Gabrielle Songcuan's BLACK LIVES MATTER: Being an Asian Ally
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Hello I Am Woman community! This is the first ever I Am Art post, below is a short essay written by Gabrielle Songcuan on her stance towards the police brutality black people experience. Please leave her feedback in the comments below! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
BLACK LIVES MATTER: Being An Asian Ally
You should be angry. How could you not be angry?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent tragedy that was the murder of George Floyd. An innocent man who was murdered by police, Dereck Chauvin. Chauvin knelt down on Floyd’s neck taking away Floyd’s ability to breathe. “I can’t breathe,” were the three words that came out of George Floyd’s mouth. Dereck Chauvin took away his air but, George Floyd is not the first black person the police have taken air from. He is not the first person who was victim to wrongfully be accused and killed. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Jordan Edwards. Jamar Clark. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Jule Dexter. Breonna Taylor. AND SO MANY MORE. Say their names.
For so long, African Americans have been denied the right to air. The right to live. The right to breathe. For TOO long and change is overdue. You should be angry. You should be outraged. If you aren’t angry, you are not paying attention.
Now, let’s talk about being an ally, specifically an Asian ally.
Yes, it is true that as Asian-Americans we face racism and discrimination in this country. We’ve grown up hearing “ling ling” and watching people pull back their eyes to mimic ours. Our struggles are not discredited and are not ignored, but the struggles between black people and asian-americans are not the same. First things first, recognize your privilege as an Asian-American. We have never been conditioned to make ourselves look less threatening, we won’t ever know what it feels like to know you cannot have your hands in your pocket when walking through a store, we don’t have to keep our hands on the dashboard when we get pulled over, we aren’t seen as “thugs”, and we don’t need to be scared of “looking suspicious.” Everyday black parents send their
children out not knowing for certain if they will return and black people must treat everything they do like it is their last time doing it because in the world we are living in, it just might be. Black people undergo these things DAILY and it is unjust, it is inhumane, and things need to change. We need to focus on our black brothers and sisters and support them during this time. If you are someone who is saying, “they didn’t say anything for us when we experienced corona racism, why should we speak up now?” How can you expect change to ever happen with that kind of mindset? How can you preach of peace, unity, and equality if you won’t take the steps to get there? With this mindset, you are taking the side of the oppressor and discrediting those who did stick up
for us during that trying time. Change does not happen overnight. It needs to start somewhere, even if it is small. Especially with the involvement of officer Tou Thao with George Floyd’s death we must speak out now more than ever. I genuinely feel for those small Asian businesses that have gotten targeted during this time, but you must understand why black people are mad. At the end of the day merchandise can be replaced but human lives cannot. The compliancy of Thao with Floyd’s murder shows the extreme amount of anti blackness in the
Asian community. You don’t think it exists? Okay, well how many stories has there been about Asian store owners following black people around because they are nervous they’ll steal something? Asians ignore and discredit the countless violence that black people have faced throughout the years. There is the cultural appropriation of their music, art, fashion, hair, the list goes on. You dance and you scream music made by black artists yet are silent when it comes to social justice issues, SAYING THE N WORD, having a preference of whiter skin! Colorism is a large part of Asian culture. As a Filipina woman, I grew up with skin lightening soaps and washes being shoved in my face and was told not to stay in the sun too long because I would get too dark. Are your eyes beginning to open? Asian-Americans forget that we have been reaping the benefits of past social justice movements led by the black community. Are you beginning to wake up? So, okay, you realize now that things need to be different, what can you do? How can we, as Asian Americans, be there for the black community right now?
EDUCATE YOURSELF. Educate your friends and family. Learn about the countless people who have been brutally murdered only for the color of their skin. Learn about the murders of Black trans women, whose stories are not told. Stop being silent. Stop being complacent to the injustice surrounding them. Donate, sign petitions, spread awareness, attend protests. Begin calling out racism in your community. Call out friends and family. STOP SAYING THE N WORD. No, there is no pass. No, you can’t say it just because you “have Black friends”. There is years of history behind that word and you have absolutely no right. Support Black owned businesses! Follow more Black leaders. Check up on your Black friends. Offer them your hand to hold, check on
their mental state. Show them love. Finally, listen to them. Follow their lead.
I hope this short blurb has been educational and eye opening to those of you not aware. I hope to the few this reaches you can begin to enact a change. To the Black community, my heart aches and mourns with you and I understand that I will never understand, we won’t ever understand, but I am next to you, I am fighting with you, and I love you.
Here is a link to show you some ways you can help, places you can donate, petitions to sign, and numbers to text or call.
Black Lives Matter
I'm so happy I was able to share this with you all. If you enjoyed this piece be sure to check out the I Am World Article: Women in the Dark (click the title). Please leave comments, subscribe, like, and share the post. Remember if you have any kind of art you'd like to have put up here, send it to the I Am Woman email. Have a great day!!
Instagram - @iam.wwoman
Twitter - @iam_wwoman