How to Discuss the Black Lives Matter Movement with your Asian Relatives

On May 25th, 2020, a Black man named George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a White police officer named Derek Chauvin who pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for approximately nine minutes, causing him to stop breathing. This incident created a new wave of anger for the Black community and other communities of color as racial injustice continues to be a serious issue despite living in modern times. 

Enough is enough! Now is the time for everyone to become better educated about Black oppression and for those who have White privilege, it’s time to stop taking it for granted. I’ve scrolled through countless numbers of resources on social media, some of which to help Asian relatives have a better understanding of what exactly is happening right now. As a Japanese American myself with Asian relatives, I feel that it’s my job to explain to my family members what is going on with racism today, particularly within the Black community. In this article, I have compiled multiple resources to help your Asian immigrant relatives support and become educated about the Black Lives Matter movement while letting them know that the struggles they’ve faced from racial bias are not, and will never be, invalid. Having face-to-face conversations with one another is the most effective way to stem change or else nothing will truly be fixed. 

 

Explain the Roots of Racism 

Your Asian immigrant family members have most likely and unfortunately experienced hatred and oppression, but perhaps they are unaware of how the Black community suffers from it and the history behind it besides slavery. Educate yourself by researching colonialism, White supremacy, and colorism, and then explain it to them in their native language. They will listen to someone who is willing to be patient with them and answer their questions. The information on social media is great but it can be hard for people to take it all in when English isn’t a first language. 

 

Say Their Names and Their Stories

George Floyd and his death will always be remembered along with other Black individuals such as Breonna Taylor and Auhmaud Arbery. Many people are familiar with these names but don’t exactly know their stories or how they were affected by police brutality and racial injustice. Bring these names up when you’re with your relatives and explain what happened to them because their names deserve to never be forgotten. Knowing the stories behind these names can help to understand why exactly people are angry and why protests are so emotional. 

 

Take Advantage of your Streaming Subscription

If you’re reading this, you probably have a Netflix account, so why not watch informational shows and documentaries with your family to become better educated about Black communities? Netflix has many subtitle options like Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, along with simplified and traditional Chinese. Below is a list of shows available on Netflix to educate your family on systematic racism: 

- Dear White People 

- American Son 

- 13th 

- See You Yesterday 

- When They See Us 

 

Additional Links 

https://lettersforblacklives.com/

Letters for Black Lives is a website with open letters from people who have had honest and open conversations about anti-Blackness and racial struggles with their families. This is an excellent source as the letters are translated into multiple languages. If you’re struggling to put your thoughts into words, using a letter from this website in your relative’s native language is very effective. 

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1yg5o18j2PUjSgieoinZvJgttF87abp2ol8q-5NboCq8/mobilebasic

This Google Doc is filled with tons of information on how to discuss Black racism specifically for Vietnamese and Chinese communities. Within this document are even more links to petitions, TED talks, and articles in other languages. 

www.instagram.com/nextshark 

Next Shark is known as “the leading source for global Asian news.” Share this account with your family and check it out yourself to learn more about how the Asian community can be an effective ally for the Black community. 

Lastly, I want to write about how incredibly angry I am about the death of George Floyd and the anti-Blackness that is still occurring today. I am deeply upset by how our governments and police departments continue to run. I am also embarrassed that there are still many people who hold racist biases against others. To the Black community: I will never completely understand the oppression you have faced and I know this is a privilege I have. Black people should never have had their voices and freedom taken away from them. I am hopeful that Gen-Z can use our voice and power to put an end to racism once and for all. I’m not Black, but I hear you and I will fight with you. Black lives matter!