How my conservative immigrant Asian parents better understand racial injustice


This first-person article is the experience of Pia Co, the first generation of Filipino Chinese-Canadian and Edmonton student journalist.For more information about CBC’s first-person story, see common problem.

At some point in my life, I doubted whether my traditional immigrant parents and I would agree on social justice issues. I am convinced that after countless failed attempts in difficult conversations, they have set it up the way they did, and I set it up the way I did.

I have never been so happy to make such a big mistake.

My parents always warn me not to talk about social activism in a way that attracts people’s attention. This is a typical minority dilemma: bow your head, get good grades, and then work hard-never do anything that will cause racial injustice, especially anything that may affect your permanent residence or citizenship application thing.

The first time I remember confronting my mom was when I used my brand new Facebook account to talk about The cyberbullying faced by Amanda Todd, A BC teenager who committed suicide in 2012. My mother begged me not to get involved. We had a dispute over this, but no solution was found.

I think my mother has been worried that my social justice activities are unreasonable. As an adult, I now realize that her fears and worries are absolutely reasonable. As a Filipino born and raised in the Philippines under the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos, my mother was very aware of the fatal consequences that social justice activists could face.

My father is of Chinese descent; in order to escape China’s social and political environment, his grandfather secretly took a boat to the Philippines. Living in poverty, my father’s family was unable to apply for citizenship, and my father remained stateless until he became a Canadian citizen at the age of 51. My father is worried that anything we can do may undermine his efforts to obtain his family citizenship.

Pia Co had conflicts with her conservative Asian immigrant parents’ views on racial injustice. The BLM movement is a turning point in family dynamics. (Pia Company)

As an adult, I now understand that my parents’ initial opposition to my desire to become a progressive activist and their complex feelings about social justice issues are entangled with our cultural values ??and their love and care for me. For them, protecting me is better than telling them any responsibility I have to our larger community.

The death of George Freud Last year, a police officer in Minneapolis triggered a large-scale protest through the “Black People’s Fate” campaign-an important turning point in my relationship with my parents. Like everyone else, they were shocked to see Freud’s video, his neck was pressed under the knee of the policeman, and he repeatedly shouted “I can’t breathe.”Then the news came Brenna TaylorHer death was shot in her own home by a police officer in Louisville, Kentucky. All of this was made more complicated by the ongoing pandemic, when people had to rely more on the government, and then on the police.

A few days after Freud’s death, my mother asked me why the police often Not responsible for black deaths related to the police.I tell her how to do it Policing in North America actually originated from the capture of slaves.

Activists say it’s time to put pressure on Canadian politicians and companies that promised quantifiable action last year to fight racism in Canada. 8:35

Later, my father asked me why there was a riot at the same time as the BLM protest; for him, the riot was detrimental to the information they were spreading. We discussed situations where countries usually do not pay attention to peaceful demonstrations. I think in a better world, riots will not happen, but in a world where black parents must talk to their children to always cooperate with the police or they may be killed, riots may have to happen.

Six Asian women killed in Atlanta The issue of racism is more prominent.My family knows Elderly Asian Canadians were physically assaulted and faced racist taunts During the pandemic, these attacks occurred very close to home. You see, we lived in Atlanta when I was young.Shocked by the news, thinking about the safety of my parents, I wrote editorial In my college essay, I call on Asian youths to stand up for their communities against anti-Asian racism.

On March 19, 2021, 34-year-old Helen Park Truong and 31-year-old Sarah Tang hugged after laying flowers at a temporary memorial outside Gold Spa after the fatal shooting of eight people in the Atlanta area. Pia Co said that these attacks raised her potential fear of anti-Asian hatred that her parents might one day face. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

About ten years ago, my parents even hesitated to comment on me on Facebook. They shared my editorial with all their friends. After years of disagreement, openly discussing social justice issues with parents finally felt rewarded.

I am more convinced than ever that social justice activism must meaningfully include the older generation. This process is not easy, and it can be very emotional.

For those who are starting to discuss social justice topics with their parents, the best advice I can give is: listen. Listen to your parents and their experiences, and their perspectives. You can’t expect them to understand your claims if you don’t have time to listen to the reasons why they don’t have the same beliefs. You may even find that you will learn a lot from your parents, and you can learn more about how to improve your social justice advocacy together.


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