As an ABC (American born Chinese) kid, growing up in America was, and still is, a wildly different experience than what most others experience. Now I’m definitely not saying this with negative connotation, because if it weren’t for the experiences that I went through, I would not be the person I am today. Those who know me know that I am humorous and always smiling, and in growing up, I’ve never actually experienced a situation where I felt that I was being wronged in some way. For that I feel lucky, but I also know that there are still so many people out there who are being discriminated against and judged because of the color of their skin. I often think about the struggles that people who are discriminated against go through, and I always take a stand against racism.
A unique thing about racism is that it’s very difficult to tell whether or not specific words or actions are being directed at you. As I said before, I have never felt any direct harassment or hatred because of my race. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t felt stereotyped, excluded, and distanced before. It’s very interesting though, I don’t believe that any of the things I’ve experienced were specifically intentionally done. Instead, they were simply a result of what our society today deemed appropriate and acceptable.
I was once asked if I felt more comfortable talking to and making friends with people who were Asian. This is a seemingly innocent question, but one that is truly deep and multifaceted. This notion intrigued me a lot, because it made me wonder whether people were choosing people to talk to others based on first sight. Meaning that as people see others, they immediately decide whether they could become friends with them or not; in essence, “friends at first sight”. The thing about this is that it definitely exists to an extent in our society. I mean even I can admit that it has happened to me before. It may be true that those of the same race have more to talk about in common, making it easier to start a conversation and become friends. The problem about this is that if all people are equal, which they are, then nobody should lose out on any chance, whether it be something like receiving a certain job or even making a certain friend. In fact, this is a hindrance to the progressiveness of society, and is honestly difficult to overcome. A difference in skin color will always exist and people will always notice them. The issue that we face is how to make these differences not matter.
In order to accomplish this, we must first…redefy.
– Written by Jacob Chang (redefy school representatives team)