As a young child, I have noticed early on the differences between socioeconomic classes. I learned that early on the privilege that I have been afforded as an Asian girl. I do not downgrade the hard work of my family, but I also know my race has afforded me some advantages in my life.
As someone who has been in multiple inter-racial relationships, I learned first hand how much privilege I have been afforded. It was actually why I went into social work in the first place. As a young teenager, I wanted to help somehow. I knew there were so many barriers I was going to face, so many institutional issues that were beyond my control. I thought more education would give me the tools to help others whose stories I learned about early on.
However, no amount of education and awareness can fix what I don’t have control over: my skin color. I can only have so many conversations and read so many books, but I do not go through the nuances that my Black husband has to deal with on a daily basis. So sometimes, even though I think I know what my husband has to go through, I am reminded when I talk to him. I feel badly because everyday, I am sitting in my comfortable office while he is out working in dangerous conditions because of the disadvantages he has gone through in life.
It is frustrating and hurtful that someone as loving, as caring, as him deals with the prejudice and issues on a daily basis. I wish that I can help him and other Black people who go through their daily issues. I know how my mindset was so many years ago. I can only imagine the struggle of trying to stay positive when someone grows up learning that they are second class citizens. I can only imagine how peoples’ spirits had been killed so many years ago- that all they are trying to do is survive. I try my best on a daily basis to help others who are less privileged than me, in a way I do know- to make sure they are receiving more equal care, but sometimes I am met with resistance. I know deep down some people think I may not know or I do not get it. Honestly, I probably don’t, but I am aware and want to try. As an ally, I try my best. I may not have the street knowledge or know the resources, but I do know that I am trying to help in any way I can- even if it is to connect people to whatever resources I do learn about.
It is the only thing I can do- try each day to make a difference. Because I know that I have been afforded so many privileges, that others have not even dreamt about because they are only living day to day.