Privilege. It’s the ability to not have to make decisions based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender…
There has not been a time when walking into a room of people I have not quickly taken a glance around to count how many folks look like me. Not once since I can remember as a child – that number sure has skyrocketed since moving to the west coast!
I can count on one hand how many teachers/professors I have had that were Asian – really there was only one. I can’t even say Chinese because then there would be none.
Can you imagine how devastating that can be to someone’s identity. I spent my high school years searching for acceptance. I spent my college years attempting to be a leader. There were few, if any asian women leaders – and if there were, I didn’t know who they were during my college days or how to find them. After college we found a small “multi-ethnic” church – the pastors were Korean, black, and white – all men, of course. But this was much better than nothing.
Sometime along the way, I found my voice. I began to speak out against anything and everything based on social justice and principle. And then, I became the angry asian. I became the bleeding heart liberal. I became some other misnomers. I became the girl with the unique experience and unique voice. For a while, I embraced this “unique voice” of mine, until I realized, it’s just a pleasant way to say you’re really different. And, oh sure, we want to hear your perspective, but really only because if we shut you up, we would blatantly be tuning out diversity.
I learned to quiet myself, I learned to compartmentalize things in my brain, I learned to only be inwardly offended.
But then we had Olivia. And then Lucy. And that voice came roaring back. Because I refuse to bring my girls up in this world where we are second class citizens as women and as “model minorities”. I refuse to teach them that it’s better to be quiet – “to keep the peace” than to speak out against hate. I refuse to raise bi-racial/bi-cultural people that take advantage of privilege instead of calling it out. I refuse.
They will be raised in a home where both of their parents share the burden of leading the family. They will be raised in a home where differences are celebrated and valued. They will be raised in a home that is inclusive. A home that does not fear or judge, but loves.
So, privilege. If you see it, name it. And this lady right here, Kathy Khang, she saw it. She named it. And now her name is being dragged through the crapper for it, but this is what speaking out as a minority looks like.