Scrubbing out the red

By Emma Testerman | May 20, 2020

There was a phrase I learned in my preteen years, when I was in the middle of my unhealthy Marvel phase.

When the first Avengers movie was at its peak, and perhaps some readers may already know what I'm bringing up, there's a scene between the Norse villain Loki and an agent named Black Widow. During this intense scene, Black Widow tries to retell her past before joining the secret agency, and she says the famous line, "I've got red in my ledger, and I'd like to wipe it out."

I was a bit oblivious back then. I was too focused on Loki's cheekbones to get what she meant. What's a ledger? And why is it red?

It made sense after watching it a couple of times. It took a while for me to understand it wasn't debt, but blood. It relates to today's biggest world issues, now that we have that red flowing over in our ledgers.

We have a bad habit of repeating history. As a human race, we see and handle horrible things, things people want to forget, and the way most of us bury that is by promising it'll never happen again. But here we are once more with a pandemic certain groups pin blame on innocent lives.

During a time where we are fearful, angry and antsy, I worry that I might be the only one who thinks this way, but it needs to be said. I know I might not the only one who is noticing this incoming storm, and we need to be vocal about it before things get worse.

During panic, violence is bound to happen. It doesn't help when hateful people spread lies in a futile attempt to find a scapegoat. Something to blame it on.

Do you know why the flu of 1918 was called the Spanish flu? It's because no other country wanted to admit there was one during the height of the war, and since Spain was trying to stay out of the conflict, they were the first ones to start reporting it. It led to racial targeting across Europe, because many thought Spain was the epicenter of where it started, when all they did was responsibly warn everyone about it.

Look, I get it. We're all scared, and we're getting antsy and hoping for this to end. There's been many times on my end where I've cried at my lowest and needed to go on a night drive to clear my head after seeing this pandemic destroy lives across the country, it weighs down after filing enough obituaries of COVID-19 victims. I miss visiting my friends, and I miss going into work, it wasn't until this pandemic that I learned I'm not as introverted as I thought.

But I know better than to blame an entire country, an entire race of people for a widespread pandemic.

You cannot hold innocent people at fault for sickness. That's like blaming someone for a hurricane on the basis of 'weather warfare.' Finding fault isn't going to fix anything, it isn't going to heal anyone, and it isn't going to make you feel any better. It's only going to make you feel angrier and worsen your view of the world.

The things we say and do, especially if it harms someone, is another streak of red in your ledger. If you imply the entire Chinese race is at fault, and not just from China but also neighboring Asian countries, you're setting them up for harm. You're enabling dangerous people who hear your words and take them seriously enough to go out of their own way to hurt these innocent people who have done nothing wrong, whether by spitting at them, calling them racial slurs or god knows what. It's not the citizens' fault for their Communist government. They still have doctors working tirelessly to aid people, as well as people like us hoping for stores to open and for their kids to finish school on time and still be safe.

I'm done seeing reports come in from Asian American-owned companies being prime targets by fearful, hateful people needing a scapegoat. If you feel really passionate about this, stop yourself before you lash out against someone, as if they represent the decisions of a bad form of foreign government. Find a better outlet. Find a creative outlet to make masks, join a birthday car parade with well wishes, write out your day to day thoughts and actions so it can be used to share many years from now. Do something better than find fault. Find a hobby, get a therapist, literally anything so less violence is committed against Asian American people.

This won't look good, quoting a Marvel villain. Especially after that phase has long passed, and I've grown out of that moody teen phase that liked a broody, handsome villain with a British accent. But Loki brings up a valid question. After all is said and done, can we wipe out that much red?

But what do I know, I'm just the dingbat from away.

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