By Leon Kimura
There has been much recent discussion about Black Lives Matter and the following excerpt from “Letters for Black Lives: An Open Letter Project on Anti-Blackness” is intended to further that discussion and bring about greater awareness and understanding.
It’s true that we face discrimination for being Asian in this country. Sometimes people are rude to us about our accents, or withhold promotions because they don’t think of us as “leadership material.” Some of us are told we’re terrorists. But for the most part, nobody thinks “dangerous criminal” when we are walking down the street. The police do not gun down our children and parents for simply existing.
This is not the case for our Black friends. Many Black people were brought to America as slaves against their will. For centuries, their communities, families, and bodies were ripped apart for profit. Even after slavery, they had to build back their lives by themselves, with no institutional support — not allowed to vote or own homes, and constantly under threat of violence that continues to this day.
In fighting for their own rights, Black activists have led the movement for opportunities not just for themselves, but for us as well. Black people have been beaten, jailed, even killed fighting for many of the rights that Asian Americans enjoy today. We owe them so much in return. We are all fighting against the same unfair system that prefers we compete against each other.
Yes, all lives matter. I believe the Black Lives Matter movement is intended to raise public awareness that black lives are more likely to be taken without justifiable cause. And that is a burden of correction that should rest on us all. It truly does take a village to bring about meaningful change and until the whole of society can see through truly impartial and colorblind eyes, perhaps like many of today’s youth, then deadly and tragic mistakes will continue…