True Story: Racism at its Worst. A Response at it's Finest.
I was in an elevator inside an indoor golfing place where I stood next to three older Korean gentlemen. As the elevator ascended, I could feel the stares of the three gentleman on the back of my neck. For some odd reason, from a single glance, they assumed I wasn’t Korean and so they started to talk about me.
“God, there are so many Chinese people coming into this Golf course.”
“ Why is this one so big, he looks like one of those chinks that come through just to mess around and trash the place.”
Now if you know me, I’m not a quiet person when it comes to acts of racism even if it’s not “really” directed towards my ethnicity. But, they were old, so I cooled off on my temper and let them continue with their conversation. I was getting off soon anyways.
As we continued to go up, the elevator stopped, and a large African-American man in a suit came in with a brief case. Seemed like he came here for a meeting of some sort. The moment the elevator doors closed, you guessed it, the old men went on with their racial commentary about the man in the suit.
“Oh my God look how dark this man is.”
“I know why is he so dark? He looks weird.”
“I wonder what he’s doing here. I hate it when black people come into our area. ”
As you may or may not know, I grew up in a predominately Black neighborhood so my blood started to boil. As I clenched my fist and slowly turned to say something, I was caught off guard by something completely unexpected. The elevator stopped, the large gentleman turned around, looked towards the three old men and said in KOREAN:
“ Excuse me. I stood here and listened to everything that you said, and I am sorry that the color of my skin offends you.”
The man walked out the elevator, turned around right before the elevator door closed , and bowed.
Here we have it again, and someone please tell me why I’m not surprised. We have a bunch of racist bigots attempting to disguise their prejudice in a “comedic” song. Look, I don’t understand what the whole point of being racist is if your not proud of it! If you want to hate Asian people do it proudly don’t be a closet racist. Come out, beat your itty bitty chest and shout it from the mountain tops:
“ I HATE ASIAN PEOPLE!”
Why do I say this you ask? I am tired of having to figure out who’s racist or not. I am tired of people using the guise of poorly conducted “comedy” to mask racism. I am tired of people finding it O.K. to poke fun at another’s cultural background only to brush it off as, “Hey, it’s just a joke.” Society has progressed far enough to the point where yes, superficially racism is taboo but internally, thoughts and beliefs of prejudice are still very much alive. The band that created this song stated that in NO WAY was this song intended to be offensive. Well my friend, actions speak louder than words and your song speaks VOLUMES.
Not only is the music video STUPID and racist, it’s also SEXIST. Great job fellas! Have a whole ethnicity/race and gender hate you! High five!
Which brings me to the topic of the lovely Levy Tran who decided it would be a great idea to participate in this video making a fool of herself and her culture. Let me put this out there:
Just because you’re Asian, it does not mean your exempt from your stupidity.
I am surprised that people are only offended by the non Asian band members of the group, but not the Asian girl parading about making fool of herself in one of the most racially demoralizing videos I have ever seen.
I expect, but do not condone these types of behaviors from people who may be ignorant to cultures they do not understand. Young lady, what’s your excuse? Most likely you don’t have one. I don’t know at all to place an opinion about the content of your character; however, by the looks of this video, it’s not too promising.
You can say that this video was done in pure satire and that this video is just a simple joke. But then it begs the question:
For a good portion of my life my grandmother raised me.
I think a lot of Asian kids go through having their grandparents being their surrogate parent while their mother and father were away at work. Both my parent’s worked 70 plus hours a week at the family business so me, my brother, and my cousin were left in her care.
For a huge part of my adolescence she baby sat, beat, disciplined, cooked, cleaned, cared, and bought me anything I wanted. She did everything for us like any Grandparent would for their grandchildren. Sadly enough, though she was the center of our world growing up, as we got older she became less and less of a priority in our lives. To be honest, for me, I don’t know if I even thought twice about her after my teen years because I was too busy trying to grow up and get away from everyone as soon as possible.
Fast forward to the age of 18, I learned something very important.
I remember the very last time I got to see my grandmother the exact way I remembered her. During my Thanksgiving break from the first year of college, my parent’s told me and my brother to go visit our grandparent’s. When we got there, we walked in, gave hugs, they offered us food, I denied it and listened to them telling me how big I’ve gotten despite not growing a single inch in years. As we continued to talk, after the typical greetings, they took us both to their room so we could chat some more.
Like most Asian grandmothers, she started telling me about the old days and what she expected out of me as her grandchild. As she was telling me all these things, she reached over and grabbed my hand and held it in a peculiar way. I don’t know why, but however many times she held my hands, this time, it felt different. There was a familiar warmth to it, but there was something somber about the way it was placed on the back of my hand that I still remember till this day. But of course as a teen and a freshman in college, I brushed it off, nodded to her babbling, and let her continue to talk waiting for her to stop so I could go home. You see, it was thanksgiving break, and all I could think about was going home to see my girlfriend. I left that day in a hurry, and returned back to my college life soon after.
When I came back in December for Christmas break, my father told me that we should all visit my grandmother again but to expect that she wasn’t going to be the same. He told me that she had been losing her memory slowly and that physically her condition was deteriorating. Not fully being able to comprehend what he was saying, we went to go visit her and I expected the typical greeting, hugs, kisses, and offering of food.
When I stepped into her apartment the first thing my dad did was greet her like any son would, but the way he spoke to her was odd. He spoke to her as if she was a child asking:
“Mom do you know who I am? Do you know who these two kids are?”
My father then pointed at me and my brother. I looked at her smiling waiting for her affirmation. She looked turned to my father with a smile and said:
“I don’t know? Who is he?”
My heart. Shattered. Into. A. Million. Pieces.
I almost thought it was a joke. I went over to her and told her my name a few times telling her it was me her grandchild. She smiled and said the same thing:
“Who is he?”
At that very moment, my heart sank into the middle of my stomach and I wanted to die. I could not comprehend what the hell was going on at first but soon I realized what my father was saying. Though physically she was here, mentally she was gone and she would not be the same person. Figuratively, my grandmother had passed.
When we inevitably had to put her in a nursing home, the first two years were so difficult, I bawled my eyes out every time I went to see her.
I’d reach out, touch her hand, say her name, and nothing.
While my parent’s were at work I would take my grandfather to see her where she was hooked up to a machine, and every time he would see her he would say:
“I think she’s getting better. She looks good.”
He would ask her if she could get up out of bed, ask her if she ate, when she would be coming home, and I had to sit there every time and watch him try to wake her up.
I wanted to die. I could not stop crying.
One of the nurses told me during the first few months she was there, they would hear her crying at night calling for her family because her memory would come back for moments at a time. To think that my grandmother would wake up in her few moments of consciousness scared to death, frightened, wondering where she was killed me inside.
I could not stop crying.
After a few years I learned to accept the situation she was in and came to cope with the fact that though she was here physically, she had passed. I had to learn to accept her situation and pray that she would pass soon peacefully.
Towards the last couple years of her life she was in horrible shape. She was not present, and was being fed through a tube through her stomach while hooked up to a respirator. I visited her at least twice a week and was hoping she would pass soon so she wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
When she finally passed, I took a few days after her funeral to reflect back on something I had not thought about in years. I stopped and reflected on that feeling I had when she reached out and held my hand the day before I left a few years back. I looked back to that feeling I chose to ignore because I was so caught up in the present I could not see passed my own two feet. I realized the reason her touch and her words felt so different that day was because she was trying to tell me something.
She was trying to tell me that she was going to pass away.
My grandmother reached out to me and was telling me everything she wanted to say because she knew she wasn’t going to be here anymore. That day she reached out to me I denied her and left thinking she would still be here.
To be honest, other than the usual talk, I can’t remember a FUCKEN thing she said that day. My priorities were fucked up and I assumed she was just saying the same crap I heard a million times before so I CHOSE to ignore her. I remember sitting in my room for days ripping out my hair trying to remember what she said to me that day but EVERY TIME I tried, I drew a blank. I could not remember.
Till this day I can’t remember a single word and it haunts me. I sat in my room every night angry at myself for missing an opportunity to have closure with a woman who raised me when I was a child.
Could you imagine how horrible she must have felt? How disappointed and heartbroken she must have been as she sat there trying to reach out to her grandchild as he chose to treat her as the nuisance he had to visit so his parents wouldn’t nag him.
I hate myself till this day because of this and it’s something I have to live with.
How odd is it that when we’re younger all we can think about is moving time forward? Growing up faster so we can get passed the awkward stages of our lives. Getting out the house so we can get further from the grasp of our parent’s. But the moment we reflect and look back, all we want to do is turn back the hands of time.
Undo every wrong we have done.
Take back all the horrible things we’ve said.
Experience the moments we chose to miss.
To my Grandmother who is not here with us anymore, I love you. I miss you more than you will ever know. I will never get to experience the warmth of your touch. I will never forgive myself for missing that moment with you before you passed but because of you, I will choose to cherish every moment that I have with the people that I love.
Time is something you never get back, so how, and who you spend it with is going to matter the most.
When we are reunited after this life, I hope you will be proud of all that I’ve accomplished after you passed. I love you.