What was the defining moment in your life? What made you who you are?
Let me tell you a bit about myself, my name is Xiao and I’m a third-year law student. I am also a British Chinese woman, a daughter, a sister and most importantly, a believer of change. I moved here from China a decade ago not knowing the hardships I would face in a foreign land where the shape of my eyes or the colour of my skin would mean stereotypes that boxed me in. As your BIPOC officer, I hope to eradicate those boxes and embrace the real you that you’ve always wanted to be and not the person your environment has dictated you to be.
Although growing up I suffered from positive racism of being assumed as the ‘smart’ one or always being ‘good at maths’, I was not immune to negative racism. Especially in the current climate where COVID-19 is still being referred to as the ‘China Virus’. I have been spat at simply for walking down a street and the supposed jokes of bat eater are not only distasteful but hurtful to my identity. I have been called snowflake for standing up for my culture in disrespectful cases of cultural appropriation, butchering a culture’s identity is something we should get angry about. Don’t let gas lighters undermine the validity of your feelings, anger is as valid as any other reaction, just because they do not want to be held accountable does not mean your anger is wrong. I understand I am a part of the race that suffers the least amount of racism and I would never envisage what it’s like to be in other BIPOC’s shoes. However, I want to be the person you feel comfortable to rant to, whether it’s an act of microaggression that may have hurt you or upset you to ignorant people committing outrageous acts thinking they will get away with it. I want to be your confidant, your safe haven when life gets too much.
‘Mental Health is Often A Privilege For BIPOC.’ Lorraine Chu, Huffpost. This needs to change, I know as BIPOC people we have grown up around racism and that has solidified our thick skin and our resilience. However, just because we’re strong, doesn’t mean we deserve mistreatment. Trust your instincts when things non-BIPOC people have said or done that made you feel uncomfortable, educate yourself on how ignorance lays the foundation for racism and we can tackle this together. Most importantly, we must look after ourselves, fighting racism isn’t a day’s work, Illegitimi non carborundum.
If you want to read about my experience or my work on education to encourage anti-racism, please check out my column on @collectiveconversationz( https://collectiveconversationz.wordpress.com/xiaos-column/ ), my feature article on the @indigohubuk (https://indigohub.co.uk/blog/blog-post-eleven-ltrct-xlywj-cnj9d-nnjhh )and @asianhispanicorg (https://www.asianhispanicempowerment.org/post/the-problematic-nature-of-cultural-appropriation) or listen to me on ‘Fantastic Allies and Where to Find Them’ on the @oxfordshireyouth Podcast on the episode of Discrimination and Normalisation. Hope you enjoy it!
It would be an absolute honour to represent you as your BIPOC officer, and please don’t hesitate to drop me a message if you have any questions.