Family, the last week has been especially hard, so I offer this prayer for our dead.
The bloodletting of white nationalism and white supremacy is no brand new agony for us. Now, we mourn more loss and pray for the families of these full, beautiful, stolen lives: Soon Chung Park 박순정, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant [김]현정, age 51; Sun Cha Kim 김선자, age 69; Yong Ae Yue 유영애, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; Xiaojie Tan 谭小洁, age 49; Daoyou Feng 冯道友, age 44. Prayers for all our dead. You are gone too soon and it is agony.
As a community, we have learned that death comes as an expected and predictable outcome of dehumanization and the impulse to conquer. Robert Aaron Long, 21, the racist, white, evangelical shooter in and near Atlanta, did not simply have a sex addiction. He acted on a homegrown U.S. inheritance: colonizer fantasies of dominating Asian women. He acted on the lie that Asian immigrant women’s bodies, as well as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women’s bodies, are responsible for the violent shame produced by white supremacist desire and are, therefore, sites for extracting power and authority.
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This lie is only possible because of a western history of colonization, with a U.S, military–prostitution complex that uses women as pawns to smooth over transnational alliances and agreements. I use the word “bodies” in this context because our work together is to fight against the negation of our personhood despite these historical realities.
When Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker said that Long must have had a “bad day,” we were not surprised at where his empathy lies. The police know exactly what it is to “have a bad day” and kill eight people because the U.S. police state has been murdering our peoples for centuries. We understand these recent atrocities as being about more than only hate-crimes because our refugee families continue to be deported in the middle of the night, and our families continue to be abandoned by the U.S. state, with no access to water, housing or healthcare.
We understand this moment as directly constituted by empire, misogyny, racial capitalism, and Christian nationalism. More policing will not stop anti-Asian racism because policing is the opposite of what we need, which is shared resources, deep solidarity work and prophetic visioning about our shared futures.
Family, we have not just been grieving for days, but for lifetimes. Our tears fill every ocean our people have been flung across. The systematic brutalization of Black girls and women by white slave-masters was a daily fact of life under slavery. U.S. plantation economies and settler invasion histories depended on the trafficking, labor exploitation and rape of people from Africa, and on the removal and genocide of indigenous people from indigenous lands in the Americas. Native women and immigrant women continue to suffer. The “great civilizers” have brought much misery.
Prayers for all our dead.
And, today, still, our Afro-Asian communities are specifically targeted and impugned with the “model-minority” lie, a violent and ultimately murderous control device fed to us by a government and media apparatus seeking to configure our communities as each other’s enemy, while rendering South and Southeast Asian communities invisible. This lie is racist and has created great harm for us. We have suffered and struggled under the brutal Ponzi scheme that is the United States and we have legitimate grievances to heal from. We are tired from trying to hold together so many broken shards.
Prayers for all our dead.
Still, we have been building and nothing will stop us. Our spirits are fed because we know that Black Lives Matter every second we fight against Anti-Asian racism. We reject the stories which frame Black and brown people as the problem, and we instead rely on the mutual study of our shared field of struggle. The clock of the world reads our histories.
We are here to save each other. We are beautiful. We are love. We are seed, and flower, and universe; we are water and land, and future. Our connections to each other may be fraught, but it still remains despite a brutal media strategy fixated on pathologizing trauma and solidifying division between Black and Asian American communities. We are enlivened by a blues knowledge for this crucible moment, a geographic vision spanning four continents. We sing the blues together and we know what must be done. We must continue to resist together, with both tenderness and tension. We must continue to attack the conditions that make this violence possible.
I love you so much, family. We hold space for grieving today and in the days ahead. We have a future and it is together.
In Grief and Joy,
Prayers for all our dead.
This note was written by Mia Charlene White, a Black woman of African American and Korean descent who is Assistant Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies @ The New School, and who organizes around housing, land and racial justice issues.
Prayer For My Afro-Asian Community When A White Man Had a Murderous ‘Bad Day’ was originally published on newsone.com