As an Asian woman and a daughter to immigrant parents, I recognize my privilege as a “non-threatening” minority. I haven’t always been aware of this privilege, but being thrust into one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, at the ripe age of eighteen forces you to grow up. The first lesson I learned, as a bright eyed college freshman in New York City, is that feeling entitled to anything in this world is a complete waste of time and utter bullsh*t. In my opinion, entitlement is at the crux of any race issue. Life is a lottery; you don’t choose which life you’re born into, so it stands without reason, that creating a hierarchical system based off of the merits of physical appearance is ludicrous. It’s completely backwards.
I used to be able to hide behind a false sense of conviction, having been born to a Korean immigrant family, living in multicultural Los Angeles. I went through so long in life believing that I was an active advocate for minorities, simply because I spoke up a few times against the racism I witnessed, but I never did anything. As I reflect on these recent events and acts of injustice surrounding George Floyd’s death, I realize that taking a stance and confronting the uncomfortable topics is necessary to effect change, even more so if you are a white individual; don’t shy away from acknowledging your own privilege. Get out there, donate, contribute your physical bodies to the cause. The more aware we are and the more we do, the better we can contribute to fighting institutionalized racism.
Coming from a Korean background, there is cultural value in a woman’s reticence. I grew up thinking that an opinionated girl is unattractive, and one who fights for her opinions to be heard is troublesome. This was a difficult sentiment to grow up with since anybody who knows me well, knows that I am quite opinionated and very convicted when I feel passionate about a belief. Even as an adult woman now, I catch myself holding my tongue when controversial topics are brought up around other Koreans. But as the conversation continues to develop and become deeper, I’m not okay with our society’s negligence. Our negligence and passivity in promoting anti-racism contributes to the collective issue. I keep going back to Eliezer Yudowsky’s quote, “You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” We have a moral obligation to educate each other and create further conversation.
Be confrontational, and provide your voice to the sea of voices that have dealt with centuries of pain and marginalization. Now is not the time to stay silent, to be seen as the “good, quiet” girl, with a mild temperance and predilection for non-confrontational topics. Now is the time to stand together and fight to dismantle the systems of racism instilled in our society.