One reason why more people aren’t speaking up on the news, whether they’re Asian American or not, may be due to a continued erasure of AAPI discrimination in the U.S. through what’s known as the model minority myth, which holds the economic advancement of some Asian American individuals as a measure that AAPIs as a whole don’t experience racism.
“Part of the myth is that we stay quiet, we’re apolitical, that issues we’re experiencing are not valid or are not attached to our race,” Kim says. “There’s a continual investment in upholding this myth, and we need to question who benefits from it, because it’s not us or other marginalized people.”
Whether related to perceived cultural norms or otherwise, some Asian Americans may feel the need to power through the normal routines of their day despite the many challenges of living through a pandemic, and on top of increased violence targeted toward people who look like them and their families.
To Asian Americans feeling this way, Kim says, “I really hope people are able to take the space and time they need to process what they’re feeling, and to not minimize or invalidate that for themselves.
“My wish for them is to be able to create space to grieve and process trauma,” she continues, “and do that in community so they’re not alone — if they can to reach out to people, even if it’s coworkers, friends, on social media or getting involved with grassroots organizations — be in community with other people who understand your pain.”
Tran adds that Asian Americans concerned about the news and how it’s impacting them should check in with themselves first: “Sometimes there are days I feel like this can power me through the work I do, because I do work on equity and racial justice. And sometimes I just want some space around it and to take a day off. You have to be your own judge when it comes to stuff like that.”
If your workplace has practices around taking time for yourself, like mental health days or flexibility to extend deadlines or rearrange meetings, consider using those resources.
If you feel taking time to prioritize your wellbeing could impact your job performance, you may want to bring that up with a manager. Doing this may feel uncomfortable, so Tran suggests connecting your needs to your organization’s commitments to values like equity and belonging.
“This is something that explicitly creates diversity and inclusion — if there’s space for employees to say, ‘Hey, it’s Lunar New Year, and there’s an uptick in increased anti-Asian violence, and I’m not doing well,'” Tran says. “Organizations should be able to provide that space.”
This content was originally published here.