Act #133: Don't mistake my passion for anger.
So finally, I'm getting a first-hand glimpse at what my black female friends have been experiencing their entire lives: when I speak up against something, people worry that they've pissed me off. This is a new phenomenon for me, because you see, I've been painfully diplomatic all of my life - up until about a year ago. One might say that I'm the ultimate people-pleaser, a formerly trained mediator, the one people go to for help when they want to appease a situation or a person. And one might say that in the past year, after disassociating myself with a highly public job, and finding myself finally advocating for things I deeply value, I've gotten quite comfortable, well.... speaking my mind. In fact I start to squirm and get fidgety if I don't speak up. Now, I'm not an equal opportunity spokesperson for all issues of the world. While I probably wouldn't speak up if my meal were prepared incorrectly or if a party guest smelled bad, if someone tells me that all international students who come to the U.S. are spoiled and manipulative, well, I may just have to speak up. I also might be compelled to speak up if someone assigned blame to a victim of sexual violence, failed to consider the racial biases of our judicial system when discussing capital punishment, or assumed that all people had the choice to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Ok, Ok, I admit it, if these conversations all took place in the course of one weekend and I have "spoken up" every time these topics were discussed, I may come across to the masses as someone who takes issue with a lot of things, but be assured, this sweet little Asian gal isn't about to blow her top off. She just cares about the future of the world you are living in, and has something to say about how we might all help make it better for everyone. If being passionate about justice equates anger, then folks, shouldn't we all be at least a little bit angry?