|Papaver somniferum (bud of blossom above)|
|The last rains of spring (California School of Herbal Studies)|
*Saw this on someone's sign at a peace rally
I don’t even know where to begin, but maybe my college years are a good place to start.
Almost ten years ago, I began to think critically about race and racism in the U.S. thanks to the awesome professors I had at De Anza College and U.C. Berkeley. First, my college classes during Fresh/Soph year were centered around how different ethnic groups within the Asian American umbrella came to the U.S. and how they/we were treated.
I learned about internalized racism, and oppression that is so systemic and ingrained that even those who are not white-skinned partake in reinforcing that white is best (e.g. communities of all races subtly or not-so-subtly promoting the lightening of skin, hair, eyes, and on and on).
Jumping from community college to Cal, I learned more about Native American history, African American history. I think the rage I felt for my Asian American, and fellow People of Color overshadowed any teenage rage I ever had. Well, it was a different kind of rage. This rage has continued in me today; however, I’ve learned to channel it into taking action and creating connection with P.O.C. communities as well as white allies/accomplices who want to work and fight together. I am absolutely still learning, still listening.
Sadly the education I received is not mandatory for all Americans, but it really should be because the revisionist history taught in the public elementary - high school system is a contributor to the divide in our country today. YEA, I SAID IT.
Being a fair-skin to tan petite Asian American woman means that I don’t fit neatly into the Black and White dialogue. I absolutely have benefited from white privilege because of the proximity of the color of my skin to white. On the other hand, some of my earliest memories as a child are receiving racist aggressions, unintended or not.
These past few weeks have heightened the general heartache I have felt over the last two years of publicly-shared murders of black people. Thank goodness for social media and the internet because it’s a platform to share the sh*t that still happens to Black/Brown lives, otherwise invisible to those who don’t live the experience (people who have skin my color or lighter). Yes, it IS necessary to talk about race because racism is one of the root issues in this tangled mess. #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter
Before entering into discussion about Black Lives Matter, and before critiquing the movement, be prepared with knowledge and history of the oppression of P.O.C. Can’t rewind back to your college years and take radical, awesome classes on the People of Color in our country? It’s okay, you can start with this book:
And these blog posts/articles have been greatly helpful:
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/an-open-letter-from-an-admitted-racist_us_57831e2ae4b05b4c02fd02b8"Let me be clear before we go any further: I support and respect police officers. Police officers serve a necessary and important role in our society, and most of them do honorable peace-keeping work. Not all police officers commit acts of racism. I am devastated by the shooting of officers in Dallas. This is about the disproportionate and widespread instances in which white police officers have committed acts of violence against black men. This is about the lack of punishment for those police officers. This is about the lives of black people in this country."