“You’re an outsider!”
My mom yelled at me. Shilvering in that burning urge to get up and leave, I stopped myself from snapping in front of her. “You have no idea what you are talking about,” I said.
It was a dinner table conversation between me and my mom. I was talking about systematic oppression, and how difficult it is sometimes for me to look past my ethnicity because the system reminds me over and over again what I am not. Yet, idealistic me also hope from the bottom of my heart to change that. One person might not be able to change everything, but I still want to “make it” to be very cliche. I want to be the example for millions of minority women out there that they can too.
I was stunned by my mom’s statement. Grew up in China, never in her life did she really interact with anyone who’s not black hair, yellow skin. What astonished me more was how much she buys into white supremacy. Embedded in her life as a majority, she does not see what it means to not be in power. She does not understand what it means when someone says the her daughter is not getting promoted, because she does not work hard enough; maybe she just does not know the “right people”. My mother does not know the growing bitterness when no one looks at her daughter, because of “the natural preference” for white women.
“But you can’t blame them for not wanting to date you, because you are an outsider,” my mother said. Her words landed heavily, boiled every single cell in my body. “But I don’t want to be, and I am not!” I screammed.
Maybe I am just naive. I don’t want to believe in a world with boundaries, especially when boundaries are man-made and enforced by us, literally humans to ensure power structures stays relatively in the same pool of people. “Otherness” indicates the roles that we are assigned and stick to. However, what if we are not bounded by these “given” roles? What if we all fight against it? Or choose? Wouldn’t the world be a little better if what distinctions between powers extinguish?
Like a lot of conversations I have had with certain people, maybe I am talking about you, the one reading this, sometimes all I want to do is to make you a little uncomfortable, a little out of place, and a little frustrated. Well, welcome to my world.