Let's Talk: Growing Up Blasian
Time & Location
About the Event
Imagine straddling two identities that are perceived as at odds with each other. In the past few months, Anti-Asian sentiment rose due to COVID-19. Ironically, the Black Lives Matter movement showed just how much Anti-Blackness there was in the Asian community. While we are finding ways to ally, and support each other's communities, there is still much internal work we need to do in the Asian community in order for us to come together.
That is why we invited Ryan Alexander Holmes to share his story of growing up with his Taiwanese family while being half Black. Ryan shared a sobering post on Subtle Asian Traits in early June about how his first experience with racism was from the Asian community.
Join us for a fireside chat with Ryan as he shares his experience straddling both cultures and becoming a bridge between two different, yet interconnected communities.
- 5pm EST: Fireside chat with Ryan Alexander Holmes
- 5:45pm EST: Q&A
Registration is free but consider making a donation to Rock The Boat and Equal Justice Initiative (eji.org)
Ryan Alexander Holmes via Subtle Asian Traits
I’m half Asian and grew up with Asians.
My first racist experiences were from my own people not from white people. I followed the model minority guidelines fervently but was always surprised when I never received the reputation that it promised - because even if you are Asian, if you are Black - you are NOT the model minority.
Anti-blackness is rampant in the Asian community world-wide not just in America. So when I hear Asians [John Cho - talented actor, my hero - and others] call themselves out for being the model minority, and how it negatively effected them/and didn’t protect them from racism especially during Covid 19 but then fail to realize the bigger picture - I have mixed emotions because on one hand I’m like, “I feel for you, because I was raised under that same pressure of being the model minority and that’s a horrible situation to deal with” but on the other hand I’m like “so what? I was forced to learn this lesson much quicker than all of you, not because I’m more brilliant but because simply, I’m more black.
So its just very hard to listen to you complain of racism only now that you see it affecting YOU. When YOU, my own community both ousted me from being a fellow model minority and pressed down on me for being black. You chose to ignore my experience completely because you didn’t want to deal with my other half.
For years I always felt I needed to “prove” my Asian blood because I felt it would give me the sense of community I always felt was lacking in my life, subconsciously I was trying to prove to you that I was a good black person, that I wasn’t like the ones you condemn. I figured if you didn’t accept me as an Asian because of my blackness then maybe, just maybe, you’d accept me because I speak the language and know the culture. But why would I have to prove something that has always been a part of me and taught to me since the day I was born by my own loving Asian family?
I’ve seen and continue to see half white asians receive the ALL-STAR treatment while Blasians aren’t even invited to the table and if they are, its not as a fellow Asian.
Just like white people need to be called out, y’all need to be called out. Because you haven’t done enough. Because you abandoned one of your own. Because of your inherent anti-blackness.
Remember: The officer who stood by as white officer (Derek Chauvin) murdered a black man (George Floyd) in broad daylight, was an Asian man (Tou Thao) - this is a microcosm for the world we live in today. Don’t be defined by your inaction.
So let’s just call it what it is and stop dancing around the issue. You are racist. You are complicit. And you need to do something about it. You can stand with us and we will stand with you in solidarity but you have much internal work to do. Fight alongside us by all means but also work on yourselves. And if I don’t see you after the dust settles after these protests, I will know exactly where you truly stand. The fight never ends for my black brothers and sisters, we’re in this fight for life, so it shouldn’t even end for you.
Because as a Black man I am tired of being a nice model minority Asian man to you.
Also, I love each and every one of you.
- Ryan Alexander Holmes, your friendly neighborhood Blasian
*If you feel triggered by this. Thats a you problem not a me problem. Because before you say “not all asians” or “thats not how it is” just remember this is an ASIAN man telling you of his ASIAN experience.*
About Ryan Alexander Holmes
Ryan Alexander Holmes, born to Chinese Mother from Taiwan and African American father from the South. His experiences living on the cusp of two cultures have granted him a unique lens from which he sees the world. Ryan is an actor, known for Dear White People (2017), For The People (2018) and The Wretched (2019).
About Let's Talk: Asian x Black Conversations
Let’s Talk is an Asian x Black dialogue series with the goal of opening conversations between the Black and Asian communities. It’s through understanding each other’s struggles that we can come out stronger together. The goal of this series is not to talk about how Asians can support Black Lives Matter or how to fight against Anti-Asian sentiments but more so an exploration and conversation between two groups of people who have different, yet similar experiences.
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