LAFAYETTE, La. — Prompted by recent events nationwide targeting Asian Americans and her own experiences, a Lafayette Asian American woman has kept a list of all the times she has endured micro-aggressions or outright verbal attacks in Lafayette.
Dr. Yung-Hsing Wu recalls all the times she’s been faced with unkind behavior. She has kept a record of every single time someone has been malicious to her.
In one instance, for example, she was shopping at Target when she says a white woman and her children mocked her by saying “Ching-Chong."
"I thought to myself, ‘Is there a pattern here?’,” said Wu. “At least once a month it emerged, if not twice or three times a month.”
She says the U.S. has a history of targeting immigrant women, which worsened after the labeling of the COVID-19 pandemic as “the China virus.”
“The behavior I have begun to observe since COVID is the intentional and deliberate address to me when I'm sitting here daydreaming or looking at my grocery list,” said Wu. “And by intentional, I mean seeing me and directing comments at me.”
She says for a city that prides itself in valuing family and happiness, some people in Lafayette are uncomfortable with minorities.
“Maybe because it values so much its happiness and joie de vivre, et cetera, that discomfort with things like race is all the more affront,” she said.
The shooting in Atlanta last week targeted three spas. Of the eight people who lost their lives, six were Asian women.
Although officials ruled out a race-motivated attack, Atlanta's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is urging authorities to consider hate crime charges against the gunman. She told CNN, “The acknowledgment that this was a crime built upon hatred for a particular community matters.”
Dr. Wu says although the news of the Atlanta shootings was heartbreaking, it was not surprising.
She believes it will take a joint effort to overcome this violence.
“It’s going to depend on citizens incrementally observing behaviors of their fellow citizens that are problematic, not right, and at base not humane, and finding ways to talk about it,” she said. “Crossing that threshold is very uncomfortable.”
KATC reached out to the Lafayette Police Department asking for reports or data about the number of hate crimes in Lafayette. We are waiting to hear back.
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