Pressure from both sides

The reality of being biracial during the rise of social movements in America

Aila MonLouis, Staff Writer

Growing up in a predominantly white school, I easily realized what it meant to be biracial in America. I was different, and there weren’t many who understood the challenges I faced on both sides. Black lives, taken weekly. A new name in the headlines of papers, dead. Stories shared between Asian relatives and friends that they have been harassed because of their descent. Comments made about me because of my background. No rules, no warnings, I was told to deal with it.

It’s overwhelming being one of the only people talking about the rise in hate towards both the Black and Asian community. I know I should be talking about these issues because I’m deeply affected by them, but it feels as though I’m the only one that is confronting the matter, and it’s a lot to take on.

Summer of 2020, Black Lives Matter protests got a lot of attention due to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who exerted an excessive amount of force on Floyd.

Floyd was not the first black person killed by law enforcement. Nov. 22, 2014: Tamir Rice; Jul. 6, 2016: Philando Castile; Mar. 13, 2020: Breonna Taylor; May 25, 2020: George Floyd; Apr. 11, 2021: Daunte Wright. Those only a few names of Black Americans who died because of law enforcement “accidents,” and the reality is, they won’t be the last.

Many would like to say that these incidents allowed people to realize the harsh reality of being Black in America but they’re wrong. Those people decided that they’d ignore it and allowed for it to grow into more Black people losing their lives. The amount of privilege they had in order to ignore the truth of the life of a black person in America, they chose to turn a blind eye to these issues and moderate, which I feel is dangerous. I would rather know who is not for change rather than someone who sits back and does nothing.

I don’t get that ability to do so because I could be next. The fact is that I have to fear every move I make and wonder if it will result in me getting hurt or, even worse, dead.

It’s exhausting waking up to my phone to hear that another Black person has died because of a “mistake” a police officer made, in the force where mistakes are unacceptable.

I do not get a break there.

I am deeply affected by Anti-Asian assaults that have grown largely in the United States following the rise in COVID-19 cases because of my Japanese descent. It’s great that they’re getting the attention they should because it’s nothing new, but it’s upsetting to know people who play a big role in my life could be another target.

In Atlanta, Georgia, 21-year-old Robert Long, who had a “really bad day” on the Mar. 16 2021, shot and killed 8 people, including 6 Asian-American women.

I wasn’t expecting a mass shooting to be one of the first things on my feed. The Asian-American women who lost their lives that day, who I could see as figures in my own life, could have been my mom. It could have been my grandmother, possibly grandfather. It could have been my aunt or uncle.

Not to mention, due to the rise in Asian-American hate crimes, there has been a divide in the communities because many are arguing for those to “fight for Asian lives the way you fought for Black lives.” The idea in itself is hypocritical. The two issues should not be compared; instead, we should be standing beside one another.

From someone who shares both a black and Asian background, I hear both sides. I live both experiences, and though I’m glad light is finally being shed on these issues, they’ve been happening. It’s nothing new.

According to 2021 Pew Research Center surveys, almost half of the survey participants believe that Black Americans face a lot of discrimination, but only 27% believe that Asian-Americans also face a lot of discrimination. 22% believe that asian people face only a little of discrimination while 14% believe black people face some.

Reading that less than a third of the respondents believe that Asian Americans face discrimination was insane to me. Microaggressions made in their everyday lives come unnoticed and discrimination against Asian-Americans is normalized. The idea of people realizing the hate they receive is long overdue. Many incidents just come up unreported but they still occurred.

No one decides to speak on the issues.

I hope people come to realize that it isn’t easy to face the truth but it’s necessary for change. Whether you’re the one being discriminated against or not, this is an issue that everyone should come to terms with.