Opinion: Hate turned my Asian-American mom into a shut-in. This isn’t the country she left her homeland for #Breaking112

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It’s not because of the virus as Covid-19 continues to rage in my home state of California. It’s because she is absolutely certain that as an older Asian woman with a limp she will be targeted by violence.

Since the horrific news of the Atlanta shootings broke, I’ve been stuck in this simmering rage while following events from afar here in Hong Kong. I can’t hug my American family and friends. I can only communicate through screens and doomscroll online.

I’m told it’s too early to call Tuesday’s shootings a hate crime even though six of the eight victims who were shot at three separate locations were Asian women. ​
I’m told the alleged shooter was “having a bad day” and suffering from “sex addiction” after innocent Asian women were murdered while working to support themselves or their families.

This is the kind of thinking that feeds into the sickening stereotype that Asian Americans are “TOTALLY FINE” and not being targeted by racist violence.

Demonstrators wearing face masks and holding signs take part in a rally "Love Our Communities: Build Collective Power" to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California, on March 13, 2021.

How many more members of the community have to be assaulted, attacked or slaughtered before this is widely recognized?

Let’s look at the stats. Anti-Asian hate crimes in the US are up 150% during the pandemic, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Around 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents took place in the past year with 68% of cases targeting women, according to new research out this week from Stop AAPI Hate.
There have been increasing attacks on Asian Americans, especially elder members of the community who are now too scared to leave their homes.

Back in February last year, my mom started to self-isolate during the outbreak just to avoid the comments and stares she received while wearing a mask outside.

She told me on FaceTime with a self-deprecating chuckle, “It’s allergy season too. I’m too afraid of sneezing or ‘coughing while Asian.'”

But the micro-aggressions continued: people coughing in her general direction, someone saying “you must be from Wuhan,” another asking, “Why are Asians so paranoid?”

As the pandemic dragged on, such casual slurs have morphed into next-level bigotry. Asian senior citizens have been robbed, slashed and killed as the number of hate crimes against Asian-Americans spiked.

And I find myself dreaming of being able to teleport my mom here to Asia.

She could wear a mask without being judged.

She could venture out to her favorite beef noodle restaurant without fear of being knocked down.

She could be left alone and perhaps, even respected.

This morning, to lift her spirits, I sent her a viral video of a local news report out of San Francisco. An elderly Asian woman who defended herself against a man who had attacked her. Images showed him leaving him on a stretcher with injuries.

But what I lapped up to be an “Equalizer” moment of street justice, my mom saw as another tragic example of hate and discrimination.

She points out the telling details in the video showing how the attacker is on a stretcher and receiving medical care while the woman, screaming and crying, is left alone nursing her wounds and her trauma.

“This poor old woman could have been me,” my mom tells me.

And she’s absolutely right.



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