As an Asian American, I’ve been conditioned to a certain kind of unspoken racism. This pandemic has unmasked how vicious it really is.
I never would havethought that the word “Chink” would have a resurgence in 2020. The word was supposed to be as outdated as those sinister little Chinamen saltshakers I saw in thrift shops. It still thrived among bottom feeders on the internet, but I hadn’t heard it directed at me since I was in my 20s. But now I was encountering that word every time I read about an anti-Asian incident or hearing about its use from friends. I couldn’t process the fact that Americans were hurling that slur at us so openly and with such raw hate. In the past, I had a habit of minimizing anti-Asian racism because it had been drilled into me early on that racism against Asians didn’t exist. Anytime that I raised concerns about a racial comment, I was told that it wasn’t racial. Anytime I brought up an anti-Asian incident, a white person interjected that it was a distraction from the more important issue (and there was always a more important issue). I’ve been conditioned to think my second-class citizenry was low on the scale of oppression and therefore not worth bringing up even though every single Asian-American I know has stories of being emasculated, fetishized, humiliated, underpaid, fired or demoted because of our racial identities.
After President Trump called Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” in March, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council said more than 650 incidents of discrimination directed against Asian-Americans were reported to a website it helps maintain in one week alone. Even after seeing that number, I wondered if anti-Asian racism would be taken seriously. On Twitter, when the novelist R.O. Kwon talked about the surge, an in-law asked doubtfully, “Is it really happening?” Do the reports have to rise to 1,000 a week? 2,000? How many is enough so that the hate will be seen?
Read more below, via NT Times.