By Guest Contributor: Jimin Shim
You love our food, our movies, our anime and TV shows, our music, our engineering, our nail salons. Korea, Japan and China are some of the most popular travel destinations in the world. When will you love us? When will you see us as real human beings with full lives, families, passions, emotions, and all the things that make us human? A police captain described March 16 as “a very bad day” for this domestic terrorist. Are you kidding me? Do we really mean so little to you that having “a bad day” can justify murdering us? Do not let another domestic terrorist off the hook. Do not let his whiteness and the victims’ non-whiteness blind you from seeing the reality of this disgusting, racially-motivated hate crime.
Reach out to your Asian friends, family members, and colleagues. And then be understanding if they don’t respond right away, or at all. It can quickly become overwhelming to repeatedly tell others how you’re doing, especially when you yourself aren’t quite sure the full spectrum of emotions you’re feeling and the extent to which you’re feeling them. For me, it’s been a mix of hurt, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, fear, worry, shock, and a heavy chest.
If you’re a people leader, be understanding and flexible with your Asian employees and their needs. We may not be as enthusiastic or energized. We may not have the mental clarity or emotional capacity to bring our full selves to work today or this week or beyond; it certainly feels like we have lost a part of us.
In my case, the morning after the Atlanta shootings, I sent a Slack message to my manager: “Been having a rough morning and trouble focusing with everything going on. Do you mind if I cancel our 1:1 for today and email you the content I need reviewed instead?” She immediately responded, “Absolutely. Rest up, do what you need to do. I won’t be expecting any emails, Jimin. It’s been a rough week. Here if you want an ear to listen. Otherwise, please take it easy.”
I am so thankful for having leaders who are understanding and flexible, and who see their employees as full human beings who are affected by things beyond work. I know not everyone can say the same. So please, be willing to offer this kind of support to your own teammates.
If you hear someone making racist comments or jokes, stand up for what’s right and say something to them. Joking about mail order brides, “yellow fever,” referring to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus” or “kung-flu”, or fetishizing Asian women is not okay. These comments and mindsets have very real, far-reaching consequences. A white man felt justified in blaming Asians for his “sexual addiction”, and in murdering them because of his personal problems. Media outlets used that narrative to reduce its racially- and gender- motivated nature.
Dispel the Model Minority Myth. Believe and recognize that Asian Americans can -and do – hurt. We have challenges, too. Stop pitting us against Black, brown, or other minority communities. Did we not all recently see the importance of allyship and the power of supporting those who don’t look like ourselves? We need to continue fighting for social justice, racial equality, humanity.
Quoting Lily Zheng, “We #StopAsianHate by educating ourselves and our communities about the history of anti-Asian racism and how it manifests today, and committing to ACTION, not platitudes.”
Stand with us. Stand for what is right. Be angry and saddened and hurt and disgusted with us. Then work with us to make progress and bring healing.
#StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate #ModelMinorityMyth #StopWhiteSupremacy
Jimin Shim is a Korean American writer, born in Seoul and currently living in Denver, Colorado. She is a lover of books, a dancing queen, and a donut aficionado. Currently, Jimin is working as a writer for the Office of Equality at Salesforce. Jimin can be found on Instagram (@jiminahjiminah) and Medium (@jiminshim), as well as on LinkedIn. Her portfolio can be found at jiminshim.com.
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