Students reflect on Asian hate


Photo by Andie San Luis

Junior Katie Parker researches Asian hate. The phrase “stop Asian hate” has been used to combat recent violence, and the movement was primarily sparked by the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings.

What is your ethnicity? Do you feel close to these ethnic roots?

Junior Alyssa Scott: I am mixed; I’m white and Vietnamese. Growing up mixed, it is complicated, but I feel a lot closer to my Vietnamese [roots] because I’ve mostly grown up with my mom. I’m really connected to that side of my culture, which makes it extremely hard to look at Asian hate going around. 

Junior Anthony Kang: I am Korean. Considering that people today usually stray from their motherland language, culture and whatnot, I try to embrace that part more to not lose a sense of [identity.] 

Sophomore Helen Moon: I’m Korean. I just moved here in October of 2019, the middle of my freshman year. I am getting used to the U.S., but my comfort zone is Korea and [my Korean] roots.


How do you feel about Asian hate occuring in the U.S.?

Scott: I personally don’t understand how anybody can look at somebody for their skin color or features that distinguish them from [others] and use that as a weapon for hate. I don’t agree with that or understand that view point. I don’t feel as if there’s any reason for that to happen under any circumstances.

Kang: It’s definitely unnerving. I work in a primarily [non-Asian] environment, in terms of the customers that come in, so whenever I’m [at work] with my mom [I’m] usually like, “I hope nobody [commits] a hate crime towards us today.”

Moon: We are all the same, but the only thing that is different is culture. In my opinion, our differences are not wrong. I feel sad and sorry for people who have experienced [hate.]


Have you experienced hate being directed towards you because of your race?

Scott: I grew up in an area where people of every race and ethnicity [were present.] I was more closed off from [discrimination] because I had never personally seen direct signs of [racism.] In seventh grade, a kid pushed me and said “You’re a dirty Asian,” and I was so confused. Last year, [I got into a fight with] a close friend of mine, and [they] called me a ch–k. Besides that, it’s mainly microaggressions like walking into the store during [COVID] and getting nasty looks.
Kang: In terms of actual hate being directed towards me, it’s been very minimal. It was in elementary and middle school, back when nobody knew any better. 

Moon: I haven’t experienced any hate, but I can see lots of prejudice, like [how] Asians need to be very good at math or science, but that’s [not true.] It depends on the person. 


How have recent events influenced your day-to-day life?

Scott: One positive thing is that it has influenced me to speak up more. It’s increased my awareness even more because I’m directly affected. I’ve been trying to get my voice out there to help people understand that there are things that are wrong in this world. The negative [influence] is I have daily thoughts about [my grandpa] being harassed when he goes for walks. He can’t speak English well, so he wouldn’t understand what is going on. I’ve seen stories of people walking down the street and having acid thrown at them or getting beat up, so [it makes me wonder] if I’m going to come home from school one day and get a phone call saying that some nasty attack has happened on somebody in my family. 

Kang: I am more on guard [when] going outside. In the off chance that someone does something stupid, I try to stay as normal as I can [while staying] safe. 

Moon: I am just at home because of COVID, [so] it is not a direct impact for me, but I watch the news to see what’s going on. 


What is something you’d like non-Asian individuals to know?

Scott: There is a narrative pushed that Asian people are the model minority because we’re educated, so I want [others] to understand that just because there’s a standard, does not mean that we face any less discrimination. Just because people in the past have [created] a false narrative, it does not excuse anything being said or done. It can be very easy to feel unsettled by a [simple] comment, so I think people need to be more aware about what they say. 

Kang: Don’t feed into stereotypes. I’ve heard it countless times, and I know it’s usually a joke, but it makes it awkward. Don’t do it to begin with and it won’t be a problem. 

Moon: I want everyone to know that if you’re Asian, White or African-American, we are all people. We may [have] different skin colors, but it is just different — not wrong.


What advice would you give to allies or those who want to help the cause?

Scott: Make sure POCs [are] the face of the cause. Use your privilege, but make sure to let [others] speak before you. If you want to be an ally, take the time to sit down and speak about these experiences with people so you know what’s actually going on. 

Kang: There are a lot of people who post videos of people being beaten or whatnot. [Instead, we should] post things that can help, post links they can fill out, give some sort of follow up and have a call to action — just posting what’s happening only gives a more negative [perspective.] 

Moon: I want everyone to be aware of what is happening, and if you’re able to share what is happening, [do so.]