I got an email yesterday with the sender including a link to the video of the 65-year-old East Asian woman who was beaten in New York City while walking past an apartment building and told that “you don’t belong here”, while the people in the lobby, including a security guard, did nothing. The email’s message preceding the link was:
“If you don’t talk about this....?????”
As a member of the East Asian community in North America after a year of rising anti-Asian racism, and a member of the media, I get why I would be expected to talk about it. I’ve been writing about it for months. And I should keep writing about it, I have to keep writing about it. But that doesn’t mean I want to. Over the last few weeks I think I’ve spent the same amount of minutes seeing videos of Asians being attacked than I have BTS clips, which should tell you how this sh-t has escalated. Because I typically spend a LOT of time on BTS clips; I need those BTS clips now more than ever. But it does something to you, having to process these images over and over again, and think about when the next one is coming, and knowing that it’ll come. And that’s been the reality for Black and Indigenous people forever which is why it’s called generational trauma.
So of course the Asian community is talking about this! It’s all we can talk about! It’s all we can think about! We are worried about our family and friends, we are worried for ourselves, it could easily be us walking down the street, heading to church or the grocery store or the subway, and suddenly brutalised… while others stand around, not just not caring, but shutting the door on you instead of coming to your assistance. On that note then, I guess my question in response is, yeah, Asians are talking about it, but should Asians be the only ones to talk about it? Maybe if more people outside of the Asian community were talking about it, the people who were just standing around in the lobby while Vilma Kari, who immigrated to the US from the Philippines decades ago, was being attacked would have helped her?
In addition to talking about it, a lot of people are mad, obviously, understandably. It’s worth noting though that sometimes anger isn’t productive. White supremacy can exploit anger for its own gain. So before talking about it, there are leaders in the Asian community urging us to figure out HOW to talk about it. Which is what Jay Caspian Kang wrote about earlier this month in the New York Times, about making sure conversations about anti-Asian racism and hate crimes don’t result in harming other BIPOC communities because, again, white supremacy functions by pitting groups against each other.
While we’re talking and thinking about how to talk about the thing we wish we didn’t have to keep talking about, here’s some more reading. It’s now been two weeks since the Atlanta shooting. The New York Times published a piece last week about the victims and what their stories tell us about the immigrant experience.
Attached – photos from the Crazy Woke Asians Stop Asian Hate Fundraiser at The Comedy Chateau earlier this week.
Yours in gossip,