I'm not really afraid of anti-Asian hatred and racism. I am enraged.

I looked in disbelief at the photo of GuiYing Ma in the hospital after being hit in the head with a large stone. There must be some...


I looked in disbelief at the photo of GuiYing Ma in the hospital after being hit in the head with a large stone. There must be something wrong with this photo, I thought, because the right quadrant of his head was faded away, almost as if he had melted – like a Dali. Surrealist. My disbelief turned to anger when I saw my mother and the ajummas in Ma’s beautiful white hair and wise wrinkles.

I held my breath reading Murder of Christina Yuna Lee. Oh, no, not yet, I thought. My dismay gave way to fury as I imagined my daughter walking to the train every morning, just blocks from where Christina was killed.

In the wake of the recent torrent of anti-Asian violence, many of us Asian New Yorkers are scared. But the emotion rising in me is not crippling fear; it’s a fucking adulterated rage.

Of course, I am not immune to fear. Like all women, I live with a deeply internalized, relentless, and insidious fear of assault. To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. The women are afraid that the men will kill them.

Also, I’m a petite Asian woman in my 50s. Like many of my city sisters, I have developed a hyper-peripheral vision. I don’t listen to loud music through my headphones, and at night I avoid deserted streets and watch the shadows of those behind me lengthen on the sidewalk when streetlights grant me the rear view mirror. That said, 27 years of training in Shaolin Kung Fu has made my reflexes, physical awareness and instincts sharper and more powerful. Also, to many, I appear as a man and am less likely to be targeted.

Asian women make up nearly 62% of victims of reported attacks on our community, according to a study conducted by Stop AAPI Hate. It has been just over a year since eight people were shot in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. I still remember how my voice shook with tears as I read the names of the six Asian women who were murdered.

My angst turned to anger when it was suggested that the murders were not racially motivated. Me and my sisters knew better.

“In America, Asian women are sexually reduced to the extremes of two stereotypes: the submissive geisha or the dominating dragon woman,” Chang writes. “There is nothing wrong with being one or the other or both. My problem is that we are not allowed to self-determine and define ourselves.”

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Since last spring, 81% of Asian adults interviewed by the Pew Research Center said they believed that violence against us was on the rise. According to BNC Newsanti-Asian crime is up 339% in 2021 compared to 2020. And we should assume the numbers are much higher, as many crimes go unreported.

Undoubtedly, the rise in violence against us has been prompted by the hateful racist rhetoric around the coronavirus which has granted people joyful permission to act out their racist fantasies against us. Do you remember the British variant? Were people with British accents targeted? Shit no!

But don’t distort it; Asians faced racism and violence from the doorstep. As with so many marginalized populations, hatred is codified in law, underpinning otherness and fear of us – from the Page Act of 1875 to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Then there’s MSG enhancing the recipe for hate: the model minority myth, which makes everyone feel like we’re all doing Gucci – taking their children’s place in the best schools, getting the best jobs, writing the biggest checks.

But not so fast, cowboy. In New York, nearly 1 in 4 people live Under the poverty line. The myth of the model minority is particularly draconian because it opposes yellow to black. You know; divide and conquer. When the crimes started piling up, many of the images I saw were of colored folxes, especially black people, carrying out the attacks. As it turns out, Janelle Wang, professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, found that 75% of crimes were committed by whites. I believe there have been authors of color, and I think anti-black people, especially in my community, have accepted that narrative with some ease. I can hold two truths simultaneously.

I have long thought that one of my responsibilities was to bring communities together. As the first Asian woman in hip-hop who managed Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP), RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan and then introduced them to a real Shaolin monk who was to become my partner, I believe I did a little game to create cross-cultural alliances. I was a hip-hop fan when I moved to New York in 1987, but it was the community that embraced me.

Although I point to government politicians as enforcers of anti-Asianism, I cannot ignore the deleterious impact the media has had on our security. The eroticization, exoticism and fetishization of Asian women in this country – aided and abetted by Hollywood’s largely white male praise – has surely exacerbated the attacks. When the Atlanta massage parlor murders happened last March, there were questions about whether or not they were racially motivated. I don’t believe that every assault on a marginalized person is a hate crime, but it was very clear to me.

In America, Asian women are sexually reduced to the extremes of two stereotypes: the submissive geisha or the dominating dragon lady. There is nothing wrong with being one or the other or both. My problem is that we are not allowed to self-determine and define ourselves. Many Asian women have been wooed with such sweet phrases as “I’ve loved you for a long time” and “Is your pussy on the side?” Damn, I don’t even know what that means. Aren’t all pussies sideways? ! What if one more white boy tells me he had a insert-asian-nationality-here girlfriend, let him talk insert-asian-language-hereor that he studied insert-asian-martial-art-hereI will summon all the Han of my Korean ancestors and suffocate them with hot dukbokki.

When I was writing my memoirs,The baddest female dog in the roomsaid my very intelligent brother Heesok Chang, “Sophia, what you’re doing with your book is just asking the world to imagine that you exist. And here is my exhortation to America: open up your myopic, microscopic view of us and let us all and grant us the grace to be whatever we want, even when angry.



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Newsrust - US Top News: I'm not really afraid of anti-Asian hatred and racism. I am enraged.
I'm not really afraid of anti-Asian hatred and racism. I am enraged.
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