Asian American Hate, pt. 5: Now What?
By: Chandarith Moeun
Chandarith Moeun, a Cambodian American who grew up in Mexico, Maine and helped found the Mountain Valley High School Civil Rights Team, is an illustrator and voice actor. We've divided his narrative into five sections and we'll be sharing them daily for the next five days. We hope you'll join us as we listen to Chandarith speak his truth. And follow him on Twitter @chadouken and IG @chad0uken! Throughout this series, Chandarith has embedded links within the narrative to provide readers with more information. Please use them! Please note this piece contains triggering content, including racial violence and language. Scroll down to read pts. 1 - 4.
Illustration by Chandarith Moeun
Honestly, I thought a lot about what I think the best course of action is. Do we have patrols and escort our elderly to and from places? Should we organize coalitions between not just Black and Asian, but ALL communities and show intersectional solidarity? Do we donate to organizations like StopAAPIHate? Can we call out toxic members of our own races and have difficult conversations? This is gonna sound really obvious, but yeah. Totally all of that. This effort needs to be from everyone. We all have to show each other that we have each other’s backs and that our allyship isn’t merely performative. There’s so much focus on who’s done what for whom, and whether or not it’s reciprocal. That’s not helpful. Black and Asian solidarity efforts have been going on for some time, and while it’s not always perfect, having to constantly be questioned and our advocacy invalidated is incredibly frustrating. That said, we need to normalize reporting of these incidents, and call out bad behavior. This includes labelling these for what they are: Hate crimes. Hate crimes that have specifically targeted our most vulnerable. We need to protect our elderly, we need to look out for women of color, and we need to do this together. Remember I read all these headlines, day after day, and my heart feels heavy. I begin to process all the emotions I feel. Anger, fear, sadness, and frustration. I try not to internalize it. I feel drained and exhausted. Even just writing about these things brings up so much pain and trauma. I remember how I felt all those years ago when my dad was attacked, and the anger I held on to. Anger, that I know to be so seductive because of how justified it felt. I hear my mom’s voice, telling me not to give in to hate. I think about all the victims and families affected by the attacks, and the pain they must feel. I see them as a reflection of myself, and my own family. The ones that aren’t with us anymore. Lives taken because of hatred; they had dreams, passions, and stories. I see their names. Vicha Ratanapakdee. Ee Lee. Pak Ho. Hyun Jung Grant. Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez. Paul Andre Michels. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. Soon Chung Park. Yong Ae Yue. Sun Cha Kim. I know there’s more names yet to be added to this list, and I’m afraid of how much longer it’ll be before it stops. If it does stop. I can only hope.