The perspective of an Asian American

Izzy Antilla, Feature's Editor

Growing up, I heard a plethora of offensive statements, “What are you,” “You’re so exotic,” “Ching Chong, “You eat dog. Kids slanted their eyes to imitate me, so much so I became accustomed to it, and became accustomed to the blatant racism I faced growing up in the fear that if I were offended people would call me sensitive 

I grew up with an amazing Chinese immigrant as my mom, who taught me my culture and principles other kids never really understood. She taught me to respect others, take care of your family and to be confident in my culture and self. Sometimes, it was hard looking at my white counterparts wondering why they were light, and I was dark, why I had to be Mulan or why I had to be a Native American in our Thanksgiving performance.  

Though it wasn’t always the ideal childhood, I was always thankful for my culture and though sometimes it was hard to be confident within my culture, when other kids would make fun of my tofu while they ate their Lunchables. Thanks to my mother I realized there was no reason to not be confident in my culture, as it was their loss not mine.  

And while those statements that people told me growing up, and still tell me, made me upset, people’s blatant ignorance to other cultures is what offends me most. In such a whitecentered and affluent neighborhood, the privilege they have is apparent, but many use that privilege not to help others but disrespect them. For example, my mother had to fly across the world, leave her family, and live off of nothing just to seek a better life and better freedoms, while being discriminated for her skin tone, then people here are born into money, safety and education without any appreciationInstead of trying to learn culture I’ve seen posts saying, “Save the dogs from China,” yet they themselves have no idea what those individuals are going through, instead they make stereotypical jokes based off of things they have no knowledge of. It’s hypocritical seeing that they’ll go eat a hamburger right after, one that is most likely from a cow in terrible conditions. 

Yet when I confront these said people, many defend their ignorance by stating “What, I love boba tea” and “Omg what I just had Pei Wei.” It is interesting because those are usually the same people who told me five years ago “Ewe what are you drinking,” when I drank boba and it wasn’t a trend. People love to “appreciate” other cultures when it fits their societal norms but that’s not what it is for.  

Being a generally optimistic person, I was thankful for what I did have and looked forward to the future in hopes that the next generation would lack the same level of ignorance and racism. But considering the recent attacks on Asian Americans my whole world has been shaken.  

 Yes, before these attacks I faced racism and ignorance, but I didn’t think of the possibility someone would kill me because of my status as an Asian American. I didn’t have to fear for my mom or my sister, but now especially because the ages that were targeted my family has been living with an extreme amount of caution.  

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the spam of posts since the attacks, which I am not lamenting about as many people have the best interest in mind. But to be completely honest those posts aren’t doing much in preventing more violence and a lot of the times are used by people to look knowledgeable and caring to their peers.  

So, what can you do?  

Begin not saying or accepting others to say things I explained earlier, instead try to be more respective to Asian culture and do your research before making racist statements and actions like those. Because facilitating a nation with an acceptance towards racism facilitates a nation with violence based off the color of skin.  

While reposting an Instagram photo may “spread awareness, what really matters is your actions. It is important to stop making ignorant claims and stick up for your Asian American counterparts because in the end people can talk all they want but the only way things will change is action.