Once again, discrimination has landed smack in the middle of our lives here in the US. A hard landing, and one with reverberations far beyond anything I ever expected.
As I wrote not that long ago, I never imagined I would come to know discrimination so intimately through my marriage to a Chinese man. Maybe that’s naivete or plain ignorance; either way, it’s clear that I just didn’t realize the extent to which discrimination and racism still remained in this country, and their ability to strike down (and even ruin) a young man in pursuit of his own small patch of happiness.
What I have learned is this — that discrimination and racism have often morphed into subtle forms. It’s no longer someone down the hall pointing a finger at you and saying they don’t want you because you’re Chinese (or, in my case, because you’re married to one). Instead, it’s become something hard to substantiate and bring to the light — something often disguised. So many of us suffer it in silence, hoping we can make it through and hoping to leave the racism and discrimination behind us.
Even John and I wanted to leave it behind us. But that’s impossible now. We’re in a showdown with discrimination and racism, and we’re not backing down.
I often asked John, “Why us? Why did this have to happen in our lives?” It’s a ridiculous question to ask, yet I found myself coming back to it, desperately searching for meaning in something that seemed bereft of meaning in the beginning.
“Because we’re the ones who are willing to fight,” he said. “We’re the ones who will expose the ugliness and show people what modern racism really is.”
I don’t know what lies ahead of us in the darkness that has enveloped our lives. But I am sure of one thing — when it’s all said and done, we will have one hell of a story. And that’s a story that someday I hope to share with the world.
P.S.: To everyone who has supported us publicly on this blog, via e-mail or even by phone, we cannot thank you enough for standing with us. You’ve given me hope and encouragement and I’ll never forget it.