Of a recent mass shooting in Georgia targeting Asians, I cannot withhold my utmost disappointment toward the United States as a country itself. I remember watching the speech of Barrack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address where he appealed to his belief in the US. He shouted that America’s pride is not coming from its physical prosperity but from the people united under their constitutional ideology. He said “There is not a black America, and a white America, and Latino America and Asian America. There is the United States of America.” And he was elected as the Senator and the President consequentially, convincing me that the US citizens were up for it. But look at this. When Obama said his country is United, I was so naive to believe it. He had to yell not because it was the truth, but because it was false.
As far as I know, this ethnic targeting hate crime has seasonally plagued US society. The most recent one prior to the COVID19 happened after 9/11. Hasan Minhaj told his story of how his house got attacked by racists calling his people terrorists. That brutal racial phobia caused nationwide persecution of colored people for their attire, skin, and way of speech. Starting from 2020, the same plague outbreaks against Asians, this time for bringing the COVID19. If you look Asian enough, then you are a target. It applies to me and my wife who’re Korean, my friends from China, Taiwan, and Japan altogether.
In the early 1900s, Americans came to Korea to recruit sugarcane farmers to exploit in Hawaii, only highlighting the good side like warm weather and a decent wage. They hid from my ancestors about the brutal working environment and widespread racism against colored people. In 2021, I did not learn from my ancestry’s mistake and now I’m working in the US, watching my people getting shot on the street and smacked on the heads for being Asians. My mother spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education in the US, and I feel dreadfully sorry for making her do that.
I never in my head imagined a day that I will have to be worried about getting attacked on a street in the US. When I was riot police in Korea, I once had to control a protest that turned violent. The scariest moment was when the rioter stole the police bus and drove toward the police wall, which ended up causing unfortunate casualties. But I experience worse fears today living in the US. Unlike when I was riot police, attacks will come without any signs to prepare, gears to protect, or companions to fight back together. They are targeting not only me but more likely my wife whom I love.
This is not what I expected and learned throughout 5 years of living in this country. I am disappointed.