Stronger together

Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do but who you raise.
This quote seems to be widely attributed to a pastor, and it stuck with me all day.

I grew up in a predominantly white city in Tennessee. When I was younger, I wished I were white so I could fit in. I was tired of being asked if I was Hispanic, Hawaiian, or Oriental (cringe). I went along with—and welcomed—Asian jokes to feel accepted, but I was ashamed of doing so.

It wasn’t until college, where I was exposed to more diverse backgrounds, that I became comfortable with my Filipina heritage. But, given my desire to go into journalism, I (usually) refused to publicly state my opinion about current events and stayed neutral.

I did the same this week, as #BlackoutTuesday took over the internet. Instead of posting a black square on Instagram, I drafted this blog post.

I didn’t intend to publish this. My well-meaning parents taught me to not make waves and work hard.

In short, stay neutral.

So, being a writer, I posted tips for journalists covering protests and retweeted debunked claims about what was happening in Minneapolis.

I saw this on Instagram, and I knew I couldn’t stay silent. I’m expecting a biracial baby girl in September. I want the world to be better for her and her peers. I will listen to and comfort her if she ever feels confused about her mixed heritage. I will teach her to be respectful and empathetic to everyone, and I’ll keep the following books and entertainment in mind.

There’s nothing neutral about that. It’s about being a decent human being.

“I wanted to say the right thing. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t, or that it would get picked apart and I realize the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing,” Meghan Markle recently said. “Because George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered.”

Supporting with my wallet

Scrapbooking has gotten me through some dark times. It’s a deeply personal creative hobby, so it’s disheartening to see a lack of diversity in scrapbooking products. I understand companies don’t want to take the financial risk in producing something that may not sell, but I’ve yet to see a black or brown Santa in Christmas collections.

Examples of scrapbook paper with a white Santa Claus
(insert bad joke about dreaming of a white Christmas)

Luckily, there are some designers who consider diversity in their designs.

Examples of diversity in paper crafts
Clockwise from top left: Azzari Jarrett, My Mind’s Eye, Echo Park Paper Co., Amber Kemp-Gerstel

It might not be much, but supporting those who showcase diversity in popular media and niche industries like scrapbooking is a start. Those people make the world a little more colorful—and less neutral.

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