What It’s Like When Racism Comes for You

She’d never been attacked for being Asian American. The pandemic changed that.

Mari was at Taco Bell filling a paper cup with Baja Blast when the man started shouting, according to The Atlantic. White and 30-something, and wearing a bulky winter coat, he lumbered up to the soda fountain and confronted her. His words sounded slightly slurred, Mari thought, like he might be drunk. At first she ignored him; this wasn’t the first time a drunk man had shouted at her at a fast-food place in Chicago. But then her brain focused on his words: “The Oriental touched the dispenser!” the man yelled to the other patrons. “Somebody stop her!” Mari, who is half-Japanese, turned to look at the man, with just her eyes visible above her mask. He poked his index finger at her face. “She started this whole thing!” he said.

The article by ELAINE GODFREY continues:

Mari does not want her experience to be compared with any of the violent attacks against Asian Americans that have occurred across the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, she told me. Because she is biracial, she explained, her own experience with racism is notably different from that of other Asian Americans, a category that itself is not monolithic. Last month alone, an 84-year-old man in San Francisco, originally from Thailand, died after being shoved to the ground, a Korean American military veteran was beaten in Los Angeles, and a Filipino American man was slashed with a box cutter on the New York City subway. But the physical attacks are outnumbered by the smaller and sometimes subtler episodes of racism that Asian Americans have experienced. Researchers and hate-watch groups have gathered thousands of examples of these moments; taken together, they are an astonishing collection of viciousness. They also demonstrate that the past year has been doubly hard on many Asian Americans, who go out in public bracing themselves not just against a deadly virus, but against the scourge of racism too.

Read the full article.

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