Updated: Jun 15, 2022
March for 2021 is almost gone as I write this. It feels like it's been a strange month, hasn't it? Or is that just me? March 2021 reminded us all over the world that it's been a year since the world has been adjusting and changing due to the Covi-19 pandemic. A whole damn year. For a lot of us, it hasn't been an easy year, and we've had to struggle and survive to make it through. A round of applause for us who made it through. On the other hand, may we also remember those who lost their lives to COVID-19, and their loved ones who are still grieving. It really has been a tough one year to look back on.
As we look to the present and future now, a lot of things happened this month, that kinda shook the world, don't you think? A few headlines that hit me hard personally were:
In early March: The Meghan Markle interview with Oprah. I really don't give a fuck about the British Royal family and all that. I really don't care about that at all. What stuck to me about the interview was her struggle with mental health while in a highly regarded institution (i.e. the Royal family) and the lack of support given to her. Her experiences with depression and being silenced when asking for help was something I could relate to and it's not a pleasant experience. In addition, Mehgan Markle briefly discussed the subtle or covert racism that exists within the UK systems. UK (white) people don't generally like to acknowledge there is racism in the UK, because we see extreme racism in the US and think "It's not that bad here" in comparison. However, whatever "level" of racism it is, it still doesn't change the fact that racism is still racism. In the interview, Meghan Markle shared that some people were concerned of what colour skin her child would be. This is an example of colourism, which is a subtle form of racist microaggression. Like I said, whether it's subtle/covert racism or in-your-face racism, it's still the same ugly thing.
On that note of racism, a white Amerikkkan man killed 8 people in Atlanta, Georgia on 16 March. Of those 8 killed, 6 were Asian-American women. While this shooting happened in Amerikkka, I still felt hurt by it, because I have Asian heritage. Being part Asian myself, I've felt that the last year that I've been living in a Western and predominantly white country like the UK, I've had to face more anti-Asian hate than usual, because people blame Covid-19 on Asians. Everywhere you go, there will always be racism and hate against Asians (Tonga is no exception, but let's not go there today). The pandemic has exacerbated the anti-Asian sentiment in countries like the UK and Amerikkka and some evil people feel justified in their senseless act of violence against Asian communities at this time that's difficult and challenging for everyone. While media reports that the shooter's motives were not related to race, but more with his sex addiction problem, we can't ignore that Western countries have sexualized and fetishized Asian women, so race and gender become entangled in this case. It wasn't even a week later that Amerikkka had another shooting in Boulder, Colorado. I've never been to Amerikkka but seeing so much news of consecutive mass shootings and incomprehensible gender and racial based violence really make me never want to ever go there.
Lastly, on that note of gender-based violence, there was a white policeman who murdered a woman walking home in London, UK. I already wrote a piece that expressed how upset I was about it. According to the Global Peace Index Report (2020), the UK is ranked 42nd out of 163 countries in terms of the level of peacefulness and safety of the country. (Iceland is #1, New Zealand is #2, Amerikkka is # 121 and Tonga wasn't even on the list 😅🤣). For the UK to place 42/162 means there are 121 countries less safe than the UK. If a woman in a country that's supposedly relatively safe as the UK can still get abducted and killed, imagine countless other women in less safe countries being raped, kidnapped, abused and killed every other day. Just because it's not happening or it's not a big issue in your country doesn't mean we shouldn't care, and that's why we need intersectional feminism*, and I can happily go on alllllll daaaaaay about that.
*Intersectional Feminism: Term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw. An intersectional approach to feminism is to recognize that along with gender, a lot of other factors such as race, socio-economic status, able-body, sexuality, education, mental abilities etc. can exist and overlap to oppress you or be part of your privilege. Everything is interconnected and recognizing and addressing the discriminations based on the areas that intersect is part of Intersectional feminism.
As a mixed-race Asian-Pasifika woman, issues around mental health, gender and race are a few things I am interested in and passionate about. I think that's why the aforementioned topics hurt me a little more than it might hurt you. While it feels like this piece was another heavy one, I'll share one thing that made me really really happy in March. I have escaped London and am now in NZ. More on that later, but thanks for reading this one today!