As you may or may not know, last week there was a shooting in Atlanta. Six of the eight victims were Asian women. This is sadly only part of the bigger problem that has been going on for a while. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been countless accounts of racism against Asians around the whole world. And enough is enough
For those who don’t know, I was born and raised in the Netherlands, but both of my parents are Chinese immigrants, however they currently have a Dutch citizenship. I grew up with both mainly Chinese values and traditions, while I learned the Dutch ones in school or from friends.
To say that the racism against Asians, mainly the Chinese, is normal is an understatement. For example: In elementary school, everyone (including the teacher) would sing a “Chinese” version of happy birthday while pulling their eyes to make them look more “Asian”. (Sidenote: Hanky Panky Shanghai is NOT Chinese for happy birthday! This is the correct way to say it)
Ever since I was a child I got bullied because of my heritage. This bullying led to me having a lot of (social) anxiety, trusting issues and most of all, it caused me to hate my heritage. I didn’t want to eat the food that my parents made, I didn’t want to speak the language that my family spoke (my first language), I didn’t want to be Chinese. Because I don’t speak Mandarin, I barely have a bond with my family besides my parents, and I regret that.
I always felt different compared to everyone in school, my friends, even with my family. I was always the only Asian kid/POC in the crowd. There have been many times when I felt that I didn’t fit in with the rest of them, because I was different. No matter how hard I tried to be “more Dutch” I was always the odd one out. Whereas when I’m with my family, I’ve never fitted in, because I was “too Dutch”. Till this day, I still struggle with my identity and with my heritage.
As I’ve gotten older, the racism has faded away, mostly because I’ve become more cautious, and because I don’t ever leave the house out of fear. Fear that this will happen again. I am tired of being scared. I am tired of being gaslit whenever I spoke up about it. I’m tired of being quiet about it.
All I’m asking for is that people will listen to us, instead of ignoring us. Racism is not a joke and if you think that it is, then you are part of the problem.
Sorry if this became too long. This was something that was bothering me for a while and I needed to talk about it.