1. Thank you Umma
True story from me and my mom (umma).
I remember when I was a kid, my first lesson against racism was from my mom.
We were driving around, lost somewhere in a shady neighborhood in Oakland. We saw some shady looking black guys on a street corner, and my mom told me that she was going to pull up to these guys to ask for directions.
Instantly, I was afraid. I told my mom:
No mom! Don’t trust those scary black guys.
My mom then turned to me, and pierced into my heart with her laser eyes. She told me:
ERIC— never judge people on the color of their skin.
My heart stopped for a second. I let her words soak in.
She then pulled up, and rolled down the window, about to ask these guys for directions. Afraid, I pulled back the recliner (I was sitting in the passenger seat), and hid.
The guys then told her nicely some directions, and told her to have a nice day.
Another time I remember when I was around 11 years old, some black kid at school made fun of me, and bullied me. I remember telling my mom how angry I was at him, and how I hated black kids.
My mom then grabbed me forcibly, and told me:
ERIC. YOU CAN NEVER TALK ABOUT OTHERS LIKE THAT. ESPECIALLY BASED ON THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN.
That stuck with me.
2. My friends
I grew up surrounded by all colors. When I lived in Queens, New York for a few years as a kid (~age 10-12) my friends were like the ‘rainbow crew.’ We had a Spanish friend (Spencer), a Brazilian friend (Christian), a Jewish friend (Jonathan), an Indian friend (Aditiya), Chinese friends (two guys both named Steven), Korean friend (David), and a mix of other kids from Queens.
When I was 16, I worked as a busboy at a Sushi Restaurant in Alameda, California — at the same restaurant my mom worked at. I got to know all the Mexican guys in the kitchen — some of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met. They hustled 12-14 hours a day, working 7 days a week. At that point, I knew I could never complain about my life.
I grew up on hip hop music. Of course all the best rappers were black. I loved their music, and respected them.
I played football in high school my sophomore and junior year. The entire team was an even mix of white, black, latino, and asian. When we played together, we were like one big family. A lot of kids on the team who used to be racist before they joined the team, learned to disregard the color of skin— and treat one another like brothers.
3. I don’t have it as bad as others
I am fortunate enough to having grown up Asian-American. I didn’t get attacked by Racism like my black, latino, or southeast asian friends.
Of course, I still had to climb an uphill battle. Being seen Asian, I was seen as meeker than my white friends. I had a lot of self-confidence issues growing up. Of course, being called an Asian with a small dick is never good for one’s self-confidence.
4. My prejudice
Of course, I am still prejudiced. If I am in Oakland late at night, in a shady neighborhood, and I see a black guy with a black hoodie walking towards me, my heart rate is going to go up. But then again, I would feel the same with any mysterious person in a black hoodie— whether white, black, latino, or asian.
I know I still have seeds of racism and prejudice in my heart. Probably it comes from TV, American culture (racist towards people of color), and a lot of racist shit that a lot of Korean people say.
5. I need to change myself
But man, fuck racism.
My heart really goes out to those who suffer from racism everyday. Racism yields his ugly face, and cuts his cold steel into the warm hearts of his victims. Racism has caused the grim reaper to take away the lives of so many innocent souls. Racism has torn apart countries, torn apart families, and torn apart the individual.
I want to love all my brothers and sisters like they were part of my family — regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, beliefs, ethnicity, gender, or background.
I know that if I want to change the world, I need to change myself.
No more me laughing at racist, ignorant shit. No more me prejudicing my fellow brothers and sisters based on how pastel their skin is.
I need to be the change which I wish to see in the world.
6. Racism clips the wings of the eagle
Racism is like an eagle without his wings. Clipped, and crippled. Unable to soar to the heights of his heart’s content.
7. How to change the world
How can we change the world? Love everyone else like they were your brother or sister, your mother or father, your grandmother or grandfather, or your uncle or aunt.
Treat everyone with love and respect. See past the veneer of skin color, and seek to look into someone’s soul.
If you are the victim of racial injustice, be strong like Muhammad Ali. Rope a dope. Turn the other cheek, and withstand all the blows of your opponents. Have infinite patience, strength, and perseverance. Love your enemies.
If you are a person in a place of privilege, treat everyone else like a human being. Make eye contact, smile, and share a little bit of your warmth and love with them.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ – Martin Luther King Jr.
We are all equal. We are all equal in birth, and all equal in death.
So let us dine together at the same table. Enjoy the same fish, bread, and wine.
“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every state and every city, we will speed up that day when all black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing, ‘Free at last! Free at last! We are free at last!’” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Let us never give up faith, hope, and love.
See the full uncut speech: “I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.”