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My Experiences with Racism #StopAsianHate

I got my last vaccine shot about a month ago. You're probably wondering what that has to do with the title of the blog, but bear with me just a sec.


When I was looking around at this ballroom-sized area filled with booths of people getting vaccinated, I was completely consumed with emotion. I was able to see a representation of what has happened this past year as we went through (and are still going through) a global pandemic. Every soul in the room has processed the pandemic differently - some with more severe experiences than others.


It reminded me what it feels like to experience racial inequality. We are all in a room together, but are experiencing a crisis differently. And make no mistake - it is a crisis.


This blog is going to walk through my own experiences with racism, with hopes that it will allow you to see through a crack in one of the proverbial doors in my life.

My Lolo (left) who passed in 2016; "mama" - my grandma's cousin who lives in San Diego; and my Lola (right) who currently lives in the Philippines in the house pictured.
 

Kindergarten

A kid walked past me in the hallway, pointed at me, and said "she's Chinese!" and proceeded to laugh. I told the teacher and she asked me to point out the kid who made the comment. I felt heard because the teacher sought to reprimand the student, but then she turned to the student's teacher and said, "Sorry, she really hates to be called Chinese".


I never spoke up again for a long time.


Just as quickly as the teacher empowered my voice, she silenced it in the same breath by apologizing for bringing attention to the matter. I didn't hate being called Chinese, I hated not being recognized for my actual ethnicity and hated that someone thought it was okay to blatantly call out a race as if it's a disease.

 

Elementary School


I was asked if my family eats dogs.


Me and my Kuya (means big brother in Tagalog) donning of Charlotte gear - raised in the Queen City!
 

Middle School


I went to the movies with my friend, who is Chinese-American. As we walked to the bathroom together, a group of boys started singing R.Kelly Thoia Thoing (it was 2003 so R.Kelly wasn't cancelled yet).

 

High School


I was bad as hell in high school, okay? Let's just get past that part. I got caught stealing jewelry from Claire's. I still cringe about it and my mom doesn't go without mentioning it every couple of months til this day. So I've paid my price and leave me alone!

Anyway, I was taken to a little holding office in the back of the mall and while the Officer was getting my mom's contact information, he said, "you know where you're from, they cut people's hands off for doing things like this". I am pretty sure they don't cut people's hands off in California.


Yes, I was completely wrong for the crime, but that never deserves demeaning, hateful rhetoric.

 

College


I was asked if Stephanie is my real name or just my American name.


Spoiler alert - it's my birth name and Filipinos do not typically change their name.

Me and my mom in DC; 2017
 

The accumulation of these life experiences always causes me to pause and do some reflection, but I am still processing all that is happening in my own community that has now added another layer to racism - violence.


I now know that advocacy comes in many forms and my advocacy has led to joining The Bond Educational Group as the Equity Summit Project Lead. I work with an amazing team that will deliver the Equity Summit on Feb. 8-10, 2022. Our summit theme is Rising Together: Dismantling Structural Racism and we plan on doing just that by hosting sessions centered around action-based conversations. My hope is that by bringing in the Asian perspective, I can share our struggles, ways we can progress as a people, and gain insights from others.


For a long time, I thought I was exempt from this conversation because I knew everything there is to know about being Asian-American in the US simply because it's who I am. I have learned that I am not excused from learning about the wide, varying Asian-American experience - and neither are you.

 

I've been asked several times by my awesome friends what they do to #StopAsianHate and have been sent a lot of social-distanced hugs and love lately. I truly appreciate it all! I never have all the answers, but I am happy to share some resources and organizations that I have dove into recently.


I hope you find some use in this and continue to fight for equity in your own special way. This will forever be my life's mission and I hope you find some time to incorporate it into yours. Actions

  1. Donating to organizations like TAAF and Asian American LEAD

  2. Supporting local Asian businesses (if in the Northern VA area, I highly suggest Kamayan Fiesta, Le Bledo, and Burke Fortune House!)

  3. Don't stand for hateful and ignorant rhetoric. Correct your friends and family.

  4. Asians are not a monolith - research the cultural differences in Asian countries.

Resources

  1. Asian American PBS documentary

  2. "We Need to Talk about Asian-American Hate" YouTube video by Eugene from the Try Guys

  3. Follow @danieldaekim and @jlin7 on IG. Both did not gain popularity from being advocates, but are actively using their existing platforms to continue the conversation. We love to see it!

Love ya'll!


- Steph








2 Comments


Love you Steph! Thanks for sharing your story and action steps we can take to help stop the hate. Well written post!

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Stephanie Bradley
Stephanie Bradley
May 24, 2021
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Thanks Kas!!

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