I know quite a few Asian women as clergy colleagues. They are without exception among the most brilliant leaders in our denomination. Most of them are Korean American.
There are two young Asian women in my family whose life stories seem similar to mine, but they aren’t. One is Pakistani American and one is Indian American.
My financial planner is an Asian woman whose wisdom I treasure. She is Filipino American.
[Note: There are 48 countries in Asia. Each country has multiple cultures and differences. To identify someone as Asian doesn’t begin to describe their heritage.]
And then there are the women over at the nail place where I get a pedicure. They are primarily Vietnamese Americans. Their name tags say “Angela” or “Jasmine” but I suspect their real names are something like Hyunh or Khanh. They speak very little English but they know my name when I visit about once a month.
The photo above was part of a project by Chris Buck for O Magazine in May 2017. The photo essay – “Let’s Talk About Race” – included women in stereotypical situations according to their race. And then he flipped the stereotype, as you can see in the photo above.
It’s intended to jolt us into reconsidering how we see each other.
I’ve tried to keep quiet and listen after the shootings in Atlanta last week. Nobody needs to hear from another straight white woman about this and yet I wish to condemn this insane hatefulness.
The people killed that day were:
- Soon Chung Park, age 74
- Hyun Jung Grant, age 51
- Suncha Kim, age 69
- Yong Yue, age 63
- Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33
- Paul Andre Michels, age 54
- Xiaojie Tan, age 49
- Daoyou Feng, age 44
Six of them were Asian American women who worked in the spas, and I suspect that if I had walked in for a pedicure, I would have barely noticed their faces much less their names. I admit that I had no idea that women of Asian American Pacific Islander heritage have been as verbally and physically assaulted as I’ve read about since March 16.
This tragedy requires intersectional analysis. This tragedy requires saying out loud that the lives of these women who worked in the spas – with those who were killed alongside them – were children of God created in God’s image.
I condemn these murders. And yet I need to do more than write in a blog that such violence and hatred is horrible.
We need to speak up when stereotypes are accepted as truths. We need to stand up when anyone is treated as if they are less.
And why is it okay for someone to register for and buy a gun on the same day in Georgia but it’s not okay to register and vote on the same day in Georgia?
Our hearts break for these families and it means nothing if we don’t address the deeper issues.