Don't Ignore Something Because It Makes You Uncomfortable

Michelle Obama Quote
What a world we live in. I had a different post set to go but any other content just feels so trivial right now. Racism is tough to talk about and I touched on this subject a little in my last post. I've been feeling a gamut of emotions going from rage to sadness to anxiety. I live in Lower Manhattan and have been hearing the sounds of the protests since last Friday. Lately I've been going to sleep to the sound of sirens blaring and military helicopters in the sky. The racist based murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breyona Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other black men and women and the subsequent call to action illuminate the longterm injustice and violence that Black Americans have long endured in this country. The national consciousness has been awakened and there is so much work that needs to be done.
Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Quote
As an Asian woman I'm no stranger racism and experience it even to this day. I was once let go from a position so it could be given to an old white man (hello systemic racism) and on occasion I hear some interesting things when I'm out. But I've never had the burden of feeling like my life is in constant danger because of the color of my skin. There is a heavy police presence in my neighborhood and I can walk by them freely without ever feeling like I would be killed. That is a basic right that black people sadly do not have.

Racism is a learned behavior and sadly prejudice and racism have been around since this country was colonized. Racial tensions have been building ever since the current administration took office. It's almost as if they emboldened the racists and they kept pushing to see how far they could go and we've now reached the tipping point. The senseless murders of  black people due to police brutality are not a singular event but what makes them even worse is when there is absolutely no justice. People are angry. I'm angry. That's why they are protesting and their voices should be heard. I can't physically protest but I fully respect and support the cause.

Separate from the protesters are those who have taken to looting, arson and violent destruction. I don't think the protesters are doing this because there are videos of them stopping those who do but there are individuals who are using the guise of protest to engage in these activities and in doing so they are obscuring the message of the demonstrations calling for systematic change. This violence also give trump ammunition to rile up his base and justify his call for military action. His insurrection act has been historically been used against racial movements so we don't want to give any any excuse to be able to invoke it. But there is a group out there creating trouble and causing chaos. Before you get on me and say that these are demonstrations to dismantle capitalism and that these protests in nature are a lawless  expression of rage against injustice economic distress. That's fine and nobody is going to be crying for Target or any other large corporation but when small essential businesses are hurt, it hurts the entire community. This lady is angry and has a lot of valid points to make on this subject.

Some of them are suspected to be white nationaliist instigators like those who decided to burn the stands of some fruit and vegetable vendors in Chinatown on Sunday night but I also know that the men who were trying to set fire to a residential building just blocks from me on Monday were not white. While I can relate to the aggression and resistance built towards inequality, I can't wrap my head around how burning down a building full of elderly Asians promotes the #BlackLivesMatter message. Had they been successful people could have died. Thankfully the residents were able to put it out. I also don't get how  it's fighting the power to destroy POC owned small businesses in impoverished communities like a mom and pop pharmacy in Chinatown. Yes what is merchandise or property compared to lives but many small businesses are family livelihoods which were already suffering because of the Covid-19 shutdowns and loss of business due to Covid-19 racism for Asian owned businesses. Many will likely never recover as some do not have insurance or the necessary financial security to repair damages. And while I support the protests and am upset at the loss of lives, I'm also heartbroken for the decimation of the minority owned businesses in our community. This is a little personal for me because I was raised by my single immigrant mother and her business was our only source of income. If it was destroyed, I can't even imagine the turn our lives would've taken.

We have seen several protest marches from our building. During one, the protesters assembled to recite the name of those who were killed, chanted "I can't breath" and moved on. During another one that came our way, at one point when they stopped in front, some protesters waved their signs at us and when we held up our fists in a sign of unity they yelled to us to join them. The general spirit of the protests from what I've personally witnessed have been peaceful and courageous. We could feel their strength and love and it's beautiful. These people just want to have their say and be heard. I really wish the powers that be would realize this and instruct the police not to attack or be violent with them. They also need to concentrate less on the protesters and have more resources focused on stopping those who are looting and destroying our communities. This is where the message of standing in solidarity is being obscured by anarchy and chaos and the destruction of civil society. The protesters need to be heard without anything detracting from their message and there needs to be a shift in police behavior towards them.

Yellow peril supports black power

A quick message to those in the Asian community who perpetuate anti- blackness to uphold white supremacy because internalized racism has them buying into the illusion of white adjacent privilege. There is no such thing and you're just being used. Yes these people exist. They are the worst and many of them are trump supporters. As much as you want to be white and as much as you deny your own heritage and alter your looks, you will never be considered white by those you try to gain approval from. You’re not even American to them and will always be an other. COVID-19 xenophobia proves that. And looking down on and denigrating other POC won't make you white either so just wake up, stop hating yourself, accept it and stop being complicit with white supremacy. I suspect Kellie Chauvin who was married to Derek Chauvin is one of these and the move to divorce him was a strategic one to protect their assets. It’s high time we dismantle the myth of the model minority and stop buying into the assumption of know your place and stay in your place.

Cleo Wade Anti-Racism

The Coronavirus shutdown was a little surreal and necessary and as New York City looks to begin phase one of reopening next Monday, I can't help but feel like there's not much to look forward to. COVID-19 is still out there. There is no vaccine and a second wave is inevitable. It's tough to see parts of the city take on the mien of a ravaged war zone, boarded up and broken with many local businesses that struggled to remain open for the past three months only to end up destroyed now. So places can open but there is so much damage that many will not be able to. In a way this reflects how broken this country is as well as the vast socio and economic divide that still exists. The generational hurt and oppression are just too much to bear now and even in the midst of a pandemic, these protests are necessary to spotlight the injustices and be an impetus for change.  As I've said before, it's not about going back to normal because that didn't work, it's about going back to a new and better normal and that will take work and meaningful change. Fight the good fight and stay safe out there protestors. And to the police, keep in mind that de-escalation keeps protesters and police safer.

Barack Obama Quote

Standing up to racism, racial inequality and injustice doesn’t stop with social media posts, financial donations or words of support. It's what we do offline that is most important. There must be a real movement, not just a moment to end institutional racism, injustice and dismantle the system of oppression.  If you have constructive ideas and thoughts/feelings to share, connect with your elected officials using the Resistbot service. Through a few simple text messages, you can easily contact and write letters to your local/state and federal government leaders.

As much as we need justice to be brought to those who took innocent lives, we also need policy reform to end police brutality and this can only happen if we dedicate ourselves to voting for the best possible representatives who can create that meaningful reform in government,  police departments as well as the criminal justice system.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it best:  “If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9th. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.”

Exercise one of your most important fundamental rights and vote in all local, state and national elections. If your state offers voting by mail, take advantage of it because there's still a pandemic. Here is a primer on voting and it's importance.

If you think this isn't your fight, sometimes it's the things that you think don't affect you that should matter the most. Silence isn’t an option. It’s time to truly provoke change and eradicate institutional racism, inequality and prejudice. I'm including the resources I had in my last post again and I have added a few more. All the education resources are good to start withIf you're not sure how to respond to what's happening, listen, educate yourself, learn how to become an ally. Sign petitions and make donations if you can. Amplify the voices of black people and support black owned businesses. Boycott companies/brands that aren’t allies (L’Oréal is one of these) and call them out to be accountable and do better. And it’s Black lives matter not all lives matter!

Resources for education and ways to help:
Black Lives Matter Caard
Black Lives Matter Google doc
Anti-Racism Resources
Anti-Racism Project

Specific fundraisers honoring victims with petitions:
Justice for Breonna Taylor
Justice for Tony McDade
I Run with Maud

Organizations that advance racial justice:
Black Lives Matter - The Black Lives Matter Movement has been at the forefront of recent justice reform initiatives.
Campaign Zero - Organization dedicated to fighting racial injustice and advancing solutions for racial justice.
Color of Change - Advancing policy reform to fight police brutality
Communities Against Police Brutality - Tackles police brutality through advocacy, political action, and education.
Know Your Rights Camp - Works on educating Black youth and providing legal resources to those who can't afford it.
Unicorn Riot: Nonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.
The Bail Project - focuses on ending the economic disparities and racial inequality experienced during incarceration.
Reclaim The Block - Minneapolis-based organization actively working towards diverting funds from the Minneapolis Police Department, and investing in communities facing housing shortages, community violence, and the opioid epidemic.
MBK Alliance - started by President Obama working to solve problems for boys and young men of color, at a level to improve real life outcomes on a local community level.
Fair Fight - founded by Georgia representative Stacey Abrams to advocate for free and fair elections anf battle voter suppression.
NAACP - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a civil rights organization that promotes advocacy, litigation, and education.
ACLU - The American Civil Liberties Union has a Racial Justice Program aims that fights for the rights of people who have historically been denied them on the basis of race.


R.ChamberofBeauty said...

It's our fault George Floyd was killed. Every one of us. We were not the people who did the terrible actions that resulted in his death, but we let it happen. How many times is this going to happen? It will keep happening every day, and in every place until we stop it from ever happening again. In India, this is becoming normality to kill innocent people in the name of religion and caste.

R's Rue said...

Thank you.

Emmylou said...

It truly is heart-wrenching to see what is happening in the US right now, chingu:( George's death was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Racism is something that should have been eradicated a looooong time ago, and yet here we still are, fighting the same fight and dealing with the same evil rhetoric. It is great to see all the protestors marching peacefully. The is exactly what you said. The whole thing totally distracts from the whole point of the protest, but I think these looters are not there to fight the injustice:(
It is really is such a surreal timeline we are living in now. With everything going on, I almost forget sometimes that the world is still dealing with a pandemic:( My family is still staying put and not leaving the house much. The people around us...well, that's another story. I just shake my head sometimes. People really do live in such denial sometimes.

Shireen L. Platt said...

You've articulate what I personally feel, Rowena but in much better words than I can ever come up with. Enough is enough and it's time for a change. It's not going to be an overnight success but as long as we keep the momentum going, there is hope that things will be better and humanity will be better.

Pilar said...

What a powerful post Rowena. It's truly heartbreaking that racism still exists. The world is hurting. I hope and pray for healing and change.

Ivana Split said...

I do believe that a great number of people is protesting for valid reasons and something they believe in. It is sad that it only takes a violent minority for the protests to turn violent and chaotic, but it is not fault of the protesters themselves, it is impossible for them to be perfectly organized in the present situation with the pandemic and everything. There is much fear, anxiety and anger- and all this understandable. This is a frightening time for everyone. There are so many deeply rooted issues and corruption in western governments, both in North America and Europe. Some governments have been very inefficient. When people feel unsafe and endangered in their own country, it is never a good thing. Many people have been put in a vulnerable position by the COVID-10 epidemic, especially those the most economically vulnerable. A new economic crisis would probably happened anyway, but the epidemic will probably make it much worse. I'm afraid that many people will suffer in the months to come. This won't be easy on anyone. Donating to vulnerable groups of people is always a good thing to do.

Eli Dou said...

I'm such a Michelle Obama's admirer... she's truly an inspiring woman. And what she says is so true and I'm guilty: sometimes the reality of what happens outside my happy and comfortable world makes me so sad, so not able to understand what's going on, that I basically try to not give much thoughts. I guess it's also because I feel so incapable to do something to fix it. I'm not proud of that, but I've always been honest and that's sadly what I feel...

Thanks for this post dear! We need more like this one!


Curly Style

Sakuranko said...

We are living really difficult times, I have had the opportunity to educate myself on the subject. For me the protests are completely justified. And people got to the point that they don't care about pandemics. Because I wouldn't mind if the one who was killed was my brother or my father in such a horrible unjust way.

Cases such as that of George Floy or Breonna Taylor are just a few of the many cases throughout history. Racism is real! And I will support the movement because it is fair and because white supremacy and privileges are real.

Mica said...

Thanks so much for sharing these resources! There have been protests here in Australia too in solidarity and also calling for justice for the indigenous people who have also died while in custody. It's sobering to see and I confess I wasn't aware of the scale of the issue before - in my country and yours. I know that I need to do better, even as a multi racial family I will never understand what some people face because of the colour of their skin. I'm starting small, with trying to bring more diversity to the kids bookshelf, as I now know it's not enough to be non-racist, you have to be actively anti-racist. Black lives matter!

Heather Noire said...

These are such great quotes. And I love how inspirational and uplifting this is :)

Lyosha Varezhkina said...

Thank you for posting these resources. It is very important to spread the word and proper information. Also I just have to mention how good your blog title is: that is exactly how I feel

Hena Tayeb said...

Great and informative post.. there are a lot of people out there who want to help but don't know how.. it's helpful to share those links and spread the word.
And important to get out there and VOTE!

ALLIE NYC said...

What a well thought out post and very informative. We are living in very difficult times. And if there is a silver lining it is that maybe, just maybe there will be ACTUAL CHANGE. I feel like we will not be going back to the way things were. Or I really hope not. The level of rage in this country is astounding. It takes one's breath away. And burning down a residential building that is beyond the pale. I can not lie and say I am not worried and scared. The parallels in this country to 1930's Germany is truly frightening. I am very worried about white supremacists acting out and worse; banding together. They are EVERYWHERE and not just red states. It is scary AF. I would like to say let's hope and pray, but that does not do jack you know what. Thank you for posting this with the useful information. Some of these groups I am already on their mailing lists.

I have been wanting go to to the protests but have not because of Covid 19. Personally I don't care if I get it. One of two things could happen: I get it and survive or I get it and I don't. If my number is up so be it. But I live with two high risk people one of whom is very high risk: Type A blood, in her 80s and on cancer drugs. But I thought about going to one by me and trying to keep my distance.

Allie of

Doctor Anne said...

It is indeed time for the change that ends racism once and for all.