How do we genuinely unravel in the human experience as people of color? In many different ways, shapes, and forms, we all awaken at some point in our lives to the reality that this white supremacist world has preconceived notions of who we are, and who we should be.
Only in the past year I have become increasingly, outwardly aware and vocal about the racism that surrounds my life. It has been an interesting journey of awakening to see the extent of how much race affects many different aspects of the way I and other people of color are seen and treated in this world- and to see the reactions of people around me when I speak up about it.
One of the most disappointing aspects along this journey is realizing just how little to no space is created in social structures for the unheard voices, experiences, and dialogues of people of color.
So how do we unravel? How do we express these specific feelings of frustration, anger, and pain in a whitewashed world where there is seemingly no space for it to dwell?
Most, if not all my interactions regarding these feelings with the white population is met immediately with personally hurt responses soothing white guilt, tone policing, and absolutely no recognition of the fact that my anger towards racism is a legitimate and healthy response to how it truly suppresses my spirit, soul, and day to day life. Not to even begin to mention the fact that systrmatic racism has affected the lives of generations of people of color before me and will continue to affect generations of people of color after me.
Coming from Korean ancestry all the while living in an almost entirely white community in New Hampshire, my increasingly loud voice combating the blatant racism that surrounds me has ended friendships, created tensions between people I've known for years, and has caused this predominantly white area to paint me as excessively angry towards these issues to the point that I am a "white hater", that I am the racist, that I am the one perpetuating these separations between people.
With an ongoing lifelong battle fighting off the stereotypes thrown at me to be a submissive, quiet, docile, happily passive asian woman, my loud, abrasive, extroverted, strong personality is always met with shock and disapproval. Not only as a person of color with a submissive stereotype but also as a woman. Living in this white area in a white supremacist society I continually feel outcasted every time I speak up and stand up for myself and other people of color. I am outcasted even beyond my conscious level of awareness regardless if I am angry or not. Living in this white area I am absolutely sick of being seen as the one having a warped, angered perception on "race" when I am the one having strangers yell"konichiwa, china girl!" to me out of their cars driving by, and date men to only eventually find out they were essentially interested in me because of my "exotic asian beauty".
So how do we unravel? How do we exist and express ourselves without restraint in a white supremacist society?
We must continue to express our dialogues no matter how many people will try and write it for us. We cannot forget our disappointments but we must not let them decay us from the inside. To truly care for ourselves on the deepest level, we need to keep watchful eyes open at all times, discerning of the people we choose to keep in our lives. We must take moments every day to replenish ourselves and our spirits, during this ruthless battle. Racism affects us mentally, physically, spiritually, generationally and beyond. We must remind ourselves every day, the extent of how important it is to maintain our dialogue. We must keep reminding ourselves that our feelings towards this racially oppressive system are crucial to be expressed without watering down for anybody's privileged comfort. The spaces for our expressions of anger and frustration as people of color were never socially created for us. We must create It ourselves through our relentless and vigilant voices. These are only just a few ways we can truly love ourselves, and unravel.