Dear teacher,

I am not passive. I am not indifferent. I am not quiet. I am not complacent. I am not your model minority.

I’ll tell you what I am when you are done praising the boys and white kids. I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of trying to own up to who you think I am. I’ll tell you what I am. I’ll tell you when I’m ready. I’ll tell you what you failed to see in the first place.

My eyes are not slants. My “I” is not the same as “I need to go to the bathroom” or “I don’t know”. I am not crazy. I am not limited to my disability and race. I have a right to respect and civil rights.

I had needs you failed to reach. I am not created in your image. I am not your quiet Asian. I am not a conformist. I am not that other Asian girl you confuse me with. I am not your pet. I am not a thief. I am not a liar.  I am not a chink. I have armor and you’re saying my name wrong. Stop calling me “you” that is not the same as 宇. My name means universe.

I am daughter and older sister, mentor and caretaker. I am sick. I am strong. I am writer, healer, dancer and poet. I am Mandarin and Cantonese. I am multinational. I am borders and diaspora. I am survivor. I too, am teacher. Let me show you my ways.

Do not speak over me. Do not speak for me. Do not erase me. Do not assume we speak the same language. Do not speak colonization to my resistance. Do not speak white supremacy to my yellow/brownness.

Listening is powerful. Shut up when I’m talking. Don’t speak if it’s to validate your whiteness. Don’t speak if it’s to validate your ableism. Don’t speak over me. Don’t speak for me. Don’t try to erase me.

Here are my ground rules: learn to be an ally. And you better be there when I need you.

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