As a Chinese American there is a lot of discrimination and isolation that I face in the States by White Americans and other people of color. Though it has dwindled as I have gotten older, it still affects how I see these people. Authorities making disparaging comments to me, I was not able to celebrate my own holidays properly in Evansville. I also do not have the ability to omit foreign language classes that my international counterparts are able to get out of while having similar proficiency in another language and culture here at UE. They do not even have my own language as an option to take here while a few major European languages are available. Most of local Asian Americans do not come here as we do not have much to do here since COVID-19.
I have had to live being called slurs and listen to jokes based on xenophobic ideas of my ethnicity. I have had to help a Chinese teacher teaching abroad to get out of her situation when her host family committed a hate crime against her. My mother has been called slurs by her patients. At the start of COVID-19 my mother did not want me out of the house for fear of my safety as a Chinese person. A Chinese student was fatally stabbed January in Bloomington this year for her race.
Though now that I’m in Harlaxton, there is a sense of freedom. I finally get to celebrate Chinese New Year properly in London. There were more people that were like me. It brought a bittersweet melancholy with tears to my eyes. Americans have Christmas, but I never was back in China to celebrate our holidays. I had to compensate here in the New World with our smaller communities. It was a place I belonged. Though there is still the same sentiment of hatred by the people.
I met a Chinese Singaporean who felt fear for presenting as a Chinese person for the first time coming to England. He heard that someone had been assaulted for wearing a mask as a Chinese person in London and therefore never wore a mask since he arrived.
My experience with such racism here has been that people have gossiped over my coughing as everyone else was also as sick as I was. I’ve had British children spout racist things at me. This all still reminded me of the United States. It’s almost like it never changed for me. Then again, the town Grantham near Harlaxton is comparable to Henderson which is only 30 minutes from Evansville.
The Singaporean did not believe that America has issues with Sinophobia until I recounted my life in the States and what has happened to the people in the Chinese community around me, which relates to Chinese in Chinese dominated countries do not realize that it is an issue in nations like the UK and the US as they believe that they just have similar issues and that we are weak without knowing what we go through as they usually never hear personal accounts or had to encounter it. Though I met a Chinese from Manchester that wholly understood and knew what it was like to be discriminated in a similar light being a British citizen.
Though with all being part of the Chinese diaspora, it felt like we were very far removed from the nationally Chinese people as we were thoroughly westernized in America, Singapore, and England. Though I felt I was the least removed, partly due to the fact my mother refused to let me lose my heritage by telling me that she would ignore me when I spoke English to her.
I don’t know when I will reconcile these feelings and find peace, but I hope one day…
that I belong somewhere.