Wong Tian An is a Malaysian and mathematician by trade. They are writing a book on an Asian American theology of liberation.
The time is now. We cannot be caught sitting on the sidelines. Solidarity statements, while symbolically valuable, ultimately miss the point. The Black struggle is our struggle. Everything we have collectively learned about race and capitalism tells us our struggles are inextricably connected.
Exactly 50 years ago, the identity “Asian American” was seized as a call to action, to resistance against oppression and solidarity with Third World liberation movements. Today, it is almost only a census label. Fifty years ago, the world was in upheaval, with the civil rights movement, Third World revolutions, and decolonization.
A few months ago, I became Asian American. Demographically speaking, that is. I received a green card to Trump’s U.S. From Malaysia, I landed at JFK airport in New York City in late 2018, having left it when it was Obama’s U.S. in 2016. Back then, you needed finer theoretical tools like postcolonialism to pull back the curtain on U.S. empire and critical race theory to pick apart layers of oppression.