A Heartbreaking Loss (I Am Not Okay)

A follow up to another article on #StopAsianHate called, “A Different Kind of Sad”

The week after Valentine’s Day has been a sad one following the news about what happened to Christina Yuna Lee, and for those who knew and loved her personally, I’m so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. I read that Christina was followed home and was stabbed to death by a man named Assamad Nash, and every time I read it, I couldn’t help but feel like I read my own obituary and it was terrifying to read every single time. Christina was so sweet and creative. She didn’t deserve to go! She reminds me of one of my best friends, I see a part of myself in her, and even as someone who did not know her personally, I have not been okay since I read the news.

The New York Post wrote, “Last Sunday, right in Chinatown, a young Asian woman named Christina Yuna Lee was followed home and stabbed to death. Weeks earlier, Michelle Alyssa Go, also Asian, was deliberately pushed into a subway train and killed. Before that, Yao Pan Ma, an Asian man, died months after being stomped on while collecting cans…There are clear cases of Asian hate, which all people of good conscience actively oppose. And while Ma’s killer
was charged with a hate crime, these three murders should terrify New Yorkers of every race. Because these victims could have been anyone” (New York Post).

There’s more to this and race is not the only issue, but race is the first thing we usually see. As The Post noted, the victims could have been anyone. However, violence against Asian Americans has been happening more often, and frighteningly, with more severity. Christina’s murder amplified the demand to Stop Asian Hate, and rightfully so. The violence against Asian Americans should be addressed, but not politicized.

The New York Post wrote in another article that, “White House press secretary Jen Psaki did it again, this time blaming the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes on ‘the hate-filled rhetoric and language around the origins of the pandemic’ — meaning, of course, it’s Trump’s fault again. The absurdity is obvious since the prompt for Psaki’s gaslighting was Sunday’s slaying of Christina Yuna Lee in Manhattan. Caught at the scene was homeless career criminal Assamad Nash. This follows last month’s fatal subway-shoving of Michelle Alyssa Go by another drifter, also suffering serious mental illness. Neither perp fits the core ‘listens to Donald Trump’ demographic, to put it mildly” (New York Post).

The online mediasphere is broadcasting Stop Asian Hate because it’s usually about your race when you’re a minority, but becoming the targets of violence is not the kind of representation any community wants. The violence against Asian Americans should be addressed, but so should mental health, homelessness, drug abuse, and violence. Why is it that when all of those factors play into crime, it’s race that gets highlighted in the media, but when my university sends emails about “anti-racism” and “social justice,” they cannot even address the recent violence against Asian Americans?

I have not been okay, and so when I got another school email about “anti-racism” that didn’t even mention violence against Asian Americans, this time I actually responded.

​I have a few thoughts on “anti-racism” and “social justice” that I do not feel are being
addressed, but if you asked me, I’d also not know how to fully express them to you.
Why was attention drawn to Lunar New Year being the reason to postpone an “anti-
racism” meeting, but after the very sad news of Christina Yuna Lee’s murder on
February 13th, the impact of her to the AAPI community wasn’t at all addressed in the
anti-racism email on February 14th. If this was in fact addressed in the Monday zoom
meeting, then I completely missed it, but that’s just my impression.

The words “social justice” and “white allyship” are a complete turn off, and to me,
distinguishing people by their social identifiers (gender, race, orientation) is not the
best approach to celebrate or teach diversity. I’m sad and these “anti-racism” emails
aren’t enough to address the real issue, and right now, we should address that hate is
not okay. I cannot change the fact that I’m Asian, and when people say that they are
allies or that they “support of our AAPI friends & neighbors,” I honestly don’t know how
to respond. Thanks? I know you mean well, but I’m not okay right now. Again, I’m not
sure if I can fully express how I feel on this topic.

Kindly

​I seriously need to calm down, but this time I won’t apologize for how I feel. If a university’s “social justice” initiative seems to be all about race, gender, and orientation, it completely undermines the bigger social injustice and does not actually equip the next generation to realize that cold blood murder can happen to anyone, and I simply cannot afford to attend a 45k “safe space.” Violence is a complex issue, but it’s always race that gets highlighted, and the fact that the university has an “anti-racism” task force that does not actually address the recent violence against Asian Americans just hurts.

Again, I am not okay. I just read my own obituary when I read about Christina Yuna Lee’s murder and I can’t count on the university, the media, or the system to get the point. Christina taught me that life is precious and tomorrow is not guaranteed–and they make it about race? I, seriously, don’t want to spend the rest of my life paying off a loan that will go from 45k to +100k, and so I decided that I’m done with college. I’m currently in the process of dropping out because I’m sad and I don’t feel that the system is doing enough when they make “social justice” about race and still fall short on addressing the issue. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life paying off a student loan that I can’t afford if I might be the next victim–because I’m Asian? “Anti- racism” is not enough. Something needs to change and even “social justice” isn’t exactly “it.”

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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