September 18, 2021
Show Notes and Table of Contents
0:00 Suni Tolton, City of Shoreline, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. Suni also runs the Equity and Social Justice Community.
01:22 Kevin Henry https://www.kevinphenry.com/
Our society is experiencing rapid social changes and we are seeing disturbing displays of racism and hate that indicate significant issues need to be addressed in our community.
- Opportunities to learn
- What is behind hate?
- It’s important to take the words and turn them into action, because that’s how we move forward.
Disturbing displays of racism in our nice little suburbs in North Seattle? Unfortunately, it is true, there is racism in our neighbhorhoods even though we don’t want it to be so.
Many local examples of hate towards Asians
05:05 Kevin Henry – Racism isn’t always overt. Racism can be communicated in many different ways. Look at the deeper layers of racism. Different communities are not as vocal due to culture.
07:16 Jolene Jang Asian cultures are more into the collective versus the individual. In East Asians cultures (my background) we are told to keep our heads down, work harder and just move on. Japanese have a phrase called “Shikata ganai” – Nothing can be done. After world war 2, trying to get information about the Japanese internment camps was tough, because it was shameful to be an American, yet be put in camps like an animal. In the Japanese culture, you look just look forward.
Black culture and Asian culture communicate and protest in different ways.
09:24 Kevin Henry – Not all people from different cultures want to speak up in the current ways afforded to them, such as in town halls, writing articles, etc.
Many people say, there is so racism. I don’t see it. Kevin uses the example of how do you know what is going on in the 59 condo units, he only knows what is going on in his.
Get over the denial and reluctance in talking about what’s really going on, like an infection you need to pay attention to before it gets worse. It will not just go away on it’s own.
11:45 Jolene Jang – How do you learn if there is racism your neighborhood? You can step out of your echo chamber.
Log into Nextdoor – national online neighborhood group that is designated by location not by lifestyle or personal preferences. It can be toxic, but this is reality. Toxicity is everywhere, but we can see it here. We need everyone to understand who is in our neighborhoods and decide with their behavior is acceptable.
13:43 Kevin Henry – On Facebook, there are many snarky comments and complaints like “why do you always have to talk about race?” Many people think we shouldn’t talk about it and it will just go away. I force myself to look at these comments because they are people in my network sharing their true feelings. I would rather know what is behind the smile or passivity before we get sideswiped.
Find your lane. There are different ways to help, not just marching, so find what is your effective way of helping. Join social justice groups.
16:00 Jolene Jang – Nextdoor examples of neighbors dismissing, gaslighting and insulting others on innocent posts like a post to Unify Shoreline. We need to let all of these people know, that we need to listen, validate the actual targets of hate. The hateful behavior will not be tolerated.
19:50 Kevin Henry – Allies are important. What we need to see more of is the communities that are being hurt instead of just the advocates. We need to give the platform to hear from the homeless person, the indigenous person affected by the events. We to empower the targeted people.
21.50 Jolene Jang – Victory story. White Asian Ally posted this event talking about the importance of being anti-racist and learning about Anti-Asian hate. Most of the time the posts go sideways with racism deniers, but this time, there were 5 Asian Americans that spoke up, which is rare. I even felt empowered to speak a little more. With more allies, we will be able to empower the marginalized groups.
My friends have said “I don’t see you as Asian” and “You are just like me (White)”. Refrain from saying this. This is not a compliment.
Silence in complicity. Silence is painful.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. Desmond Tutu
Make a mistake, show that your Asian friend is worth you being a little uncomfortable.
26:05 Kevin Henry – Jolene if you someone starts yelling racial slurs at you, it won’t help to say, “but wait, I am 25% Swedish.” I know your friend suggested that to you, but it’s not going to work. We have to see color.
Microaggressions – disguised, indirect insults, insinuations
- Jolene can you do the math to figure out the our restaurant bill
- Jolene can you tell us about the Wu han labs
- Jolene, do you like taste of bats?
- Let’s ask Kevin for the best fried chicken, he should know
- You don’t sound Black
- I was just kidding, take a joke
Gaslighting – making it the fault and problem of the person talking
- Making you believe that you are crazy for identifying the problem.
- Taking a problem that belongs to someone else and putting it on you.
- It must be your problem because the way you think is faulty.
- Are you sure, because I don’t see it that way.
- Why are you always talking about race
- Crime is against everyone, it was just random that Asians were a victim
29:28 Jolene Jang – Shares personal example of gaslighting
Jolene’s best friend asserts, you are angry, you should see a therapist.
I explain Asians walking are being stabbed nearly every day, that’s not okay by me. The problem is put on me and I should just not listen to the use and ignore it.
People of color do not have a choice to not be. Kevin can not wipe away is blackness. He cannot escape what comes with be Black in America. White people have the choice to ignore whatever they wish because they are not the target.
30:39 Kevin Henry – Gaslighting
Rape victim – So you did let him buy you dinner, right? You were wearing a tight dress, right? It is not the fault of the victim. We need to recognize this and to speak up.
People are so fragile that they do not want to talk about it, but we must talk about it.
31:31 Jolene Jang – 2 out of 4 times I went walking alone I had incidents.
When I shared my experience, she said, “that’s just part of being a woman.” When I am gaslit, dismissed, this makes me not want to share anymore.
Why don’t more Asians share, this is great example.
“I feel fine walking around, you are exaggerating, you are fine , ” says my White, Blond, Blue-Eyed, CEO, millionaire friend.
When was the last time, you were a petite Asian woman walking in public?
Listen to Asian Voices and all voices that are not your own.
Toxic Positivity statements are:
“Don’t think about it, stay positive.”
“Don’t worry, be happy!”
“Failure is not an option.”
“Everything will work out in the end.”
“Positive vibes only!”
Non-Toxic Acceptance and Validation statements are:
- “Describe what you are feeling, I’m listening.”
- “I see that you are really stressed, anything I can do?”
- “Failure is part of growth and success.”
- “This is really hard, I’m thinking of you.”
- “I’m here for you through both good and bad.”
35:15 Kevin Henry – Kevin goes to Idaho where he was the only Black guy around. How would you feel as the only White person?
As a male, do you know what is like to go through childbirth? You may have read books and watched videos, but you don’t know.
We all have our own lens. We must listen to others’ lived experiences.
What can a pre-dominantly White community do be welcoming?
- Businesses – you can put up cultural art
- Shop at different cultural markets
- Go to different places of worship
- Get into your community
- Call people out
- Break up your routine
Being anti-racist isnt’ a one time moment. Parents are parents sometime, its always.
38:02 Jolene Jang – Be curious, listen, learn. Its fun to learn, even fascinating.
How do we help people get over the attitude of hate is not in my neighborhood. So many people already dismiss the person who committed the crime with “he had a bad day” or “it was a crazy person” or “it was just random and has nothing to do with race”.
People who know nothing about the situation automatically label the situation as random and an mental health issue, thus denying there is a problem. We need to ask more questions, listen more and instead of denying and dismissing. Sure, they folks may be nice people, but they are part of the problem by stunting conversations about real problems.
Sympathy is nice, but not helpful. If you want to be a good neighbor, you need do to more than sympathy to make a difference. If you truly care, then act.
40:55 Kevin Henry – Take action – It’s important to take the words and turn them into action, because that’s how we move forward.
Learn how to actively listen
Join social justice groups
NSJAG Northshore Social Justice Action Group – Community Discussion
42:20 Jolene Jang – Victory story
White Asian Ally – He was able to engage many animated neighbors who are the ones who are against recognizing racism. It was a showcase of how strongly people feel about racism and it also brought out inclusive people who worked tirelessly to shed light about facts and different perspectives. We need conversations. This was a ridiculous thread, but was effective in speaking about race.
145 neighbors and 764 Comments
Pancake breakfast and person meetings
If you are White you have much more power than you know, please use your influence.
44:50 Kevin Henry – Resources
Conversations with the City of Shoreline’s Chief of Police
Small Actions everyone can do, click here.
45:50 Jolene Jang’s vision a year from now – link
- Educate local chiefs of police and their departments, city staff
46:37 Kevin Henry – Winter dangers for immigrant families. People may be suffering in silence. Make conversation
47:23 Jolene Jang – Ideas for the local neighbors
- Local neighbors meeting at a cultural restaurants, talking to the owners and each others, exploring and learning about culture.
- How can we meet our neighbors
Asians are attacked nearly every day – Timeline of Attacks
49:10 Kevin Henry
49:40 Suni Tolton – Events and wrap up