I am a young woman of Korean decent living in the US. I enjoy going to comic/anime conventions. (I also enjoy cosplaying) And every year without fail I am subject to harassment and degradation. One specific convention I have attended the past 4 consecutive years. The first year I was 15 and a man lifted my skirt as I walked up the stairs, then he and his friends corners me and made lewd comments while pulling and prodding at me/my costume. I have been bowed to by white men, criticized for cosplaying non Asian characters. And even spoken to in broken Japanese by other attendees (I’m of Korean decent and was born in the US). People just throw me into a vague place of “Asian” rather than trying to understand the difference of my culture and heratige. The worst is the fetisization of East Asian women and how it surfaces within interactions during these events. Other attendees would never touch or harass another cosplayer because they hold cosplay in high regard as an art. But many of the see me and break boundaries that my friends say have never been crossed with them. I feel as though they see my handmade cosplay as a cheap costume in an Asian themed porno. Like I am there to cater to them instead of dressing up for fun and to express myself (like the other cosplayers)
It was the night of the election around 2 am and the news had not yet called the presidential election but it was pretty clear that Donald Trump was going to win. I was putting out the trash and there was this young man sitting on the stoop across the street from me waiting for his friend. He was talking to a friend of his who was upset about the outcome. He very clearly said "We're fine. Donald Trump likes us, white people. Who cares about the rest? Trump will lower taxes and white people are fine." I looked over at the young man because I was shocked and went back to my apartment. Eventually, his friend showed up and his friend brought up the election saying something along the lines that we are all screwed. The young man replied to his friend "Naw, we're good but the chink across the street is screwed." The guy didn't realize that I lived on the ground floor and my window was open. I grew up in Columbus, Georgia where my family and I were one of the few Asian families that lived in Columbus during the late 80's. I am used to dealing racism because of the South but I was shocked to hear it in Philadelphia and in my neighborhood that is diverse.
My friend and I were heading to my apartment and as we walked by a neighborhood bodega that is run by a Chinese-American family a man yelled at the owner of the store "Your fucking English is no good. Learn how to speak! Fucking yellow Chink! Mangia merde e morte! Vaffanculo! " My friend and I yelled back at the man "Yo, you're yelling at this woman about her lack of ability to speak English and you are yell at her in Italian? You are a racist and an ignorant idiot." The man just sulked away. My friend and I then asked the lady if she was okay and not to let this man get to her.
My family moved to South in 1987 and we have dealt with racism on a daily basis. My parents like many Asian-Americans own a business. My parents run a typical small family-run mom and pop restaurant. One day in a very large white man came in to order food. He asked for an egg roll and my father informed him that we were sold out. The man became very angry and called my father all sorts of things and then proceeded to throw bottles of condiments at him. My father asked the man to leave and then called the police. The man became even further agitated and tried to punch my father. He couldn't get a punch in because my father was able to quickly move out of the way and then proceeded to run and charge at my father. Little did this poor man know that my father who is slender and not tall had extensive military train and has a black belt in taekwondo. My father out of self-defense flipped, pinned, and then choked out this man until the police came. The people in the neighborhood took video footage of the whole incident and the man was arrested.
Incident occurred in 2017.
I was camping in Yellowstone National Park with my husband. It was the middle of the day and I walked on a path between two campsites to get to the campground bathroom. A white man with Washington State plates was sitting at a nearby campsite yelled at me, saying "you know there is a certain etiquette around here..." implying that I had walked to close to his campsite. I said nothing and continued walking. He then screamed, "go back to where you came from!" He and his wife then glared at me with contempt while I walked away.
It’s 2 A.M and my boyfriend and I are trying to head home after celebrating a friend visiting Houston. The surge pricing on car services was crazy. We live by the museum and haven’t taken the tram before so we bought two tickets and hopped on.
We sat by ourselves and we were thrilled about riding the tram, how cheap it was and it was mostly clean. I’m texting my friend to take the tram down to our stop and then call a car to head home because her Uber ride from downtown would have cost $60. We are sitting quietly when this black man boards at the next stop and starts saying very rude comments about me being an Asian woman. At first I ignored him because he was clearly I toxicated but also I was still messaging my friend to take the tram down and away from the downtown surge pricing.
This man told me how an Asian woman can’t compare to a black woman because we have small boobs, waist and butt. He said he didn’t have an Asian fetish. He continued on saying how my white boyfriend and I could never produce a black child, and that we were unintelligent and beneath him because he had a bachelors in English. I looked up from my phone and asked him if he was done with his disgusting and ridiculous comments. He called us a racist when I said something. I stood from my seat, laughed and told him he was the one making racial and sexist comments from the moment he boarded the tram. I told him I did nothing to him to warrant this behavior when Ive been sitting down quietly, minding my own business. I didn’t even notice he got on the train let alone register what he looked like. I told him he had no respect towards anyone, especially women and was an embarrassment to society. That this society didn’t need more people like him with his small minded hatred towards someone who looked different from him. I continued on to tell him we are all human and genetically we are identical but apparently his superior English degree didn’t teach him with the hateful comments he was directing at me.
When my boyfriend stood up, he’s over 6 feet tall, he stood more than a head taller than this man. He told him to get away from us and that he was an ignorant man. That’s when the conductor stopped the train and came out from his post. We looked at the conductor and tried to explain what’s been going on but he knew. He heard everything He told this man to exit the train. We thanked him and got off at our stop.
In elementary school, there was a particular girl who I didn't get along with. In lunch one day, in front of all of our friends, she told me to "Go back to China!" I told her that I'm not even Chinese, and I'm also half white and I was born in the U.S. My mom later called her mom and made her apologize, but the school didn't do anything about the incident. Although it was only a small act of racism, it still resonates with me. Words and slurs like this often make me and other Asians feel like 'perpetual foreigners'- even when we were born and raised in America-even though I'm half white. I truly believe that these small acts of prejudice can add up to cause low self-esteem, distorted self-image, and in some cases lead to mental health issues.
I was doorbelling for local candidates in a residential area in my city. A man in about his mid-30's crossed the street to block my path and demanded to know what I was doing. I told him I was distributing election information. He then demanded that I show hims some ID. I pointed out to him that I was standing in a public street and refused. He kept demanding that I show him my ID, and I kept refusing and referring to my First Amendment rights. I finally told him to "knock it off" and walked away. He seemed confused about what to do at that point, and did not follow me.