Available for Interviews: Dr. Alice Fong
Alice Fong, ND, is an integrative naturopathic doctor specializing in stress, integrative medicine, diet & weight loss, and is a business growth consultant for holistic healthcare providers.
What Dr. Alice Fong can say in an interview
“Sometimes people express themselves with unknowingly racist comments or actions. We need to develop a greater cultural competency.”
Most of the time, racist words or actions are seemingly harmless, are just simply annoying, but ignoring the smaller issues can lead to division, greater misunderstandings—and larger issues that don’t get addressed can cause significant harm and distress. It should not be ignored that a significantly higher number of Anti-Asian hate incidents have occurred since the onset of the pandemic. When it gets to the point where Asians and Asian Americans are treated ‘less than’ human and thousands of anti-Asian attacks have occurred across the country within the past year, it’s time to bring awareness and take action.
Here are 5 Steps to Greater Harmony:
- Have an open dialogue. So the first step is to be open to having a dialogue and hearing a different person’s perspective of someone who is not the same race as yourself. And to not be defensive, judgmental, or argumentative. Listen to understand, rather than to respond. Give that person the safe space to speak and express their truth. Just because you do not think it was a racist thing to say or do, doesn’t mean it was not a racist thing you said or did.
- Be curious to learn more. Ask questions to better your understanding. To know that not everyone shares the same perspective as you. Everyone has a lived experience different from your own, so understand that your truth and reality can be very different based on a multitude of factors.
- Demonstrate humility. You may or may not have known better, but regardless, acknowledge the impact your words or actions had on that individual. If you’re not sure of the impact it had, ask them.
- Acknowledge the privilege you may have. This means understanding that you do not have to face the same types of hardships that person of color had to experience throughout their lifetime.
- Work together. The big picture here is to create an action plan moving forward in minimizing similar racist behaviors—this will promote positive change in society.
Many racist acts or gestures are unknown to the culprit so it’s an ongoing issue until it’s brought to their attention and they are open to having a dialogue about it. Many people who do racist things have no intention of harming the individual it was directed towards but were ignorant to the fact that what they did would be considered racist. However just because someone does a racist act or gesture unknowingly, does not make it okay. These actions and preventative measures can both help people move forward and avoid future racist incidents from happening again, or at least minimize the frequency.
Dr. Alice Fong, fueled by the story about the Grant High Teacher Under Fire for Reportedly Making Racist Gestures During Online Class, responds:
- When I heard the story about a local high school teacher making racist gestures with her eyes, to help her students distinguish the difference between Chinese people and Japanese people, my eyes rolled with annoyance. As a second-generation Chinese-American, I was not surprised in the least, as dealing with racist gestures and actions from ignorant people is a common experience for me and my fellow Asian-Americans. I’ve been asked “Where are you from?” (as in, What country are you from? more times than I can remember). A long time ago, when I was in college, I used to be a waitress at a Japanese restaurant near Seattle where a couple asked me the infamous “Where are you from?” I knew full well what they meant, which is what country was I from? But I purposely responded with “I’m from California.” And I was surprised that they repeatedly kept asking me, “No, like, where are you originally from?” And I would keep replying, “I’m originally from California.” But to avoid causing a scene, I succumbed and followed it with “but I’m guessing you were asking about my heritage, which is Chinese, but I was born in California.” That kind of question would NEVER get asked to a white person.
- About a month ago in the Bay Area, a 91-year-old man was violently shoved to the ground in Oakland, and an 84-year-old man died following an attack in San Francisco. This is not acceptable when such hatred towards a race has escalated to the point where elderly and innocent people are violently attacked, simply based on the color of their skin.
- Racism occurs on a gradient scale in my opinion, from least to most harmful. If we were to rate racist acts on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest degree of harm, the violent attacks last month obviously would be a 10. But even acts or gestures that might be rated lower between 1-4, cumulatively over time can build into larger issues, especially because they occur much more frequently. And racism that is rated low on the harm scale is still racism because at the source of all of racism is misunderstanding, assumptions, and judgments based on perspectives they have cultivated over their lifetime.
- Before we can even begin undoing racism and prevent future acts from happening, we need to deconstruct racism from ‘bad people’ to ‘bad actions.’ Being called a racist is an emotionally charged word and people are quick to shy away from it or be defensive that they are not, which inhibits the ability to have an open conversation about it. And if we cannot have an open and honest conversation about a difficult topic, then no progress will be made.
Recent news on Spa Shootings
After this original post, the latest in a series of hate crimes directed toward Asian-Americans occurred this past Tuesday, when a deranged man open-fired in three different massage parlors, leaving eight dead.
Interview: Dr. Alice Fong
Known as the “Virtual Stress Doc,” Alice Fong, ND, helps busy professionals break free from their stress and anxiety so that they can focus on what matters to them using a 5-step holistic approach. She is the founder and CEO of Amour de Soi Wellness, which offers one-on-one wellness programs, corporate wellness workshops, e-learning, and resilience training courses.
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