Feeling numb and angry at the same time. This is the effect of witnessing the devastating results of bigotry.
Although I am part Indonesian, apart from Dutch and Greek, I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to experience Asian culture through family ties. What kept me in touch with this part of my ancestry, was art and food. Things that my Greek mother chose to expose me to, to remind me that I and everyone else, are also part of humanity and not just the place we were born in, the place we grew up or the place our ancestors come from. For me all the above were different locations.
Through Asian art I found my voice as an artist. I borrowed, I got inspired, I used and I applied. My feeling of growing up believing I don’t belong anywhere because I come from everywhere, transformed into my artistic compass. Today I have the privilege to be making a living as an artist, whose product is heavily inspired by Asian culture. It is a privilege. And I’m humbled every time I pick up a pencil or a tattoo machine.
I could not be more thankful. And I know that many people out there enjoying Asian culture through anime, tattoos, food, martial arts, yoga, cinema, vacation destination, music, fashion, games and a million other things, are thankful too. And because you are, this is a time to not separate the culture from the people. Asian people in the United States are the target of hate crime. It’s happening right now.
You don’t have to be an Asian or pacific islander American to feel empathy. You don’t have to be part Asian like me, or have Asians in your family, or have lived in an Asian country to offer your support. You don’t even have to enjoy (if it could be possible) anything linked to Asian culture either. You are human, able to understand that hate crime is universal. Every country in the world has its own record of hate crime and discrimination. The only things that change are the nationalities, the religions, the colour of skin, the gender or sexuality and so forth. The reasons remain the same.
Intolerance in diversity.
Lack of respect to human life itself.
Any kind of discrimination is not just a problem of the discriminated party. Racism against black people in the US is everyone's problem. Racism against Muslims in France is also everyone's problem. Murdered trans people in Brazil too is everyone's problem. Gender crime against women in the entire planet throughout human history is EVERYONE'S PROBLEM.
This is one more time when arguing that this is an American problem, Americans should deal with, is just inhumane.
Raise awareness, spread the news, learn what happened.
Identify the problem.
If you treat every person with respect to their culture and sense of self, you may not be causing the problem, but indifference and silence in the face of hate crime, perpetuates it.
Solidarity is our only weapon.