What is normalized for BIPOC?
At the beginning of June, I posed the question on an Instagram post:
“I think about the expectations of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color - what do we expect from society? What have we deemed as another day when it’s filled with microagressions or in your face aggressions or news of others from the community? What is the cost of having tough skin? When we walk into a room, what bar do we have to lower in order to retain sanity?
And what does that do to our overall outlook? How does that affect our JOY?”
Reading this now, I’m still struck by this reckoning. What defaults have I become desensitized towards? What assumptions have I agreed to when I enter conversations about race/gender/society? What’s normalized?
I’m slowly realizing how I’ve unknowingly agreed to many white supremest/white centering defaults. My mind and body seems to be conditioned for me to serve white supremacy, and the harder I fight it, the more resistance there is within me and outside of me. I’ve never been in so much physical pain and mental strain. I’ve never felt so dragged down. BUT at the same time, I’ve never felt so supported by those who came before me who have fought the systems and paved the way for me. I’ve never felt so supported by the activists and educators that are doing that now. The fight is worth fighting, because it’s bigger than me. Just as oppression is linked, dismantling systems is also linked.
Month of June was Pride month, and this ARTICLE “Dear straight allies, please don’t come to pride until you’ve learned these 6 things” was really helpful. Whether it’s how not to fall for capitalistic campaigns that use pride as a way to benefit corporations and performative allyship, straight allies need to be aware all year round how to use our awareness and actions as an act of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Here is the first point of the article, but please read the whole article!
KNOW THESE DEFINITIONS:
Do you know how to define these terms? It’s really hard to have conversations when people don’t have shared vocabulary and definitions. So it's good to practice defining terms early on in conversations. I also recognize that I define many terms not by dictionary definitions, because the dictionary are written by white men in academia. Not much more to say about that!
Let's revisit some basics. Here are some definitions in my own words.
ETHNICITY: is about ancestry. What are your primary genetic origins? Someone might be primarily Irish and English. Or I am Chinese, because as far as I can go, my ancestors on both sides are Chinese.
RACE: is the social construct based on white supremacy. It was created to differentiate between those who will be rewarded certain privileges and who will not be (aka black, indigenous, and people of color). It ignores lineage and genetics - if you look like you come from European descent, you have that "white" privilege. It is important to know that white priviledge is at the expense of Black and brown people lives. This fact is built into the DNA of America and influences EVERY SINGLE piece of policy, law, and history. Nothing is untouched.
NATIONALITY: What country/countries you live or have lived in for a significant part of your life. Legal citizenship maybe be part of it - but I don't like to limit my definition of nationality to it. Example: I’m chinese, but I have never been to Hong Kong or China - I identify as an American, because I’ve lived there my whole life.
I listened to this book on Audible, and LOVED IT. It addresses so many issues that are resonated with me deeply: Asian identities, racism, how brown bodies are treated, classism, reproduction, immigration. Especially as a child caretaker, it revealed many things in me that I’ve defaulted to. It was almost freaky to hear what I’ve learned in how to behave repeated to me via this book. HERE is an article by The New York Times about the book.
Currently, I’m reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Hurari, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, and Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. Join me in reading any of these books! Let me know what you think.
There is an abundance heavy and important articles - please don’t breeze through these. They contain important content that needs to be everybody’s consciousness. Being fluent in these conversations is KEY in antiracism/antibias work. If you care, TAKE YOUR TIME in soaking it up.
I cried when I first read this article, because it put into words that I knew I believed.
On the same lines as the previous article.
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you are aware of the detained migrant children separated from their families in deathly conditions. The government has been in the business of separating families from the moment colonizers set foot on the ground. What is happening in present time is your oppurtunity to act - if you’ve ever asked yourself what you would have done during the holocaust, this is the time to see.
SHOW UP. Stand up in solidarity with immigrants and stand up against the administration/I.C.E. DONATE to https://www.raicestexas.org and your local organizations.
A couple days ago I went to an INCREDIBLE training in how to protect immigrants against ICE raids by Project Roger’s Park, and I highly encourage you to donate to them and make use of their training sessions. VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.
Goodness. These are heavy heavy times. Sudan massacre happened on June 3rd, and despite their internet being shut down, people rallied to keep awareness high. The violence and sexual assault was horrifying to hear being reported, and even though the government and people have seem to come to some sort of agreement, we need to keep our eyes on Sudan. Please donate to EMERGENCY MEDICAL AID FOR SUDAN.
To continue to be aware of what’s happening in Sudan, follow these accounts on Instagram:
June was incredibly overwhelming and heavy (July doesn’t seem to be any different). This post below was indicative of what was important for me. I took many breaks and decided to take time to rest, because I don’t think it’s possible to be well and strong without that. Since I wrote this post, I still haven’t been doing much on Instagram when it comes to posting, and I’m better for it.
Today is week 26 of #TWintersectionalfridays, and I'm dedicating it to rest. I received many encouraging messages about the importance to taking time to rest in the process of healing. It's ok to take a break.
To Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, there is important work to do and important battles to fight, but it's NECESSARY to rest. It's not only for you, but it's for us all! We need to stay in tact and remember to claim rest and joy. We need to know that dismantling white supremacy includes nourishing our body, mind, and spirit. Because I think this fight against white supremacy will be for the rest of our lives.
It's so easy to get used to a heightened state of fight or flight at ALL times...because there doesn't seem to be much of a choice. But in justice work, rest must be built in. And I'm preaching to the choir, because I honestly don't have the regular practice of rest or even taking breaks. I created this weekly year-long project to create space of healing through people's stories and journey. And today, I'm giving myself permission to take a break from it this week. Because I can! There's nothing I need to prove to myself. Or others.
Especially as we are witnessing the inhumane detainment of thousands of children and (threat of a new wave of) ICE raids, we need to take breaks, use our energy wisely, and not neglect ourselves in the process. And if you're white, protect BIPOC's energy by seeing what you can say and do in your white spaces as an act of solidarity.
#TWintersectionalfridays: Space to explore intersections of identity and systems of oppression. Space to tell your story. Space to listen. Every Friday of 2019. // Week 26/52. 'Rest' / 8x8 in. / mixed media on paper
This account is seriously so informative, thoughtful, and relevant. I haven’t encountered any other activist account that comes close to addressing Asians + activism. Another thing that happened this month is Hong Kong protests against the extradition plan. I also had the honor of interviewing the owner/writer of the account, Yilan Batista, for Intersectional Fridays - CHECK IT OUT.
New art piece:
I created this 30x40 in canvas piece in June, and I’m glad it forced me to reconnect with art for myself. READ ABOUT THE PIECE.
This channel by Liziqi has been a source of calm and joy for me. The videos are about and by this young woman (Li Ziqi) who lives in the mountains of Sichuan. It beautifully documents her farming, foraging, creating food and household items like furniture and clothing using a minimal amount of modern technology. She preserves ancient Chinese techniques in her creations, and I’ve LOVED learning from these videos. This particular video is one of my favorites: it’s about her planting shiitake mushrooms in the mountains, harvesting them, and cooking it in a variety of ways.
I appreciate you and your support!
If my work has impacted you positively, I would love for you to share my PATREON with your friends and family. Every little bit of support helps me immensely.