BLACK LIVES MATTER: FILIPINOS GIVE BACK
Updated: Jul 19
Black Lives Matter Protests Across Asia, June 2020
Thought Piece: Julie Chang and Shannon Lin. Filipino American Activists Honor History, Take to the Streets in Solidarity With Black Lives Matter Movement. KQED. 10 June 2020.
Living in Washington, D.C. for the past 8 years has been an eye-opening experience for me as a young adult. Coming from a Filipino culture that looks down upon people who may be darker complexioned, I had the same mindset when I first moved to the United States. But all that changed when I actually experienced what every black person goes through.
Though I am not Black, my brown skin makes me a person of color in a predominantly white culture. My clearly Asian features have also led to my being discriminated against because I did not look typically “American”-- namely, Caucasian.
I experienced this form of discrimination once in my life, but my Black friends experience this feeling of being an ‘outsider’ in their own home country everyday and that is their ‘normal’.
I remember hanging out with some of my high school friends at Dave & Busters and they were approached by security guards as they were simply playing games. I remember going up to the guards and asking why my black friends were being approached out of the 500 other people in the place? What made them illegitimate visitors in that space? Their silence was deafening.
We know this scenario is happening every day - black people are being stopped, hurt, killed, feeling lost, and feel completely unsafe even within their own homes. As a Filipino-American, I am thankful for the Black community for what they did for the Filipino and Chinese immigrants in 1968 - when they stood up for my community so future generations of immigrants could stay and become legal citizens in the United States.
As Filipinos now turn up to march on the streets in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests, a new chapter is being written, as minority groups hold hands with each other. I have big hopes that 2020 is the year of the underdog and a time when those who have historically held power are forced to reflect on what happens when that power is suddenly perceived as tyrannical.
~~ Suzaine Pador (Class of '22)
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