirelessly to the best of our ability to call out racism, in our own communities, in our own groups, and in our work, to better serve and support our members.
Consider the words of Angela Davis: “"I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I'm changing the things I cannot accept." This is where I stand.
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- Kaleema Murphy, Board Chair