Dear Chinese American parents:
I am a Chinese American parent. The racial events in the past several years, culminating in the recent murder of George Floyd, have swallowed the whole country. These events and protests have brought out a lot of differing arguments in the social media among the Chinese American community.
I understand where our impressions of African American are coming from. They come from public media reports of broken families, drug-infested housing, welfare abuses, and violent crimes, and they are undisputable. Put in the broader context, these behaviors are rooted in 400 years of oppression by the rest of the society. The first African slave ship arrived on American soil in 1619. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the end of the Civil War in 1865, the oppression of African American continued, and continues to this day. One of the often forgotten, yet the most brutal, racial incident was the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Up to 300 people in a rich, black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma were slaughtered by white supremacists; 800 people were wounded and 6000 people illegally interned.
Crime and violence are a direct result of systematic inequality and oppression. Our impressions of African American are outcomes of this 400 years of vicious cycle. The murder of George Floyd is but one of the latest glaring cases. African Americans dying in the hands of police brutality has been considered normal occurrences for quite some time and reflects a structural ill in our society. Nobody deserves what George Floyd got, period.
This historical moment presents a valuable opportunity to listen to our children. Because of our children are growing up in a racially diverse society, they are often less racially prejudiced than we are. Many support Black activism because they want to create a more harmonious and just society.
We need to ask ourselves: As a minority, should we treat other minorities in ways we want to be treated? What kind of society do we want our children and grandchildren to live in? What example are we setting for them to create a better society?
I do not want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a society forever plagued with racial tension. This begins with reassessing our thoughts and actions and having open discussions about racism with our family.