The continued fight against racism

The fight to end racism continues as Asians are targeted

Racism+against+Asians+doesn%E2%80%99t+just+occur+in+the+nation.+Small+cities+and+communities%2C+like+Lake+Zurich%2C+have+Asian+students+who+feel+as+if+they+are+stereotyped+or+have+been+treated+differently+because+of+their+race.%C2%A0

Photo by and used with permission of https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/asian-american-hate-crimes/2021/02/21/c28a8e04-72d9-11eb-b8a9-b9467510f0fe_story.html

Racism against Asians doesn’t just occur in the nation. Small cities and communities, like Lake Zurich, have Asian students who feel as if they are stereotyped or have been treated differently because of their race. 

Annette Suk, Business Manager

Living in a suburban community dominated by White families, I’ve had a fair share of people coming up to me questioning about where I came from, or people looking at my Korean food with a look of disgust. When COVID-19 cases began to rise, I noticed the problem of racism around the nation. 

3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents were reported in the past year, according to NBC News. These hate incidents include, but are not limited to: shunning, physical attacks, and slurs. On April 13th, 2021 an Asian man was body-slammed by a ranting man in broad daylight, according to ABC 7 News.

According to BBC News, “Advocates for Asian Americans say the violence can be linked to rising anti-Asian sentiment in the US.”  But the problem doesn’t just occur in the nation. Small cities and communities, like Lake Zurich, have Asian students who feel as if they are stereotyped or have been treated differently because of their race. 

“I’ve noticed that microaggressions and stereotypes have been a constant presence surrounding the Asian community in Lake Zurich. Whether it be jokes about our eyes, or teachers not being able to tell us apart or not even making the effort to try and tell us apart,” Elizabeth Yen, senior, said. “The number of times I’ve been called another Lake Zurich Asian’s name in class and just went along with it to avoid an awkward conversation with a teacher is more than it should be. Or even classmates asking, ‘What are you?’ or ‘Where are you really from?’, and then assuming that if someone is Asian, they are Chinese.”

Yen says she has not directly felt hate, but she has noticed that people recognize that she is Asian before acknowledging her personality. She has had an uncomfortable exchange in one of her classrooms.

“I remember last year in one class, the teacher asked, ‘What could be an effect of the coronavirus pandemic in this world?’ and someone answered, ‘A rise in hate against the Asian community,’ and the teacher accepted the answer and moved on. While it was a correct answer, no one addressed that it wasn’t the right answer. The teacher didn’t address how, while this is likely to occur because we live in a racist country, it really shouldn’t happen,” Yen said. “And I feel that small things like that are the reason that Asians have had to face the rising hate against us. It’s hard to defend against something that’s sometimes hard to see in the first place.”

And I, a fellow Asian, can’t help but agree with all of Yen’s statements. I’ve been asked so many times, “What kind of Asian are you?” to the point where I normalized someone coming up to me and asking me that. I remember how shocked I was when someone came up to me and correctly guessed my race. Why does it matter?

People assume Asians are smart and stereotype them as geniuses with straight A’s and perfect attendance. However, every Asian is different and will live his/her life the way they want. I’ve felt pressured my entire life trying to fit into the stereotype that I would have to get perfect grades, test scores, and lead every group project. My family’s expectations played a role, but I was more scared about what my peers would think if I wasn’t the “smart” Asian that they depended on. I came to the realization in middle school that people only wanted to work with me because I was Asian, not because of my personality.

Yen wants to raise more awareness of the crimes against Asians. She says she is noticing Asians around the country are starting to fight back but she says that it is still important for people to be educated about different cultures.

“I do think there should be more awareness spread about the rising xenophobia against Asians. One thing I have learned about Asian culture, specifically Chinese culture in my experience, is you are told to keep your head downdon’t make a scene, silently work hard and the comments are just another part of life. I think that’s part of the reason why attacks on Asians due to the rising xenophobia due to COVID-19 have increased to the extent that they have. It’s easy to blame a group that doesn’t put up a fight,” Yen said. “But it shouldn’t be that way. The pandemic has been hard for everyone, but putting the blame on one group of people is wrong, and taking hateful action against that group is immature and disgusting.”