Henry Golding and Liv Lo were at the Black Lives Matter protest yesterday. Henry’s mother is Malaysian, Liv’s father is Taiwanese, and I’m bringing this up because as we know, the three other police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd have now been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. One of those officers is East Asian. His name is Tou Thao. And this is an example of how non-Black people of colour can also be racist, can internalise white supremacy and actively work against their own self-interest because they’ve been conditioned to support the white status quo, believing that it somehow might help them.
I am East Asian and while I don’t go around using racial slurs and I certainly don’t harass Black people, I was born and raised in North America so for sure, I carry unconscious bias. It might be less now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, it doesn’t mean I haven’t in the past made assumptions about Black people on appearance only. It’s disgusting to admit but it would be a lie to deny. I have. Not now, not anymore, but I have. And I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and grow so that I didn’t end up a Central Park Karen but as Van Jones said, that sh-t is in so many of us, it’s a virus, and if we don’t diagnose it, we can’t eradicate it. When it’s not eradicated, the best case scenario, since no lives were lost, is that Christian Cooper wasn’t physically harmed when Amy Cooper endangered his life. The worst case scenario is when Tou Thao let Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd.
It’s important then for non-Black POCs to pull up right now and acknowledge that we too have been complicit. That for East Asians, being part of the model minority – Tou Thao is a classic example as I am – has protected us from the injustice that Black people face, and in accepting that protection, we have contributed to the disease.
Just this week, Henry Golding called out Samantha Katie James, Miss Universe Malaysia 2017, for being anti-Black. She posted the most offensive f-cked up sh-t on Instagram which you can read about here. Henry called her out:
Henry is advocating for his own Malaysian community by challenging it to be better. By representing a more constructive model. By identifying that yes, look, we have the virus of racism in our own homes, and I’m pointing to it because you have to name it before you can fix it. Because the truth is, in so many parts of Asia, all of Asia, racism is deeply rooted. We have our own form of colourism. Henry is an example of how we can start to make it right.