Emily Chu, Senior, Flawed

Emily Shu, Guest Columnist

We’re flawed. 

Not in the “oh, we all make mistakes” kind of way, or in the “sometimes I put Sprite in my water cup” kind of way. I mean that we’re all inherently biased and sometimes a little closed-minded. But that’s okay. Humans are imperfect, and it takes knowing that before understanding this: being a “good” person doesn’t automatically mean you can’t do bad.

I didn’t really realize that until this past year, when I became increasingly aware of my Asian-American identity. Before, I had never thought of myself as different, but now I had become stripped of my American title and labeled a “foreigner” in my own country. Sometimes it was obvious; two men once pulled up next to me on the side of the road and yelled out derogatory words. Most of the time, though, it was small; strangers would unconsciously back away from me at the supermarket, or someone would refer to the virus as “kung flu.”

These experiences heightened my awareness of racism; it made me realize that, good person or not, I was part of the problem. That’s because racism isn’t always point blank, and it’s not always from people with bad intentions. A lot of the time, it’s unintentional. But that’s what makes it so dangerous, because these comments get blatantly ignored. Microaggressions are deadly because they force people to suffer the racism of being made invisible.

I understand that to many, these remarks are a normal part of conversation, and that in the grand scheme of things, there are much bigger problems to solve.  It’s not always worth dissecting what your friend meant when they said something was “gay,” but it’s worth asking yourself where these biases come from and why they’re so readily accepted. 

Social justice shouldn’t be left to activists. We have the ability to make change too. Combatting racism is a responsibility we all share. We need to create open conversation, one that doesn’t place blame on anyone but pushes for change together. Accountability is being aware of our own identities and listening to what others have to say about theirs. 

We’re flawed. But we’re also kind, caring, and resilient. We make mistakes, and sometimes we do bad things. But we can learn from it, if we take the extra step to seek it.