Speaking Up: Why I Support Black Lives Matter

–By Roxanne Duran

My heart is heavy and I am filled with anger—once again I have opened Facebook and my news feed is filled with posts and comments about a police officer shooting a Black man. I’m reading about other people’s anger about this injustice and as I scroll through comments, I start to read comments supporting ALL lives and supporting police. Comments saying, “If these Black people knew how to show respect to officers they would not get shot.” I am so disgusted, I log off.

How can people miss the point? Yes, all lives matter and it is the lives of Black people that are being ended so carelessly. Police have the privilege of being supported by the system, while Blacks in America have a negative stereotype they are fighting against. We all have an automatic, unconscious response to certain ethnic groups. Family members say I have nothing against Black people, but they tell you to not bring a Black man home, and you watch them clutch their bags tighter when they walk by a Black man on the street. It doesn’t help that the media portrays Black men as thugs or gangsters.

I am an Asian American woman, which means I am a member of America’s “model minority”—an ethnic group that is widely perceived to be more successful and educated than population average. Asian Americans may be viewed positively by others, but we too face negative stereotypes and microaggressions. Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that that, to most Americans, America equals White.  It’s not just White people who think that to be American is to be White—it’s Asians and Blacks, too.

Morning Calm.flickr

Morning Calm/flickr

While I still face my own type of discrimination in dominant culture, I still have a choice what I can do about what is going on in the US today. When it comes to police violence against Black and Brown communities, I have the privilege to sit back and do nothing. I can think to myself, it’s not my problem.

But I refuse to do this, and I choose to become an ally and support the Black community. People of color are stronger when we are united. Our struggles may look different, but compared to White people, we have to fight harder to get where we are and fight against systems that are working against us.

I am tired of being that model minority who does not stand up for what I believe in in order to not make waves. I am Filipino American and I support Black Lives Matter.

Romano Cancelli.flickr

Romano Cancelli/flickr

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