Tuesday.

A durian fruit, plated.

By Guest Contributor: Nam Le

“Be safe if you go outside, Ma. People in this country at this time do not like Asians. They do not care that you’re not Chinese. So just be careful.”

The text is half in English, half in Vietnamese. None of it is exactly what I want to say.

I skip over the word racism when I text Ma. It is a wrong turn into an armed minefield, a back alley of snakes and wet live wires. My cousins, better able to navigate this ground, tells me that the closest road might be through kỳ thị. Discrimination.

When I ask for directions again on Google, seeking a second opinion, it offers up phân biệt chủng tộc – a four syllable tour that passes by “separation based on race”.

But that, too, is far short of what my tongue wants to express on this Tuesday night — a truth I have always hoped my parents would never have to know: that on this side of the ocean, thunder still rolls.

Continue reading “Tuesday.”