By: Allen Peng, Contributor
As a college-educated, upper-class East Asian American male, I know I can't understand everything my friends are feeling or going through at the moment. But I would like people to know that I am here to listen, learn, and help if possible; that I, too, am worried about the next four years.
I am worried about how people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent will fare. In 2015 the FBI reported a 67 percent uptick in hate crimes against Muslims, before the election was even over. The day after the election someone thought it would be a good idea to write “Trump!” on a Muslim prayer room door at my own school.
I am worried about Asian American involvement in politics going forward. Government census data puts us at just over 6 percent of the total U.S. population; we’re often forgotten in a corner. Many of us are still labeled the perpetual foreigner and told to “go back” to a country we’ve never been to. But for those of us who are living comfortably, we can no longer stay complacent.
Many of my Asian American friends have expressed their opinions about the election online. Yet their political engagement often doesn’t go farther than that. What then? No matter your political position, all the people you disagree with are still living in this country with you. They don’t just disappear with a few words on Facebook.
What needs to happen is that we have to actually meet others face-to-face. We need to talk to our teachers, neighbors, friends and family; we need to become involved in our own communities; we need to reach out to local public officials, police officers and business owners.
I am not saying that we should ignore and discard the pain that has been inflicted and still is being inflicted today. That needs to be acknowledged. And that acknowledgement should be lived out in everyday life to prevent them from happening again. But if we don’t want to be stuck in the a bubble among like-minded friends and family, then our next step is reaching out to those who aren’t our friends and family. Talk to them. Call them out when need be. Take the initiative.
I don't know if bigotry, discrimination or hate can ever be fully eradicated, but we have to start somewhere.
* * *