Coming together as one community

Kayley's Korner

September 21, 2020

With the recent events going on, my life has been full of social and political activism and I am very excited about it. Many of the movements that I support are finally getting the recognition they deserve and I took this as my chance to openly support the social change people are initiating. One of the social issues I feel strongly about is racism and while many people are coming together to fight against racism, I still feel that people of color (POC) are disjointed.
I know it was a blessing to grow up with a lot of Koreans around me. Because of that, I have never pushed my culture away and I’ve always accepted myself as a Korean American. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten my taste of racism. I just couldn’t grasp the idea of being treated differently because I looked different. I was an American citizen. I’ve lived in America my entire life. I experience white culture all around me but whenever I tried to practice my Korean culture, I was shunned. While most of these experiences came from white people, the encounters that left the most impact were the ones from other people of color.
I understand that in history everyone had problems with each other. My mother still remembers the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 and how her entire life turned upside down. Not that her experience makes her racism justifiable but I understand that some people are prejudiced because of past experiences. However, it still hurts when people of the younger generation choose to let their parents’ opinions affect them too. As a younger generation we should be able to learn from the mistakes of the people in the past. We should try to come together as people of color to battle racism. All minorities suffer racism and just because one race seems to suffer more doesn’t mean another race doesn’t. I’m still upset at the discrimnation Asians faced when COVID-19 first broke out but I was more upset at the fact there was no news coverage or light being shed on these problems. The only thing the media seemed to focus on was how it originated from China and that Trump referred to the virus as the “Chinese flu.” This was highly detrimental to the Asian community because all of a sudden people were discriminating against us for having COVID-19 when it had nothing to do with the Asian community in America. It also led to the resurgence of the stereotype that everyone who was Asian was Chinese. During this time I had to see videos on social media of my community getting beaten, robbed, harassed and ejected when trying to eat at a restaurant because they were Asian. I couldn’t even go to Costco and speak to my mom in Korean when COVID-19 first hit without several people moving away from us or giving us dirty looks. It was a terrible experience that got no spotlight from the media. Even now when people are acknowledging that the severe racism against Asians happened, no one has apologized for what they did. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to support the POC community right now.
I understand how it feels when your community isn’t supported during a hard time so when the George Floyd controversy happened, I wasn’t going to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening. It was a turning point when the Black community came together to find justice for all the people who have died in their community because not only did that unite the Black community but also the POC community. People of color, regardless of their actual race, came together to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement. The demand for justice was even louder because there were just so many more people who were furious with the injustice in society. Although I do wish this kind of support was present when Asians were heavily targeted during the early hits of COVID, I’m glad that the BLM Movement was able to show the power of the POC community when we unite. We are much stronger when we fight together and support each other so despite the rough racial tensions that might’ve happened in the past, it is important to overcome these problems to reach our full potential.
At one point every person of color has experienced racism and it doesn’t make sense to put each other down based on the severity of racism each POC community experiences. The fact that people of color experience racism is the main problem and it is the thing that connects us the most. Our drive for justice shouldn’t be stopped by our inability to come together because so much change can be done when all our voices are heard together.

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