Last week, a friend mentioned to me that she has many Asian American colleagues, but I'm the only one she sees speaking out about it. I thought about this, and wanted to share 3 reasons your Asian friends/acquaintances may not be speaking out about anti-Asian hate.
Generational and Cultural Differences
The most obvious reasons would be generational and cultural ones. Historically, Asian culture sees our parents and elders not wanting to make a fuss over such situations, aggravate such situations, or simply bring any attention to such situations. They just take it and move on, because they don't want to bother anyone and they don't let bad things hold them back. Along those same lines, I think that some also shrug off discrimination and racism, especially verbal attacks, because they can't be bothered with other's ignorant hate. Non-Asians mistake Asians for being "weak" or easy targets, but it's actually extreme resilience that they display. So, if you have Asian friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who are from an older generation, this may be why you might not find them speaking out about the recent rise in attacks which continues to happen EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
Also, please note that in American history, Asian Americans have been at the forefront of civil rights movement and have banded together with other communities of color to fight for all of our rights. Sadly, unless you specifically read about Asian American history, you’re likely to miss this.
Racial Identity Stages - The Rebellious Stage
There are not a lot of studies or literature on racial identity stages, but as I've done research for my next book, I have come across one. It's not uncommon for Asian Americans to go through some kind of "rebellious" racial identity stage. It doesn't necessarily mean a person completely rebels against their race and heritage, though some may; but many of us grew up with the need to "fit in" or at least the desire to feel seen beyond the stereotypes. It wasn't until my late 20's (I'm 33 next month so that wasn't that long ago), did I start to get comfortable in my own skin and want to make amends with my identity. At 30, I read my first Asian American history book. So, I understand that everyone comes into their comfort with their identity in their own time, and everyone should be given the grace to do so. When you're sent mixed and conflicting messages your whole life, and constantly treated like a foreigner, it can be difficult to know who you are and who you want to be.
Flat Out Denial
There are those who will flat out deny the racism. As the hashtag #StopAsianHate trended last week, I came across an IG account of an Asian American woman who seems to me has been brainwashed by the model minority myth we've all been told. I could not believe what I read in her feed. I didn't stay on her page long and just quickly looked over a few posts. One post said something like, "Ever wonder why most older Asians are Republicans and young ones are leftists? Because our parents and grandparents all fled communism so they know what it's like." These were not her exact words, and I don't remember her name so I can't go to her account to properly quote her post, but that was the essence of it. First, that is not true for all Asians who come to the United States. Second, my argument to that would be that no, they do not come from communist countries, they come from authoritarian countries disguised as communist ones. There is no true communism in existence. There is always a dictator who misuses the theory of communism.
These are just a few reasons, I'm sure there are other reasons. Some people just aren’t active on social media or are not comfortable being vocal in this way on social media. Being anti-racist isn’t a bandwagon to jump on after all. And on that note, after all the anti-racist discussions the BLM protests started, the sad thing about what’s going on to the Asian community, is that it’s abundantly clear who is actually anti-racist and how the Asian American community is still largely ignored. If you’re anti-racist, you’re anti-racist against all racism. What I love seeing though, are our communities of color coming together for each other, as we have throughout American history.