What can I do about hate crimes against Asian Americans?
As an Asian American, I’ve faced various forms of microaggression (everyday actions and comments that harm minority groups) my whole life. Even though they haven’t always been intended to be mean, I knew they weren’t right long before I knew the term, because they always left me feeling hurt.
With the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes this past year, my first reaction was to turn away from the news. I told myself that I was “protecting my thought” by not fixating on the displays of hate.
Then I learned that a man had taken a swing at my aunt as she got off public transportation. My sister, who lives in a city where there have been many recent attacks, shared that she’s afraid to leave her apartment without another adult. It wasn’t until I heard my friends’ and family’s accounts that I realized I wasn’t protecting myself by turning away; I was choosing to stick my head in the sand.
At the same time, all over social media I saw posts spreading messages like “Love over hate.” I thought, Great, but what does that really mean in practice?
One thing I know is that unconditional love is not unconditional tolerance. As a Christian Scientist, I fully believe that we are all God’s children, the children of Love, and that when we commit ourselves to recognizing this, we can see the truth and power of this fact brought to light. But mechanically throwing “thoughts and prayers” at injustice takes the spirit out of words and thoughts that should be healing, and dilutes the power of prayer. There’s a difference between using ideas like “We’re all God’s children” to give ourselves a pass and pretend nothing needs to change, and actually letting that idea change us.
With national or global issues like the climate crisis and racism, it can feel hard to know where to even start praying. I often get stuck in the weight of the issue, looking for one perfect answer that will make everything better. On top of this, I know that spiritual healing can be instantaneous, and I become frustrated when I don’t see immediate change.
What I realized recently is that I needed to turn to God and ask, “What can I do right now to actively move forward?” When I did, the thought came that these feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed actually weren’t legitimate. They didn’t come from God, so while they felt hypnotic, they were fundamentally unreal and powerless.
In my experience with prayer, I’ve learned that what is most effective, even when problems seem big, is to return to this simple truth: God is All, is good, and good has already won. And on that basis, I can trust I’ll have every thought or idea, and know every right step I need to take, to make progress.
I don’t have the one perfect answer to instantly end hate, and I don’t have a road map to get there. But I can trust the unfoldment of good for everyone, leading us all forward in every situation.
Whether God’s guidance comes as a specific thought or just a feeling, it is unmistakable. It feels like something both intelligent and loving that you just can’t ignore. So here’s something everyone can do: Allow spiritual good to be active in your thinking, so that when you hear about hatred or violence, or witness or experience it, you’re already prepared to counter it with your prayers. But don’t stop there. Continue to express and demonstrate that goodness until we all prove that genuine good is infinite, always in action, and rules out hate in any form.