We can’t keep turning away.
We can’t keep shutting the door to what we know is going on. Literally and figuratively. On Monday a Manhattan luxury building security guard was caught on a security camera closing the door on a 65-year-old Asian American woman after she was attacked in a hate crime.
In broad daylight, not far from Times Square, a man kicked a Filipino woman in the stomach. Then he punched her in the head.
All while yelling “anti-Asian statements” screaming “You don’t belong here.”
Three Blind mice watched from the lobby of a nearby building and did nothing. One man closed the door shut.
Who was there to protect this woman? Who will be there to protect the next victim?
Who will be there to protect you?
This should hit a nerve in all of us. We have all been punched in the stomach. As a Jewish American, it hits close to the bone. I have seen the recent rise in anti-Semitism and hate of the Other.
Xenophobia, that most American of dishes has always been simmering on the back burner of our so-called melting pot. It has been raised to a rolling boil by Donald Trump who added his own vile seasonings of bitterness, aversion, and hostility with a heaping helping of fear.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been steadily rising in the US during the coronavirus pandemic. It is indisputable that it has been spurred on by the racist rhetoric about the “Chinese Virus” uttered at every opportunity by that xenophobic cheerleader in chief former president Trump.
According to NYPD through March 28 there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim so far this year compared to the 29 reported to police in all of 2020.
The hostility and violence against Asian Americans is rising and that is Donald Trump’s legacy.
This brutal and violent attack in the heart of NYC at high noon has understandably left so many shaken and frightened, reinforcing a lifetime of fears and insecurities in our Asian American citizens.
Today I share my post with a compelling piece by a dear friend, Jean Kohn an Asian American woman who has understandably been unnerved by this rising hate. Her words resonated with me. I hope they do for you.
“During the trying times of this pandemic, my 80-year-old Asian mother (Korean, not Chinese – not that it seems to matter) has been verbally and physically abused while merely going for a walk to get some fresh air from her studio apartment, or to buy groceries. People have thrown garbage at her, and have spat in her direction…just because she’s Asian.
I have had to urge her to hide as much of her face as possible when she leaves her apartment, for fear of being a further target of a stranger’s hatred. I also urge her to stand back from subway platforms or on the road, to avoid getting pushed into the path of a fast-moving vehicle. We have never considered reporting this small sampling of incidents that we have endured because we have been silenced or shamed for so many years that it seems futile…
It’s up to “US”
It’s up to us (Asian Americans) to educate the public on the long-standing Anti-Asian sentiment that has been unspoken:
Asians by their very nature have been cultured to be quiet, submissive, and to internalize any pain, sorrow, or angst. It is shocking to read that people think anti-Asian sentiment doesn’t exist and that “nobody hates Asians” or that it is just a political stance. I assure you, it is very real.
Throughout my life, I have accepted the bullying and harassment in schools, supermarkets, restaurants, you name it. We have been taught that staying quiet is the answer because the perpetrators do not get reprimanded, and their infractions are overlooked as just “personality traits,” or we are being “too sensitive” or imagining things. Just as being called “four eyes” or “blubber” has long-lasting effects on a child’s psyche, being called “chink” or “gook” or all the other demeaning gestures that depict Asian traits can leave indelible marks and lead to a child never feeling good enough or not being accepted in the very country where many of us were born and have contributed greatly to society.
Many Asians have even gone to lengths to alter their eyes, nose, and other features to appear “less Asian,” a heartbreaking and painful undergoing, since we are all created with our unique features for a reason. These rallies that are held throughout the country for causes are sometimes the only means for minority groups to be heard. Major media networks do not cover many of the incidents, resulting in the misconception that Asian hate does not exist, or that it is a political stance.
It’s up to us (all Americans) to understand that it’s not only about Asians, Blacks, Gays, Jews, Italians, Irish, and the litany of other stereotypes that have been unfairly judged throughout history:
No one has the right to harass or main another human being based on their beliefs. If you must hate merely because someone doesn’t look the way you want them to, that’s your prerogative, I suppose, but it stops there. If said “offender” is doing something harmful or illegal, your responsibility lies at reporting it to the proper authorities, but you cannot attack or kill someone just because you don’t like them. It should be that simple. It should be about you as a human being treating another with courtesy and respect simply because they are alive just as you are, and have the same rights as you do.
It’s up to us (all of us) to understand where the hatred and racism stems from:
As there is no definitive answer as to how this virus truly came to life, we need to tame our accusatory nature and protect each other from it, and not perpetuate unfounded theories. Fear prompts us to cling to our beliefs that anyone that is different from us should be outcast or belittled. Hate is easier for those who cannot face what they don’t like about their own shortcomings or insecurities, and it allows them to deflect this inner pain and spring it on to someone else.
We owe it to each other and ourselves to see what pain we are hiding from ourselves that allows us to let this form of abuse towards any stereotyped group continue.”