If you’re attacking old Asian people, I hope you run up on the wrong one

Xenophobia has reached bottom-of-the-barrel ignorance thanks to COVID-19

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Feb 18 · 3 min read
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Photo credit: Kahar Erbol/Unsplash

I may have seen one too many fictional movies of fight scenes. I may be stereotyping. But I want to be right so bad. In a recent “The Daily Show” report, Trevor Noah and Ronny Xin Yi Chieng discussed how criminals are confronting Asian senior citizens, knocking them down and fighting them. Between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2020, ABC reports there were approximately 126 accounts of anti-Asian hate involving Asian Americans over 60 years old. Why? They’ve decided all Asians are responsible for coronavirus.

And my first thought was, “I cannot wait for the news brief about one of these criminals getting run up to get done up.” Whether you know the Crime Mob song or not, chances are you’ve seen someone seriously underestimate their opponent and lose that fight terribly. I’ve seen it time and time again. It was always someone taller, fatter, more muscular and way too cocky, who ended up flat on his (and her) ass. I have watched grown men get twisted into pretzels by men half their size all because they thought the weight room made them Tobias Whale or Thanos. It’s a lovely tragedy to watch.

They may be the toughest — at thinking. Physically though, they just have not met their match. But this optimistic (and mischievous) outlook is not particularly helpful for helpless senior citizens who need help now, and not just the strength and agility my imagination wants them to have.

Xenophobia was idiotic enough pre-COVID-19, but coronavirus has made the It’s-my-right-to-not-wear-a-face-mask crowd become even more irrational than usual. Somehow they’ve convinced themselves that every Asian person they encounter — regardless of whether these same attackers can point to Wuhan on a map — must be held accountable.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they couldn’t tell you the difference between someone who is Japanese, Filipino, Korean or Chinese. Anyone who is “close enough” can be attacked for something they have as much control of as the attacker does. And COVID-19 attacked everyone from Idris Elba (Londoner of Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian descent) to Tom Hanks (white) and Daniel Dae Kim (Korean American). The virus couldn’t care less about skin complexion; it just wants to wreak havoc.

Never mind that being Chinese doesn’t automatically mean that they are all magically born in Wuhan. Never mind that there are a total of 4,829 deaths in China from COVID-19 while the United States clocks in at 486K deaths. (There are 1.398 billion people in China. Meanwhile there are 328.2 million in the United States, if you want to compare population odds.)

Never mind that coming within 6 feet of someone who you’ve incorrectly decided must have COVID-19 is not an effective way to avoid getting it. My bigger issue is people who are specifically targeting the most vulnerable group. Knocking down senior citizens is the very bottom of repugnance, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

In the meantime in between time, while everyone should try their best to stay in social isolation during this insane winter snowstorm that has affected 73 percent of the U.S., if you need to stretch your legs and want to help someone who could really use your assistance, check out your citywide equivalent of organizations like Compassion in Oakland. If you see a hate crime in action, report it at Stop AAPI Hate. Help seniors get to and from their destinations without having to fight for their lives to get back.

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I Do See Color

“Seeing” color is no more a problem than “seeing” height.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

I Do See Color

We are not ashamed of our melanin, and we know you “see” it. Just don’t discriminate and disrespect us because of it.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

I Do See Color

We are not ashamed of our melanin, and we know you “see” it. Just don’t discriminate and disrespect us because of it.

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