Warning this is inconclusive and long and angry and tired and about Charlotte and identity and potentially triggering.
People always ask me why I’m so “political”
I’m political because I care about people. I care about the policies that drive people to protest, and the policies that lie in place when they do. I care how cities function, and how spaces can be more inclusive and accepting.
I’m political because I fucking want to be shouting in the street right now for all the privileges I have that others, including people such as Keith Lamont Scott didn’t have.
I’m political because I know the cop in this photo and he has been such an inspiration to me growing up as a model of what grace and understanding can be.
I’m political because my family story involves a mother that worked her ass off in college to realize her dreams and while there met my father, an immigrant and have been able to realize their own American dreams, and to protect that dream for other people.
I’m political because at one of the most prestigious high schools in Charlotte the cafeteria is known as Africa. THAT IS NOT OKAY IN ANY WAY. I am so guilty and ashamed in myself for allowing this to happen around me and for not stopping it, because I was privileged enough for it not to affect me.
I’m political because I always feel myself grimace when people ask me where I’m from. It’s because I am disgusted with the place I grew up in and embarrassed with much of Charlotte’s culture and want to be knowledgeable and empowered enough to maybe change it one day, if I do ever decide to move back.
I’m political because I was legitimately told to go back to China in 8th grade by the son of a respected local politician. I still remember.
I’m political because when I knew I didn’t belong at my middle school, I sure as hell knew that I better act like the white half of me so I wouldn’t be put in with my peers who were of “different” colors and therefore treated differently. I was wrong and scared then and want to change that culture now.
I’m political because yes, I went to a fully “integrated” magnet elementary school which term I use because that’s the reality of the division between the almost exclusively white “gifted” kids and the poor, almost exclusively black kids that were from the neighborhood. It is the reason I am who I am but also why we need structural change, so we are the same people united in not just for education. So all of kids have the same access to be “gifted”.
I’m political because I’m NOT surprised about the riots.
I’m political because I am not shocked that this is Charlotte.
I’m political because I need to better understand my own privilege.
I’m political because these riots are only the beginning of a conversation, one that is desperately needed.
I’m political because I am hurt, scared, and angry but thankful that brave people are making everyone’s lives better through these protests.
I’m political because BLACK LIVES MATTER in Charlotte and EVERYWHERE.
I’m political because Keith Lamont Scott shouldn’t have been shot, and I want to ensure that this will happen to less and less people in the future.
I’m political because Charlotte has never felt like a home to me, and someday, for my family’s sake, I might want it to be.