HOW WE CAN (TRY TO) BEAT RACISM.
I'm a second-generation Korean-American male. I grew up in Southern California.
- •When I was a kid,I carried this journal around and wrote down random thoughts and questions. Analog Twitter. One of the things I asked myself time and again was, "Will we ever solve racism?" As far as I could see, the answer was No. Race is an immediate difference between people; and if you're looking for a reason to not like someone, you have one.
- •When I was in high school,I spent time around a lot of skinheads, both racist and SHARP, because of the punk community. I got into brawls with some, smart conversations with others. I marched in Black Panther rallies. I was in, and got jumped out of, an Asian gang.
- •When I was in college,I was elected to student council, responsible for a $30,000 media budget. I funneled it all to a Latino/Chicano, activist-oriented student publication. I was disgusted with the disproportionate number of Latino students at my university, and wanted to give them a louder voice. The university paper called me out for it in a cover story, but there was nothing the school could do. Viva la raza.
- •When I was in law school,I spent a semester writing a dissertation on hate music. I got so entrenched in the culture for research, that I had a Stormfront forum account, and was active in the discussions. I listened to that White Power hate-shit everyday, at the gym, on my car rides.
- •And this is what I learned:Ignorant people are simply uneducated and unaware. That doesn't excuse them, but that's an inroads to helping them. Racist people, however, are just angry people. And they are looking to affix their anger on someone else. They need someone to blame.
- •The truth is:If you hate Black people because "they're lazy," then you don't hate Black people. You hate lazy people. That's fair. If you hate White people because they're racist, then you don't hate White people. You hate racist people. So do I.
- •You can disagree with me here (I know some of you will), but from everything I've gathered,and all the dialogue I've shared in my life, the debates I've been embroiled in, the people I've loved and noses I've shattered, the only way to fix this is:
- •Compassion.And really, Listening. Sharing. Blacks listening to Whites. Whites listening to Asians. The thing with social media is that it's a nonlinear conversation, so you can interject your opinion anywhere. That's why there are so many hecklers at these campaign speeches. People want to be heard, and they want to be heard NOW. But, nobody is taking the time to listen. And, listening helps everyone.
- •For the last couple days, there's been something really fascinating happening on this app.People are finally getting real. Although it's uncomfortable, it's necessary to provide an authentic, diverse and comprehensive experience. The only thing I hope is that we can continue to share and listen to another with respect and empathy. I have learned so much about feminism, how it feels to be Black in America, eating disorders, and how to properly bake a casserole, by reading some of your lists.
- •None of them were jammed down my throat or screamed at me.Nobody shamed me into accepting their position. No one held me down and demanded a reaction. You can raise all the hell you want, but nobody can hear you unless they want to listen. Make them WANT to hear you. Make them WANT to change (And that's what you're shooting for, right?).
- •If that pisses you off,You can let me know. I'm listening.