Asian Americans are speaking up about being the targets of mistreatment and racism, and they say it’s long overdue. Difficult conversations are happening all over the United States, including North Texas.
It’s not easy for Judith Kim to talk to her parents about the recent acts of violence and mass shootings in Georgia.
“We’ve had those conversations and ultimately, I always end up in tears because it’s hard,” Kim said. “I don’t want to have these conversations with my parents. I don’t want to have to tell them, ‘hey, you’re being careful right?’”
It’s a fear she said Asian people have lived with for some time now. Her own family has encountered blatant racism here in Texas. She recalls one incident that happened in Austin just a few years ago.
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“A gentleman, just as my family was walking up to the restaurant yelled out ‘go back to where you came from. We don’t want your kind here.’ This happened in maybe 2016,” Kim said.
They’ve known this kind of hatred exists. Now she says it’s time for the world to face it. The shootings were a tipping point.
“I just oscillated between this grief and sadness and pure rage that we weren’t addressing it,” said Kim.
Kim said she feels deeply for the victims of the shootings and their families. She also hurts for those who’ve been seen on viral videos, bloodied after a random attack. Many of them are elderly Asian people.
“Respecting your elders is a huge part of our culture and so when someone goes and attacks one of our most vulnerable yet revered members of community, it’s such a slap in the face,” she said.
Kim’s grandmother, grandfather and aunt moved to the United States from South Korea first. Once her parents discovered they were expecting a child, Kim’s dad moved as well to prepare a life prior to her arrival. She imagines many of the victims are much like her own family; coming here never expecting this.
“They came here. They wanted to open a business. They wanted to start a better life for their family. And that is a story I’m very much familiar with. That is my family’s story,” said Kim.
Empathy and understanding, hard conversations and introspection are needed. And now more than ever, Kim said it’s the time to speak up.
“We have voices. We are people,” she said. “We are not commodities, we are human beings just like everyone else.”
For more information on initiatives and the response from Asian American Pacific Island communities visit https://stopaapihate.org/.