This Black Girl Says Asian Lives Matter

It seems as if the attacks on the Asian community in this country are all day every day. Violent attacks against Asians have increased by 150% since last year, with the most recent attack being a mass shooting that took eight lives, six women and two men in three massage parlors in Atlanta. They were targeted for being Asian, even though the media took its time in saying so. This was a hate crime, committed by an angry white male, even though the media took its time in saying so.

It’s sad the media took as long as it did to acknowledge the shooting in Atlanta as a hate crime, to acknowledge how dangerous our former President’s words were against the Asian community, how all of these intentional and targeted attacks on Asians are hate crimes, and how urgent this situation has been, as it’s been mostly ignored and dismissed. 

These attacks are abhorrent, vile and have disturbed me to my soul. I can relate to the fear those in the Asian community are experiencing for merely existing. I can also relate to the feeling of complete despair when your community is targeted. I felt this way after the murder of George Floyd and the aftermath of his killing last year.

I hate that any group goes through the frustration, fear, outrage, and hopelessness of racially charged attacks. The attack on the spa in Atlanta had to do with misogyny, male toxicity, entitlement, and white supremacy which isn’t something exclusive to the black community. Unfortunately, it’s inclusive to all communities of color. This was a targeted racial and gender-based killing. Asian women are hyper-sexualized in our culture and of course, entitled men believe Asian women are submissive and only exist for their pleasure. It’s disgusting. And the result of this warped and perverted thinking has led to the deaths of these women.

The attacks on Asians in the last year have included young and old, male and female. And when I’ve seen surveillance videos of some of these attacks, I saw white and black males as the perpetrators. 

Yes, the black community and Asians don’t have the best history with each other in this country. We have been masterfully pitted against each other when we should both be fighting white supremacy together in solidarity. There have been situations on both sides where each community has treated the other in a way that perpetuated the false beliefs about each other. But the fact is, we have more in common than we do differences. 

No matter how successful, rich or famous we become, we will always be “the other” and we will never be “good enough” for a nice chunk of white society. It’s a sad thing to say because while I see color, I truly judge people by their character; not by their skin color, not by their background, not by how much money they have in the bank, or by how much education they earn or by how little education they have.

I’ve noticed both communities have groups of people who find themselves brushing up against white society to feel some sort of safety from judgment in hopes of being viewed as the “good Asian family” or the “good Black family” so they won’t get picked on. I don’t agree with it, but I understand this happens as a means to survival. 

I’m also aware of the fact that in both communities, abhorrent things are said about each other around the kitchen table. This is known as “kitchen table talk.” And it’s bullshit.

We keep this nonsense going when we talk about each other in a degrading way. I’m not saying Asians or Blacks are responsible for the reprehensible things that happen to our communities, but we don’t help each other by perpetuating false and hurtful beliefs.

It has personally hurt me to see my own community being part of the problem. And it’s also hurt me to see that some in the Asian community have not given a damn about black lives. But, there are those in the black community who are horrified by what’s been going on and believe Asian Lives Matter and vice versa. And that’s the kind of acknowledgment and support we need from each other. I’m happy to see the conversation surrounding solidarity is currently taking place.

The plight of Asians in this country has largely been ignored due to the Model Minority Myth. This myth is based on a belief that all Asians are successful and are the “good” outsiders, which is a problem because it dismisses their problems, their struggles, their challenges and dismisses those in the community who are not “successful” and struggling with discrimination, poverty, etc. There’s an indifference to the Asian community and all of the hardships they face that comes with believing in the model minority myth. It’s harmful to them. 

I say all this to say, as a Black woman, as a human being, I stand in solidarity with the Asian community because most importantly, they are people who deserve to be loved, appreciated, respected, and acknowledged just like every other human being. I think I’m stating the obvious, but in this day and age, it has to be said.

Usually, in times like this, it’s easy to feel helpless as the situation feels overwhelming. But here are some resources with information on ways you can help:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Red Canary Song-a massage parlor worker coalition

New York Magazine’s list of 61 ways you donate to help the AAPI community