My husband is a wonderful man who will chat to, help and befriend literally anyone.
Any person of any race, age, sex or religion. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the reverse. Not everyone will befriend him, help him out, or sometimes, even speak to him.
In fact, he is so lovely, that he will endure casual racism from people who are supposed to care about him, as he doesn’t want to make anyone feel bad by asking them to stop.
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Although I have always struggled through uncomfortable interactions with some of his ‘friends’ who base entire conversations, stories and jokes on his country of origin and ethnicity, it has only become unequivocally apparent to me during COVID times that there are people out there who genuinely do not engage with people of Asian descent, solely because of their generalised beliefs toward the Asian community.
We know not everyone is going to like you.
We both believe that, if you are someone who is well-liked by everyone, that you are probably expending far too much energy people-pleasing.
My most authentic self is someone who treats everyone fairly, defends myself and others when needed, and does not twist and conform to make myself more palatable to the world.
This is what he loves about me, and me, about him.
But when it comes to lack of education surrounding racism, and the lived experienced of an Asian man in Australia, I can now easily discern the difference between someone not treating us well because of who we are as people, and not treating us well because of my husband’s race.
To the people at events who question me repeatedly… but what is his real name? Not his name, his Asian name?
To the wives who ask me… but surely his mum wanted him to marry an Asian girl? Do you make dumplings and ramen all the time?
To the woman in our apartment building who won’t allow him to get in the lift with her, even when he is standing in his scrubs clearly just trying to get to his work as a dentist, because she believes only Asian people are spreading COVID… Just, stop.
Stop doing and saying what you already know is toxic.
As sponsors and close supporters of the AFL, we have a great respect for Indigenous people and have been exposed to their rich and fascinating culture throughout our journey with the league.
But my goodness, have we seen some disturbing occurrences of racism towards Indigenous players and their community.
The league does take it very seriously and continues to better their policies each year surrounding how they deal with this.
While this racism from the crowd towards players has been highly publicised, I didn’t realise that we would experience it directed toward us.