If you suffer and stay quiet, you’ll get rewarded

Suffering + Quiet = Award. This is one of the most bullshit equations passed down from generation to generation by minorities. I’ve never encountered a situation whereby laying low, somehow ended with me receiving an award. Instead, my constant proactiveness is what got me to USC. Sure, I might have suffered, putting a lot of my time and effort into competing for spots to get into USC, but I didn’t get here by being quiet.

“If you suffer and stay quiet, you’ll get rewarded,” is a misleading ideology. It doesn’t help that modern American culture and even tons of ethnic culture have adopted this ideology by glorifying those that had actually succeeded this way. Rather than just saying that the right opportunity was given at the right time, the idea is a belief that silence is what truly gets rewarded. So basically not fighting, not resisting, not standing up is the way to go to deal with all problems because apparently, time will reward eventually. However, this ideology is wrong. In fact, it was made to control people, specifically, minorities in order to stop them from acting up against the majority. Rather than being words to motivate us or teach us about patience, it is about giving false hope. An ideology that has been passed down from the times of slavery, immigrants, and even in the household of modern-day minorities in America.

In my family, a different, yet the similar idea has been passed down in my family. It is “to keep on moving forward.” A bit cliche, but that ideology comes from a family lineage that has worked hard, study, sacrificing their own happiness and pride for the sake of family. Both sides of my family came from extreme wealth in a third-world country, Vietnam, at the time. After having lost the war, they were stripped of everything and became no greater than beggars, homeless immigrants, people that in the eyes of three different refugee settlements, didn’t want them staying for too long. So, I agree, that there must be suffering, even if it's extremely minor compared to my family’s experience. However, I disagree about the silence. Why my family never said to be quiet is because we survived by being loud. My grandma was one of the first Vietnamese female lawyers of her time. She used her knowledge of the law to free her family from the binds of jail, staying behind and causing trouble for the North Vietnamese Communist party. Eventually, they had to kick her out of the country, which is how she was able to reunite with her family. She was not quiet, rather so loud that the country had to kick her out for being annoying. There are other instances in my family’s history in which we were loud, but the point of what I am saying is that suffering and being quiet doesn’t equal awards. Instead, that ideology is about leaving it up to fate rather than one’s own hands. Hence why, it is more parallel to a set of prison bars, in which obedience gives you less jail time.

The thing about this ideology is that rather than just being about racism, it is overall about oppression. The kind of oppression that is built on false hope as long as the oppressed are suffering. Hence why it has been passed from generation to generation of minority groups that have and are still suffering in America. Only those that have recognized the bars that are placed by following this saying are able to escape. However, a few don’t, creating an endless cycle in which their future descendants would continue to follow the same ethos. There is no glory in silence. Instead, suffering, hard work, and loudness are what allows someone to break free from the chains of oppression and truly experience triumph.

Although the overt oppression system has gone away from America, there is covert oppression that continues to be passed down, even unintentionally by the oppressed. I would love to critique this systematic oppression, but for this ideology, I will say that silence didn’t stop overt oppression. In fact, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Muhammid Ali, Abraham Lincoln, and any famous men who had fought oppression in their time did not stay silent. There were passive resistance, boxing, marches, speeches, and even wars, which were all used to stand up against their oppressor. There is no award for those that remain silent. Rather, those that speak the loudest, especially at the moment when given the opportunity to fight back, are the ones that have a chance to get what they desire.




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