Taara Sajnani is the founder of Sajnani Brand Management, an NYC-based branding agency that specializes in working with female entrepreneurs.

“Filipinos We Have A Long History of Internalized Racism, What Do You Want To Do About It?”

We are reading the news from the same platforms of racism in America. We sit comfortably in our homes, most of us laugh at the country that historically colonized ours to feel superior that we are better than these people, yet we have not done anything to dismantle the hierarchies and systems in our own homes–in our own country. We silence activists who are doing the work on the ground. Our own teachers threaten a student into making a public apology. We arrest activists for giving criticism about politicians that govern our country. We blame citizens for their attitude when we placed people into power who influence and exhibit the same behavior.

What are we doing? Your silence is deafening. These people would not have to die, these people would not have been incarcerated had we all just come together to uproot a system that we are living in. How can we sit comfortably in our own homes, mock and laugh at these people fighting for their survival?

These protests, these riots did not appear out of the blue. These protesters have marched the streets peacefully for years while racists shot at and tear gassed them. Time and time again, another black person dies. We are talking about years of oppression. We are talking about a system that was built to benefit the rich, the privileged, White people, and men, and we are operating under that system—a system rooted in racism where other systems of oppression were bred. A system we encourage because we use the same system as a barometer, a standard, we have to achieve.

You don’t need to say the N word for you to be racist. You don’t need to mock a non-english speaking country’s accent to be racist. A lot of times, prejudice and racism is masked and filtered with good intentions. It is the underbelly in which we all operate.

What are we doing?

We empathize with these people all the way from the other side of the world. We tell ourselves “I’m glad I don’t live in America it’s not my problem,” that is your greatest illusion. We are, our country is very much influenced by them; that kind of oppression exists in our own country. We listen to stories about the slavery and segregation in America and brush it off as if we were never enslaved. We are continuously facing unconscious racism and discrimination every day. Take a look at our history. Take a look at ourselves.

The question is not whether or not you are racist or anti-racist. The question is not whether you are prejudiced or not. The question we need to answer is how are we challenging the system? In what ways do you think you’re contributing to a system that continues to oppress and subjugate the less privileged? What are you doing with your privilege? It’s easy to say you are not racist until someone challenges and questions your actions. 

How you think, is based on conditioning. We were all conditioned to think and behave in a way that supports the same broken system because it makes it easier for them to understand us. The same people whose forefathers built it to benefit their grandchildren; to continue the same “legacy.” History only repeats itself because we let it.

These protests, these riots, did not start here. It started centuries ago and ended slavery. It started decades ago and that’s how women were able to vote. It started when one person spoke and started a rebellion that turned into a revolution and that’s how we claimed our own country back. 

If you are not angry about what is happening to Black people around the globe, you are not paying attention.

We have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the history of racism. We need to reexamine the things we learned. We need to continuously address our own biases and unconscious discrimination. We don’t have to have it right the first time. It is expected that a lot of times, when it comes to issues about race, we will get it wrong, especially if you are someone who has never engaged in the conversation before, and that’s okay. We just have to start.

As non-black people, we need to rise up. 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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