The recent shooting in Atlanta and the news of Sarah Everard's senseless death has awoken a sleeping fear in me.
I am a woman. A woman of color. And that is going to work against me more than it will work for me.
And not only am I a woman of color, I'm a woman of Chinese ethnicity (I hate saying that as a Taiwanese person by the way).
Every time I've had a lover I've had to ask myself, "does he like me for me or my black hair and small eyes?", "does he like me because I'm awesome or is it because he thinks I'll be a good caretaker, because that's what Asian women do?". Like a fool, in past relationships, I've fulfilled that Asian stereotype and not looked after myself, and put the man first.
Every time someone at work or in a social setting, regardless of what "other" race they were would say something slightly racist, I had to question: were they joking? Are they racist? Do they see me like that?
"Oh, but not you, you're OK" I have heard all too often.
I've cut friends out of my life, I've argued with people, gotten really angry. I've been deeply saddened. I've been betrayed, all for the fact that I tried to express what I was feeling inside. The complexity of my emotions have never been clearly articulated, because honestly, no language in the world can explain it clearly.
All my life, I've been stereotyped. At home in Taiwan I'm a foreigner because I don't look or dress Taiwanese. At home in Europe, I'm a foreigner because I look Asian and it doesn't even matter what kind of Asian- I'm not one of them.
What happened with Sarah and the 6 Asian women in Atlanta... Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Fen, and the three other unidentified women, along with several others also injured and killed.... it breaks my heart.
I, by the very nature of my being, am anti-racist. I am a proud and loud supporter of Black Lives Matter. I do not tolerate racism or misogyny. I do not fear being shot at, because I live in one of the safest countries in the world (wassup Taiwan).
I do not fear that men will take advantage of me again, because I'm highly sensitized to that now, with thanks to social media, groups like this where I can talk about my experience without fear of absolute retribution, and of course, educating myself.
But I fear for my fellow sisters. I fear for my sisters that are being put in precarious positions. I fear for my sisters that are being mistreated and trafficked, to this day. I fear for all of us, for how we're going to get out of this mess.
As Asians, we are all in mourning now. We are all feeling it. And as women, we are feeling it twice.
Let us stand together, let us check in. Let us take care of each other and protect each other. Let us hold those accountable. Let us speak out, and speak our truth. Let us be the powerhouses we are destined to be.
We have worked too hard, for too long, across all sectors of society, language, culture, and free speech to let it all go to waste now. Let us stand up, let us say their names.
Delaina Ashley Yaun