by Katie Man and Hannah Chen
Asian Americans have always been a large part of American history, and are currently the fastest-growing racial group in the country. However, Asian Americans continue to face racism in everyday life. One of the most common situations they face is being interrogated about one’s background. As an Asian American, when you get asked “Where are you from?”, answers like “Philadelphia” or “New Jersey” won’t suffice. Often times, people will continue to ask, “No, where are you REALLY from?”. These ignorant comments can be unnerving, insulting, and create an unwelcoming atmosphere.
Surprisingly, instances like this occur both in everyday life as well as on a national scale. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump reportedly asked female Asian-American intelligence analyst “Where are you from?” over and over again, and did not take “New York” as an answer. He then is said to have asked, “Where are ‘your people’ from?”. The analyst finally told him that her parents are Korean, and Trump proceeded to ask why the “pretty Korean lady” isn’t negotiating with North Korea for him. Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of racism and bigotry that has come out of Trump’s administration.
In the process of finding a house to live in next year, we and our other roommate (also Asian American) have experienced this type of ignorance first-hand. Comments like, “Where are you from, China?” or “Wow you guys speak really good English” were only made because of our appearance. These generalizations were not necessary and made us feel very uncomfortable. Comments like these can prevent Asian Americans from feeling a sense of belonging in this country, even if they were born and raised here.
Will the ignorant comments ever stop? Although we cannot guarantee that, it is important to become educated about Asian American racism to prevent future situations. Today, there are over a dozen national Asian American advocacy organizations, including but not limited to the Federal Asian Pacific American Council and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Each of these organizations are fighting to end Asian American racism in the United States and ultimately create a more educated and welcoming society.