Weekly Rewind: March 20
The overarching word of the week is pain. Pain over the news of the Atlanta shooting where eight people were killed, seven of which were Asian, six of which were women. Pain over the fact that news coverage is yet again lacking. Pain over blatant racism and misogyny at the heart of the statement “he had a bad day, and this is what he did.” Pain at the fact that eight people could be slaughtered and the figures of authority in our society can still find a way to empathize with the murderer because he’s white. I hate thinking about if the tables were turned, but I know that if eight white people had been killed, the murderer would be labeled a monster the second this news hit the wires. And yet the narrative we’re hearing is that this guy was a sex addict and did this to rid himself of temptation...as if the existence of Asian women were the root cause of the problem.
I’m hurt, and confused, and lost. What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to get angry and try to do something about it? Am I supposed to feel scared and try to shy away from conflict even more? Of course that’s what I don’t want to do. But it’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.
I grew up being afraid of my country. Because of my race and because of my sex. The reverberating lessons of my childhood center around protecting myself from danger. When walking alone, always look around you, don’t put on headphones so that you can hear if someone’s coming. When you get to your car lock the door immediately before doing anything else. When you’re unlocking the door to your house, check your surroundings so no one comes out of nowhere and attacks and robs you. Keep a low profile, don’t make noise. I even remember when my mom and I would take road trips to Oregon, and we would make a mound in the backseat, then when we went to the restroom we’d make it a point to talk to each other about “Daddy being in the car” to hopefully ward off anyone who might want to attack two females traveling alone. There were so many actions, both deliberate and almost innate, that we took to shield ourselves from the dangers of racism and sexism to the best of our abilities. And we treated these things as our responsibilities, something we had to do to stay safe. But we never once questioned why we had to do that in the first place. Why is it that women have to go through all these obstacles just feel less in danger walking home, just to feel less in danger traveling, just to feel less in danger walking to their car? And this isn’t just true for Asian women, this is true for all women, for all marginalized people. There are so many ridiculous little things that we have to do that we’ve accepted as our reality, while white supremacists continue to live however they like and take our lives whenever they please.
I have no idea where we go from here. I know that I’m tired, and that others are tired. I know that I’m frustrated, and that others are frustrated. I know that I’m not surprised at the way the Atlanta tragedy is being handled. But right now, I just don’t know what to do.