Staying silent will be failing my civic duty

More than 20 years ago, carrying two suitcases, I landed in USA to attend graduate school.

The second day, walking along side walk of a major street, a car stopped next to me, and someone shouted to me, “go back to your home”. I chuckled “but I just got here”…

The first final exam, sitting in the class room, the professor of that class pointed to two of my fellow classmates, “you, sit in this corner, and you, sit in that corner, Chinese students are good at cheating, you guys need to sit far apart”. I shook my head in surprise and thought “what a funny stereotype”…

These were the only two time that I could think of that I felt the impact of my origin. Never had I felt fear. And everyone else here was so friendly and open-minded. I fell in love with this country and the people here.

After I graduated with a Ph.D degree, I found a great job that matched my skill and passion, I built a successful career, I became an American citizen, I got married and had kids…

I am of Asian origin… but I am also an American.

In my work settings, never did I think of myself as an Asian, a female, even though I hired many diversity employees. I think of myself as a hard working engineer, a colleague, a department head, a leader…

In the outside of work setting, I am relatively quiet and still get embarrassed of the fact I often can’t find the right English words to carry out a long social small talk. But still rarely did I think of myself as an Asian…

I didn’t have to… I always had and have wonderful families, friends, neighbors and colleagues that don’t treat me differently because I look different or because I was not born here.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Asian communities here started to wear masks and shut down weekend language school very early on (before other schools closed). Some of the community members didn’t agree with that approach because “that will only feed into the potential fear and blame of the Asian community for the virus”. Then, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this since there was so much unknown…

Then a lot happened between then and now…

Some say the hate crime against Asian Americans went up 150%, some say it went up 2000%… I don’t know what number is the real number.

But does the precise percentage number even matter? Even if some of the crimes. still to be determined “whether hate crime nature or not”, even if many of the crimes were not lethal. It has put fear into many of us…

The majority of the attacks were targeted against. our vulnerable elders… I surprised myself by telling. my parents “don’t walk too far away from our neighborhood, just in case”.

I still do not fear for myself since I can stand up for myself if needed. We fear for our elders …that is worse… isn’t that how terrorism works? It put fear into you, the psychological effect is even worse than the physical harm.

Sorry for this long rambling post, I hesitated about saying anything about it… but finally decided to share some of my thoughts.

I am very grateful for the overwhelming support asian community received since the recent tragedies. I remain positive. All lives matter, and violence and racism have no place in our country.

I will finish this post by sharing this beautiful 5-minutes speech speech by American actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim.

Please spend the 5 minutes to listen. One of ways to breaks stereotypes, to defeat racism and to stop hate is to educate ourselves on the past and on the current. 🙏

https://youtu.be/NsG7RkpGAS8

beginning a new journey by launching my own startup in the middle of the pandemic. I am passionate about sharing my learning. www.linkedin.com/in/yupingwyp

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