What's your experience with being bullied because of your race?

Pretty bad on both sides of the pond. I was in second grade when my family moved to northern New Jersey. There are a ton of Korean Americans all over the county now, but back then, it was deeply segregated. Some things that happened to me up until my sophomore year of high school:

  1. I got called chink and gook everyday. Literally everyday.

  2. Kids used to cut in front of each other at the water fountain so I'd be the last one to drink after gym class. Teachers and administration did nothing.

  3. There was a Christmas song that went, "Jiggity jing, ee aw, ee aw, it's Dominick the Donkey!" Kids changed the lyrics to "Chinkity chink, ee aw, ee aw, it's Jonathan the Donkey!" To this day, I despise Christmas.

  4. Kids picked fights with me all the time. I didn't win all my fist fights but I won a lot of them. Administration blamed it all on me cause I was taking martial arts at the time. They thought it led to "aggressive behavior", so my parents pulled me out of combat sports.

  5. My parents told me to suck it up. They thought this racism stuff wasn't a big deal.

  6. Went to Catholic school for middle school. There was one girl who kept talking about how funny it is that North Koreans are poor and starving, jokes about mothballs and dry cleaners, etc. Again, administration did nothing.

  7. Catholic prep school for freshman year of high school. Rumors all around school that my dad worked at a sweatshop and my mom was a whore at a massage parlor. More fights. The principal was a priest from Louisiana who rubbed my goggles once after a paintball game and said, "I no can see! I no can see!" When the black kids weren't around, he also made charming jokes like, "When's the only time you wink at a nigger?" then he mimed out a motion where he was holding a rifle and aiming down the sight.

  8. Went to a public high school my sophomore year where a third of my school was Asian. No bullying this time but all the Asian kids made fun of me for being "whitewashed" because I didn't listen to K-pop and dress like a hip hop artist. Apparently coopting black culture is what made you "Asian". Ironically, I got along much better with the white kids. The white kids weren't racist against Asians but they were super racist against black people and Arabs, especially in my junior year when 9/11 happened. Most of my close friends at the time were Chinese and Indian.

To this day, there's still a part of my heart that can never forgive my parents because they put academics over happiness. In this case, they thought racist bullying was inconsequential compared to me going to a private school.

They also robbed me of one of the few things that made me really happy as a kid which was martial arts and replaced it with shit I had no interest in like classical guitar lessons. I had a real shot at becoming state champion at the very least. My sabo thought I could have taken a national title, but my parents took it all away because they blamed the fighting on me, not the kids starting the fights.

So yeah, you could say I was bullied for my race. I guess it all worked out in the end. I met a guy a few years ago who grew up in the same town as me but went to the middle school on the other side of town, and he ended up going to high school with my childhood bullies. One contracted leukemia. Another went away to prison after soliciting a prostitute and throwing her out naked on the street — he had to get moved when the warden found out the prostitutes' sons were doing time in the same prison. Most of them got hard into drugs and are working dead end jobs.

I genuinely felt bad for them. Made it much easier to forgive and move on. I was a very, very angry person in my college days, and over the years, I have received far more love and support than I ever warranted or deserved. It would be unfair of me not to extend that same grace.

Plus, I think it even made me a better fighter in the end. The #1 rule of any combat sport is to stay relaxed. Working through all that emotion and getting into so many scraps as a kid has trained me to remain calm under stress. If you can't channel the adrenaline pumping through you and your brain is stuck in fight or flight mode, then everything starts falling apart. You lose your form, your lose your instincts, you flinch at everything, you react to everything, and you gas out very early because you're burning way too much energy.

/r/asianamerican Thread