Dallas College alumnus and current University of Texas at Dallas student Nathan Nguyen shares his thoughts on anti-Asian racism.
At the start of 2020, the world faced a pandemic. It sparked fear in the hearts of humanity. Businesses crashed and countless lives were lost. With society at its lowest, many people needed someone to blame, so they blindly pointed a finger. As an Asian American, I knew what was to come.
Picture your typical morning: Waking up, opening your phone and logging on to social media. What do you think will be the first thing you see? Kylie Jenner’s newest post? Or maybe the latest funny viral video?
Many people live in blissful ignorance of the hate crimes that occur regularly. However, for Asian Americans, we often wake up to the obituaries of people who look just like us. We see the latest recording of attacks on the elderly who could have very well been our grandparents. We see the most recent premeditated shootings of people who look just like us. Our fears quickly consume us. That could have been my mother, my father, my sister, my cousin.
That could have been me.
To our dismay, the only thing the media has to say about the perpetrators of these crimes is that they had a bad day. Our ordinary, everyday routines have become a question. Will I live to see tomorrow? Will my family be safe?
We shouldn’t have to walk through a grocery store and worry about whether we’ll return to our families. We shouldn’t receive dirty looks when we take our dogs for a walk for no reason other than the color of our skin or our almond-shaped eyes. This is the harsh reality Asian Americans face today.
What can you do as an ally? For one, do not stay silent amidst the hate crimes against Asian Americans. Make it known that you stand with the Asian community, and provide counseling and services for the many people affected by these hate crimes.
Furthermore, if you see strangers, friends or colleagues make racist jokes or commit microaggressions against Asian Americans, do not tolerate them and bring attention to their problematic behavior. What may be an insignificant comment to you is what fills the Asian American community with shame and insecurity. When you let these comments slide, you allow more people to go without accountability, which allows racism to run rampant in our society.
My name is Nathan Nguyen. I was a Lakeview Centennial High School dual credit student and am a Dallas College Eastfield Campus alumnus. I am currently studying at the University of Texas at Dallas as a psychology major and a pre-med student. As a student, I find what would be helpful to Asian American students is to educate other students. Helping non-Asian American students understand microaggressions, hate crimes, and Asian culture and traditions will greatly help Asian American students.
Ignorance comes from being unknowledgeable. If we really want to change the younger generation, we must educate them on the issues that face today’s society.