I hope you can forgive this departure from the usual content, but at this point I can't keep silent about the racial inequality in America. My parents were first-generation immigrants, and like many others, they moved to Australia for a better life. Growing up in rural Australia we were one of a few Asian families. So you can probably guess that I spent most of my childhood surrounded by white people. Growing up this way, I started identifying as a banana, yellow on the outside white on the inside.
Even though my parents and I were so embedded in Australian culture. We were still treated differently. White people made sweeping generalizations about Asians in front of my parents or me. Comments such as Asians can't drive or that I must be good at math because I'm Asian. In Australia, we call this casual racism since it lacks the intent of deliberate racism (source). But casual racism is still racism. Being young and wanting to fit in, I let this slide. Looking back at it, I wish I hadn't.
I didn't want to believe that people were genuinely racist. When people yelled, "go back to where you came from," I'd laugh and reply, "it's a 6 hour drive". Humour was the way I survived these comments. It was my shield so that I could continue believing I fit into white society. Then one night at a party, I experienced deliberate racism. The shield I had put up to protect my mental well-being crumbled. It was a shock to the system. I was confused, hurt, and felt like dirt. It was more than a passing comment yelled from a car. This person truly hated me because of the color of my skin. How could someone genuinely think these things?
Now, as I'm living in America, I see black people facing racial injustices like this every single day. It goes beyond racist comments from any one individual. It runs deep in society, with police brutality being one facet of this. With a growing number of videos exposing police brutality, we're able to have a conversation about race inequality backed up with overwhelming evidence. When society fails an entire race, when it fails someone like Geroge Floyd or Breonna Taylor, something needs to change.
I am trying to educate myself about how deep this racial inequality runs. I want to understand the best way to have conversations about race. It's damn uncomfortable, but it needs to happen. To even begin mending the chasm of racial inequality, we need to bring awareness, and we need to take action. Unfortunately, I can't vote, but I can use my privileged position as a software engineer to donate to organizations (a few linked below) that are pushing for change. If you have the means, I urge you to do the same — black lives matter.
Organizations affecting change
- ACLU - a group that protects the civil liberties of Americans: https://action.aclu.org/give/now
- Black Lives Matter - The organization working towards ending racism towards black people https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
- Campaign zero - a group pushing legislation changes to policing; https://www.joincampaignzero.org/