The following article was written by a recent Blair graduate. The Oracle staff thanks them for allowing us to share their powerful words here.
Growing up an Asian kid in Europe, I was faced with racism in everyday life. It made me hyperaware of my self and my body in space, which I responded to with bouts of quietude followed by rage.
In school, I was loud and a troublemaker, but in public spaces I was embarrassed even just to be perceived. My body, which felt huge and heavy, was my enemy. I willed myself to become smaller because the stares of the beautiful pale families I passed on the street told me I was taking up space in a space where I was not welcome.
Like many people of color in white spaces, I felt ashamed of my heritage.
Moving to the US in 2013, I felt a weight lifted from my mind. My body became my own, my mind something to treasure. I learned to respect and to love both.
America was special to me because people like me existed here, and were allowed to exist freely (I guess I still felt then that POC had to be allowed to do anything). I love living here, but I also recognize that racism exists here in a troubling capacity.
Racism in Europe was largely quiet, albeit prevalent; in America, I’ve always felt it was quiet for many, but loud and violent for certain groups on a level I had never experienced before. Racism in America is violent and refuses to be silenced, operating under the guise of personal freedoms and second, third, and fourth chances.
A “bad day” does not determine the course of someone’s actions. The actions of terrorists like the Atlanta shooter are absolutely informed by our collective cultural subconscious, which feeds us racial stereotypes and creates strings of biases in our minds.
I tell you all this to say that the actions of Robert Aaron Long were informed by all of us, and I stress that we do not distance ourselves from the hate of his psyche. I hope we can take this time to reflect on the language we use to talk about people of color and other marginalized groups, and understand how jokes and micro-aggressions can grow into the same of sort of rage that fuels hateful individuals.
It is not our individual faults, but it is our individual responsibilities to make a change. Write a letter, sign a petition, donate to victims and survivors and those who work to provide aid to them, but most of all, consider your language and pledge to be better, for the betterment of others.
(The Oracle 2021)