Dear Audrey Bilger,
As an Asian student here at Reed, I am in mourning. My friends, family, and community are grieving. As a student of color, I feel that there is a lack of compassion and support from this school. All we got was one email from you that felt like an advertisement for a club event rather than an opportunity to help students and the members of this community to heal. I recognize that there was one community event hosted by MRC last week (that was very sudden and poorly communicated so many people including myself missed the event). This is not enough.
Please explain to me why I must live in a hall and attend classes with a person who openly stated having an “Asian fetish” and act as if everything is ok when just recently six Asian women were killed by a person who sexualizes our race. Not to mention that there is a large population of students on campus who casually share these racist and abhorrent views on Asian people without regard for how much of an impact it has on their peers. It is absolutely disgusting how widespread of a problem this is and how much we have to deal with on a regular basis.
We feel isolated and vulnerable. We are independently seeking safety and comfort that’s non-existent. Some of us can’t return home to our families due to financial constraints. We are trapped in an environment where we feel unsafe.
Why? Why must I and my fellow POC students act like nothing happened? Why has no one else stopped to listen or hand us a white mum for our grievances?
I understood that Reed is a majority white school. I was prepared to feel isolated and excluded. But it hurts even more when you send a performative email to make it seem as though you care. It hurts even more when people only pretend to acknowledge our suffering.
This past year has emphasized the violence and racial injustices present and prevalent in our society. The recent shooting in Atlanta, as traumatizing and horrific as it was, did not come as a surprise. Anti-Asian racism has historically been dismissed, and in the recent year, it has resurfaced, sparked by the pandemic. It is not just the Asian community, other POC and marginalized communities are in grief due to the cascade of events and challenges the world places before us every day. We are already struggling with the surmounting weight of global and personal issues, added stresses with class load and future careers, concerns of financial stability and health. There is a never ending list of why we are struggling.
If Reed is as inclusive as it claims to be, then why has the issue of racial trauma been swept away for the convenience of the white faculty and students?
So I ask again, where are our white mums?
Bravo! It is time that academic institutions raise their voices in loud protests against all racial discrimination and especially the horrific mistreatment of the Chinese in this country. So many of these institutions are in the grips of their contributors.