I remember the first time someone called me a chink.
I was five.
It wasn’t actually in school. My classmates were really nice.
It was on the bus. Some older kids.
I still remember because of how much it hurt.
It was confusing, too, but most of all, you remember the pain.
Throughout my childhood, I had various thoughts that more or less amounted to me wishing that I was white.
I would get the respect that I deserved if I were white.
The sports coaches would treat me differently if I were white.
I would get invited to more parties if I were white.
The girls I was interested would like me if I were white.
I would finally fit in if I was white.
To me as a kid, life would have been so much easier if I were white.
It wasn’t something I fully got over until well into my 20s.
I mean, these days, I am super proud of my heritage.
It’s what makes me who I am.
It’s where I came from.
And I know that I can live the life that I want being, you know, me.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today, I cherish my differences, what makes me unique.
Today, I understand that it’s the source of my true power.
But it took me a long time to get here.
It was a long road, one filled with long periods of confusion and a dull, lingering pain.
I’m not complaining or anything.
Because more importantly, I was filled with hope.
Moving to New York City helped a lot.
But it just felt like the world was slowly but surely moving to a place where it was OK being someone like me.
I got validation for that hope every day.
And you got the feeling that this was something we all wanted, that we all believed in, that we were all fighting for.
The belief was that, hopefully my own kids could grow up in a world where they could be proud of being who they were from day 1 rather than from day 10,000.
That it wouldn’t take them over 20 years to figure that out, to find that confidence.
That’s why when I woke up this morning and saw this, it just filled me with an incredible sadness:
Donald Trump’s campaign and election have added an alarming twist to school bullying, with white students using the president’s words and slogans to bully Latino, Middle Eastern, black, Asian, and Jewish classmates. In the first comprehensive review of post-election bullying, BuzzFeed News has confirmed more than 50 incidents, across 26 states, in which a K-12 student invoked Trump’s name or message in an apparent effort to harass a classmate during the past school year.
In the parking lot of a high school in Shakopee, Minnesota, boys in Donald Trump shirts gathered around a black teenage girl and sang a portion of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” replacing the closing line with “and the home of the slaves.” On a playground at an elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, third-graders surrounded a boy and chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
On a school bus in San Antonio, Texas, a white eighth-grader said to a Filipino classmate, “You are going to be deported.” In a classroom in Brea, California, a white eighth-grader told a black classmate, “Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.” In the hallway of a high school in San Mateo County, California, a white student told two biracial girls to “go back home to whatever country you’re from.” In Louisville, Kentucky, a third-grade boy chased a Latina girl around the classroom shouting “Build the wall!” In a stadium parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida, after a high school football game, white students chanted at black students from the opposing school: “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!”