Sometimes we are too shocked, stunned or taken aback to be able to respond when someone makes an ignorant attack on our race or culture.
"It makes you feel really, really, really bad about yourself. Especially when you don't have anything to feel bad about," begins a BuzzFeed video featuring Asian Americans sharing their personal experiences of prejudice.
In this video, the Asian American participants not only relay stories of times they were stereotyped, they tell us how they defy those stereotypes and how they would respond to the insensitive comments now, if given another chance.
Their responses show plenty of personal growth.
"When I decided to make the career change from being a programmer to being in entertainment, someone very close to me said that I had absolutely no chance of succeeding, because there are no Asians in entertainment."
"If I were to see that person who said that to me, I would say 'And yet... here I am'"
"One time i was listening to Taylor Swift in a car, and a friend of mine said that Taylor Swift would be beautiful if she didn't have Asian eyes."
"If I could see that friend now, I'd say 'You're an idiot.'"
"In high school, I opened up my lunchbox and pulled out a fork and a knife. And some kid said to me, 'Oh you eat with a fork and knife? I thought Indians only eat with their hands, because everyone in india is poor.'"
"At the time, I think I was just kinda taken aback, and I didn't really say anything. If I could say something to him, I would say, 'I hope you've learned a lot more about the world, and how fun eating with your hands can be.'"
"Since middle school, probably the most common thing I've heard are those jokes about 'You're an Asian, so you must have a small penis.' Because that's funny."
"Here's what I have to say to that: You're not going to see my penis. So it doesn't matter."
"Two years ago I was at football game, and this USC fan comes up to me and says 'Hey man, can you do my math homework for me.' I was kinda in shock, [and I] didn't really know how to respond to that, 'cuz you don't expect anyone to really go there."
"Joke's on him. I'm bad at math."
Watch the full video here:
The video speaks to anyone who has ever experienced racism,and ends with the message that we should be accepting of each other; first and foremost, however, we should be accepting of ourselves.
"What does matter is my validation to myself." says one man in the video.
Even the comment section on YouTube (a place notorious for cruelty) is full of people sharing their personal experiences and offering words of encouragement and understanding: "I was the valedictorian, and I heard someone say 'that's only because she's Asian,'" writes YouTube user Crystal.
"That is absolutely horrific. I'm sorry people had to belittle your accomplishment like that. Congratulations on being valedictorian!" responded user Emily Burns.
Whether or not the message gets through to those perpetuating prejudice against Asian Americans, at least it helps open the floor to awareness, and more conversation on the topic.
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