It's easy to see problems externally--we are quick to notice when others wrong us or people with whom we identify. So it can be particularly jarring to face a problem such as racism internally. It's challenging to figure out what to do in those situations, like when anti-racist groups contain sexism or anti-sexist groups contain transphobia. Or in the instance of the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State football game, anti-APIA racism coming not just from opposing hecklers, but from fellow students as well. So in solidarity with the APIA students at the game, we share with you a post from the Vietnamese Student Association on their experience. I've excerpted a quote that I found resonates with me specifically:
This confirms our suspicions that there are affiliates of UofM who do not deem us as equal members of the Michigan community due to our racial identity. Maize and Blue are our colors, the University of Michigan is our school, and the Wolverines are our team, just as much as any student or fan can lay claim to. The fact that we have to fear for our safety because of both the colors we wear and the colors of our skin is something we find unacceptable. We are part of the University just as much as it is a part of us, and our experience should not be devalued by those who cannot fathom that we too love and are a part of this school.
I can't count how many times people have asked me "What 'side' are you on?" leading me to scratch my head and wonder if perhaps I was standing on something incorrectly. No, it was just their inability to fathom that even though I am proud of my Chinese heritage, that I am also American, and that I also like living in America probably as much as someone born here does.
Unfortunately, there still does exist a sense of entitlement that people have, whether it be based on race or other privileges. At the end of the day, I'm glad to be a part of a community that speaks out against these entitlements, and encourage you to do the same.
To read the rest of the excellent VSA statement, go here.