I had planned to write about how juggling work and caring for a young baby were wreaking havoc on my mental capacity. I had planned to write about the wonder of watching a helpless infant become a more plucky, mobile baby.
And now all I can think to write about is the world that baby #ESLee will grow up in if we don’t take a stand.
By ‘we,’ I really mean me.
Throughout today I kept seeing names pop up on social media:
Amidst the busyness of work and the whining screams of my 9-month-old, I pushed the names aside and told myself I’d read up on what happened later.
Later came, right before dinner.
I lost my appetite.
I recently finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and as beautiful and poignant as it was, it took me awhile to finish. I felt forced to put it down and step away frequently. The pain – felt even as a reader who didn’t carry this history in my ancestry – was overwhelming.
But I can’t put this real book down.
There are days when I’ve thought about the benefits my race gives me, as I naively assume the model minority stereotype can provide a hall pass. Until this global pandemic, I figured we were “lucky.” Even within seemingly harmless stereotypes like Asians’ skill at math lie oppression and the power of someone else to judge and dictate who we are. Now, when you read and hear of the hate crimes toward Asians and Asian-Americans in the U.S., there is no such thing as luck. We are not safe; no minority is.
What does this mean for my daughter? I feel a responsibility now that I haven’t felt before. As cliche as it may sound, everything I consider and reflect upon is now viewed through the lens of being a mother. This can not be her future. I don’t want to look her in the eye in 20 years and say, “I did nothing.”
So, where to begin?
This is a broken world, and I am a part of it. As a character in Homegoing says,
“…Sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your home.”
I am not calling myself the source of evil. But to work towards an end means I must acknowledge ways I am contributing to that evil. Right now, that looks like complicity, silence, and/or ignorance.
Tomorrow? Instead of pointing the finger at others, I hope to turn the mirror on myself. More than berating others, I hope my words will bring wisdom and orient towards love. I will feel, think, speak and act in response to the wrong and in pursuit of what is right.
Daughter, I hope you’ll be proud.