The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. – Elie Wiesel
I have been upset and heartsick these days. Two days ago a psychotic beast walked into a series of massage parlors around the city of Atlanta and murdered eight human beings. The death of those people is terrible. But afterwards, because six of the victims were Asian women, a torrent of hateful racism has spewed forth. The disgusting fetishism of Asian women is not a recent phenomena. And neither is the ugly racist bile aimed at Asian people. But to have the murder of eight people dismissed, by authority figures, as the monster was having a bad day – that hateful dismissive attitude must stop.
Readers of my blog know that my wife is Chinese, and I lived in China for twelve years. Tonight I had to see her online, when I wanted desperately to hold her in my arms, to hear her laugh, to bring sweet dreams to her sleep. This bile I see these days withers me inside. My emotions boil over when I think someone could look down upon my beloved wife, or my friends, simply because of their race. My beloved grandfather was racist, my father was racist. I grew up in outwardly racist times. It was my mother who taught me to look beyond those stereotypes and struggle against hatred. Racism is categorically wrong. Violence towards another person because of their race or ethnicity is vile. The lurid sexualization of Asian women makes me furious. As a husband, a father of two girls, and brother of three sisters, I cannot sit back and listen to anyone disrespecting women in general and Asian women specifically.
Once when I was working in China, an idiot fellow teacher referred to Chinese people – directly to me – as “Chinks”. He knew my wife was Chinese and yet, he felt we white men had some sort of bond. I never spoke to him again. Another time, I was working in a large government building. I had just told someone I was going to China to visit my fiance (now my wife). A disgusting moron who worked in another department walked in just as I finished, and he said, “I hear those Asian women really like to F**k.” My coworker said my face turned purple, as I was about to go off on that jackass. But out of the corner of my eye I saw a wonderful young woman from Thailand, who was an intern in our department, walking towards us. I could tell he was about to say something nasty about her. I told him if he ever so much as talked to her I would go to the HR Department and then the Legal Department and do my best to get him fired. In that Agency, I overheard awful things about the marvelous young Indian ladies who were our interns, and my Chinese coworkers.
We must come together to end the hatred. Stop the disgusting dehumanization of the “other”. This anti-Asian hatred has increased greatly during the pandemic. There have been hundreds of assaults against Asian people across America. Thousands of Asians have been spat on, swore at, denigrated and verbally assaulted. I am appalled at the volume of hate crimes against Asian people during this year of Covid-19. I miss my wife greatly, but I am glad she is far removed from all this hatred. When we are together, I am extra vigilant and very aware of our surroundings. And I have taught her some ways to pay attention to the people around her. It is sad that we have to do this. I never felt threatened because of the color of my skin during the entire twelve years I lived in China, or when we traveled around Asia.
This is the third decade of the Twenty-First Century, and we have continued to fight the same wretched hatreds for centuries. The younger generations here in the US do give me hope though. My children accept people for who they are and never judge others based on their heritage only on their actions. We all must work together to push back against hate. We must love one another as brothers and sisters. For, no matter your religious or spiritual beliefs – We all are God’s children. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.