Letter from an Adopted Asian New Yorker
I’m writing this after hearing the news about Christina Yuna Lee. This is not being investigated as a hate crime.
I could rattle off so many statistics about the rise of AAPI hate and how a majority of attacks have been on female-presenting and the elderly. I could tell you about the harassment I’ve received being Asian in white spaces. The harassment I’ve received being a female-presenting body in public spaces.
The most common thing I’ve seen posted by my AAPI community in NY the last week was, “It could have been me”. That’s what we’ve been saying for years now. And many of us have fallen victim. Many crimes go unreported or uninvestigated.
Right now I’m simply tired. I’m tired of people acting astonished when we live in a world of broken systems and white supremacy. Tired of asking how we can heal when we have yet to begin to question. I am tired of being spoken for and spoken over. If you feel accused right now, yes. I am talking to you.
I was told once that as an adoptee, I shouldn’t fear racism. Why? Because someone will never ask my adoption status before they attack me. Guess what. That question is white supremacy mindset. Its erasure. It's denying me my Asianness.
Nevermind solidarity. We’re past performative solidarity. This isn't a new life or death situation. This has BEEN a life or death situation. People are just now seeing this because we have media at our fingertips. We didn't wake up in a world in chaos. The world has been in chaos. And some people profit off of this chaos. They put their needs and comforts above others.
I don’t have solutions. You would think I’d have an idea since I have an MSW degree, but you give me too much credit. I’m living in a world where my existence is at stake every time I leave my house. I’ll admit that I live safer than the majority of the city, but that does not cancel out that I rarely leave my apartment anymore. I’ve requested an extended leave to work from home. I’ve increased my anxiety medication.
Listening. Reading. Validating. It's literally the bare minimum of what can be done. Acting, sacrificing comfort, donating time, energy, and financial resources are the next step. But many don’t want to even do that. There has been a call to action and we must answer.