I am a person of color. My skin isn’t pure black, alas, I’m not lucky like that. Instead, my skin is brown. On top of that, I am Asian. For some, that’s a big black mark against me.
I am a person of color and I am proud of it. I ask myself, why should I have to state the fact that I’m proud of it, as if it’s something to be ashamed of? Why do I have to feel inferior and less because of my skin color?
I always knew about this atrocity—racism, but lately with everything that’s been happening, with the pandemic and its impact on how people view Asians and POC and bigotry still alive against black people, it hit me like a sledgehammer to the face.
I lived the first 3 decades of my life on a tiny island where the majority of people are POC, including various ethnicities and cultures. Still, even in that environment, as a child I was taught that white is beautiful. White skin is attractive.
Why? Why is white seen as beautiful? It’s the color of mourning. A speck of dirt and it’s stained.
I spent a big part of my life fighting a sense of inferiority and ugliness because of my skin color. It took me a long time to get to a place where I could look in a mirror and not cringe. I look at my hands, my brown skin and to me, that’s beauty.
I don’t make friends easily but the ones who get me, I cherish them. One of my best friends is a black guy and to me, he’s beautiful. Another is Chinese and she has the biggest heart. I love her. One of my friends is Muslim and she’s been a great friend. I have a penpal who’s blonde and white—she has a beautiful heart and is a wonderful mom. It doesn’t matter to her that my skin is brown. The one who closes off my tight-knit circle is half-Taiwanese and half-American—she’s always there for me and she’s a big part of my journey.
It took me a long while to learn to love myself, to realize that my worth isn’t based on my skin color. And still, now that I’m in such a big country, it’s saddening that I have to prepare myself to stand strong against bigotry and prejudice. I have to face the fact that white people will look at me and see me as ugly or less than them. Or worse, assault me, verbally and physically for my skin color.
As a woman, it’s worse. Throughout history, women had to fight for everything. We had to fight for every right. The right to vote, to be respected, to be seen as strong and capable, to be seen as equals. I wonder why it’s not something that unites us as women of all colors. Why is it that even among women, our skin color is something that separates us when, if you look at it, we should be united?
Why do we, people of color, have to be treated as less? Why is it that on paper we have equal rights but in reality, it’s the opposite? Is this what it means to be human and humane? Is this what humanity is leaving behind as its mark in the universe? Humanity’s biggest achievements in the Guinness World Records are what, bigotry and prejudice?
The recent happenings in the news are heartbreaking. I get it that my blog is a small one and my voice just a pebble in an ocean. But I’ve always believed that in the face of an injustice, even if it does not affect us directly, we have to speak up. With enough pebbles, you can create a mountain that surpasses even an ocean. To me, staying quiet in the face of injustice shows compliance and agreement. It is not right to stay silent.
I am a person of color, and I am every bit as human as a white person.
Though if I could choose my skin color, I would go for blue, like the Na’vi.