The Atlanta Shooting: A Boiling Point

People hold placards during a "Stop Asian Hate" rally, following the deadly shootings, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., March 20, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

By Guest Contributor: Wendie Yeung

Content Warnings: this article contains the author’s personal experiences facing racially charged violence.

While most of America reminisced about March as the one year anniversary since normalcy, I, like so many other Asian Americans, had been grappling with the pandemic months before that. When I heard the beginning media buzz of a mysterious new coronavirus found in Wuhan in early January of 2020, my heart sank. I knew that from that point on, my racial identity was going to become a stark liability. At the time, I was flying for work every week, and I became hyper aware on my flights and in the airport. If people looked at me, I’d wonder why (“do they think I’m from China?“), trying to read any suspicion behind their eyes. I’d smile at strangers to appear more friendly; if I was on the phone, I’d talk a little more loudly so those around me could hear that I spoke perfect English. These acts were things I did almost instinctively – protective acts so people knew that I was not a threat, that I was “American”.

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