“I am fortunate enough to not personally know any perpetrators of Asian hate nor have I been the victim of any recent Asian hate crimes.
But this doesn’t mean that I am spared and this isn’t a cause that I can turn a blind eye to.
If I knew any perpetrators personally, I’d have this conversation with them. But since I don’t - or at least none that are openly so - I’ll address my thoughts with this open letter.
I’d like to ask why you’re doing this.
Does our pain, fear, or suffering make your life better? What have we done to make you hate us so? Do you feel better for having made us feel worse?
I feel a great sense of disappointment - in our society, in our communities, and in all the modern-day progress we pride ourselves on. Clearly, we aren’t as enlightened as we’d like to think we are.
This hate is tearing countries apart. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed by the constant barrage of acts of hatred.
But perhaps I am being foolish. Disappointment is not such a terrible feeling to have on the whole. Particularly when I ought to be fearful.
After all, I could be the next victim. Or if not me, a family member or a friend from the Asian community.
With rates of reported anti-Asian hate crimes 150% higher than the previous year, I could easily find myself at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I could be punched, spat at, or violently shoved into the ground. Or maybe I’ll get “lucky” and will only be shunned, discriminated against, or verbally harassed. I could also be “unlucky” and find myself stabbed, set on fire, or the target of an acid attack.
Did someone of Asian descent once insult you, leaving you with a grudge against all Asians?
That’s 60% of the world population that you’re holding a grudge against. I can assure you that we are separate individuals. We do not act homogeneously and there is no queen bee that exercises her mind control over us.
If someone of the opposite gender spurned you, would you hate the other half of the world’s population?
Do you feel jilted by the financial success of the “model minority”?
There are Asians across the entire spectrum of wealth - just as there are rich and poor White, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic people everywhere. I do not get a meal ticket from the shape of my eyes. And for what it’s worth, my family started off washing dishes for a country golf club.
The stereotype of Asians being hardworking and diligent is only that - a stereotype. There are lazy Asians and unsuccessful Asians too; there are Asians who are bad at math and Asians who don’t play the piano or violin.
Do you feel like we don’t belong in your country?
I’d like to delicately point out that if you are White and you’re living in North America or Australia, it was never “your land” to begin with. You may be the majority of the population now but that doesn’t make it “your land” just because you forcefully took it over.
And what does it take to “belong” in a country? Clearly, immigrating and starting a life here doesn’t pass your scrutiny, nor does being born here. You don’t seem to care how many generations of my family call this country home.
In your eyes, perhaps we will never belong here. But if we don’t, then neither do you.
Does our Asianness - our food, culture, or language - offend you?
We don’t eat cats or dogs. We do eat some “weird things” like chicken feet, offals, and pig ears but if you’ve taken an animal’s life for food, shouldn’t you want to use up as much of it as possible? Do you hate the French for eating snails, frog legs, and foie gras?
For what it’s worth, my favorite meal is a steak - preferably a ribeye. I grew up eating McDonald’s and other fast foods. I also thought for the longest time that spaghetti and meat sauce was a typical Chinese dish. For the record, it’s not but 100 years under British rule will lead to some culinary fusion.
Do our Asian features disturb you?
Our almond-shaped eyes, our flatter faces, and our smaller noses. Our brown eyes, our dark hair, and our smaller body frames. As someone who grew up in a White-dominated environment, I too was disturbed by my own Asian features.
For years, I wished I was White. Maybe then I’d be one step closer to meeting society’s definition of beauty. I would no longer be forced to be different from everyone else and I wouldn’t have to feel self-conscious about my features.
With time and a fair bit of soul searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer wish I was White. I’ve learned to embrace my Asianness and be proud of my diversity.
What exactly do you hope to achieve by perpetuating this discriminatory hate against Asians?
How many Asians do you want to attack before you call it a day? Are we your scapegoat for the pandemic? Or perhaps you view us as your emotional punching bag or whipping boy for when you have a bad day?
Do you want us to pack our bags and leave “your” country? Or would you prefer to round us up and send us to internment camps? Possibly burn a couple of us at the stake or lynch a few of us over tree branches to satisfy your blood thirst?
Or would you like to go all the way and launch a full-on genocide?
Because that’s the direction that blind hatred for an ethnic group leads to.
As human beings, we should be better. Have we learned nothing from our history?
If you are a perpetrator of Asian hate crimes, please stop.
Is this too much to for? I know I’m not making this request from a seat of power, but I am imploring you from a position of vulnerability.
Asians are people too. We laugh and we cry; we feel happiness and fear; we experience hope and helplessness.
Whatever your reasons are for acting out against us, let’s talk and discuss. Let’s have a conversation so that we can share and debunk beliefs, stereotypes, and lies. Let’s understand each other and get to know one another.
But first, the violence and discrimination need to stop.”