Get Off the Bench

As a Taiwanese-American man who grew up in White and Asian church spaces, racism was rarely mentioned. I had not been taught, nor did I seek out, theological lens or perspectives to think about racial inequity and injustice. From the safety of the pews, I could easily dismiss these individual tragedies as isolated incidents where people made mistakes with tragic consequences. I could notice and even pray for the situation for a day, but then quickly be distracted by the demands of my life. And as an Asian-American, I said that this was not my problem, not my fight. But this summer, by the grace of God, something changed. I realized how much I had fallen short in seeking to love those around me who did not look like me, didn’t go to the same churches as me, but who are also made in the Imago Dei. And so I resolved to find out if these tragedies were high profile outliers or in fact the most recent examples of larger systematic trends.

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Asian American Complicity in Racism

We Asian Americans might not say it out loud, but many of us have internalized a racist, reductionist history. We believe that the way to success is to work hard, and we pride ourselves in having done just that. We came to this country with nothing, speaking a foreign language, and we worked hard, saved money, and we achieved the American dream. And so when we look at the status of African Americans, we dismissively assume that they didn’t work as hard as we did, and we just conclude that only they are to blame.

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