*Reposted from my podcast blog*
I never spoke out too much about the Black Lives Matter movement, whether in my social media, or even in real life, because I never felt like I was in a place where I could speak on it. I grew up with immigrant parents; my dad was here during the LA Riots, and he saw his uncle get beat up by “Black thugs”. I grew up hearing of all the hatred and fears that my dad had in interacting with Black people, and my mom never really met anyone Black before. She grew up very traditionally in a Chinese family (in Guangzhou, and then later on in Hong Kong), and had very skewed views on skin colour. For those of you who don’t know, Asians don’t like dark skin because it reflects a poor life of farming under the sun. For her, seeing Black people meant seeing someone of very low class. Hearing my dad’s stories of being afraid of Blacks confirmed for my mother that Black people are a lower class, uneducated, violent, and subhuman. I’ve gotten into many fights with my parents over this topic of race, and I know that as society has progressed, my parents did soften their hearts towards Black people. In fact, my friend from Nigeria visited and even stayed over at our house, without animosity from them!
Hearing all of these events of how Black people are being mistreated, misrepresented, and murdered gives me so much guilt, because sometimes my mother would offhandedly say something very insensitive, such as “That’s why you don’t run around sneakily like that”. I grew up in a very Asian dominant neighborhood, and my mother doesn’t get out much outside of her small community; she doesn’t really have any concept of systematic racism - that they were running around “sneakily” because they’re Black. There was nothing sneaky about an innocent teenager, jogging around their neighborhood. And hearing these things come out of my mother’s mouth, knowing that arguing with her would be pointless makes me feel even worse. If I can’t teach my own mother about systematic racism - about why it’s not okay to say things like that - who am I to speak up on a social media platform?
Honestly, the Black Lives Matter movement has meant a lot to me when it first began with the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin. That was the summer just before I graduated college, and I was realizing that I needed to become more politically aware. I remember specifically that was taking an ethnic studies course that focused on the lives of slaves in America. I remember seeing how disfigured Western society drew Black slaves, and I remember how upsetting it was to see human beings portrayed as animals, created to be domesticated. I remember how disgusted I was that there were actual diagrams about why Black men were meant for labor, and Black women were perfect sex toys. We’d like to think that society has come a long way since then, but it hasn’t.
I watched the video of George Floyd being held down, and as he’s asking for help, the officers just told him to get in the car, as though he didn’t literally have a full grown man on his neck. As people gathered to ask the officers to let him up, the officers told them, “This is why you don’t do drugs, kids,” which wasn’t even the reason for his arrest! It continued the negative narrative against Blacks, and while eyewitness accounts cited no defiance from Floyd, authorities are claiming otherwise. It strikes me to the core - the fragility of life, at least here on earth, and how easily Satan slips in to prey. This isn’t just about a Black person, this is about a human who was treated as less than nothing, squashed to the ground and mocked, suffocating to death. And I realize that I have every right to speak up, I have every right to speak up for a fellow human being who has lost his voice. I don’t have a big platform here, and it would be silly of me to believe I do. But it’s a platform nonetheless, a platform where I can give and show my support, and encourage my followers to also speak up. Not only that, but we have a duty to speak up against injustice, especially for those who have been silenced. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” - Proverbs 31:8.