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  • Writer's pictureAli Assareh

Racism is the water in which we swim, not the sharks in the water.

Incredible analysis from Lily Zheng, one of my favorite people on LinkedIn:

"One of the biggest mistakes we've made as a society is allowing "racism" to be understood as an intention, rather than an outcome. By doing so, we've also created a concept of a "racist" as "a person who has the intention of racism," and informally tied this definition to a range of social and legal consequences ranging from ostracization to hate crime legislation.

But center the real-life harm caused to marginalized communities and it becomes clear that there's no point in picking out the "racists" from the "good people." People and systems have participated in racist harm since the birth of our nation.

Was it a hate crime to expose 4 million Vietnamese citizens to Agent Orange?

Was it a hate crime to forcibly relocate 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps?

Was it a hate crime to prohibit all Chinese immigration to the U.S. via the Chinese Exclusion Act?

Was it a hate crime to cover Covid-19 in news media with so much racial stereotyping that three years worth of declines in anti-Asian bias were reversed in weeks?

No, and yet all of this is and was racism. #Racism is the termites in the foundation of this country. Racism is the water, not the shark. If we want to do better, we have to fix our entire culture and systems, not just our people."

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