Blog Post

Let’s Talk: About Violence

Photo of Rev. Dr. Diane Weible
Rev. Dr. Diane Weible

We talk about pandemic as if there is only one. The fact is, we are dealing with many pandemics: racism, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate, socio-economic disparity, gender discrimination, just to name a few.  

 Last week Dr. Lili Xu was murdered in broad daylight in the Little Saigon section of Oakland. This has stirred up, for our AAPI siblings, fear for their safety and a feeling that protecting their lives is not a priority for law enforcement and others.  

 This fear is one I have heard repeated many times by my siblings of color. Their lives are not valued in the same way that other lives are valued. When I wrote that sentence, I first wrote, “appear not to be valued in the same way….” Then I realized that even those words imply it is not true and only appears that way.  

 The truth of our society is that more time and resources are spent protecting those who most resemble the “constructed me” as we say in our Racial Justice Training. The “constructed me” is not a person. It is a semblance of characteristics and socio-economic realities that the dominant culture deems the way all people “should be,” including but not limited to: white; male; educated; property-owning; upper class; Protestant. Depending on the intersection of your culture and ethnic realities, you will be less valued in the eyes of our dominant culture depending on your skin color, your class, your religion, etc. 

 Until society stops valuing the “constructed me” as the value we all should be striving for, the truth will always be that individuals will be treated as less than; will be abused; will be discriminated against; will feel and be unsafe; will not receive the basic rights and resources to live the way humans should be able to expect to live. The fewer aspects of the “constructed me” that are held by an individual, the fewer resources are offered for protection and well-being. For example, doctors will naturally take seriously the ills of a white person to a degree that people of color will have to demand or go through much pain and dangerous health conditions before being heard, if that ever even happens.  

 As we saw this week, incidents of AAPI-hate have risen to extreme levels. It has been that way for a very long time. Dr. Xu did not have to die last week if the promises by law enforcement that have been proffered since long before her murder had been in force.  

 Our AAPI siblings in our churches and their families, friends and community members are living in fear and we need to stand with them. The only way we can change the reality of our world is if we all work together to point out the unjust realities vs the idealized beliefs that make those of us with privilege most comfortable.  

 The other day I watched the movie, Enola Homes. At one point in the movie, Enola Holmes, realizing it is her responsibility to help those who do not have the options in life that she has, says, “There are those who want to hurt him and he does not have the strength to stop them but I have that strength.”  

 That sentence can be changed in so many ways. One such way is, “There are those who want to hurt our AAPI siblings and they do not have the resources to solve this on their own but all of us together have the strength and ability to demand a change.” 

 May it be so. 

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