July 2, 2020

How to Talk to Your Asian Parents About Black Lives Matter

Let's talk about the Black Lives Matter movement.

By now I'm sure you've heard about the name George Floyd, the protests, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement in general. It's been the trending topic for a solid week and a half now, but it isn't a new thing. The Black Lives Matter movement has been an ongoing push to end racial injustice for seven years now. Talking about race makes people uncomfortable, I get it. But in order for us to see a change in society, we need to get uncomfortable and take action.  



Growing up in an Asian household, talking about certain topics, especially racism towards the Black community or the Black Lives Matter movement, can be difficult with your parents. It's not necessarily because they don't care, it's that they don't know much about it, have a language barrier, didn't learn this in school, or even grew up in a community that had Black people in it. Regardless of the reason, it's time to sit down and have a talk with them. 

Over the past few weeks, I've started to have a conversation with my parents and various members of my family on the Black Lives Matter movement.  I've shared why I'm so passionate about this, why it's important, and tried to answer the questions they had. I have to admit, it has been uncomfortable, difficult, and even frustrating at times, but it's good that we're getting the conversation started. Change isn't going to happen overnight, but the important thing is we're taking steps every day to move forward. I've written a letter to my parents down below talking all about the Black Lives Matter movement. Feel free to use it as a guide to starting the conversation with your parents. 


Dear Mom and Dad,

By now I'm sure you've heard about Black Lives Matter on the news, read about it on Facebook, or even overheard about it in the grocery store. It's been the topic on everyone's minds for the last few weeks. This isn't a new thing. The Black Lives Matter movement started back in 2013 but is now gaining attention again with the most recent murder of George Floyd and it cannot just fade back into the cracks again. Not this time. Things need to change and the Black community needs our help. 

For centuries the Black community has been oppressed victims of systematic racism. Black people are two times more likely to be unemployed even with a college degree. On average, a Black employee will earn 62% less than their white co-worker. A Black woman is five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than a white woman. And those examples are just barely scratching the surface of the unfair treatment they are facing every day. The Black community has been oppressed for far too long and we need to help play a part in making their voices heard. 

I'm sure you are aware of the fact that Black people were brought here as slaves against their will. Black people were horribly mistreated and looked at as nothing but property for centuries. Even when they were no longer slaves, they had to build back up their lives from nothing with no institutional help. Yes, they are no longer slaves, but they are still not treated as equals and were not given many of the same rights for years. As a result, they are tired, they are angry, they are fed up and they have every right to be. 

To you, America has been the land of the free, home of the brave. It was the land of opportunity and in several ways, it has been. You were able to escape a war-torn country and have a fresh start here to make a name for yourself, and you did.  For the Black community, America hasn't been like that for them. The Black community has a completely different experience and view of America than we do. For them, America has been a country that was built on the back of Black people and one that has treated them poorly in return.

When you hear us say "Black Lives Matter" we are not saying only Black lives matter or that we're undermining the fact that Asian people have been oppressed too. We are saying Black lives matter just as much as any other life. The problem with saying "all lives matter" is that it would imply that Black lives already matter, but with the trend of police brutality and systematic racism it is clear that they are not treated the same. An easy way to picture the situation going on is if you have five kids and one kid falls and gets a cut. Would you give a bandaid to all five kids or would you give a bandaid to the one with the cut? Right now the Black community is the one with the cut. A deep one at that.

I understand Asian people have been oppressed in this country. I understand we have had our history of racism, bullying, and unfair treatment, but at the end of the day, we are not being killed because of the color of our skin. When people look at us they don't automatically think that we're dangerous or a threat. We have the privilege of being able to wear a hoodie, go out on a run, or even get stopped by a cop without being afraid we'll be murdered because of the color of our skin. 

This movement is about ending racial injustice, not ending murders altogether. We can all agree that murder is horrible, no matter who does it, but what we're fighting against is being murdered solely because of the color of your skin. Yes, it is true that statistically Black people kill other Black people more than White cops kill Black people, but Black people are not killing each other because of the color of their skin. The issue is that we shouldn't be afraid of the people who are here to protect us. 

Black people are our friends, co-workers, classmates, teachers, roommates, and neighbors. We share this country with them and they have every right to enjoy this country and feel safe as we do. I am in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement and hope you understand and support it too. I hope this provides more insight into the movement and why it's important for us to stand with the Black community. 

With love,


This letter was inspired by Letters for Black Lives which is a letter collectively written by a group of Asian Americans to talk to their relatives about Black Lives Matter. I had wanted to customize the letter to touch more on my parent's questions as well as tailor it to them. To those of you who are struggling to talk about Black Lives Matter with your parents, I hope you find this helpful and please let me know down below if I had missed any points.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always, thank you for reading.

xoxo,
Amy


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