Black Lives Matter. I wanted to use my blog to express some feelings. The events that have happened in the past two weeks in our country are just too important.
We are living in crazy times. We are in the middle of a pandemic. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. The protests. I would be missing a big opportunity if I didn’t say anything about what is going on right now. To be honest, at first, I didn’t want to write anything for fear of being judged. But, I have a voice and I have this blog so I am saying something.
Before I begin, I have to say: If, after reading this, you have something to say to me, please leave me a comment below. I have received many direct messages via Instagram over the past week and I’m not even sure if I responded to all of them. Leaving a comment here is best. Thank you.
We are living in crazy times. We, as a nation, are in the middle of a pandemic. We have been in quarantine since mid-March and, some of us, have been going crazy. We’re emotional. Some of us felt powerless in quarantine. Things were taken away from us. Places we would frequent, going out. We’ve been stuck at home. Most states here in the United States are now in the process of re-opening, or have already re-opened with new regulations and guidelines. Masks are the new normal for all of us. We are still supposed to be social distancing.
All of that has gone out the window. And for good reason. Let me say this, first, upfront so there is no confusion on where I stand. I believe that Black Lives Matter.
(Photo credit: found here on Instagram. Sarah Wills, Photographer in Paris, TN)
Black Lives Matter
This phrase is being confused by many people. And this image I saw on social media explains it well:
Black Lives Matter.
This doesn’t mean ONLY Black Lives Matter.
We know that ALL Lives Matter.
We just need your help with #BlackLivesMatter because BLACK lives are in danger.
There was also a great video on social media that has gone viral that was created by a young woman. See the video here.
Breakdown of the video: You see a house burning down. The girl says, “We have to go help that house! It’s on fire!” and someone else (who keeps saying All Lives Matter) says “Well, what about MY house” “Aren’t you going to help me too?” “Is your house on fire?” “No. . but I still need help too!” “But this house is on fire and burning down and the people in THAT HOUSE need help!” Would it make sense at this point to stay and stand with the house that is not burning down? Or go and help the house that is burning down?
This Past Week
This past week has been very heavy. I’m still processing everything and it’s been amazing and shocking to watch. The peaceful protests. The riots. The looting. The fires, the fighting, the killing.
On Instagram: seeing many non-Black people stop posting their own content. Some people stopped posting altogether, many posted and shed light and promoted Black creators, Black food bloggers, Black authors, Black activists. Some people, I have to say, surprised me, in a good way. To see the uplifting of Black women and men. It was very inspiring.
I’ve also watched way too many ugly and horrible videos this week. But these were things that were really happening. In real life. In our country. Police brutality, police helping the protestors, people yelling at each other with rage. Children walking in protest with their parents. Cars on fire. Small businesses burning to the ground. People hurt. People crying.
There was a lot of beauty but also a lot of hate.
As A Korean American
Yesterday, I listened to David Chang’s podcast: How Asian Americans Can Better Support Black Lives Matter. I think this is a great listen for anyone, Asian American or not. This podcast and conversation really spoke to me, for obvious reasons. They communicated and discussed exactly how I felt as a Korean kid growing up in a predominantly white area and white school in Texas. My school was probably 98% (maybe even more?) white. As a kid, I never felt completely comfortable with white people. I gravitated to other people of color. My closest friends were Black and the Korean kids from my church. In high school, I did have one very good, close friend who was white, Meredith S.
Because I am a Korean American, and have always felt like a minority, like I was lesser than, I always felt a kinship with Black people and other Asians. Growing up, I did always feel like an extra in a movie (referring to the podcast). I was never the kid who wanted to stand out or speak up. That changed as I grew older. I just became more comfortable in my own skin. So as not to get confused, the only reason I shared the above was so you know where I am coming from. I have always loved Black people, and in some instances, have felt more comfortable standing with a Black person than a white person because I am Asian American. I have felt racism.
Seeing racism and having people say mean stuff to me, my family, my parents was not frequent but it did happen, a lot. But, was I ever in fear of walking down the street and being arrested? No, never. Did my parents ever go over with me a set of rules before leaving the house? No. Never.
I will never be able to understand the amount of pain, fear and suffering that Black people have endured all of these years. To any Black person reading this: I see you. I hear you. I stand with you. I love you.
I do support the peaceful protesting. I am NOT about violence but do understand why people have acted violently.
I posted this and I have been posting frequently to my stories to try and share and amplify Black voices and talent. I have received many positive and many negative direct messages. Did I do enough this past week? Did I do as much as I could have? No, I did not. I gave myself some time to think about everything going on.
I went out and voted in the Pennsylvania State Primary Election.
I am reading. I am listening. I have donated to the NAACP. I am seeing where I can help, what I can do. I know I need to do more. I am no where near where I need to be. I know this.
Where do we go from here?
How do we move forward? How do things change? How does justice win?
At the beginning of this week, I wanted all of this to spark change. I was optimistic but if I’m speaking truthfully, I’m not sure how I feel now. I still want change. I’m just not sure how long it’s going to take until we actually see it.
But we can start. Even if they are small steps.
If you see racism towards any race, say something. If you see any act of racism, help that person, do something, say something. Nothing will change unless you and I speak for what is right. Others might see you and help. Your actions might move someone to question himself or herself.
Oprah is hosting a two night special with Black leaders “looking at the country’s civil unrest following the death of George Floyd with “OWN Spotlight: Where Do We Go From Here?” on June 9 and 10.”
As the David Chang podcast had suggested, I had a phone conversation with my parents, more with my dad, yesterday. I asked him if he understood what was happening, what was going on in the world. He said he did and that he understands why Black people are hurting. My dad currently owns a small restaurant in downtown Dallas that was not damaged this past week but lots of other small businesses were. He understands. He stands with me. We stand together as a Korean American family and say Black Lives Matter.
Please Read This
The only reason I added the section above and my background as a Korean American was to address where I am coming from. I am NOT by any means saying that my pain, as an Korean American, is any where close to what Black people have experienced for centuries.
I have empathy. I have work to do. I am here to do the work. I hope this post conveyed what I am feeling and where I stand. Racism is a horrible thing. It exists whether we like it or not. The exciting thing is that now, in 2020, the world is thinking and talking and acting. We are all not on the same page and it will take time but I am hopeful we are headed in the right direction.
For those who don’t know, I run this blog by myself. I do have a virtual assistant who helps me with Facebook but that’s about it. I do not have a team of people with me. It’s me. So this past week I’ve spent some time thinking about what I can do, here, in the space that I am.
What am I going to do? Here at home: look internally at myself, my thinking, how I look at people and see and identify the areas where I can do better. Teach my children by example.
Within my blog, on social media, the brand partnerships I have and who I choose to help promote: I have a heart for small businesses. Female owned small businesses even more. I will make sure I am asking questions, questioning myself and identifying ways I can help Black people and people of color in general. With brand partnerships, I take pride in only partnering with brands that I actually use, love and support and I will continue to do this. I will also make sure I am aligning myself with brands of integrity. This is where I will start. You make your path by walking. Thank you for reading.
“Change yourself in order to change the world.” Grace Lee Boggs