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  • Writer's pictureHope Yu

thoughts from a 17 year old named Hope

The title of this is sort of poetic. As I began writing this blog, I imagined how I could take these emotions and word them into small, simple poems.

I decided that I was much too tired and upset to do such a thing.

To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure of what I would write about and I’m still unsure. There is so much going on in the world that pertains to me, and yet I also wanted to just write about how I spend most of the day alone, wandering around my room trying to convince myself to do homework.

Yesterday, 8 people died in Atlanta. Hearing the news made me numb and unsure of what to do, unlike many who were quick to post on social media. However, this morning at 5:20 am when I was filling up gas, every other person at the gas station scared me. Perhaps it was because I'm not exactly the bravest person out there and it was pitch black, but the minute I saw another car drive into the station, I instantly saw the headlines (though knowing news stations, Asians would never make the headlines) flash through my brain, “Asian teen kidnapped at gas station” or maybe “Asian girl taken in the early hours”. After those thoughts, I reminded myself that I was being ridiculous... right?

I would really like to be able to share the facts of the Atlanta shootings and to piece apart the anti-Asian racism that prompted it. However, after looking at American, European, and Korean news sources (with and without translations), the truth is that no one really seems to know. The only evidence that I have seen that points to anti-Asian motive is a report from an employee that is only mentioned in Korean articles and that the six women who died were Asian.

People often throw around the term “hate crime”, especially recently. Note, I am not linguistically skilled enough to understand what truly makes something a hate crime. Especially, not as the definition of the word is constantly being debated. As we don’t, and may never, learn the reason for these murders, I would be hesitant to call it a hate crime. The more the general public uses that word, the less weight it carries and the more it is associated with only anti-Asian events.

Though I am, to a certain extent, greatly angered over the general anti-Asian sentiment over the last year, I find myself not as angry as many others. Some are surprised, characterizing it as a form of new hatred. I’ve had people reach out to me, saying they will listen to my pain; these being the same people who told me I was good at math because I was Asian or idolized the rising sun flag, not knowing its historical significance. It has gotten to the point where if America wants to start being vocal about it’s hate for people of the Asian race, then so be it. I just beg that you stop physically harming our elders on the way to the grocery store.

I often find myself wondering if any of this matters. No matter how traumatizing these articles are, no matter how many times I say, “the model minority myth is a wedge meant to divide BIPOC communities” or the number of organizations I work with, I wonder if any of this is worth it. Other times I think, maybe we deserve some of this. The general Asian American population (as I’m writing this, I realize that this is a really broad statement) has said and done some incredibly horrific things to every other BIPOC community. Yes, we did those things because White people came to our countries and made us believe in such ways, but that doesn’t exactly excuse that we did them. In contrast, I feel extreme disappointment when people are quick to judge others opinions without knowing their historical context.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m getting at here. I tried to write an article about the Atlanta shootings but got so frustrated with the misinformation that I texted Jeenah and told her that I was going to write about how stupid it all was.

That’s all I have.

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