This past week was spent thinking about representation, specifically the ways in which our Asian relatives are represented in various types of media. In light of what appears to be a continuing escalation of anti-Asian violence erupting throughout the so-called U.S., we are paying attention and continuing to educate ourselves. As best as we can. As often as we can. And in a medium that has immense cultural and teaching power: film.
Unsurprisingly, we find that depictions of Asian communities and cultures in film and shows often aren’t positive or flattering. There are tired and beaten to death stereotypes that continue to harm Asian characters. Characterizations and lies that continue to feed ideas surrounding Asian people, particularly women, which also keeps the machine known as racial and gendered violence well oiled and running. These depictions, coupled with the age-old U.S. mindset that anyone non-white and non-cisgendered man is Target instead of Human, are the reason we wake up everyday bracing for another breaking story. Another News app notification in the middle of the day. More karakia and virtual holding across phone lines and Zoom as we add more names to the list of ancestors we are carrying with us as we keep trying to build a better world. Our Asian relatives deserve better. They deserve a world without fear. They deserve to live.
And to be honest, this is a lot right? Of course it is. When we are bombarded through popular media and news with reminders that we live in a system that sees our Asian relatives and marginalized communities as a whole as useful-to-a-point, dispensable beings, it can be difficult to do anything. To get out of bed. To eat. To talk. To function in any way that resembles “okay.” It can even be hard to remember that we are still not done with the work of creating better futures. Even when exhausted, that work is still there. Still waiting. And that the only way anything changes is when we do the work alongside and for each other.
And so I write to you this week as someone who is feeling the tired a little bit. Feeling the exhaustion. The “I don’t know how to move.” Will I move again? Yes. But for now, I am contributing with what I can. With writing. I am doing my best to take care of myself and am helping others to do the same when I have the energy. I am reflecting on all of these thoughts from this past weeks’ sessions and from the onslaught of Racist Hell that continues to be unleashed onto some of the most marginalized in our communities and am remembering love. I am loving and holding even if I cannot do anything else at the moment.
And I want to remind folks, especially those who are affected by events directly, that it is okay to do the same when it is needed. That sometimes the simple but often unseen act of loving is all we can do for that day. Laying in bed or barely typing in the last bit of a spreadsheet at work, we are actively loving each other. And we are remembering that when we have had the rest we need, we can eventually pick up the tools and start doing a little more again.