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Apr 24, 2020 |

Op-ed: Identity Crisis & Covid-19

As I prepare for the cleaning ritual of going grocery shopping, I systematically look to see if I have all my armor; mask, hand sanitizer, clean wipes, and most importantly a hat. As I move from the produce to the canned goods aisle, I try to keep my head down to maintain a low profile. There is a held breath every time a stranger’s gaze is prolonged and I think to myself ‘is this the day that it happens to me?’ I have heard so many reports of increased xenophobia across America, especially geared toward people of Asian descent. It has created a general anxiety and ominous feeling of when the wave will crash on me. I think I could take care of myself if a situation arises, but my mind automatically races to thoughts of my elderly parents. Will they be alright when they go and buy their veggies? How will they handle the covert or overt racism they experience? I think about my nieces— are they are getting disparaging comments on their social media or during their classroom meetings? If I think about this too much, it will ruin the day. 

I exhale and know I have been incredibly lucky to avoid any overt xenophobic incidents or comments since the COVID-19 situation began. I know this comes from so many privileges I possess, i.e. working from home, perceived proximity to whiteness, and having enough financial resources. We are all experiencing different feelings and emotions at this time, for some they may be tied up with race, economic status, social status, or family structure for others. For those of us who have more positive or neutral experiences, how are we checking in with folks in our community? How are we holding each other up at this time?

I invite y’all to reach out to each other, reach out to staff and teachers at this school. Let’s lean on one another. I have included some articles and resources that may be helpful at this time when addressing DEI during coronavirus, take a look! 

Wishing your family is happy and healthy,

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