Unlearning Systemic Racism as POC.

POC contribute and buy-in to systemic racism, and it's time to challenge and change that.

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It shouldn’t have taken me this long and this many senseless murders to start educating myself on my own complacency, contribution and on anti-racism.

In the South Asian community that I grew up in, there were constant derogatory comments about dark skin (consider “fair and lovely”), racist, stereotypical comments, with many elders shaming anyone who disagreed or disputed their opinion.

By not speaking up about what I knew was not right, I was complacent. And staying silent in the name of “respect for our elders” meant I was perpetuating the issue.

Fellow South Asians — I would encourage you to educate yourselves on the “model minority” myth — a concept that stereotypes and positions Asian immigrants against other minorities in an effort to gaslight the impact of racism and the damage it causes.

When western countries changed immigration policies to select immigrants based on specialized skills and education, the system selectively recruited Asians with higher education, effectively giving them an edge over other minorities who were brought into the US and Canada on very different terms.

For context, African American ancestors were kidnapped, enslaved and only granted “freedom” about 54 years ago (post-segregation which, believe it or not, only ended in 1965 in Canada, and the last segregated school closed in 1983).

This doesn’t stop the system from glorifying Asian-immigrant “success” as a result of “overcoming racism”, labeling them “model minorities”, and positioning black communities against them as “problematic”. There is NO DOUBT that this type of stereotyping has been prevalent within our communities.

Recognize that it’s a lie. It’s harmful. It’s systemic. Unlearn it.

It leads to judgement and biases that contribute to the hatred and racist bullshit that has our black brothers and sisters living in fear, dying at the hands of a system that should serve and protect. It does not.

I’ve spent the last few days educating myself. Following and learning from black educators who have been putting the truth out there. Listening.

I have been spending time re-evaluating my own perspective — it’s not enough to NOT be racist. We need to be actively ANTI-RACIST.

We need to stand up for what is right. We need to condemn racist behaviour and comments even if its uncomfortable. It’s nothing in comparison to what black people are facing every single day.

We need to do better. We need to educate ourselves and begin to unravel the systemic racism that lives within each of us. We need to stand as allies and use our privilege to help.

With love,
Kirn

Sources:
https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/04/19/524571669/model-minority-myth-again-used-as-a-racial-wedge-between-asians-and-blacks
https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=ungradawards_2016
https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/racial-segregation-of-black-people-in-canada

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