I’ll be the first to tell you that I haven’t had to fight for a whole lot in my life. I’m 24 and I’ve been a student for the majority of those years. Academia is territory where I’ve always thrived and I’m soon to be a master’s level social worker. I’ve always had food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over my head and a loving family. I have my own car and the means to entertain myself at restaurants, movies etc. And all of these things are a hell of a lot. They’re more than many people have or will ever have. You could say that given the life I’ve led so far, I’ve had the luxury of being able to choose my battles. For most of my life, I’ve been a quiet, reflective person who preferred to be unobtrusive, to not make waves or argue. Heck, I don’t even really enjoy debating for fun. If you keep your mouth shut, no one can tell you you’re wrong or stupid because they’ve yet to have any evidence.
But when it comes to race, I’ve realized that I don’t want to keep my mouth shut and I feel as though I’m beginning to face the consequences. Ever since I started this blog, I’ve taken myself on an exploration I never dared to pursue before. I came to reject the colorblind perspective and recognize that issues raised by transracial adoptees are incredibly important. I came to value my identity more and more, to be proud to be a minority woman. From my perspective, I am growing into the person I want to be and it means the world. What I hadn’t planned on was the reaction of others around me regarding this change. I keenly feel that a few friends have distanced themselves from me and I suspect that they are not comfortable with my interest in race issues. It’s probably different when you’re white. One thing I’ve learned over time is that many (not all) white people are much more comfortable adopting the colorblind perspective and are self conscious about being viewed as racist (can't blame them given history). I’m not here to point fingers. My belief that race matters is just that: a belief. It is not a universal truth and probably never will be. I guess I just never expected some of my own friends to pull away over this. I’ve tried to be sensitive and I never, ever push my beliefs onto others. Maybe I didn't try hard enough. I feel hurt because I read their distancing as a rejection of this part of me which I am finally embracing. It makes me step back and question myself. Am I wrong for believing this way? Is it worth losing friendships over? I value my relationships so much, but I also value being true to myself.
I’m starting to think that this is only the beginning of my struggle. Standing up for race issues feels like an uphill battle. The reality is that a whole lot of people just don’t care and don’t see the point. But to me, there will always be a point. We may have a black president in the US now, but that does not make up for the overrepresentation of black children in the child welfare system or black individuals in prison. That does not make up for the blatant racial profiling in Arizona. That does not make up for the uncertainty I have felt at numerous times in my life when someone else targeted me/mistreated me and I never knew if it was because I was Asian, but always wondered. If you read my last post, then you should know that this is definitely not a request for pity. It’s a request for people to open their eyes, see each other for who we are and love anyway. No, we are not all the same! We are beautifully different and why can’t we just celebrate those differences? I’ll get off my soapbox now.