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Letters to the Editor: Don’t take anti-Asian hate as a given. Fight back against it

People participate in a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence at Los Angeles State Historic Park on Feb. 20.
People participate in a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence at Los Angeles State Historic Park on Feb. 20.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Growing up, I remember white kids following me and chanting “ching chong” and “jap jap” while making slanty-eyed gestures. Well into my teens, I would walk into a restaurant with my family and we would be refused service. (“My low-level anxiety about being Asian in America has morphed into fear,” March 3)

All those times, I burned with shame and humiliation. I wanted my folks to fight back, but while my dad silently steamed, my mom would say, “Shikata ga nai,” meaning, “It can’t be helped.”

As an adult, I am subjected to inappropriate remarks that still wound. Reading about all the latest attacks on Asians has both saddened me and increased my anxiety. When will it happen to me? Will it be a physical or a verbal attack?

I don’t subscribe to the “shikata ga nai” resignation that pervaded so many people of my parents’ generation. We need to stand up and raise our voices against hate and prejudice, because after they come for us, who will be next?

Cynthia Kokawa Lerner, Los Angeles


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