By Anni Liu
Sometimes, without understanding what we’re doing, we even internalize those aggressions and use them to police both our loved ones and ourselves.
As a kid, I often corrected my mother’s pronunciation of English words. Though she did have a Chinese accent, she didn’t need me to tell her how to speak English–she’d taught English as a second language for more than a decade.
I didn’t realize that by doing that, I was communicating that her foreign accent not only made her English different, it made it wrong. And like so many others, I had no idea I was regurgitating racist ideology (practicing internalized racism).
An example of this is asking a person of color, “Where are you from?” or “How do you say ____ in your language?”
This question is often directed at Asian and Latinx Americans–whether immigrants skilled in other languages or not–out of simple curiosity. But the message is that even if they consider America their home, they will never truly belong.
Another example is “I’m not racist–I have a ____ friend!”