Recently, I’ve been hearing a great deal more regarding kids being made fun about or harassed because they had “chinky eyes” or were Asian. I’m not writing this only through Asian eyes, I’m writing this for anyone who has been bullied or ridiculed for who they were born to. Tweety, this ones for you. You may not understand why someone made fun of you, but rest assured, it has made you a better person without you even realizing it.
I remember distinctly the day I first experience prejudice. I was in third grade. I was walking alone to Victor park (yes, we did that back in the days). Then, BAM!!!! Smacked in the back of the head. I jolted a few steps forward. My head still facing the floor from the smack, I saw the wheels of a BMX bicycle pass me by ever so slowly. Tears welled in my eyes, almost too afraid to look up to see who my assailant was. I can almost make out his face till this day. Shoulder length, wavy hair, skinny framed boy, probably in highschool. He looked at me and screamed, “you f@cken nip, go back to where you came from!!!” “Nip? What’s that?” It was summer. Not at all chilly, except the chill racing through my body from the shock of what had just occurred. “What does he mean ‘Go back to where you came from? I was born down the street on Torrance Blvd.'” I didn’t get it. Then, I realized when he did the “chink eye” expression and gave me “the bird” exactly what he meant. And from that day on, I realized I was different. I remember screaming (when he was a distance away)… “one day!!!! I’m going to put you in jail!!!!!”
Ahahahahahahaha, that’s the day I learned the middle finger and ever so proudly tried to teach my resistant sister while in the backseat of my dad’s long, light blue Cadillac. And that’s the day I learned what it meant when your dad stopped the car!!! Ahahahahaha. Not realizing he could see through the rearview mirror, I gestured at the passing cars with my new acquired sign language skills. He was not amused. This in itself is a story on its own.
I never did become the prosecuter I wanted to become, but I still strive to seek justice at every opportunity I can. In hindsight, I think this is when a great deal of my own aggression and “fight back” mentality came from. Be the bully, not the bullied!!! Yes, totally wrong. But I grew up in an Asian household where communication about my daily social life and activities weren’t overflowing, so there was no one to educate me on how to deal with these negative feelings I was harboring.
My questions are: Where did “chink eyes” come from? Why do kids still do it till this day? Shouldn’t we as evolved human beings and parents know not to instill that in our children?
On my MNO, my friend, Allison, told me her son had done the ‘eye gesture’ to her. She asked why he did that. S said some boy in class did that to him. (S is caucasian. He has Sarah Jessica Parker type eyes). So his very cool mom told him, that’s not a nice thing to do, etc. Trying to explain the negative connotation with that gesture couldn’t have been easy. But now, I’m wondering if he too will think having small eyes isn’t cool.
My other friend, Judy’s daughter, just recently experienced some bullying by some boys while at a soccer function. Tweety was baffled as she had never experienced something like that in her 10 years of life. She was made fun of for being Chinese. My old bosses daughter, who is half Filipina & half Nigerian, would cry telling her mom she didn’t want her puffy hair, because the “other” kids made fun of her. All these stories are heartbreaking, not only for me, but for these carefree, spirited children who should be able to remain a clean canvas as long as possible.
Where does this hostility in these kids come from? Who is teaching them these things? I feel like we live in a better, more educated world so it’s disturbing for me to see how kids perpetuate these behaviors and history seems to repeat itself. We have a bi-ethnic president for crying out loud. We live in a melting pot of ethnicities. I want to know who the hell is not stopping a$$hole behaviors to allow this to go on.
People, teach your children better. Instill in them the beauty of diversity. Acceptance. Compassion. Ignorance can be bliss, but education is power.