Both of my parents were born and raised in Vietnam until they were about 18 years old. By that time, they fled the country during the Vietnam War. My parents eventually got married and ended up living in America.
I acknowledge the many sacrifices that my family has made for me so I can have an education and many opportunities in America. I will always be grateful and love them for that. However, along the way, I have learned the truth whether it is considered wrong in my family's eyes.
I grew up in a VERY conservative household where my parents believed in not straying away from tradition. However, as a child, I didn't understand what the views of the Republican Party were. I felt as if I should just listen and follow my parent's beliefs. I now believe that because I did not develop my own beliefs, I never really learned about the oppression of race. I became stuck in this idea that I was the "model minority." My parents always said that I needed to follow the law, be polite, work hard, and if I do all of that, I will thrive in this country. Having this mindset, often led me into believing that I had rights and privileges just like whites.
However, I realized that I was completely wrong. I specifically remember a moment when I was in my seventh-grade history class. We were studying World War II, about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A white girl stated about how the Japanese deserved to be "blown up and bombed the second time." Though, my uneducated self didn't recognize what was going on until my teacher pulled aside the only two Asians, me and a fellow classmate to state that he apologizes for her behavior. Then, her friend proceeded to say that I was the reason why her friend got in trouble. It was at that moment, that I knew that Asians in America are not equal to whites.
After middle school, I ended up transferring from a public school to a predominantly white, private high school. Going to a place where there was a huge lack of diversity, I did everything in my power to not embrace my identity. I ended up assimilating to my environment. In doing so, I started to recognize many more injustices within my school but I didn't say anything. I wish that I spoke up but during that time, I just wanted to fit in. It wasn't until I finally gained the knowledge of my status as a "model minority," can support those who don't have a voice. I'm extremely thankful that with the knowledge that I gained, I was able to start having my own opinions and make my own choices.
Now that I am a college student, I have become more understanding of why we need to be educated and learn more about the issues that are occurring in America. These issues are directly impacting us and if we don't make a change now, we will be repeating history over and over again. This is why I have grown and will continue to grow to fight against the social injustice against black people and understand why the #blacklivesmatter movement exists. It is not trying to dismiss the struggles of an Asian immigrant and it doesn't mean that all lives don't matter. However, RIGHT NOW, at this moment in time, we have the responsibility to support black people. The oppression of black people has been happening for over 400 years now and they even fought for Asians to be able to come into America. Why can't we do the same for them now?
I recognize that a majority of Asian parents can't change their minds overnight or they may never understand, but this is due to the fact that they've unfortunately developed a bias towards black people. For our generation, this has been instilled in us from a very young age. We were taught to lock the doors automatically when a black person walks past our car. We don't make eye contact because we fear we would be hurt by them if we did. We made sure that we held onto our belongings tight. IT ISN'T THEIR FAULT that they have developed this bias, it is just because society has set this "model minority" myth as a way to justify these racial biases. As the new generation, it is important to educate them even if they don't want to hear it. They may try to shut you down, say that you're too young and don't know what you are talking about. They may say that they went through the same thing and they worked hard to get where they are now compared to blacks. They may even support what the cops are doing to the protesters. DON'T STOP TRYING TO EDUCATE because it is never too late to unlearn and break down the bias that they have.
Here are some resources that you should use:
SPEAK UP, SIGN PETITIONS, DONATE, AND EDUCATE YOURSELF!!