What color will the ribbon be?
My Andrew Yang op-ed
Andrew Yang wants Asians to be more American, "wear more red white and blue." This is barely the approach I would take with my one year old who has no clue what’s going on but may delight in learning the significance of the colors in the flag. Blood, Power, Authoritarianism. I, too, am thinking of colors.
What color will the ribbon for this be? The rubber bracelet? It’s probably naive to think we’ll come out of this unified in anything, much less a color spec on the inevitable ephemera of charity-as-late stage capitalism, which Andrew Yang supposedly knows a lot about. Hospital whites aren’t white enough when you’re panicked about the virus. We aren’t white enough when the President tells us we’re the reason everyone’s dying. Pills are white to reassure us, unless they’re blue to make us feel invigorated—Viagara, for example. Everything sanitized needs to be the oddly reassuring color of mouthwash. The blue skies of Spring mock us. It reminds me of Manhattan on 9-11 in that the weather was, in a word: ironic. The irony of that day and those days following, of our incessant need to demonstrate patriotism by assuming too much faith in mass marketing of the flag. The marketing of the Homeland Security doctrine, Freedom Fries, Islamophobia. What is wrong with us? If being more American were the answer, Asians should be price gouging Purell and stuffing our pants with rolls of toilet paper.
We’re lucky if we can go back to early 00s ignorance of a paint by colors approach to national mourning. We’re lucky if in a year, tweens and hosts of network reality shows start amassing bracelets on their forearms in conscientious accessorizing, tie huge ribbons around the oak tree on their over-mortgaged homes. Andrew Yang is lucky if he thinks driving away from a snide remark in the parking lot of a New York supermarket is the end of his trauma. The trauma that the rest of us are combatting, is profound, multi-generational, permanent, irreparable, unforgettable, unforgivable. It is overcast by the decimation of humanity due to executive hubris, due to the news cycle lobotomy performed on the lost radio signal of our collective will to survive. I see red.
Are we inviting harassment, inviting being spat at, asking to be shoved to the ground, kicked and brutalized, in front of our children, rarely on the news…are we inviting racism if we continue to wear black to mourn the dead? I’m told wearing black is how Americans demonstrate mourning, devastation, and most importantly: resistance.