How has Anti-Asian Racism and Discrimination Affected Me as a Vietnamese American?
Updated: Jul 28
Racism has been a heavy topic for many decades. It is the belief that humans are divided by ethnicity and skin color. Racism can affect anyone, like African Americans, Hispanic people, and in this case, me, as an Asian-American.
I was born in the U.S as a Vietnamese- American. I was raised in a loving household, went to school, and have done many extra-curricular activities as any normal kid would. Despite this, discrimination still affects me. I haven’t done anything to provoke bullies yet I still get comments about me every once in a while.
The most prominent case of racism that I remember was when the pandemic first started. During my lunch, I was hanging out with my friend as usual until a boy came up to us. I’ve already had problems with this boy for a very long time, so seeing him already aggravated me. He all of sudden said, “Oh look! It’s the ching chong twins! Don’t give me corona!”. Something inside me switched. I already didn’t like this guy, but I lost all respect for him at that moment.
When hearing this racial comment, it triggered my fight or flight response. In this case, I chose to fight. I resorted to chasing and cornering this guy and telling him to "Shut his stupid racist mouth, it's not funny you brat". He never made a snarky comment after that incident.
In June of 2020, there was an Asian hate crime against a 70-year-old Asian woman in San Francisco. After researching more about the crime, I figured out that the assault happened only a street away from my grandma's shop. Figuring that out left me perplexed with emotions. I couldn't tell if I was feeling aggravated because of the person who assaulted a helpless old woman, or sad because I saw the woman as my grandmother. Both were at similar places at the same time, around the same age, and both Asian. To think that the assault could've been my grandma still haunts me.
I have never been confident. I don't know how to describe my feelings when talking to others. Instead of using my voice, I can use art to express my feelings. I drew what the effects of a hate crime can do to some, depicting a young girl with injuries everywhere on her face. Around her were texts stating comments and events that have involved Asian Hate Crimes. With the art that I made, I was able to show people how I was feeling through words and art.
Art has taught me to stand up for myself. To fight for what is right. Even though I don't experience the same level of discrimination as many other Asian-Americans, that still won't stop me from fighting for equality.
About Samantha Tran
Samantha is a 13-year-old performer who loves music. She has been performing ever since she was 5 and later started performing in the Vietnamese community when she was 9. She started her piano and vocal training at the age of five. Her love for music has expanded further to many other instruments such as violin, zither, and guitar. She has been a frequent member of the San Francisco Children’s Musical Theater (SFCMT) as well as an active singer for the Vietnamese community in San Jose and Orange County. Her singing performances have been broadcasted on various Vietnamese TV stations and YouTube channels. Samantha is an advocate in the Stop Asian Hate movement and has shown this by creating artwork, protesting, and singing in various charities.