Sakura, my namesake, means “cherry blossom” in Japanese. The pink flowers are one of Japan’s most iconic and beloved images. They’re also the country’s national flower. Around the world, when the cherry blossoms bloom, the whole world watches, a tradition called hanami in Japan.
Having the world’s eyes on you can be an incredible privilege. As the first American karateka to ever qualify for the Olympic championships, it’s an honor to introduce millions around the world to the ancient sport this summer. Other times, questioning stares can be a sign of something more dangerous.
If someone dropped their hat on the street, you’d know what to do. If you saw someone having a medical emergency, you’d know what to do. But when people witness anti-AAPI hate, they freeze. They have no idea what to do.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we were already seeing signs of anti-Asian hate everywhere we looked. One Asian woman was punched in the face by a man asking, “Where’s your mask?”. Days later, a man stabbed an Asian family inside a Sam’s Club because he thought they were “Chinese and spreading the coronavirus.” …
A Medium blog chronicling the xenophobia and anti-Asian racism that plagues America.