A Valentine’s Day Hate Crime

Not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s an uptick in violence and harassment against Asian/Americans. It’s not surprising to me, given that my younger brother was assaulted walking home from school after 9/11 with shouts of “remember Pearl Harbor,” an entire generation of my family was shipped off to internment camps and some of their homes burned down, and just the usual questions about the quality of my English (even though I’m a fifth-generation American) or asking me about where I’m from before anything else.

And of course, I’m processing a lot of why I haven’t spoken up about this sooner. Am I just totally desensitized to the sheer amount of hate in the US? Regardless, apparently it only it took a friend of mine getting verbally assaulted and kicked in the chest, and her husband being punched in the face to get me to prioritize talking about this.

She’s generously shared her story on her Instagram as well as given me permission to share, and I encourage everyone to give it a watch. It’s a powerful reminder of how insidious structural forms of oppression like sexism and racism are often intertwined, and given that she’s just gone through something terrible, she articulates how misogyny, racism, and xenophobia can all manifest at once.

It might seem overwhelming to choose to stand up against all biases and forms of oppression, but an intersectional approach is necessary as the problem is intersectional. Everyone has some form of privilege, and we need to use that to amplify the voices of those who are marginalized and create the change we want to see.

We need to be better. A more diverse, inclusive world where everyone belongs does have a concrete ROI attached to it, but if you don’t want a more diverse, inclusive world just because it’ll be a better place for everyone, you need to take a good long look in the mirror to unpack the privilege that stance requires.

Want to do better? Asian Americans Advancing Justice have got a bunch of free trainings for both bystanders as well as those who maybe targeted by harassment. Go sign up. Spread the word.

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