Op-Ed: Dear Asians… let’s talk about our anti-black parents

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In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the fiery anti-police protests that followed, Asian Americans took to the streets and social media in support of their black friends and neighbors. However, not every Asian is in favor of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

When talking at the dinner table about the protests, senior Kim Nguyen grew with frustration as she was met with eye-rolls and lectures from her family. 

“As a Vietnamese girl with immigrant parents, I was taught to avoid African Americans. From exaggerated Facebook posts to family group chats discussing the news, they were portrayed as dangerous people,” Nguyen said.

So, why can’t others accept the Black Lives Matter Movement? It may be due to our anti-black upbringing. 

Anti-Black Origins

Most of the current Asian population in America is either first or second generation. Coming over after the 1970s, at the tail-end of the Civil Rights Movement, many immigrant parents enjoyed the results of said movement without truly seeing the struggles. 

The modern wave of Asian immigrants was saw the prejudice towards the black community and possibly had their own bad experiences with the black community. The divide between our two communities only grew and grew, adding to anti-blackness in families and ultimately in individuals.

This anti-blackness continues today. With various COVID-19-related racial attacks on Asians this year, people are quick to resist the Black Lives Matters movement. Why should we help them after they attacked us? Unfortunately, black people feel the same way towards Asians. This is a vicious cycle of each group feeling hurt and perpetrating that hurt back and forth between communities. 

Early Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

“We should support our communities together because we both have something in common: racial discrimination. By having unity in the different communities, most of us will be able to find new perspectives and fix the stereotypes placed on both races,” junior Anna Hayashizaki said.

We have to support our black friends and neighbors without the condition that they will support us back. Despite what viral videos suggest, the truth is many black people and leaders spoke up to defend us against COVID-19.

Asians Struggles ≠ Black Struggles

This slogan has brought Asians and African Americans together in protests, though some say it falsely equates the struggles of the two communities.

While it is true that Asian parents escaped war-torn, impoverished countries and also faced racism here in America, the situation many parents came into was more stable to have a fresh start– much more than African Americans who have been here for centuries.

The Asian immigrant struggle is absolutely a struggle but a separate one. We cannot get defensive and compare plights, or else we devalue what the black community that has gone through and give into the “model minority” myth, created to bring down other minority groups. It pits selected immigrant successes against the shortcomings of other BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color). 

We must acknowledge Asians live in a different America than black people. Although we face racism too, the daily threat on our lives is not as widespread or great as those of black people.

“Black people went through slavery and segregation, and are still facing issues today.  Asians pretty much only get made fun of, and I don’t think as many people are actually killed for being Asian. I’m not saying it’s acceptable to go and start stabbing Asians for the Coronavirus, but what we experienced isn’t as bad as what black people have experienced,” junior Dyllan Doan said.

Confronting Our Parents & Fake News

Some are persistent and some are willing to learn. Everyone is different, but it is not impossible to change someone’s perspective. It might take several conversations before even making a little progress. It’s really up to you if you have the courage to stand up for what you believe in.”

— Ann Phan, 12

Social media platforms, notably Facebook, have been the culprits of fake news. They blatantly lie and misinform their readers by criminalizing black people and presenting inaccurate facts about the government. It is not the social media platforms themselves, but those individuals that post with no accountability. 

“My parents are conservative. Fake news videos on Youtube and Asian websites spread hatred for black people. This propaganda targets our elders and shows only bad things like extreme photos of rioting,” freshman Huy Nguyen said.

“Talking to Asian parents about racism and current events is extremely difficult because they’ve grown up in different environments and with different beliefs than us. It’s crucial to stay humble and calm to get our points across. It is also important educate ourselves so we have enough information to back up key points and debunk false news. Also, speak from a personal perspective and make analogies. Whether it is about them or yourself, talk about the struggles. It may not be as bad as others’ experiences, but it opens them up to a more empathetic view,” senior Ann Phan said.

If tensions get too high and the conversation gets ugly, take a break. You don’t wanna feel the wrath of a feather duster. The truth is that not everyone is ready to change or willing to listen. Change takes time and give it time to evolve.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi

“I have always been an empathetic person that puts myself in other people’s shoes. If I can overcome the pressure instilled in me from my family’s racist views and educate myself about discrimination and Black Lives Matter, why can’t other people?” senior Kim Nguyen said.

Opinions and views of this article were written from the author’s perspective.

RESOURCES

  • Ways to Help

https://blmsites.carrd.co

  • Starting the Dialogue Within the Home (International Languages)

https://lettersforblacklives.com/abou…

  • Anti-Racism Resources

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B…

  • Translated Vietnamese Letters About BLM

https://blmvietinfo.carrd.co/