It’s easy to take the human aspect out of another shooting when, unfortunately, so many happen in America. But this one hit close to home. I’m Korean, and it felt like one more attack on Asian-Americans at a time when we're increasingly under fire. I see and experience aggressions on a regular basis, although on a much smaller level.
I’ve had many “friends” make jokes about how all Asians look the same.
When an Asian woman is shown on TV or even walking down the street, they'll point at them and pretend like they're getting that person confused with me, making comments like, "oh, whoops, I thought that was you! Haha." Or when they see an Asian family out and about, they'll act like it's my family and tell me to go walk with them.
I've had "friends" perpetuate the fetishisation of Asian women by talking to me in a fake, exaggerated Asian accent. And, of course they waved it off as, "I was just joking!" if I ever called them out on how inappropriate it was. Or they acted like Asian women are supposed to be docile and subservient, telling me to clean up after them and take care of other domestic duties around the home, simply due to my being an Asian woman.
Almost every single time, I was gaslit into thinking that I was the one with the problem for taking issue with the way they treated me and spoke to me.
Now, I’m seeing something similar play out on a much larger—and much more dangerous—level.
During the pandemic, COVID-19 keeps being blamed on Chinese people. It’s even been called “the China virus.” And while I’m Korean, not Chinese, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (or AAPI) community is often lumped together in the U.S. It's hard to shake off those comments—they make you wonder how many people think that you're somehow to blame for the hardships of life right now.
People will say these statements are harmless, but they’re absolutely not. This mass murder is an example. It's clear that Asian people in America are being bullied and targeted. There are also incredibly tone-deaf remarks coming from people who say the recent attacks aren’t racist, or that the alleged gunman was having “a bad day” when he murdered eight people. That makes me so angry. Nobody should be justifying a murderer for any reason.
The people saying these things have likely never been on the receiving end of this treatment.
Just because you’ve never experienced something like racism doesn’t mean it’s not real.
When I started to see the names of the victims and hear their backstories, I realised that that this could have been my mom or my sister.
I know I’m not the only Asian-American impacted by this. I’ve had many Asian-American female clients tell me that they’re afraid to leave the house alone, even for walks right now. That’s a huge deal. These things impact our health, our stress levels, and our willingness to go outside and exercise.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have said anything publicly about this. I would have told myself that my social media followers are just there for the health and fitness posts and left it to someone else. But a lot of people are being harmed by this rhetoric and I’m just growing more intolerant of this. So, I’ve spoken out.
None of this should be brushed under the rug. Everyone should call out anti-Asian rhetoric. I’ve heard people say that those of us who are speaking out just want attention—that’s not okay, and it’s not correct.
I don’t entirely know what can be done about this. I’m just one minority woman who’s very frustrated and incredibly angry about what’s been happening. I’m also angry about people’s overall unwillingness to really change.
- What I’d really like to see is people being more vocal about standing up to and calling out micro-aggressions and acts of discrimination.
ou have no idea how much of an impact these seemingly "small" incidents have. If left unchecked, they can grow into much bigger problems. Stop normalising discrimination.
It’s frustrating that it feels like the responsibility is on oppressed people to stand up and fight for themselves. It’s exhausting to take this on alone. Shouldn’t we all be standing up for what’s right?
This is all going to continue unless we all do something. No one person’s voice is too small. These kinds of issues need volume. I find myself feeling let down by friends and colleagues who are aware of what’s going on and continue to lead their lives like nothing has happened.
If you want to help, you can donate to charities that support Asian-Americans. And even if you don’t have money, you can share information and work hard to be an ally. And if you see someone being harassed or bullied for their ethnicity, speak up. All of these things can help. And hopefully, over time, we can make meaningful change.
Via Women's Health