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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Stop AAPI Hate

Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Stop AAPI Hate

My heart goes out to our AAPI communities. Saying that, however, still feels like doing the bare minimum. Writing another senseless “you’re in my thoughts” speech would be gross and wrong right now. And to these communities, I apologize. I apologize for my community’s, and my own, favoritism towards doing the bare minimum. I apologize for the white community’s sheer refusal to hold accountability and actually do the work to unlearn racism to better protect these communities. I apologize for my own ignorance and comfortability in my privilege that had kept me in the same patterns for many years, and led me to believe that doing the bare minimum was enough. It was never enough. And it never will be. And one typed up apology will never make up for the countless years of terror, pain, grief, and unfathomable devastation you’ve had to face.

Hate crimes against Asians are nothing new. Reckless gun laws that tear families apart and continue to fuel a racist, violent culture, while blood money goes into another’s hands, are nothing new. Compared to Israel, Canada, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Japan, we are the leading country with the largest number of deaths due to reckless gun laws. Our country advocates violence and businesses and resists justice. Our failed justice systems have been failing the safety of humankind for far too long. Our laziness in taking action means that I’ve seen more shared articles offering “thoughts and prayers” than actual measures being taken that would help these people and prevent these deaths.

While I am angry about many things, the truth remains that it is a privilege to be angry as a bystander; this is nothing compared to years of oppression, going outside fearing for your life, or having your loved ones unjustly stripped away. How many more people are going to die until measures are actually enforced? 

As quoted by @unapologeticallyasian_ on Instagram, “This mass shooting was a result and a continuation of an endless history of erasure, dehumanization, and hypersexualization of Asian women in service professions. Working class and poor East Asians and Southeast Asians are disproportionately targeted because of their representation in these industries.” Thanks to white supremacy, racial capitalism, and hypersexualization of these communities, Asian women are often considered disposable and dehumanized. Asian women’s lifestyles consequently become heavily policed to an obsessive, lethal degree, that only further fuels cultural appropriation and racism. “We are naming the root of these physical attacks against Asians as racial misogyny, racial capitalism, white supremacy, anti-communist cold war propoganda, and sinophobia (@unapologeticallyasian_).” 

We’ve seen countless events of mass shootings, deaths, and losses that occur without accountability. We are programmed to believe in the comfortability that comes alongside white privilege as a “perk.” So many of us don’t want to unlearn these dangerous learned behaviors; either we’ve grown too comfortable in our privilege, or it feels too intimidating, or things don’t feel as urgent if it isn’t directly happening to us. This is exactly the type of ignorance that has remained unchanged for years. Asian Americans have been increasingly targeted thanks to our former unsupportive and dangerous politician.

I remember being in school and having a racist, bigoted teacher who would directly verbally attack and mock Asian communities and students. I would always feel nauseated, but I never thought about how deeply disturbing it must have felt to be sitting there feeling unsafe in your own classroom because of your ethnicity; as if you’re supposed to be ashamed of your roots. I have always been taught that there are consequences for speaking out. I’ve witnessed firsthand the intense, extremist backlashes, that have told me so many times to shut my mouth and stay silent; or else. I’ve witnessed the consequences for attempting to dismantle these systems of oppression and white supremacy. Advocating for silence is advocating for violence. Advocating for silence is letting history remain unchanged, which therefore creates more and more unsafe living conditions for these communities.

Continuing to sit in the belief that we are separated from each other will continue to pit these communities against one another; and will therefore keep humankind in separation. One thing you don’t learn in a history class as told through the eyes of a white cisgender male is that racism can be unlearned. We want to use this anger, this grief, this pain, as fuel for building bridges of solidarity; not burning them. What we do not want to do is use these incidents to create walls that will only further division. To see each other as enemies is to build upon an old, man-made hierarchy. To choose to be uncomfortable in unlearning our history and learned behaviors, is to work towards dismantling racism, oppression, and a man-made hierarchy. It is necessary to be angry. It is necessary to be grieving. But we have a choice and a responsibility in deciding what to do next.

To my AAPI communities, I sincerely hope you have time to breathe. I hope you are being held. I hope you are able to take time for yourself. You matter. You are worthy. You belong here. And this week, I hold so much space for you, your families, and your loved ones.

I have written a list of resources below that will be helpful towards better educating one another and taking active measures in helping these communities. To white communities: please consider utilizing your privilege and platforms for good. We need to do better.

Resources: https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co

Report: stopaapihate.com – standagainsthatred.org

Mental Health: Asian Mental Health Collective: asianmhc.org

Calhope Emotional Support Hotline: (833)-317-HOPE
SAMHSA National Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP

Donate: gofundme.com/aapi

Advancingjustice-atlanta.org/donate

Rally: Rally Against Hate. 3/21. 1pm. Columbus Park. NYC

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An Author, Editor, and Writer, Gemma Farquhar loves engaging with the projects she works on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of the stories she feels are newsworthy. She is a curious and proactive Writer, interested in the latest digital media trends and passionate about the future of storytelling. She welcomes all ages to her column in hopes of achieving a greater understanding of one another.

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