Thursday, May 21, 2020

I do not understand hate against Asian-Americans

It is consistently hard for me to understand the hatred directed towards Asian-Americans*. And it is getting worse recently with a combination of President Trump's antipathy towards China, the blame of China for the Coronavirus (debunked, but that means nothing to our freaked out citizens) and his followers general belief that any non-white, non-straight American is evil.

It is all but impossible for me to understand because I was raised with Japanese Americans. And my parents, not massive progressives by any means, never displayed anything towards Japanese Americans. Not anger, not pity, not surprise, nothing because they were just neighbors.

Current Chap. Ave. School class


My early (K-4th grade) schooling was in Gardena. Until 2014 (and obviously when I was young) Gardena, California had the highest percentage of Japanese American residents of any city on the mainland - Honolulu has a higher percentage, but only just. It seemed normal to me that my school, Chapman Ave - which was no where near an actual street named Chapman**, was made up of caucasian kids, Japanese-American kids and a few hispanic kids. In fact, for many years I just assumed the entire country was about 1/2 Japanese - kids, right?

My first kiss was with Lisa Kitsuda, Doreen Ida's father taught me about planting and bonzai trees. To me they were neighbors, not "them".

What I learned was that after America interned Japanese nationals during WWII, many of them resettled in Gardena. And so we were taught this early in school. My school performed amazingly in the LA City School district (the school district Gardena was in).

And so the anger and hatred towards all Asian-Americans is difficult for me to both process and understand.  This isn't the first time hatred has boiled over against this community. There was lots of anger during the Vietnam War as well. Hatred tends to lump all "others" into groups.

Under President Trump hatred towards all people has skyrocketed. Attacks on blacks, hispanics, asians, Jewish people, trans people and gays (when they find us) has blown up. But I still don't understand it.

One last thing, I found a picture of my favorite - ABSOLUTE FAVORITE restaurant when I was little. It was in Gardena. The Tijuana Inn. It s the place I went with my parents and they never really fought while there. They would make me ground beef enchiladas (still my comfort food. I made them last night) with a side of french fries.


Yum!!!!!!

*For my British friends, in the states "Asian-Americans" are normally used to describe Americans of east asian descent, like Chinese, Japanese or Korean descent. The British term "Asians" usually describes those of Indian descent, which we simply call Indians or Indian-Americans.
** Seriously. Chapman ave School was bordered by Gramercy Ave, Saint Andrews Place, 150th and Compton Blvd, (name later changed to "Marine Blvd"). Who the F knows why?

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