JONAR COWAN WRITES — I am a 23-year-old Asian American raised in San Francisco for the majority of my life. San Francisco felt safe and accepting while I was growing up because I rarely experienced racism or anything that insulted my Asian heritage. In fact, I grew prideful of my culture within the diversity of the city.
Today, though, the hate crimes happening in San Francisco make me feel like less of a person. It scares me because I have never in my life experienced a community that is physically violent towards Asians. The community I feel the most comfortable in has turned into a space of hate. I feel unsafe and like I do not belong in the place I call home.
Recently, I learned about the most heartbreaking aspect of these hate crimes: the attacks on innocent elderly people. I was taught to treat my elders with respect. Seeing these attacks pop up all over my news and social media accounts makes me question the character of these attackers. We are not a virus, but sometimes it feels like everybody who is not Asian thinks we are. It is not fair that we have to live in fear of being harassed and targeted for our culture when we did nothing wrong. The world is so fast to point fingers and blame, as if all this hate would stop the spread of the virus.
Asians are human, too. After the pandemic, my biggest hope is that the hate crimes will stop and I can walk the streets of my neighborhood without fear.