By Ada Carlston
New York City, New York
On June 1, Sydney K. and Isabel R. created the Instagram account @asians4antiracism with the intention of offering resources on how to be anti-racist and combat anti-Blackness. The account has amassed 7,500 followers and posts photos and stories daily that provide resources relating to various racial groups. The page is a public and interactive space with a link in its bio leading to a plethora of petitions, websites and stories.
Both teenagers from New York City, Sydney and Isabel said they were inspired to start the account after “witnessing the blatant anti-Blackness in our respective Asian communities.” Sydney and Isabel said their “journey on how to be anti racist” included taking a step further in their engagement in anti-racism conversations and activism.
The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor––among others––have emboldened the Black Lives Matter movement, which @asians4antiracism openly advocates for and encourages support of. Sydney and Isabel have addressed the importance of allyship, the danger of performative activism among non-Black people, and how to combat these issues as a framework for the discussions on anti-Blackness they hope to foster. Sydney and Isabel have posted several slides on the page with handles of Black-owned businesses across all consumer products, as well as Black activists and Black-owned organizations for their followers to research. Sydney and Isabel both acknowledge that “so many people have already dedicated themselves to the work we have just begun...we try to listen and follow their example and amplify their voices.”
Though Sydney and Isabel’s inspiration to start this page came from observing anti-Blackness in their surroundings, they also continue the effort to provide resources for many other neglected groups. Among these groups are Indigenous women, Latinx people, trans people of color, and people of Asian descent. On their page, there are slideshows titled “10 Indigenous Advocacy Organizations to Follow” and “Transphobic Rebuttals” that include tangible information and knowledge. Sydney and Isabel have “spent hours reading and utilizing resources” while also realizing that “reading about antiracism and actively being anti-racist are two entirely different things." Through their extensive work and research about multiple minority groups, Sydney and Isabel have become more well-rounded anti-racist educators in the process.
One of the ways in which Sydney and Isabel present methods to help people of color is to educate white identifying followers on how they can use their privilege to amplify voices of people of color. Sydney and Isabel repost infographics with tips and suggestions for white people to use in tough conversations about race, both in conversations with diverse voices or only white voices. Some of these posts include slides on “How To Respond When People Deny White Privilege'' and “Reflection Questions: Check Your Privilege.”
During unprecedented times, many people find it challenging to balance school work, pandemic caution and making sense of the constant reports of racism and tragedy in the United States. However, Sydney and Isabel set time aside for this Instagram account and anti-racist work because, according to them, “if you care about something, you make the time for it.”
When asked about their impact on their followers, Sydney and Isabel said, “We try to respond with the best advice we can give or provide resources of more knowledgeable people who can.” Sydney and Isabel have fostered a user-friendly and passionate page for anyone, regardless of identity and prior knowledge to learn more about how to be an ally, how to cope with racism, and how to be the change one hopes to see. Their work will not go unnoticed, and they have touched their followers with everlasting guidance on how to be anti-racist.