Behind the Mask
Blatant — Canada
I don't think it is any secret that ever since the pandemic started there has been this continuous stream of hate and violence towards Asians in general, not even Chinese people specifically. I recall the day after COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). I was in science class getting ready for a lab when someone, a fellow Asian asked me, "Hey Esther, do you have Corona?" I had never wanted to slap someone's smile off their face more than I did with him at that moment. Even after that incident, multiple people had continued to ask me the same question so frequently that I hadn't even bothered to bat a lash.
Sometimes, people would even call me outright slurs. Eventually, when quarantine was enforced, my mother started begging me to not even take a step out of my house. She feared the worst: that her daughter would be beaten for "starting a pandemic" to use an accusatory expression often used against Asians. That made me realize just how much the numbers of Asian hate crimes have risen since this entire pandemic started. The COVID-19 pandemic does not give anyone the right to engage in hate crimes and to call Asians slurs. If you think this is okay, I want you to understand that you are part of the problem. I should not be in fear of what I would be treated like or called because of my country's actions, not my own.
— Esther Li, 15