In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and a cruel series of police brutality happening across the United States, there are a lot of questions circulating in my head about the future for people of color such as myself. I cannot help but wonder when will this all end?
Blaming a person of color because of a deadly virus does not solve the issue at all. It just creates a deep division between all of us because of unnecessary hatred and regulated bigotry. Why can't we strive for empathy, acknowledgment, and justice for all those who have been affected by these crises?
As a Filipino-American, I have dealt with a bit of xenophobia, racism, and a few other hapless factors, especially in the midst of this pandemic. There's a lot of misunderstanding going on about my upbringings and experiences. Endless microaggressions were bestowed upon me and saying that they were compliments. And yet, I felt that their intentions were not genuine. I guess I felt very naive during my first few years in the United States because I was just a helpless teenager. As a result, I lost a good amount of my identity throughout the years, as I was finding a way to assimilate myself with my fellow peers. I found myself in deep isolation and I believed that I did not have the courage to speak up on anything. I didn't make a lot of friends and I withstood the act of bullying due to the color of my skin and a few other personal reasons. At one point, I was really homesick and wanting to go back to my motherland because I felt that I didn't truly belong anywhere. But as I got older, I started to understand who I am and accepted the fact that no one can tare me down for who I am because God made me like this. Every nuance and flaw that I possess is all a part of my journey in this thing called life. I embrace it! I am proud to say that this is me! I am proud to practice different cultures every day because I get the opportunity to discover various perspectives from different walks of life, which is a gift on its own.
Due to the current pandemic, I am now facing with a lot of uncertainty and unfortunate racial remarks. Most recently, my family and I went for a long stroll at Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. As we were walking, there were a small group of people that passed by and said that my family and I are "the reason why the virus exist in the first place". With that remark ruminating in my head, there are several questions that popped in my brain. Am I going to face job discrimination during and after I graduate from college? Am I going to face more kinds of backlash during and after the pandemic? People of color are currently suffering the most because of the limited access to healthcare and other essential resources, especially within various Black and Native American communities, from across the nation. Furthermore, Asian-Americans are the main subject of harsh jokes and slurs on social media. Because of this, people are endlessly criticizing the existence of Asian-Americans in the United States. We are currently experiencing a series of unprecedented moments that will be written in the history books. I hope and pray that more people would challenge and change their perception of people like me and promote inclusivity. Notable historical movements, such as Black Lives Matter, really emphasizes these following questions. Why can't people set aside their differences and educate each other instead? Why can't we strive for love and acceptance for all?
Is it really this hard to ask these things from anyone? In 2020, we are still stuck in these issues that's been going on for multiple centuries. People who are staying silent or who just choose to listen, instead, does not contribute anything that will help this to end once and for all. We must be active and represent the underrepresented. I know that these questions and thoughts are somewhat bold, but if we take these questions to heart and act on it on a daily basis, then people will see the world in multiple lenses. Until then, all I ask from you is please listen, learn, and love!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Jay Angelo Velasco
. on August 11, 2020:
2020 definitely brought a whole lot of uncertainty. We were opened to a world of publicity that people have been largely ignoring. Despite the pandemic, I believe that we were finally given the voice and I’m glad to hear your perspective and encouragement. Like you said, we should all take part in being active towards using our platforms for justice