Over the weekend, New York Times editor Michael Luo and his family were walking down the sidewalk in Manhattan pushing along a stroller when they were told to “Go back to China! Go back to your fucking country,” by one impatient, but well-dressed woman.
Luo responded by sprinting to confront the woman and telling her “I was born in this country!” Luo later told Gothamist that while this sort of thing happens all the time, this time, he felt a real sadness and had started dwelling on the question of Asian American identity and belonging.
In that spirit, after publishing an open letter to the woman. Luo asked Asian Americans to tweet him about their own encounters with racism in the US, hashtagging them “#thisis2016.”
Asian Americans, tweet at me your own racist encounters and I'll try to collect them. Hashtag it like I did #thisis2016
— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) October 10, 2016
He received quite a few responses:
Today's Cartoon: This happens a lot more than you'd think.
— Connie Sun (@cartoonconnie) October 10, 2016
— Nina Lin (@nlinphoto) October 10, 2016
— Allan Chow (@chowspecial) October 10, 2016
— Jason Chan (@jasonmarkchan) October 11, 2016
— Justin Wong (@jmnwong) October 11, 2016
— Tiffani Ng (@aesthetiffs) October 11, 2016
— e.ahn (@ahnfire) October 10, 2016
At my 15 yr olds HS, after she introduced herself, a white girl said "No your name can't be Skye, it's Ching Chong Oh!" #thisis2016
— Ellen Oh (@ElloEllenOh) October 10, 2016
— Anthony Chow (@anthonyschow) October 10, 2016
— Alissa Zhu (@AlissaZhuNL) October 10, 2016
— yoomi (@angrylilasian) October 10, 2016
— robert casumbal (@robertcasumbal) October 10, 2016
— KP (@KP_erez) October 10, 2016
— Tracy Chou (@triketora) October 11, 2016
— Suzy Khimm (@SuzyKhimm) October 10, 2016
— kelwoon (@kelwoonjoo) October 10, 2016
Luo told CNNMoney that he was “incredibly moved” by the response, adding that “It’s resonating because Asian Americans have this feeling that racism against them is not taken as seriously as other groups.” In a New York Times article published yesterday, Luo writes that his own experience tapped into “a deep reservoir of emotions held by many Asian-Americans about the racial prejudice they have experienced and a hunger for it to be recognized more broadly.”
Last week, Fox News aired a segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” that many found to be shockingly racist, even by Fox News standards. Correspondent Jesse Watters visited Chinatown ostensibly to get people’s views on the election, but instead returned only with an impressive amount of antiquated Asian stereotypes. Later in the week, The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng came back with a brutal takedown of the offensive segment, but it appears that even that has still failed to cure racism.