Sunday Sit-Down #10: Detour

Each Sunday, I’m working my way through my experiences with race. I’ll share stories and memories from throughout my life. I know I’ll encounter moments of growth that I wish I could relive. I’ll also have to think back on choices that I wish I could remake. Come join me each week.

This week, I was all set to reflect on my mindset after high school as I prepared to go to college.

This week, I was drafting in my head ways to recount how determination and idealism became my core ideals.

This week, a man killed eight people, six of them of Asian descent.

This week, the world broke open for many people I love and care about.

This week doesn’t mark some new low or new beginning or discovery. We’ve been here for generations. It’s the mark of a chronic and critical disease.

I’ve been carrying these ideas around for a few days, not really doing anything with them. I’m not quite sure where to put them or what to do with them. But I do know this:

I need to be a better set of eyes and ears for my friends, my colleagues, my students and my families.

I need to redouble my efforts to un-“other” others.

Especially my students and their families.

I need to keep reminding them that Diwali and Eid and Lunar New Year bear as much consideration as Easter,

that speaking English with an accent is a badge of honor, of persistence, of sacrifice,

that everyone deserves to have people pronounce their names correctly, and not just their English ones,

that they can write story characters beyond a white default,

that a bitmoji version of themselves doesn’t need to be blond and white to be beautiful,

that they are seen, and valued, and acknowledged, and important.

I’ve got work to do. We’ve got work to do.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

23 thoughts on “Sunday Sit-Down #10: Detour

  1. “that everyone deserves to have people pronounce their names correctly, and not just their English ones,” – I have always believed that our names are our most personal and precious possessions. When you speak someone’s name (correctly), it demonstrates your eagerness to know more about them.

    1. Absolutely – and caring about this most basic part of who we are lays the groundwork for those relationships. Sure do miss you, Marcia. ❤

  2. If only scientists could develop a vaccine that would eradicate hate and prejudice. We all have lots of work to do on this score…teachers, parents, media, politicians, the list goes on. No one should have to live in fear because of who they are.

    1. Absolutely. I agree with you! I also think that there’s more to what many folks carry than fear, though I haven’t been able to name it quite yet – like, a constant discomfort or vigilance…

  3. This week, I am thankful for posts like these- not only calling out the “chronic and critical disease”, but also finding ways to prevent/stop it in its tracks. Your thoughts are calling for early detection.

    1. Thank you. Early detection…YES. And treating it from a cellular level – in all of the spaces and corners we find it.

  4. Thanks for using your posts to speak out against hate and to bring awareness and ideas for action to us. I really appreciate the thought you put into writing each paragraph of this piece.

    1. Thank you. As a lover of words, it’s hard when I know that words aren’t necessarily enough. But it’s always a start.

  5. My favorite phrase: un-“other” others. Because that’s what will save us, when “we” means ALL of us, when inclusivity is the norm and not the struggle. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    1. Thank YOU. I also like your thought about inclusivity being the norm and not the struggle. So. Very. True. And also – just the beginning.

  6. Thank you for this powerful post. Reading your words make me feel more hopeful for the future. Also, I need to make it a habit to come through on Sundays!

  7. That bitmoji reference resonates so strongly. I see it all around. But I suppose the change is coming, slowly but surely. Your slice is brimming with so much hope for the future, change can’t be far off!

  8. So very, very true. I like your list of things that need to be done, to show there’s no difference, I like the English with an accent one, because so many people speak more languages than we do.
    It has helped me a lot to be the only white couple in a whole community over the past 12 years and see that prejudices are there, against us…

    1. Yes, I’d say that any time we encounter folks who are different, our porcupine hackles go up until we work past our lack of knowledge and understanding.

  9. “that speaking English with an accent is a badge of honor, of persistence, of sacrifice,” – so many of my family members.

    “that everyone deserves to have people pronounce their names correctly, and not just their English ones,” -my own son.

    Thank you for writing this. Words don’t feel like enough.

    1. In so many ways, words can never be enough. I guess that’s why we have love to back them up. ❤

  10. Oof. This is heartfelt and sad and hopeful and true. Appreciate the sentiment and the excellent sketchnoting – and yup, plenty of work for us all to do. Keep on truckin’.

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