Is it just me, or did last week feel pretty long?
Actually, if you are like many people in my social circles who have been heavily engaged in the active work of racial justice, the last few decades have felt extremely long.
I both am encouraged to see more people fighting for racial justice—especially Black lives—in ways I have not seen in my lifetime, and I also am frustrated that this journey to progress is both so long and mentally and emotionally taxing for those involved. This is why when I saw the NPR Code Switch piece titled A Decade of Watching Black People Die, I thought to myself, “A decade? JUST a decade?” I decided not to listen to it.
I’ve been watching and listening to these stories consistently and long enough that I do not need a recap—especially since I already feel so overloaded with media. With that said, feel free to listen to this piece on your own time. Although I feel like sitting this one out, I generally respect the reporting of NPR Code Switch on this topic and would be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
Personally, I have had such strong emotions about how long it has taken or still is taking other people in my social circles to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter. I am wondering why graphic and publicly displayed violence has to occur before people find racism worth fighting. I wrote about this in my blog post If Racism Were a Cancer.
Even if you are someone who tries to tune out the news, the evidence of racism, violence, and oppression is so ingrained in our society that you see explicit references to these issues in our pop culture. Do you know how many think pieces came out a couple years ago when Childish Gambino released his music video This Is America?
While I appreciate all of the profoundly analytical articles, blog posts, and social media posts dissecting Childish Gambino’s video, I think we as a nation could have invested more time in actually addressing the very issues he highlighted in it.
Not surprisingly, media sources such as Forbes report that Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’ See Massive Spotify Gains Amid George Floyd Protests. These are not obscure songs with a niche audience. The Root reports that both songs won Grammy Awards. Why did the current level of collective outrage not happen when those songs were released in 2018 and 2015 respectively? I purposely say “collective outrage” because I know you personally may have been outraged and those in your social circles may have been outraged—but collectively our country was not as outraged as it currently is.
In fact, our world was not as collectively outraged as it is now. Reuters reports that Protests worldwide embrace Black Lives Matter movement. The BBC shows In pictures: Global protests against racism and police brutality. NPR Goats and Soda posts From Murals to Tweets: The Global South Shows Solidarity with George Floyd Protests.
By the way, I notice that a couple of the headlines I share in this post consistently mention George Floyd, but I also want to continue to acknowledge that other murders also have served as catalysts behind this global movement as I acknowledged in Lunch with Lindsay: Processing Racial Injustice in the US During a Pandemic.
Because last week was so mentally and emotionally draining, on Friday I created another video with my friend titled Lunch with Lindsay: Supporting Black Lives Matter and Practicing Self-Care, which I also have posted above in this post.
If you are reading this blog, my hope is that you are someone who is passionate about doing active work in demanding racial justice. It is not enough to not be a racist; we all need to be antiracist. Even if you are a person of color like I am, you need to check your own internalized racism and racism that you learned in your own culture.
For example, my parents are immigrants from the Philippines to the United States. If you know anything about the Philippines, you know that it was been colonized by Spain and the United States; therefore, Filipinos are no strangers to colonial mentality. If you are unfamiliar with the term colonial mentality, read the 2017 Psychology Today article by EJR David, PhD titled Filipinos, Colonial Mentality, and Mental Health.
I experienced this colonial mentality growing up, and I continue to do active work to unlearn it. As a kid (and as an adult), I used to hear messages from my family on how this country was so racist and what I could do to manage racism. In my blog post When Looking Out for Ourselves Isn’t Enough, I wrote, “Throughout my life, my dad has told me that this country is run by white people, and they don’t like black people. If I hang out with them, I risk my own reputation.”
For people like me, we need to find ways to respond to racism that is not about assimilating to the mainstream.
Yesterday I expressed to one of my Filipino friends about how angry I was with the way my parents taught me to think about racial relations. That was when she reminded me that because of the Philippines’ history, White people taught us to think that way. She did not use the term, but she essentially was talking about colonial mentality. She was not excusing my parents’ behavior, but she understood it because she too is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines. Like me, she has seen anti-Blackness manifest itself in our community for decades.
It is interesting to be a Brown woman, Filipino American, and daughter of immigrants these days. Because not many people in my metropolitan area can tell what my ethnicity is, I have experienced racism and xenophobia geared toward people who thought I was another type of Asian, Latina, or Middle Eastern. As I manage the emotional labor of responding to racism directed to me, I also am cognizant of the ways in which I do not endure racism since I am not Black. I can empathize with some aspects of my Black friends’ and mentors’ experiences with racism, but I have to acknowledge that I will never understand firsthand everything they are enduring.
This reminds me of the concept of cultural humility. I first heard about it from one of the students I career coach at a university. This student is an aspiring dentist. After she mentioned the term, I looked it up, and it is a concept that is popular in healthcare and mental health professions. You can learn more about it by reading the American Psychological Association article Reflections on cultural humility.
It is important to note that cultural humility is different from cultural competency and reflexivity. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, I encourage you to read the article 3 Things to Know: Cultural Humility from The Hogg Foundation of Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin.
As you can tell, we globally have a lot to learn and do about racial justice (an absolute understatement, I know). In this latest Lunch with Lindsay video, my friend and I grapple with how to support Black Lives Matter and also practice self-care. My hope is that your loved ones and you can figure out how to do this for yourselves. If you watch this video and have ideas for supporting Black Lives Matter or practicing self-care that we did not mention, share your ideas with me in the comments section below.