I was shouted “Go back to China”
By Dr. Chao Wu, Clarksville, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday, March 20th 2017, I submitted this article to Columbia Flier ( Howard County Times) for publication. Since it was not published by them in two weeks, I am sharing here now.
Recently, several incidents of Indian, Chinese, Sikh Americans being murdered occurred around country. It is a sad reality we are facing and it is challenging us to unite our diverse community.
As a Chinese immigrant, I have experienced racism first hand when I was studying at University of Maryland, College Park. One spring day in 2007, while I was riding my bike to school on Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, I was yelled at “go back to China” and more than ten school girls (little and not too little) threw stones at me. I was scared but brave enough at the time to shout back: “How do you know I am from China”? That was my first encounter with blatant racism. Later my friends and coworkers told me that I should never argue with them because they may have guns with them.
What did I do? I told my colleagues and friends about this incident, then quit riding to school. I studied hard and worked hard. Life moves on. I am now living in one of the best counties, raising a family and serving the community.
History will repeat itself unless we are vigilant. I am well read about the history of the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps. I also understand the difficulties that many new immigrants are facing because I am one of them. At the same time, we should be careful not to call all accidents as racism which will negatively dilute the message and not help facilitate discussions. Issue based discussions are much easier to start and can actually result in something useful since people will fight to the death about religion and ideology.
Furthermore, we should not just pander history, which unfortunately is very complicated, and sometimes very cruel. Instead, we should focus on thinking forward – on how to provide better education, create more jobs, and how to build a harmonious community.