My Uncomfortable Thoughts On Race

Neha Lee
4 min readJun 5, 2020


Illustrations by Neha Lee

I’ve had a lot of emotional thoughts over the past couple of weeks about what’s been happening in America and some of them have not been politically correct. However, talking about race is never politically correct. It’s never the “right time” and it is not considered “civil” conversation.

But how can you have civil conversation when someone’s humanity is being denied ?

We are in an algebraic problem where we are all trying to find “X”. However “X” is not hiding in plain sight or behind a door. We need to SOLVE for “X”.

I hear/read people saying “Oh, I’m friends with POC, that doesn’t make me racist”. Firstly, parading your POC friends around to get social capital is disgusting. Secondly, you might be friends with POC but are you thinking about their issues because we certainly think of yours and when we don’t think about them to the degree that is expected we are deemed “Un-American”, “stupid immigrants”, asked to “go back to our country” or “we haven’t assimilated into American Society”. We reflect on your problems, do ours cross your mind regularly enough to make you act or think differently?

What we need right now is not a white savior and fragile egos that are preventing us from having difficult conversations. We don’t need your misplaced empathy where you would unconsciously side with the oppressor. We need humility, we need honesty, we need you to be vulnerable and malleable to new thoughts. It is in these moments that we grow the most.

We need emotional and intellectual honesty, we need respect, we need you to listen not hear, we need your support, your voices, your minds and most importantly your actions to help solve for “X” together as a community of people. A community that is unafraid to be uncomfortable and have healthy conversations about race, injustice and inequality. We need to take direction from real social justice warriors who’ve been doing this for many, many, many years.

At the end of the day, I’m tired of having to spell out and explain to someone why I’m feeling a certain way when I’m always expected to understand someone else and be sympathetic. Language is a very powerful tool and we need to use it effectively.

Use your platform but first understand your platform and how it works. We need to be thinking critically and not fall prey to herd mentality. We should not need hashtags or multiple murders in daylight to prompt us to protest or to realize that there is a problem. We need to be actively thinking about these issues and living our lives in a manner that helps eliminate these issues even if it’s in the smallest way. It’s a small victory, yes, but these ripples will eventually make the tide shift in the direction that would benefit us all.

We all want to be heard, sounds simple enough doesn’t it ?
Sometimes the simplest things take the longest time to learn and like anything else we need to practice, make mistakes, admit we made mistakes, get back up and do it again.

A couple of things about me and why I care:
I am a legal brown immigrant. I came to the United States for a higher education on a Visa. I graduated with a Masters in 2016, worked hard for many years and I am now enjoying the fruits of my labor. I have experienced racism many times and it is something I understand thoroughly. I am a woman. Discrimination is something I learnt at a very young age. No, this is not about me. No, my experiences are not substitutable for those of a Black person living in America. And finally, I refuse to let social media dictate what I need to post on my feed in order to “support a cause”. I will ALWAYS be against police brutality, I will ALWAYS be against racism and I will ALWAYS be against fascism.