The words we choose

I posted several images on my personal Facebook page last week, of words that were spoken about me, as a result of my Chinese heritage. I was curious to see what responses the posts would receive. The posts were:

The comments I received ranged from surprised to shocked to casual. I found it interesting because I have been subject to these types of comments since I was in Grade 6.

I remember that was the first time that I felt embarassed and ashamed of who I was.

(This is probably why I have an implicit bias towards students in Grade 6.)

As a child, I was offended by those words because the people around me laughed at me, and no longer wanted to be my friend.

As an adult, I look back and realize that the majority of my friends did not feel that way at all. Yes, there were a few of my classmates who did not like me due to jealousy, fear, selfishness, ignorance, learned behavior, implicit bias, and prejudice, but I can count them on one hand.

In My Story, I write about the self-hate and the desire to have the house with the white picket fence. I wanted those things (and hated those things) because that is what society was pressing as the message: We were supposed to be living in The Great American Melting Pot. I bought the message hook, line, and sinker.

As an adult, I recognize that there is another way of living together in harmony, and that is through Acculturation — the Salad Bowl, not the Melting Pot. We are each a piece of this puzzle of life; without all of us, our picture is incomplete.

So while the words of others sting, as an adult, I realize that I am a unique ingredient in this Salad of Life. We each are unique ingredients.

All of that being said, it is necessary for someone to speak up when someone says something that can be misconstrued. Identifying malicious individuals and separating them from ignorant or learned behaviors is possible. It takes time to identify, but there are fewer narcissistic sociopaths than we think, and when we identify them and separate them, and meet them where they are, we can have real change — we can make things better for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs


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