The corona virus has caused racism and xenophobia aimed at (East) Asians to spike, but make no mistake, I have been dealing with this all my life. Like all of us. Not most of us, all of us.
For years I have been trying to put these micro-aggressions aside but now I am again completely fed up.
Long before the days of the China Exclusion Act, Asians have been associated in the West as dirty, submissive, docile, meek, small, ‘exotic’, spineless and the list goes on and on. This ends here and now.
The thing is: now that we are finally speaking up, all of a sudden people want to act like they are the victims. Like all those remarks were a ‘joke’, or we should not take everything ‘so serious’. Well I have news for them: it was never okay. They just thought they could get away with it. Sometimes maybe they did; that still does not make it okay.
But I remember one fateful day in high school. Some older kids were spraying Swastikas on the wall and hurling the usual racist remarks at me when I happened to walk by. I do not know exactly what they were thinking but here is what I was thinking: “I am not putting up with this any longer. I am going put an end to this once and for all!” So I picked up a metal pipe and threw it at them with all the pent-up frustration and cold rage. It flew straight and true. Fortunately for both of us it missed one of the kids by a hair. Literally.
I want to say that I snapped. I want to say that my eyes became blood shot red and that I was not in my right mind. But I can not; I was fully aware of my actions. I deliberately threw the pipe with the intention to do harm. It was calculated. Simply because at that point, I decided I had to fight back. Nobody was going to help me, I was on my own. And I figured if I was going down, I was going to take at least one of them down with me. After that, I was finally left alone but it was too late. Something had already died in me that day. Of course I regret my actions,
Even today, the way I felt inside that day scares me. It was a warm day, but I was ice cold. And every now and then, a situation arises that takes me back. I always try and tell myself how people are still as ignorant as ever, but wounds like this never get a chance to heal. How can they when they are ripped open time and time again? How did it even get to that point? All I can say is that I never ever wanted to feel that way. All I wanted was to be left in peace, to just live my life and do my thing. That has not changed. Sadly, the world has not changed much either. Because we still find ourselves in a similar spot.
The corona virus is scary for all of us. It does not discriminate. Anybody can get it. But here is the thing: people are so scared, but how many people died outside of China? Of course any life lost is one too many. However, my point is nobody cares about the death toll in China, but once people start dying on their soil all of a sudden people start to panic and lash out at all Asians? At Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese? That is not a spur of the moment thing. That is latent racism, something that was waiting for an excuse to rear its ugly head. Any excuse.
So I am sorry, not sorry. Asia has a long and rich history that has been tainted by invasion from the West. The British in India, Myanmar, Singapore and China, the French in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Americans in Korea (waaaay before the Korean War I might add) and also Vietnam for example. And this is not up for debate. These are facts. And what about bringing diabetes and obesity to Asia? We were doing fine without fast food chains from the West, thank you very much. And radiation diseases and generations of mutant babies from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? And cancers caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam? Again, facts. How is that supposed to make us feel?
The most interesting thing about all this is that a number of times they actually do try to tell me how I am supposed to feel. I am supposed to shut up and turn the other cheek. And apparently I am supposed to abide by their little rulebook based on lies, prejudice and stereotypes. Some people try and convince me to take some sketchy opinion pieces for facts and tell me stories about how they are being treated when they go out to the ‘Orient.’ Well, boo-hoo-hoo. Now they catch a tiny glimpse of how life is on the other side. And then all of a sudden it is an outrage and people yell bloody murder. Nah fam. I am not saying we should stoop to their level, but expect no sympathy from me either.
So here it is. This is why, at this moment, I am not snapping. I am not throwing metal pipes. Today, I am channeling all this negativity around me and in the news into something that will hopefully make a difference. Today my words are my weapon, my sword. And with it, I want to eradicate ignorance with knowledge and awareness. Enter “Yellow Peril”, my new single out 1/3/20.