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The Southeast Asian Word & White Supremacy

Our Executive Director Ryan Kim Tiêu Cītlali, a Vietnamese, Generation 0 Transgender person stated the following regarding the violence perpetuated against their community. They turned 26, March 18th 2021.

What is the hardest part about being an Asian American for you today?


The hardest part about being an Asian American for me today is a collective fear for the physical safety of our people but also the emotional and mental safety of our people, which is something we know we don’t talk about enough.


How are the posts on social media regarding the brutality against the AAPI community affecting you?


It’s been traumatizing. It’s traumatizing to witness the harm that people are willing to inflict on my people. It is common knowledge white supremacy is dominating everything, and it’s validating to know my paranoia is real, but in a bad way.


It’s traumatizing to witness the harm that people are willing to inflict on my people.

What did you think about the commentary of the murderer in Atlanta?


I feel gaslit. I feel like everything is race based. We are never not raced. I can’t turn off the fact that I am Vietnamese in any space. Everything I do is Vietnamese, because I am. Everything that I say, and think all come from a Vietnamese perspective because I am. Saying that these murders are not race related is gaslighting. It’s gaslighting because white supremacy exists in every context. We do no favors to the conversation or our people when we deny ourselves of that reality.

Saying that these murders are not race related is gaslighting. It’s gaslighting because white supremacy exists in every context.

What would you like to say to your people right now?


I would say that we are collectively hurting right now, which means we need to generationally heal. Asian communities are in the national spotlight right now. Our voices, stories and trauma are being put on display- we need to build with the communities that have an intimate understanding of this kind of racism. They have been experiencing this kind of racism for so long that the media believes it is no longer newsworthy.


we need to build with the communities that have an intimate understanding of this kind of racism. They have been experiencing this kind of racism for so long that the media believes it is no longer newsworthy.

What do you mean by “communities that have an intimate understanding of this kind of racism”? Could you elaborate on that?


The tools of white supremacy that have been used to dehumanize Asian people, (racist caricatures, conflation with disease) are the same tools that have been used to dehumanize Black and Brown people, and Trans people, well before this conversation. We have an opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with Black Trans communities to carry our share of the burden of white supremacy, but also put the onus on white people to content with their own contributions, benefits and perpetuation of white supremacy.

We have an opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with Black Trans communities
Liberation for Black people, means liberation for all people.


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