Women of Color

But You Are Asian.

(Warning: This is not for the faint-hearted who do not get why the title of this article is problematic.)

I never realized how integral my “colour” was going to be until I moved overseas.

Here’s some background information before I proceed. 

I grew up on an island where diversity was celebrated and ethnicities did not really define how people perceived you. So you can imagine my surprise when I moved to Canada and all of a sudden, people were itching to define me. Why wouldn’t they? I ticked all of their boxes for a WOC, which, let’s be honest, just means having a darker shade of skin and fumbling at English. No; the real issue stemmed from the fact that I was not the kind of “brown” that they were used to.

Ile Maurice. Mauritius. That’s where I come from. Most of the islanders are descendants of immigrants from various countries who have adapted traditional customs from their country into Mauritian culture. This explains why my native language is Creole, but I am also fluent in 3 other languages. This fact is something that people cannot grasp, so they end up coming to our original topic:

“But you are Asian.” That’s it. It does not matter who I am or what I have achieved. It does not matter that I condensed my history and that of my island so that you would just understand. The only thing that matters is that I am Asian. You will feign a nod and let out “oohs'' and “ahs,” but at the end of the day, in your eyes, I am just Asian. Just one nameless face among the multitudes here.

But I am tired. I am tired of downplaying your racism. I am tired of conforming to your ideals. I am tired of my mother telling me, “Be careful, keep your head down and your mouth shut, thisisnothomeyouwillalwaysbeastrangerhere.” I am not one in a million. I am my own person and I am angry at being forced into your boxes. I am tired of watching the violence against our elders.

You want to advocate for Black Lives Matter? You want to Stop Asian Hate? Then do something. I see the hashtags and I see your posts, but in the end, you will still discriminate against BIPOC. I know this because I have gone through it. I have been the token WOC just to make you feel better about your own privilege. I have made jokes about my culture just to fit in, but I’ve had enough.

Here are the names of the known victims of the Atlanta Shootings as of now:

Name of the victims. Keshini Lutchmah Remember their names. Remember their families, and never ever forget how your colour might put you above the law.

So, I am begging you: please call out racism. It might be something as conspicuous as people being dismissive of your struggles and downplaying them, or outright being aggressive. Do it. Do it for the children who will now have to grow without their mothers. Do it for the children who are judged “most likely to have...” at crime scenes, or anywhere, really. Do it for the children that have yet to be born so that we will not have to face something like the Atlanta shootings ever again.

To the Asian, Black, and Indigenous communities along with any other minorities, visible or not: I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.