It finally happened! My first encounter with blatant racial harassment. I had feared something like this for a while by now, playing a hypothetical situation in my head, but I was still taken aback when it actually occurred.
It happened on the NYC subway, right as we entered the train from the Times Square station. There was one empty seat left next to an old lady, and I motioned for my mom to sit down. The lady next to us began cursing and sputtering--I could barely understand her--shouting profanities and Asian slurs. I was unsure what was happening at first and grabbed a nearby pole in front of the lady to keep my balance. That was when she lost it: she began screaming at us, calling us terrible names I refuse to repeat, accusing us of not speaking English, saying we should go back to China or go to hell.
In the moment, I was terrified. I was embarrassed, angry, and unsure of what to do. So I said nothing and ignored her. After a few minutes, she got off the train, grumbling to herself.
It was a train full of people, and not one person said anything to help me out. Maybe it's the bystander effect, and I totally get it, but it reminded me why I created DeclarASIAN in the first place: to give good people a voice.
The real world is crazy. Sometimes ignorant, and sometimes ugly. Call me overly optimistic, but there is a lot of change to be made. And I believe it can be done!
Author: Claire Cao
1/12/19- RepresentASIAN: Interview with Music Maestro Daniel Kim
2/3/19- Not Your Representative Heuristic
2/20/19- Being Labeled "The Asian Girl"
3/5/19- It's "Cao," Not "Cow," Not "Chow"...
4/1/19- Dear Fake Chinese Food
5/6/19- History Lesson: My Mom Was a Protester at Tiananmen Square
5/24/18- Asian RepresentASIAN Making American History
6/21/19- My First Encounter With Blatant Racial Harassment
7/10/19- Growing Up Alongside "RepresentASIAN"
8/15/19- Asians Need to Support Asians
9/16/19-Making Stereotypes Disappear: Interview with Rising Magician Kevin Li
11/8/19- The Impacts of Social Media