My parents are originally from the Philippines. They immigrated here in 1975 and lived the quintessential “American Dream”. My father was a successful anesthesiologist and my mother was a registered nurse. They were able to leave a third world country and raise their three children in America. I will never be able to share my gratitude of all the hard work they experienced to have my brothers and me live a comfortable life growing up.
However, wealth and being born in America does not exclude you from racism. Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, I was frequently the only Asian in the room. This feeling of being the “outcast” has attributed to many of my characteristics and even subconscious feelings. I endlessly wanted to fit in and it’s hard to just be myself. This feeling of caring what other people think has hindered me in so many ways. It causes an insecurity within yourself that you will never be enough.
In todays world people still live with racism. I was in Target at the beginning of the pandemic and a woman was holding a cleaning product. She loudly and looking my way said “I’m going to buy this product because it was made in AMERICA.” Now, I don’t know if she was saying that because she thought I was Chinese and was trying to make a dig. Or she could’ve just been feeling really patriotic.
While my experience with racism has been mild, I cannot even put myself in the shoes of what’s going on in the world. I have never in my life been pulled over and feared for my life. I have never been running and thought that I would be a hate crime target.
People lack the understanding of racism if they never experienced it themselves. Our belief system is mostly engrained in us by how we were raised and what we experienced. My hope is that by sharing my perspective, you’ll stop and think before you make a racist remark. That your actions and words have consequences. Above all else, just be kind.