Addressing Asian Injustices: Don’t Keep Your Care Inside
March 18, 2021
So many Asian Americans and international Asian students in our community are, and have been, affected deeply by xenophobia, racism, and injustices happening all over our world. From the Atlanta shootings and hate crimes in the U.S. to the military coup and human rights abuses in Myanmar, it is a uniquely painful moment.
How Can We Respond on a Personal Level?
Often we worry about people in our community but aren't sure what, if anything, we should say. Would mentioning the awful things going on upset them more? Would asking about it be offensive? Would my Asian American and international friends prefer I act like everything is 'normal'?
The thing is, nothing is normal. We all know it. And whether a person is grieving for a sibling, a grandparent, a community, or an entire nation, one thing you can know for certain is that the object of that pain is never far from their thoughts. When we are hurting deeply, our hurt is with us most all of the time. It's hard to carry that alone. Asking someone about it will not make it hurt worse; acknowledging and validating the pain makes the hurt more bearable.
Ask and Offer Help
So don't hesitate to ask your Asian American friends how they are feeling and if you can help. What's it like for them right now with so much scary and painful xenophobia in the world? What do they worry about? How is the news touching them personally? How is their family doing? Would it help to talk? What would be most supportive right now, and can you offer that?
We care a lot about one another, but we aren't always sure how to show it. It's okay if you fumble a bit; when the intention is genuine and comes from a place of love, offense is rarely if ever taken.
Meagan Howell-Brogan, LCSW
Meagan Howell-Brogan, LCSW is a licensed clinical counselor at Lancaster General Health at Franklin & Marshall College Student Wellness Center. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and employs mindfulness, self-compassion, AEDP and CBT influenced therapy with her undergraduate student-clients. Meagan is a lover of books, friends, music, yoga, food, spontaneous social gatherings, hikes, excellent conversation, and her family.