I consider myself extremely fortunate. I grew up in a predominately Caucasian community and can count on ONE hand the number of racial slanders I received IN MY LIFE.
I never saw my own white privilege, because I’m Japanese-Caucasian, having already some of the features that make you Asian. But I identify as Canadian - what I see as a mixed bag of cultures.
My “white privilege” was only shown to me when I traveled to India six years ago. It was an identity crisis for me. People in India saw me as white, not as Asian. That meant that they gave me more attention, both the “good” i.e. more respect than the darker skinned women, and the unwanted stares and solicitations. Because I was Canadian, I received special privileges, I didn’t have a curfew like the other women, and I received my own crew to help with my project. I even had my supervisor’s wife tell me that I could pick any Punjabi to take as a husband back to Canada.
I married a black man, but I never saw colour. I saw a huge heart, an equally huge smile, a shared love of animals, and yes, his muscular body was important ;) My hubby is extremely ambitious, extremely sensitive, and he’s working every waking minute if he’s not spending those minutes with me.
What my hubby is trying to teach me is, when we have children, they will be black. They will be discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. In chatting with my manager, who also married a black man, we are so hopeful. We hope that when our children grow up that they ”will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.
My Japanese heritage comes from my mother. I tried to explain to my hubby that she tried to not be Japanese growing up. She spoke English, she considers herself a Canadian born abroad, as my grandfather was born in Vancouver, and my mother married a white guy. I never really asked why, but she never learnt to speak Japanese. I want to say that during her childhood, when you were an immigrant, you tried to conform to the rest of society, so that you didn’t stand out as different. Growing up, I never thought that I was different - I was Canadian. We never discussed racism in our house. Even when my first racial slur was spoken in my direction, I didn't even really process what it meant. I wondered why my mother did not speak up when our family was called Korean terrorists while traveling in the U.S. I was infuriated - one, we’re not Korean - two, we’re not terrorist! We’re just a family waiting for a bus! My mom chalked it up as he was crazy - which is true. People ARE crazy to judge based on the colour of one's skin!
All this to say #whitecoatsforblacklives
Like @nataliecrawfordmd says, silence is acceptance. We have a voice.