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A Medium blog chronicling the xenophobia and anti-Asian racism that plagues America.


In #StopAsianHate. More on Medium.

I always thought I was Batman growing up — until I realized that society typecast me as the Joker before I was born

Photo: Getty Images

Growing up I never knew that my Korean American identity was missing from . Sure, my family didn’t always eat apple pie with vanilla ice cream or play baseball. But I was proud to be American each time I recited the pledge of allegiance with my classmates in the morning. At recess, I would always choose to play as the hero and never as the villain.

I played Superman with invincible powers and saved the world; or played Batman instead of Joker.

Now as an adult I understand and identify with Joker instead of Batman.

There is the…

I don’t feel Asian enough nor American enough

Photo: Jasmin Chew/Unsplash

There were so many times when I talked myself out of writing a very long, introspective essay about how I feel about growing up Asian American and specific experiences that reveal universal themes pertaining to the commonalities among the Asian American experience yet also are distinctly my own.

I’ve wanted to write about my personal struggles, realizations, and everything else in between about what being an Asian American millennial woman means to me, how I react differently to various stereotypes, and question the thought that my “Americanness” — not knowing enough about East Asian culture and not having hobbies or…

In this time of anti-Asian hate, we need look to the couple who fought for civil rights in Detroit

Photo courtesy of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Foundation

In the 2016 Netflix movie , viewers relive Barack Obama’s personal and political coming of age during his years as a college student at Columbia University. A Black man in a sea of whiteness on the elite campus, Barry (played by Devon Terrell) dates a white woman, Charlotte (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), and plays pick-up basketball in nearby Harlem.

With young Obama feeling stuck in the crack between these worlds, the dramatized narrative concludes with Barry’s intriguing revelation. Charlotte’s mother introduces him to a “brilliant” Black and Asian American activist couple named James and…

Photo courtesy of Peloton

Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell reflects on her journey to reckoning and reconciling with her Asian identity

I was an impressionable 18-year-old, and a freshman in college. My new friends and I were at a dorm room party where I was introduced to a group of guys. The normal questions of, “What dorm do you live in? What are you studying?” were being tossed around. I named the dorm that I lived in, when one of the guys responded, “That sucks you live there. You live next to all the weird Chinese kids.”

The international students’ dorm was next door. I was a little taken aback and confused by that comment. “I am Chinese,” I replied back…

We need to arm ourselves with knowledge, not guns

Image: We Are DigitalVision/Getty

Over the past year, I have witnessed with alarm the increased attention to violence against Asian Americans. As someone who has studied and taught about anti-Asian discrimination for nearly two decades, my concerns were intensified by news coverage and viral videos featuring elderly Asian Americans being brutally attacked. I saw a narrative unfolding — that Asian Americans were facing a unique level of hostility relative to other groups and that it was the most vulnerable members of our community who were bearing the brunt of physical assaults.

The disturbing level of anti-Asian violence has been deeply felt by our communities…

It’s a widespread issue for the entire Asian community

I graduated with a master’s in engineering in 2017. It was one of the most thrilling moments in my life. But what followed for the next couple of years revived my lifelong struggle with Asian stereotypes. Photo courtesy of the author

“Mum, I want to be an astronaut. Going to space is so cool!” I told my mum after reading a book about the Milky Way.

“You will have to move to another country. Somewhere like the U.S. We don’t have such things here,” my mum replied without an ounce of hesitation.

And that was the end of my potential career in astronomy. …

He was the most universally recognizable Asian actor in Hollywood when I was growing up

ID 24001085 © Featureflash |

I have a hard time thinking of Asian actors. Honestly, off the top of my head, I can list Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Aziz Ansari, and George Takei. The latter two I had to think about.

I started teaching in the Baltimore City Public Schools two years ago, and during a work icebreaker last year, my boss asked us to name an actor we’re most similar to. When it came time for me to share, I just had to say “I don’t know — George Takei? There aren’t many Asian actors I can name off the top of my…

Her case came decades before Brown v. Board of Education

The Tape family (Mamie Tape is in the middle). Photo: Getty Images

Discrimination against Asians in the United States is not a recent occurrence. More than a century ago, in the mid- to late 1800s, Chinese exclusion was even institutionalized in U.S. society, particularly in the state of California.

Among the struggles Chinese immigrants endured at that time, an eight-year-old Chinese American girl tried to attend one of San Francisco’s public schools — and was refused. Her name was Mamie Tape, and she was the plaintiff in the landmark California Supreme Court case in 1885.

The Tape family

Mamie’s parents were both Chinese immigrants. According to, her father, Jeu Dip, who…

The first Asian American woman to star in Hollywood, she fought back against typecasting

Poster for the Fu Manchu flick Daughter of the Dragon (1931).

Something Mel Guo, my research assistant, said a few newsletters ago has been replaying in my head. She wrote that discovering Anna May Wong was a kind of revelation that made her want to honor AMW’s “unfulfilled potential.” She echoed a yearning that I have long harbored: “I want to see the movies that Anna May Wong would have played, produced, and directed; the stories she would have told.”

Usually, when people learn the basic outline of AMW’s life, their first reaction is — “Oh, how tragic!” Her career undoubtedly suffered because of pervasive racism and sexism in Hollywood. This…

In the wake of anti-Asian hate, this text from my white friend was genuinely helpful

Photo: Getty Images

This year, I’ve watched more viral videos of elderly Asian people being brutally attacked than I would have liked to. This year, eight women were murdered in three massage parlors in Atlanta because, as the sheriff’s department put it, the gunman was having a “really bad day.”

If anything positive has come out of all of this, it is the elevation of Asian voices. Not that discrimination against Asian Americans is anything new. My Japanese family lived in Hawaii during World War II, so I have grown up hearing stories about America’s knack for xenophobia.

Yet, finally, Asian people are…


A Medium blog chronicling the xenophobia and anti-Asian racism that plagues America.

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