Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Asian American Olympians Discuss Confronting Hate

From racist slurs and gestures to harassment while working in public, Asian Americans representing their country at the Olympics in Tokyo have faced some discrimination in the United States.

Sakura Kokumai is competing in karate, a sport that is being contested at the Olympics for the first time.

He described in a Can post on Team USA website How a man in a California park “verbally harassed me because of my race.”

“This was my first experience with such an aggressive and explicit hate crime,” Kokumai wrote. “I was a target because of the way I looked. Not because I’m an athlete. Not because I compete in karate—but because I’m Asian. And no matter how you look at me, I’ve always been Asian I’ll see.”

Kokumai said she had talked about such crimes with friends, but from experiencing it she really understood and wanted to be outspoken on the issue.

“I wish there was one thing that would fix this problem, but the first step is to spread awareness,” she wrote. “And then we have to have empathy and compassion for each other. Over time we can help change things in the world for the better.”

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country have faced verbal and physical attacks, with the group Stop AAPI Hate reporting in May that it received 6,603 incident reports from March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2020.

According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, the number of hate crimes reported to the police against Asians in major US cities increased by 189% during the first quarter of this year. Hui.

For gymnast Yul Moldoer, who is competing in her first Olympics, an incident with an angry driver prompted her to share her story in a March Instagram post with the caption: “Asian American. United States my home Is.”

Moldauer said the woman who had bitten him shouted at a traffic light, “Go back to China.”

“For me, it really shocked me,” he explained. “I was confused. I felt uncomfortable. I really tried to act like it didn’t happen. When I hold USA on my chest while I compete, it’s sad to know that I feel like such people.” to represent.”

Erik Shoji, a two-time Olympian on the US men’s volleyball team, used his social media to draw attention to the suspension of a Serbian player who used his fingers during a match in June to point his fingers at players. Eyes closed. Team from Thailand.

“On behalf of the Asian community and the Asian Volleyball community, I just want to thank them [International Volleyball Federation] And this [Volleyball Nations League] Against such racist gestures, against racism as a whole and to make our sport an even safer place,” Shoji said.

Alexander Masiales, who competed in fencing in his third Olympics, wrote on his Instagram account about the need to confront and hold back acts of hate.

“Being half Chinese, I often experience racism through a different lens, not as a direct target but as a witness and secondhand victim,” Masiales wrote.

He describes a time when he was on his way to a ride share car driven by a Chinese man, when a passenger getting out of the car objected to the driver taking pictures of the back seat, where the passenger consumed alcohol and Drugs were dropped.

“The guy came up to me and tried to introduce me to him by saying, ‘Can you believe this f***ing f**nk?'”

Masiales said he intervened when the passenger tried to steal the car, going against what he said is a cultural norm in his community to “ignore what everyone says, no matter how wrong or harmful.” He writes that the driver also told him that he should not have harmed himself, but the incident was an example for Masialas that “when it comes to racism it needs to change.”

“Today I think of the victims of the senseless attack on Asian women in Atlanta, the Thai grandfather who was murdered within a 10-minute walk of my own home in San Francisco, and the racism and violence against the AAPI community. Think of the countless acts of violence.” he said. “Instead of ignoring and internalizing hate-spreading ignorance, we can combat it by staying together, speaking out, and standing up for hate against vulnerable communities.”

Asian American Olympians Discuss Confronting Hate
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