This article originally appeared in the Journal of the Prospanica Center for Social Justice
Has anyone ever given you “the look,” laughed at your accent, or criticized you for the way you mix your adjectives and adverbs?
If so, welcome to the club! Have you been asked if your father catches flies with chopsticks, if you know karate, or to lay low and wait for your turn—also known as “The Asian Ricepaper-ceiling” (referring to the term “Glass-ceiling”)? If so, then welcome to the other club! These examples are just is a small sample of the intersectionality some of us live daily.
The labels we typically use—background, age, gender, religion, interests, and preferences—are helpful when viewed as assets or positive differentiators. However, some people use them as discrimination flags, another excuse to show bias, intolerance, and sometimes even hatred. We can control part of this usage, and there is a part out of our control. To stop the negative impact, we must change our mindset and direct our actions towards real inclusion.
Inclusion is a verb. And the opposite of inclusion is disadvantage.
We’ve all heard in the news and social media that our Asian communities across the country continue to be attacked by intolerant and disrespectful individuals (to name them respectfully). As we know, this is not new! This has been happening for years. We hear about it now because the aggression has become harsher and the lack of action from authorities is more evident. The most recent case I watched was a woman attacked outside a hotel, and the most devastating part was not the action itself but the fact that two guards watched and didn’t do anything. It’s outrageous.
Any attack—verbal or worse—happening to anyone in front of us, regardless of who they are, becomes our issue. When a crime occurs in front of you, and you do nothing, you are an accomplice. The only way to change the current situation is to stand strong, side by side, with our Asian brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances. Let’s activate the word inclusion through these three actions:
• Educate – Research, read, ask, learn about history. Study topics from immigration to culture and traditions to understand who Asian Americans are, which countries they represent, and their contributions to our amazing country. As St. Augustin said in the year 399, “You can only defend what you love, and only love what you know.”
• Unite – Become an ally of other communities, introduce them to others, embrace their cultures, and defend their right to their traditions and beliefs. You can’t achieve this goal from afar; it has to be from within. Participate, hold hands, wear their T-shirt (Note: I am still looking for some Asia-Latinos to help me create a MeetUp or Club in ClubHouse).
• Represent – Get involved in the conversation. Defend someone when you witness injustice. Help develop future leaders and participate in Asian-rights marches. Invite them to your meetings. Be heard by writing articles, speaking on podcasts, raising your hand. In short, activate your good intentions.
I am a proud Asia-Latina! I’m proud of my roots! I’m proud of my ancestry! I resolutely refuse to walk the streets in fear. We need you, Latina, Latino, Hispanic, LatinX, Latin@, to help our Asian communities fight for their rights, their rights for freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not the time to be just an observer or a cheerleader. We need you to step up and lend a hand, speak up and protect each other, take action.
We have done it under the motto, “Si se puede.” We know how to do it. Now it’s our turn to become true allies of the Asian community, and together, stand up, get on, and stay strong.
About Minué Yoshida
Minué Yoshida is a multicultural speaking coach. She is a half Mexican- half Japanese multilingual entrepreneur and author, whose mission is to help people discover who they are, what they are capable of, embrace their powers with bravery, and leave an impact in the world. Through her coaching and consulting services, both in Fortune 100 Companies and her International Consulting Business, she enables those who are ready to get to the next level, whether this is breaking the glass ceiling at the top or launching their own businesses. Minué is the Co-Founder of Yoshida Academy for Leadership Skills, Excellence and Personal Transformation, expanding their services to a wide audience in the USA and Worldwide. www.yoshidaconsulting.com