Candid Talk on Expat Life; Future Goals
As I am writing this piece, Black Lives Matter protests have taken place all over the globe. Riots have also occurred. At BlackAsiaMagazine, we would be remiss in our duty to cover events regarding black communities in Asia, if we did not shine a spot light on the rallies and peaceful marches as they are happening in this part of the world.
Tokyo, Seoul, Kansai and Taipei have all constructed organizations which relate to BLM. While these are not official BLM chapters, they do openly show solidarity with the other BLM movements happening around the world at this moment. In Taiwan, there was also an event called Taipei is listening. The organizers were unknown to everyone in attendance. They are residents of Taipei. It was created to be an open forum, talking about issues surrounding race in Taiwan.
Events similar to this one were held in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City. BlackAsiaMagazine reached out to the organizers of said events through Facebook. Our goal was first to introduce them to one another. These movements are happening completely independent of one another. Although they are in the same region of the planet and they are promoting the same ideas, they are completely unaware of each other. They know each other now!
Our second goal was to understand, in the words of these organizers, what this movement is all about; what their goals are and what their platforms seek to accomplish. The organizers were all limited in the responses they were allowed to give and even the time they could allot to a discussion because they are not officially BLM and they are beholden to their various organizations. Looking to the future, what will BLM bring to this part of the globe?
One fact that made itself obvious was that the main organizers are all women. This didn’t bother me but it made me curious. Before the end of our talk, the women also brought up the elephant in the room: where are all the men? It seems like, in America and here in Asia, the BLM movement is absent of, not just men but also of seasoned men. There were quite a few men at the Taipei and also the Korea rallies. It seems to me that their profile is generally that of a 25 year old kid who just graduated. The women expressed to me a lack of involvement on the part of men in expat communities.
That was a quandary to me that I decided to investigate. I’ve lived in Asia for 15 years. I can think, off the top of my head, of Black men in every Asian city who put in work. There are certain issues peculiar to black communities here in Asia and these are what the BLM rallies have mainly spoken about. The men I know, have been addressing these issues, in various parts of Asia, in words and deeds, for 5 or 10 or even 20 years.
I pulled this panel of men together, to discuss their OPINIONS on the issues that affect black people as they are living abroad and in this part of the world. They were all prepared to speak, as soon as I gave them the idea, because they are not beholden to anyone except themselves.
We talked about our pasts, presents and the future we are building here in this part of the world. We touched on the issues at hand for our people in Asia and what we envision that future to be so we can make that future come true. To say that the men are not involved is wrong. We have little involvement in the BLM movement. I think that statement is more accurate. Something is seriously wrong here!
It took quite a bit of effort but, there is another panel discussion, scheduled for later this week, with the organizers of BLM in Asia. Among other topics, we will discuss the lack of participation from men and if it’s real or imagined.