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Being Asian-American During the Pandemic is Terrifying

     I wish I was white. Again. Unless you are part of the Asian community, you probably haven’t heard about the mass amounts of unprovoked attacks that the Asian-American population has faced since the start of the pandemic. Imagine this, you’re walking down the street and a couple of yards ahead of you is an elderly Asian man who just walked out of the grocery store with grocery bags in his hands. Now imagine seeing a white man get in front of him, and while you can’t hear the conversation, you can tell this person is being verbally aggressive toward this elderly man. The situation escalates just as you are nearing them, and all of a sudden the elderly man is in the middle of the street as the white man stands on the sidewalk all smug. If this situation doesn’t bother you, first of all, are you human? Second of all, if you don’t see how this is racist then YOU are racist. If you would have just stood by and done nothing in this situation, it makes you no better than that violent racist. Sadly, this isn’t just some horror story that you share around a campfire to scare kids into behaving, these types of unprovoked violent acts are a real issue that the Asian-American community is facing amidst the pandemic. 

     While we are no stranger to racism or racist acts against us, the unprovoked violent actions that have been targeting Asian-Americans have skyrocketed to nearly 3,000 cases since the start of the pandemic. As an Asian-American who was born and raised in the United States, these cases have become a terrifying reminder that despite never having had a home outside of the United States, I will always be viewed as an outsider regardless. I find it absolutely horrifying that the U.S. always promotes that we are a “crockpot” of different cultures that makes the U.S. a welcoming environment and yet, our “loving neighbors” will push complete strangers into a street without batting an eyelash. Upon his sixth day in office, President Joe Biden made a statement on the Anti-Asian American acts occurring within the United States. He stated that “this is unacceptable, this is un-American” and yet, blatant racism isn’t a new phenomenon. Ricky Leung, who is part of the North Carolina Asian Americans Together further emphasized that racism wasn’t a new foe that our community was facing, but that it has only now been brought to light because of COVID-19. 

     Why is this important? Aside from the fact that violence should really only be okay if you’re playing video games (and even that can be questionable sometimes), it highlights how much our nation still needs to grow in terms of providing a safe environment for ALL citizens. Not just the stereotypical white families we see in commercials drinking sweet tea from their porch as their beautiful white children frolick about the backyard, but also the Asian families who enjoy dumplings and nian gao on Lunar New Year. How can one be more “American” than the other if we are a nation that embraces all cultures? At this point, all I can say is do better. Not just the white community, but EVERY community can do something to fight the racism against Asian-Americans and other minority groups. If you aren’t busy, instead of watching idly as Asian-Americans get targeted on the streets, ask them if they would feel comfortable being walked to their destination. If that’s too time-consuming or unsafe due to COVID, then use your platform to bring these issues to light because they are still not as prevalent in the media as other issues. Set aside some time to recognize your own prejudices and biases so that you can speak up on certain issues as a fully educated person. It’s your responsibility as an active member of society to stay educated on prevalent issues and use your voice to raise up those whose voices are being suppressed. 

     While there have been a lot of disheartening news articles regarding the attacks on the Asian-American community, I also wanted to highlight some of the amazing things that have come about due to this. There have been numerous instances where other passersby have seen elderly Asian-Americans and offered their help in walking them to their destinations so that they feel safe. There have been countless students in the Baylor community who have shared news articles educating others on these issues and offering solutions. To those who have taken a stand: thank you. Let’s continue educating ourselves on what our personal prejudices are and act against those prejudices by spreading some love.

Cassandra Shin currently serves as the President of Her Campus at Baylor and is a senior majoring in Professional Writing & Rhetoric at Baylor University. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas and enjoys the constant live music around the city. When Cassandra isn't studying or in class, you can find her on spontaneous adventures with friends, performing, tending to her plants, learning new things or reading. She absolutely loves the Harry Potter books, meaningful conversations with people, spending time with Jesus, and writing.
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