“Did you know that there was a handicapped section?” I asked my mom, curious about whether she really wanted to be part of the women’s march.
To my surprise, and contrary to what my sister said, she said simply, “Oh I wasn’t planning to go. You were there for me.”
I became incensed. “Every voice matters!” I said. “Why didn’t you really go?”
“Because it wouldn’t have mattered. It won’t mean anything.”
And that’s when it struck me. The greatest problem in any society is apathy. Which is generally the great consensus. Whether it’s apathy, because of a loss of hope. Or apathy that we must accept things as they are (and cannot change). Or apathy, because we are resigned, defeated, and depressed. The danger is that, because the energy dissipates and then soon, we forget the joy of living.
Yesterday night in an insomniac moment caused by coughing, I scrolled through Facebook. Yet there were many intense posts about the immigration ban and the fight for the rights. But then there it was. I would have scrolled right by in my dazed 3 am state if the word Asian hadn’t caught my eye. A post about anti-Asian activity in Southern California.
Despite my incredible desire to be an insider, to be popular, to be like everyone else, I have never rejected my Asian American identity. Yes, I may have rejected the side of me that is too Chinese, embracing the non-Chinese food and speaking only English fluently. But yet, to reject how I look, has never crossed my mind.
When I look in the mirror, I see only me. But I know quite consciously that everyone else doesn’t see me that way. They know that I a not white. Some might even assume that I am not American and wasn’t born here.
And so then. I had this fear several months ago once the election was determined. “What about me?” I said. “Can I do my job? Can I do what I need to do? Can I still be effective despite being the person that I am? Can I still be me?”
They came for them. Now they may came for me.