Understanding the Challenge
Anti-blackness and racial bias are common among Asian communities.
For many of our immigrant parents, success in the U.S. meant assimilation, conforming to Western languages and cultural norms. Many raise us with the hope that we, their children, will be more American than they are.
As a result, speaking out is difficult. Being apolitical feels safe.
Having the Conversation
Understanding your family’s positionality and current viewpoints is critical for having a productive conversation. A common belief is that “you get what you want if you work hard enough for it.” As a result, underserved people and entire communities may be written off as lazy or careless.
It is important to deconstruct harmful beliefs in a way that doesn’t appear to discredit your family’s experiences. When discussing Black Lives Matter, it may be necessary to:
- Remind them that BLM doesn’t undermine their own struggles or mean that other lives don’t matter.
- Use feelings. Ask, “What would make you angry enough to protest and/or break things?” and build off of their responses.
- Unpack harmful stereotypes about Asians, like the “model minority” and “perpetual foreigner” myths, that perpetuate racial bias in the U.S.
- Utilize outside resources to educate and inform. Sometimes, it is difficult for parents to objectively listen to their own children.
- Resource Guide: Prisons, Policing, and Punishment – Includes short written pieces, articles, and listening/viewing material.
- Our Black History Month Reading List for Asian Americans – Collaboration between 18 Million Rising and Asha Grant, founder of the Black Women’s Library (Los Angeles).
- Anti-Racism Resources for Asian Americans – Document with a running list of essential materials to read/listen to/watch.
- ‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks – 2017 article from NPR’s Code Switch.
- blacklivesmatters.carrd.co – A collection of links for petitions and donations.
- 20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now
- BLM site translations: Korean, Chinese, Japanese.
- Letters For Black Lives – A crowdsourced multilingual and intergenerational letter that is written to voice concerns and support for the Black community.
- An Open Letter to My Asian Parents About Anti-Black Racism in America – Chinese translations linked in article.