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It’s An Honor Just to Be Asian

it's just an honor to be asian t-shirt sandra oh

Steven Yeun recently said, “Sometimes I wonder if the Asian American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.”

This quote has been on my mind a lot. It so perfectly sums up how I’ve felt all my life. I constantly feel like I’m juggling other people’s feelings along with my own. Always worrying that I’m overstepping if I say something about what I’m experiencing or hurting from because it’s not on the same level as someone else. Basically devaluing my pain. But at the end of the day no one cares about me.

Or at least until now…? Despite all the conversations I’ve had or posts I’ve put up on Instagram talking about the increased attacks on the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, it goes over everyone’s heads. Sure, people have posted things. But the fervor in which it’s done compared to last year with their declarations to become better allies to marginalized communities… well, they just proved to be empty promises.

The tragic events that occurred on March 16 — a mass shooting of 3 different Asian owned massage parlors that resulted in the death of 6 Asian women — led to a massive push. The next day I was greeted with messages asking me how I was doing, that people were there for me. That they see me and hear me. Though it was all said with the best of intentions, I couldn’t help but feel enraged.

It led me to write this on Instagram:

What can I say that I haven’t said already? I feel like myself, my sister, and friends in the AAPI community have been screaming into the void since, well… as long as we can comprehend. We’ve shared our struggles not just in the form of info graphs on our IG Stories over the past year, but have brought them up in actual conversations — everything from the rise of hate crimes since the last president uttered “China Virus” + “Kung Flu,” to talking about issues of representation in the media, to our own personal experiences of facing racism firsthand. But they always fall upon deaf ears. Sadly, it’s not surprising as our plight constantly flies under the radar. I’m tired of being invisible.

Why did it take a mass shooting of 3 Asian owned businesses that took the lives of 6 Asian women to be the catalyst for so many of you to REALLY pay attention? To start posting more? To check in on your AAPI friends? Have our collective cries for help in the past few months not been enough? I appreciate those who have checked in on me, but it’s really not necessary. Because I’m not okay — I’m angry, bitter, sad, and more scared than I’ve ever been in my whole life and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I implore you, please LISTEN to us. I feel like all the info graphs that circulated last year were for naught. So many of you who went all out in sharing resources and committing to being better allies have barely said a peep about what’s happening to my community until recently. Your silence has been disappointing.


There’s a link in my bio with resources to support the AAPI community, please donate if you can. I’ve also included my Venmo here for the emotional labor I’ve done in trying to raise awareness. Please consider sending money to your AAPI friends who have done the same.✌🏼We have screamed about our struggles into the void for far too long.

I feel like I have so much more to say, but I just can’t will my fingers to type every single thought flashing in my head.

To my fellow AAPI — I see you, I hear you, I feel all your pain, your sadness, your anger. All of it. You matter. Please be safe and take care.

Cheers,
Nina

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