(LOS ANGELES) — Harold & Kumar star John Cho didn’t mince words when discussing how COVID-19 is raising hell for Asian Americans. In a powerful and gut-wrenching Los Angeles Times essay, the 47-year-old openly discussed the rise of anti-Asian discrimination and racism due to the pandemic.
“The pandemic is reminding us that our belonging is conditional. One moment we are Americans, the next we are all foreigners, who ‘brought’ the virus here,” Cho remarks in his open letter, citing that Asian Americans across the country are now fearing that they could be targeted by a hate crime.
“I called my parents a few nights ago to tell them to be cautious when stepping out of the house, because they might be targets of verbal or even physical abuse,” The Grudge star reveals before saying why his call is not out of the ordinary these days.
Cho, who came to the U.S. from South Korea when he was six, continues, “The fact that the coronavirus seems to have originated in China has spawned a slew of anti-Asian hate crimes. Across the country, Asian American parents and children are making versions of the call I made.”
He then touched upon the painful new reality that Asian Americans are living in, “Friends are sharing first-hand accounts of abuse on text chains and circulating articles on Facebook, always ending with the suddenly ominous ‘stay safe.'”
He also opens up about how discrimination against Asians is viewed as “racism lite” because of stereotyping. While some might outright dismiss hate crime accounts from Asian Americans, he says they are still serious.
Cho ended his letter by pleading everyone to stand up for “your fellow American” no matter their ethnic background because, “like the virus, unchecked aggression has the potential to spread wildly.”
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