We’ve been having safe spaces at work to talk about the recent exposure of Asian hate crimes (I call it exposure because this has always been happening), and while I appreciate the forum and sentiment, none of my non-Asian colleagues seem to care. The perpetual feeling of “otherness” and our struggles in America continuing be unnoticed is amplified even more for me.

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I read a book in college about how different cultures assimilate into American society and unpacked the steps. It looked at how the definition of whiteness expanded with the different immigrant waves. For example, at a time Irish, Italians, and Jews were all considered “other” in this country. But, as a new flood of immigrants came in, the last wave would assimilate.

The first step is adopting the culture. Next, you lose the language. The last thing is adopting the look. Fair skin and features in this instance. For some races, full assimilation is impossible because they look so different than the majority. (e.g., Black people) But, Asians and fair-skinned Latinos, get closer to full assimilation which leads to certain privileges.

It’s not white privilege. But it’s like the run off from it because there’s a “eh, close enough” vibe—making them feel just accepted enough to not want to rock the boat. It’s not ideal by any means. But it benefits the community on the whole.

So, outside looking in, my assumption is that subconsciously white people who consider themselves woke are having a hard time realizing that “close enough” is not the same as white.

I, personally, think it’s going to take a bit more education than a Black person saying something is racist because the segregation between Black and white has been violently apparent for centuries. Whereas, the violence towards Asians tend to happen around specific geo-political events that tend to fade from our collective memories after few decades.

So, I think getting people involved is going to take the Asian community actively pushing away from the assumption that they are “close enough” and loudly reminding all of us that they are people of color, too.

Make us uncomfortable with it. Put it in our faces. Make us see you for you and not a white-washed version that makes white people feel comfortable letting you into the group.

Ultimately, I think we need to stop having separate conversations about race and have one big conversation about racism in America and the constant persistent state of fear all people of color live in. Because the amount of recounts and interviews I’ve read and listened to could be verbatim quotes from the Black community. (Same goes for the Latino community, btw.) It was shocking to me.

We’re all fighting the fight and each our our battles deserve to be seen. But I think the best way to make them seen is by merging them together to make the issue so big it’s impossible to ignore.

Net, net. Don’t stop speaking up. The more you demand the attention the more we all learn. Don’t get discouraged. ❤️✊🏾❤️

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Thank YOU for taking the time to share your side, and I hear you. I 100% agree with you about the Model Minority Myth and its purpose. There are many things I find interesting about your story, and I would love to unpack more. But my thumbs would probably resign.

Overall, what stood out to me, again, are the similarities between people of color.

You mentioned that you feel lumped together. Many in the Black community feel the same way. We’re made up of former salves with no notion of their homeland, immigrants from a number of African countries, immigrants from a number of Caribbean countries, Afro-Latinos, and more. But, when people see us, they don’t see our diverse ethic backgrounds and cultures. They just see how we look.

So, I understand where you’re coming from and I’ll do my best to keep your story in mind in the future.

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My question is, what do you want to see from your colleagues.? This feels to be a part of the invisibility issue with Asian-American culture, but I also believe we have to share with people what we need them to do. I’m not Asian-American. When I saw the horrific video of that woman being attacked, I was triggered and spiraled. I canceled my first meeting and told them why I was so triggered, communicated I would not send out the video, how horrible this impacted me and how I felt we needed to have an agency discussion on physical interventions and trauma support for people who may not feel safe in public. The reply I got was, yes let’s do this.

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