Lexa Machinski

[00:00:00] Tell me if I if you give me permission to record you for broadcast and for the Internet.

[00:00:07] My name’s Lexa Machinski and I give you permission for a broadcast and intern purposes.

[00:00:13] Dmae So what.has your been your personal experience with Asians for black lives matter.

[00:00:20] LEXA: I think because I am younger because I am of the younger population and I do see it throughout social media. I personally think I have quite a big. Understanding of what the Black Lives Matter and just the entirety of the movement is. And from my understanding sometimes because of the fact that we are really not outspoken about how we deal with injustices within the Asian Pacific our community I don’t think that we’re really doing a lot. I just don’t see it coming from someone who is Asian Pacific there. But coming from someone who’s very young was a very young American. I see that I have a lot of power to just retweet and send things out but that’s all I see and that’s all I do.

[00:01:06] DMAE: What could what could API do better.

[00:01:11] LEXA: I think raising awareness on them because we we as a community have gone through injustices. Many of them. Never intersect with the black or the black community because sometimes we there are just things that we have never had to overcome. But at the same time we do have the empathy. And so I think that we just have to find the capacity to be aware of it. And we have to find ways to share it with each other. I do think that just being there as a support is something that can definitely do. And I don’t see enough of it.

[00:01:44] Have you had any conversations with older members of your family about this.

[00:01:48] I have. My father he is a he is a white American. I have had conversations with him and he definitely does. He doesn’t care about it as much. My stepmother However she is Filipino. She is full Filipino. She looks at it and says that it feels threatening for her because she see him. She believes that because African-Americans are a minority that has injustices faced towards them that it also affects her as a minority too.

[00:02:19] But I know people who have lived in the United States who are also like people who I know my my stepmother for example she definitely feels like assent.

[00:02:30] She feels it in a more personal level than my father who is white and he just doesn’t see it as much.

[00:02:38] How is I guess the heart how do African-American Asian-American groups at your school. How do they get along.

[00:02:48] With them. The only time I’ve seen us just co-exist because we do co-exist yes. Only seen us actually interact with each other is. At my school. We have a thing called the culturally specifically I was we get together during one lunchtime and there I see people from Black Student Union from GSA and from the other culturally specific clubs meet with API SU and our the interactions that we have with each other are fairly minimal.

[00:03:20] But when you have those culturally specific clubs put together you see that you see that the people who want to actually make a difference in their community and who are openly trying to do it. And I think that it’s pretty cool. But at the same time once again it’s fairly minimal. We don’t really it’s we never meshed together when we see each other in the halls but we never talk about like the injustices and the prejudices and just the inconveniences and difficulties we have because I don’t think it’s something that we feel comfortable sharing with them and they feel comfortable sharing with us. Have you ever.

[00:03:51] How has the model minority experience or has that impacted your life as just.

[00:03:59] LEXA: As an Asian Pacific honor student. Quite heavily because I definitely see that there is an assumption that I should do better. Or. Excel. Much at a faster rate than my classmates do. And the truth is I’m not that good of a student at best. I’m an A minus actually B-plus student and sometimes talking about history because I’m Filipino. The one teacher who did bring up. But do you have any inbred hatred for Americans because you are Filipino. And I think that’s just something that’s you don’t do that. But then at the same time there’s also the thought that oh why didn’t you score high enough on the test. And then one would ask I don’t know why did you expect me to score that high in the test and somebody would say not even maybe it’s not even a teacher sometimes a student. Oh because you’re Asian and it’s not something completely evident where the teacher is. But sometimes you can just tell that students your peers would look at you and expect more from you. And it’s definitely discouraging for a student because you think that you’re trying your best but you’re always expected to do your best and sometimes you do expect that from your family members because they do expect you to do good. But when it comes from your peers and people who you expect to support you unconditionally people who you… Whenever you have family problems you go to the people who you expect to just be there like hey how are you.

[00:05:23] But there they look at you and you can just see like disappointment even though they don’t really mean it because it is something that. I think they don’t know how much of a burden it is for us to carry. But it is quite a burden.

[00:05:35] How does that. I guess having those expectations on you because you’re Asian How does that I guess a lot of times the model minority myth is is used to make. Like especially African-Americans feel bad. How does that impact you.

[00:05:54] I think that it’s. Insanely unfair because it is an alien. The fact that our stereotype that is supposed to be good for the Asian community is used against another community. It’s in a way pitting minorities against each other when we’re trying to just help each other. I think the fact that people look at us so highly and think of us so greatly is. I mean it’s very discouraging sometimes but it should never be used against another minority because they have their own struggles that can never be amount that some of the struggles that they have are ones that can’t be equated to what we feel. And just because a few Asian-Americans many Asian-Americans are capable of reaching such great lengths to great heights doesn’t mean that African-Americans are not and just because it’s just because there’s just statistics and through the system African-Americans are not capable of. They aren’t seen as much as Asian-Americans are does not mean that they are not capable of succeeding and excelling. So yeah I think it’s very unfair that they would look at us and say you should do good. And then they look at the African-American community and say you should be like them because we have our own problems and it’s not fair to them and it’s offered us.

[00:07:09] How do you see the future as far as this relationship between African-Americans and API. How do you see that developing in the future.

[00:07:18] LEXA: I think what I’m seeing with students and younger generations like how we’re trying to fix it. I think that it’s going pretty good and it’s going in a direction where we’re trying to solve it. And you’re trying to solve it and we can just collectively try to solve it together.But if you had if you were to ask me when I was still in the Philippines when I didn’t see this interaction I don’t think I would have I would be able to say that it would get better.

[00:07:42] I do believe that. There would be in a way some tension between the two communities because both are being pitted against each other. But from the way that I’m looking at everything through social media through just interaction with my friends it’s definitely becoming much better. It’s definitely becoming a way where we can support each other.

[00:08:02] Dmae: So you see hope.

[00:08:03] LEXA: I I have I have an immense amount of hope that. In the future everything will get better. It’s probably going to be much harder to overcome some things. But I do believe that we. That all the communities all the minorities have the capability to get together and just fight it. One at a time. Baby steps. But yes I do believe. Immensely and I think there’s great hope for it.

[00:08:29] So you are 17 and you’re. Tell me a little bit I guess where you go to school and what you wanted to do when you graduate. So I go to Wilson High School here in Portland. Currently

[00:08:43] I am battling between the engineering and medicine. However I have found a way to intersect both of them and just take biomedical engineering. When I got into college so I intend to pursue electrical engineering and then go into med school because. I think it’s just something that I just love helping out the community. And I think that because my mother was a nurse and my father was an engineer when I was younger I said I would never do what they’re doing but now I look at them and see that this is what I want to do. And I think that it’s just a great way for you to help out your community especially through medicine. Because I do come from a third world country.

[00:09:21] I grew up in a third world country and I think that my my family has had such struggles with just just. Health. I think that this is my way of saying thank you to them and this is my way of saying thank you to my country.

[00:09:37] So you know you’re not going to be an actor. It’s it’s it’s I do believe that acting is something that I would love I would love to pursue. However I think that I can reach greater lengths through medicine and I can help more people. And I can I can touch more hearts that way. What is bio engineer biomedical engineering is. You study biology and medicine and look at it through an engineering process you look at it and see like how the technology like technology used in the field of medicine can be. In a way articulated for you as an engineer to understand like you can understand how the body works and you can understand how machinery works and things and appliances work. But you can also just become a doctor or you can also just focus on being an engineer. It’s it’s kind of a good intersection between engineering and medicine because those are two different branches of science but but at the same time they’re also fairly connected to each other.

[00:10:38] What what can you do to get back on this topic. I think that’s awesome that you’re doing it.

[00:10:43] And I can imagine myself but how. What’s your advice to I guess young people in looking especially in how a lot of times there are a lot of conservative older generation and they don’t necessarily have good relations with African-Americans.

[00:11:00] What’s your advice.

[00:11:02] LEXA: I think one thing that I hold near and dear to my heart is. As much as I love my parents I’m not my parents. I hold different values than they do. I look up to them. But at the same time the world has changed so much and of my advice. Even my younger self would be don’t let their close mindedness affect your open mindedness. And I think just for older generations who are not it’s not that they’re not willing to accept it it’s just that they are so. Just about it in their ways that they find it hard to change. I think it’s just being open to talk about these things can really really help because sometimes it takes just one conversation to change something. And I think just raising awareness and being open about it just being willing to talk about it and being willing to understand it and just empathizing with it. I think that’s really the first step to everything because without empathy you can’t really understand how they’re feeling you can’t take into account like what it’s like to be in their shoes. And so empathy is just key to everything.

[00:12:04] Was there a specific moment you can recall with your parents if you wanted to share just one moment in one conversation in so one moment that I find fairly It is also fairly recent as my sister she is married to an African-American man.

[00:12:18] My father was not into it. He would use slurs against him. Never never in front of her husband’s face. But he would use slurs and he would constantly demean her. For marrying him. And I as a very very young person because she got married like 10 years ago. I would look at her and say that I don’t understand why dad is like this. He he as per husband loves you so much and you love him. And I don’t understand why my father is just constantly beating you up for just this. And I think that is such a personal experience for me that I look at it and say that this is not how I want to raise my kids this is not how I want my kids friends to be like this is not the generation this is not the generation that I want to follow me. This is something that I want to be a part of and I want to change. So.

[00:13:07] Yeah. Has he changed. He has stopped talking about it. But at the same time you can tell that he’s not happy about it. He has gotten to the point where he would just be silent about it and never say anything but out of all Unsinn says I’ve never been as disappointed as my father is that specific moment.

[00:13:25] So I’m so sorry about that. But you are so eloquent. You really are. Thank you for doing this. Any final thoughts here.

[00:13:34] I just uphold the value of empathy. So I think that everyone as hard as it can be it’s really it is hard to take into account somebody else’s experiences. But once you do. It’s just amazing to just hear those stories and feel what they feel because there’s something just so humane about feeling someone. And just like being there with them and just understanding how they are so yeah that’s all gives me hope.

[00:13:59] Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.