Organizers of the BLM Movement as it looks in Asia
If you don’t know what BLM stands for, you have been living in a cave for the past year. At this moment in time, there is scarcely a city on earth, that does not have its own protest or rally happening on one day or another. Their aim is to show solidarity with the movement which is now happening in America.
Violence from the police in America is a fact of life which is always looming in the background in America. This is doubly true if you are young, male and black. If you live as a black person in America, you have seen law enforcement be hostile, aggressive and violent toward people you know. You may have had a negative experience with the police, yourself.
This movement, which is called Black Lives Matter, was founded as a response to some very daunting issues. The particular response is to, not only escalating police violence toward African-Americans but also the brazenness on the part of law enforcement, in making these displays public.
There has been an increasing trend, seen in police departments throughout the United States, where local police assault and often times murder African-Americans with complete impunity. Of late, these killings have been made public spectacle.
Now it is true, that the police in America shoot more white people than they shoot black people. The main difference is that when whites are shot, in the majority of cases, the officers are prosecuted. With blacks, the punishment received is only nominal.
There is a growing movement throughout the world, and I earnestly believe it comes from a sincere place, where people who aren’t black and people who aren’t American, feel a duty toward African-Americans. People throughout the globe feel a genuine human obligation to stand in solidarity with us as we contend with racism in America, in the many forms it can take. The response from the rest of the planet has been truly remarkable.
This brings us to Asia. How is the BLM movement being interpreted here. It is the responsibility of BlackAsiaMagazine to answer questions like this. Up to a few weeks ago, I was racking my brain and expending all my resources and contacts, attempting to bring certain people together. The people I was shooting for, are the organizers of BLM rallies in Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong. Needless to say, all of these people are extremely busy at present.
Out of the blue, I got a call from Kina Jackson who lives in Osaka. The call was about my general welfare at this time, which is topsy turvy. I didn’t know she was one of the organizers for BLM in Osaka. To make a long story short, I never got to speak with all of the organizers at once. I am, however proud of myself because I got people from Taipei, Osaka and Hong Kong, together in one room.
So what came of our conversation? Ultimately, the movement looks quite different living here in Asia. We live in homogeneous societies which are newly having to contend with the idea of dealing with outsiders as equals. One point of contention is over whether there is actual racism here in Asia, especially for Western people.
What we were able to come up with, is that the movement in Asia, necessitates creating a dialogue over certain topics. It is also required to build a space where that dialogue can occur. The discrimination that foreigners, especially black foreigners face regularly is something that Asian societies gloss over or even accept.
The goal here and now is to openly have these uncomfortable conversations about why certain modes of behavior are acceptable.