Yesterday, while walking NYC, I turned to my 11 year old son and asked if he enjoyed being home from Spring Break or if he would rather still be in Florida. Without hesitation, he said he was so happy to be home because he saw people that looked like him and much preferred that than feeling different when in Palm Beach. He explained that when we were in Florida, he only saw three other people that looked like him — his sister, his dad, and the mailman. I could not help but get choked up with pangs in my heart that he felt this way. And of COURSE he felt this way. With all the recent attacks against Asian Americans in the United States, and even more so in our hometown of New York City, my kids are very aware of what is going on. They know that they are Asian and they don’t yet understand why anyone would hate them because of their different shaped eyes…
Like most people, it hurts to read the news with any stories of violence, discrimination, and hatred. I feel helpless, sad, and discouraged by these acts of racism and the silence of the bystanders. Additionally, I feel vulnerable and speechless that I have to explain to my children, who look like many of the recent Asian American victims, about these situations. My children are very aware of their differences and I want them to be proud of them. And yet with the increased acts of violence and racism towards Asian Americans, I feel disgruntled and deeply saddened, and it is becoming harder to answer any and all of the questions that my kids ask. SIGH!
Some interesting links on the subject.
* A great pledge and statement by Asian American Leaders — a solid read.
* Bowen Yang on SNL. Fuel up!
* Powerful New Yorker cover
* Filipino response to the attack
I appreciate the many friends that have reached out to me by emails, phone calls, messages, and texts, expressing their sadness about the recent attacks. I am hopeful that the more we discuss the issues, the more we will understand how people feel. I don’t have the solutions or the answers, or even the right tools on how to navigate this with my Asian kids, but I don’t want them to live in fear or shame of who they are.