Mom says anti-Asian racism has made her 4-year-old afraid to be 'Chinese in public'

March 23, 2021

A mom is speaking out about the growing threat of anti-Asian racism and violence and how it’s affected her young Chinese daughter. The mom, who goes by Sparrow Marie on Facebook, recently shared a raw glimpse of the way anti-Asian rhetoric related to COVID-19 impacts families every day. Marie then made an emotional plea to her friends and neighbors to stand up to the hate.

“This is an awareness post,” she writes. “Please refrain from calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese Virus.’ The last couple months have seen a severe rise in xenophobia and racist aggression towards people of Asian descent. Language such as this is only making people feel more comfortable scapegoating Asian people and taking out their fear-fueled anxiety and aggression on us.”

Marie says her 4-year-old daughter has noticed the change in how she’s treated by strangers. “She is naturally friendly and extroverted and loved introducing herself to people and striking up conversations,” the mom writes. “But recently those smiles and waves are absent, replaced by scowls and undisguised hostility. Those friendly responses have become hurtful words. And she has become fearful of showing her face when we go to the grocery store, in case we draw attention for being Chinese in public.”

Unfortunately, dirty looks aren’t the only thing the mom and her daughter have experienced when they venture outside the house. She details several disturbing instances in which she was harassed and threatened because of her race. “A few weeks ago, a man got up in my face in the pasta aisle and told me we had a lot of nerve being out where we could ‘infect decent people,’ she recalls. “Last weekend a woman called us a virus and told us to go back where we came from then tried to steal the single bottle of hand soap out of our shopping cart.”

Marie says she originally wrote her post a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning. Sadly, it still remains true today, and she is resharing it in light of the recent mass shooting in Georgia that claimed the lives of six Asian women and two others. “I wish this was less relevant today,” she writes. “The events of this past year, and even this week, have made it clear that this message is still valid.”

A recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit that tracks incidents of hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, shows there were nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian racism reported from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. Over 68% of incidents included verbal harassment, and 11.1% involved physical assault. According to the data, Asian women report hate incidents 2.3 times more often than Asian men.

Over the weekend, thousands of people around the U.S. gathered to protest violence and racism against the Asian community.

In New York City alone, five new attacks on Asian Americans were reported during the protests, with at least four of those attacks being investigated as possible hate crimes. In one instance, a 37-year-old mother was attacked and punched in the head on her way to a protest.

The ongoing wave of violence has left many Asian Americans feeling isolated and terrified. In response to the crisis, President Biden has called on congress to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would increase Justice Department oversight of coronavirus-related hate crimes and provide support for law enforcement agencies investigating these crimes.

Parents like Marie are demanding an end to the violence and threats, and they’re calling on everyone they know to stand up for Asian Americans in their communities. “We are not a punchline or a stereotype or a scapegoat,” she writes on Facebook. “We are human. The hatred and the entitlement have to stop. You’re not entitled to take our lives due to your irrational hatred.”

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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