One of my goals is to be able to calmly address racist, sexist, or otherwise biased remarks in the moments in which they occur. In the past, this was almost impossible because of how angry I'd feel as the statements manifested. That, or I wouldn't notice the gravity of the remarks until time passed. Another common situation would be that I'd reason myself into not talking about it a la "Gosh, we all have faults. I should look at myself before I say something about him or her. I have faults. S/He has faults. Best to accept that all humans are imperfect and go on with life."
I mean, yes, all humans are imperfect in certain ways. That's what makes us human and not robotic. It's the beauty of existence. Keeping quiet about injustice because injustice exists everywhere is where I don't agree.
I translate and substitute teach for a citizenship course in my town. People who are studying for the citizenship exam attend to practice English and discuss exam material. Over the past few years, I've noticed occasional biased statements from the teacher. I recently decided to speak with her about the matter during a private meeting.
At first, I felt anger with her for expressing that type of view. I tried emailing her and discussing things with her both during and after class. She doesn't see her own biases, as far as I can tell. She thinks herself open-minded, and the sometimes confusing thing is that she is open-minded in some cases. I like her adventurous personality and adaptable outlook. I feel uncomfortable when she talks about Asians and classifies all of us as high-wage earners who are at the top of every school.
Sure, that's complimentary in one way. In another way, it perpetuates a stereotype: the model minority. The issue with the model minority stereotype is it alienates all of the people who don't fit that description. It sets a stage for bias. When one culture is in a box, it's easier to put other cultures in a box.
Truly, part of the reason I didn't invest my time in math in high school was because I appear Asian. (Yes, I am now in IT. There were years of reckoning between then and now.) But I mean -- I was an adolescent in this country. I saw how the media treated people of color: Poorly. I heard how some of my peers talked about other cultures. I didn't want to be that stereotype, and the only way I knew to avoid it was to disown it.
So now I'm an adult, and here's this other adult who's tossing around this stereotype in a class full of Asians. Gah. I don't want to hate this person because I like her, and I know that I can't allow this type of talk to go unchallenged in this setting anymore.
To justice and beyond!
Well hello there.