The other day something peculiarly awful happened to L and I.

I’m sharing this because it is an important personal story for me. I’m also sharing it because I have seen a lot of horribly racist comments online following the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. Then this bitch posted a YouTube video of herself attempting to mock Asian and Asian American students at UCLA. (EDIT: deleted any reference to dumb blonde stereotype)

Enough is enough.

MY STORY

Last week L and I were crossing the street in Beverly Hills to get to my doctor’s office. I had a pre-op appointment and wanted L to be there with me. As we waited at the curb to cross the street, a pissed off man spit in the face of my husband and told us to “get out of his country.” We did absolutely nothing to provoke this attack. I was completely scared, shocked, and unprepared to be on the receiving end of this disgusting venom.

Right before this person approached us, I saw him raging down the street from afar. He looked really mad, and appeared to be yelling the n-word. My gut told me that he might be a problem, but there are a lot of angry psychos in L.A., so mostly I am immune to it. I held my breath and didn’t make eye contact. Ignoring him did nothing. He just felt compelled to gang up on the random Asian American couple minding their own business.

As I’ve learned, to get spit on is one of the worst insults. It shows such a blatant lack of respect or care. The thing that surprised me even more was that he was a person of color with platinum blonde dyed hair. So after the shock and disgust of being spit on wore off, I was like, “Who did he think he was fooling with that hideous dye job?!” It made me think back to some of the racist things that have been said to me throughout the years. I realized that at least half of them have been uttered by other people of color. One time, a foreign guy who could barely speak English told me to go back to my country. I laughed, and was like, “I can’t even understand you!!” By the way, is that supposed to be a clever cut at Asians? Go back to our own countries? Honestly, figure out a better insult, because that one is tired and so circa-1989.

People of color knocking down other people of color? We should know better than that. If you are a minority, you know how it feels to be cut down to size due to your race or rendered practically invisible at times. It’s humorous to me when minorities try so hard to be white. Do they think they conquered some major feat? Umm, sorry to let the lid off of your big secret, honey. Psssst, surprise! You’re still a person of color!

I am trying to view this whole situation as a learning experience. L and I talked about it after it happened, and we agreed that we wouldn’t have handled it any other way. The guy was looking for a fight. What if he had a concealed weapon on him? What if he turned around and robbed us? He was a shady character, and we were innocent bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite all of that, I was still pretty angry. We don’t deserve to be treated like this. We are good people who work hard in our lives. By the way, he’s WRONG. This is MY country. My family has lived here for five generations; perhaps before his family ever landed here, and much MUCH longer than he’s been alive and dyeing his hair blonde. Yet, none of that makes a difference when it comes to situations like this.

At the end of the day, he did get one thing right. We don’t come from the same place. We are from very separate places actually. I was off to my doctor’s appointment with my husband at a world renowned hospital. He was carrying everything he owned on his back on the road to nowhere.

I’ll go back to my place, and he can go back to sleeping in a tin can.

Have you ever dealt with haters and/or racists? How did you handle it?

**A HUGE thank you to everyone on Twitter that sent me supportive comments! You guys really helped me feel better about this whole thing. I didn’t directly respond to anyone, because I was so shaken up. But you guys are seriously awesome. Thank you so much.**

March 15, 2011

thelessthandomesticgoddess

24 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jodi

    March 15, 2011

    So sorry that happen to you! Yuck and awful. Good for you for writing about it to help process it.

  2. Reply

    Geek in Heels

    March 15, 2011

    I am so sorry you guys went through this — I have been spat on before, and I completely agree with you that it is one of the worst insults one can receive. It really is disturbing how some people can be so hateful toward complete strangers…I'm glad that you guys are safe though, and that you're feeling better now.

  3. Reply

    Alena

    March 15, 2011

    That is awful. I'm so sorry you had to deal with something so…icky. You can only feel sorry for people like that – carrying around so much hate. Their lives must be so meaningless. I hope you ate some chocolate and were able to enjoy the rest of your day 🙂

  4. Reply

    Layla

    March 15, 2011

    Oh my god. I must be incredibly naive, because I had no idea crap like this actually happens. I instantly got goose bumps and felt my cheeks heat up with anger for you and L. I realize that guy probably had severe psychological problems, but you are a FAR better person than me, because he would have had severe psychological problems and no nuts by the time I was through with him. I've had crazy people do strange things to me (call me an insecure bitch in the middle of a parking lot for no reason, then follow my car…) but NEVER because of my race. I know I can't relate but I CAN say – fuck that guy. Fuck anyone that acts like this. (earmuffs)

  5. Reply

    Yankee

    March 15, 2011

    1. it is a misdemeanor in CA to spit on someone- it is a form of assault and you can citizens arrest his arse. [i realize, of course, that you do not know this person, but if for whatever reason this happens again, look for the cops!]
    2. you are a better person than me because had there been no police around he would have ended up on ground liking some serious cement.

    .. so sorry! :::hugs:::

  6. Reply

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

    March 15, 2011

    That is so insane. You and L did the mature thing. I'm not sure what I would have done but I don't take lightly to attacks.

    But like you said, you're from different worlds and you did the right thing.

  7. Reply

    Tiffany

    March 15, 2011

    Sometimes I can't believe people still act like that. And that guy, woah! He had some serious nerve!

    I've definitely been discriminated against as a mixed race girl who lived in Alabama for almost 10 years! It sucks to be mistreated and disrespected like that, but just like you, at the end of the day, I feel bad for them because they're just showing how pathetic and ignorant they are.

  8. Reply

    kelsey@mintedlife

    March 15, 2011

    That's so disgusting! I can't believe it, or actually sadly I can believe that it happened, it's just so horrible that it did. I think you all handled it really well, I'm not sure what I would have done. I think I would have been so shocked I would have just walked away.

  9. Reply

    -J.Darling

    March 15, 2011

    People call things around here "reverse racism" (though there really isn't such a thing). I live in a community made of largely mexicans and other latino/hispanic mixes. I'm probably the only natural blond haired, blue eyed person for a good 5-10miles. I'm well aware I'm a walking target. In fact, on a world wide scale, blonde haired, blue-eyed people are a dying breed. We're a complete gentic minority, since those are both recessive gene traits.

    While I haven't been spat on, I've put up with a lifetime of "dumb blond" jokes (even though I'm a published author several times over, an actress, singer, songwriter, CPC, triathlete, etc). In fact, people hear "Southern Californian Blond" they think Pamela Anderson. Oy. I've learned to deal with walking into a room and having everyone stop, see me, and suddenly start speaking spanish (which I can understand, but not speak well).

    I've learned that ignoring it and walking away is the best thing to do. Sure, there have been some blonds out there that are superficial and stupid. But that's them, it's not me. I realize I can't change everyone's perception of me, but I hope they would take the time to realize that under it all, we're all pretty much alike as people.

    I've learned to deal with the "dumb blond" stereotype by using a large vocabulary, and being more interested in how I'm living life, then what I look like while I'm living it.

  10. Reply

    More Than Rubies

    March 15, 2011

    I've been spat on. I was 8 years old, and the it was an adult who spat, intending to spit at my dad but changed his mind at the last second and aimed at me. I remember the anger, pain, and hurt I saw in my dad's face but it was the sense of "well, what can I do?" that made him just ignore, wipe, and walk away. I only watched half of that stupid YouTube girl because it angered me so much that some idotic loser would have the audacity to even THINK about posting that. Eff her.

  11. Reply

    Cathleya

    March 15, 2011

    A memory that's very sharp in my mind is when I was in science class. We were playing some sort of game that had to do with protons and neutrons (or some crap…I don't remember) and we were outside…you had to try to "steal" cards from other classmates for some reason. Anyway, this girl, Brittany, yelled, "Hey, chink, give me your card!"

    I grew up in a very white town and didn't experience racism to my face (when you're 1 of 3 asians at your school, people don't have a lot to be racist about when you're a MEGA MINORITY…if that makes sense), and I KNEW that the word Chink was derogatory but I'd never honestly heard it used in real life. I didn't know how to react…so I just let it go.

    I kicked myself for months over not saying something to our teacher. But I was just SO embarrassed in the moment that I never did.

    I've been fairly sheltered from racism though. You don't get much of it here in Berkeley…maybe less here than anywhere in the country, I'm guessing.

  12. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    March 15, 2011

    @J. Darling: I'm sorry you've had to put up with a lifetime of dumb blonde jokes. Honestly, I was under the impression that blondes were actually highly regarded in society? I had a number of Caucasian friends throughout my life who tried very hard to make themselves blonde! But, then again, I grew up in a beach/surfer community in L.A. I hope you didn't take offense to my jab at the UCLA student. Blonde or not, she's an idiot. My point was that she furthered perpetuated a stereotype that a lot of people, like you, have tried to defy.

  13. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    March 15, 2011

    @Cathleya: Isn't it amazing how vividly we remember incidents of racism?! I led a fairly sheltered life as well. My brothers and I and like two other families were the only Asians in our school. My little brother actually thought we were Chinese until he was like 6 or 7 years old (a long running family joke), because there was one Chinese boy in his class and the rest were white. So he assumed we were Chinese, too!

    I do remember feeling distinctly different from my white friends, but not really understanding what it really was all about. It wasn't until I went away to college that I began to explore race at all. I also dealt with my first in-your-face experiences with racism and ignorance. Fun times!

    I have always wanted to live up north. Maybe I'll convince the hubby to move to Berkeley. 😉

  14. Reply

    Anni

    March 15, 2011

    I'm so sorry that you have to deal with that. What a way to ruin your day. He should be ashamed of himself – I think you absolutely handled it right, though.

  15. Reply

    A. Marigold

    March 15, 2011

    So on Twitter I said something about how this was about mental illness more than race, but I read Cathleya's comment and I've changed my mind. Whatever his thought process was, I understand the effect on YOU has nothing to do with that. When I was five, two girls on my street (both white, and one now married to a white Norwegian with beautiful white children that for some reason it made me really uncomfortable to see on facebook the other day) followed me home from school calling me the n-word. For the record, I'm South Asian American, but that is somewhat beside the point. I knew that they didn't actually understand what they were saying, but that didn't change the way I carried that experience throughout my entire life.

    I'm so sorry you and your husband had this experience. Just awful.

  16. Reply

    hemborgwife

    March 15, 2011

    My husband is Swedish and this past summer we spent two months there. One night we went to his sisters house for a party and at one point I had to sit in the kitchen alone because one guy there had too much to drink and kept asking me how I liked having a n word president and how come I was so tan (I am half German from my dad, a quarter Armenian, a quarter Mexican and then a general mix like many Americans from my mom), and then just general hate and ignorance towards me. If I could have I would have gone home and cried, living in Southern California my whole life I have always just blended into whatever area I am in.

    What really amazed me though was how I really could not think of a way to defend myself or explain to him why what he was doing was wrong.

    I really am sorry you had this experience and I think it just makes us realize how much more education needs to be done worldwide.

    Sorry if this was a little rambly,things like this just get me worked up and then I have a hard time explaining myself.

    O and I do not want to portray Swedes in a bad way this was just one guy that was a bad seed as they say.

  17. Reply

    Micah and Catherine

    March 15, 2011

    I'm sorry this happened to you. Some people suck hard.

    A few months back I was trying to settle (out of court) with a guy who did some work on our house. He was giving me all these excuses which I tolorated until he told me one reason the work wasn't done right was because of my Dad's broken English. He said he could understand him. WTF? Yo asshole, my Dad has been living in the US for 30 years AND has been speaking British English since he was 5 years old. The VPs at Bank of America's Trust Department understand him just fine. I didn't say all that but I wanted to. I was so made that I got the emails to my Dad's bosses at BoA and asked them to write an official letter support for my Dad and mention his English. They did and were shocked that anyone would say something like that.

    It's how our environments were different but everyone is subject to some sort of racism. I grew up in a neighborhood and went to school (k-8) where those who were white were the minorities. Hard to believe that exists in Seattle but it does. I then went to a high school where I could count all the non-white students on my two hands. It was an interesting reversal.

  18. Reply

    Krista

    March 16, 2011

    Weird. "Get out of his country" is such an odd thing to say. It's his personal country, is it? Interesting?

    I think you did the right thing – he could have had a weapon or attacked. Who knows?

    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've only experienced sexism. In high school I dated a guy of Asian decent (Chinese, Cambodian) and witnessed racism. We were out walking when this little old lady pulled over and tried to convert him to Christianity because he's Eastern. Yes, that's what she said. She also said I looked Western so I must be nice. (HUH?)

  19. Reply

    conventionalbliss

    March 16, 2011

    That girl is completely ignorant and I feel absolutely disgusted pity for her.

    As for your incident, I was shocked when I read your tweet. I am so sorry that you had to endure such an incident. I am not blind to the fact that racism is still (sadly) prevalent all over the world. Regardless, your incident is completely disgusting and outright wrong. You had every right to feel everything you felt and I commend you for your non-reaction to it.

  20. Reply

    -J.Darling

    March 16, 2011

    No offense taken. 😉 Unforunately, for every stereotype, there are those who prove the rule! 🙂

  21. Reply

    Ali @ His Birdie's Nest

    March 16, 2011

    Carly (& L) I'm so sorry this happened to you! I think you handled it well – instead of yelling back at him, come vent to us. Hopefully, someone will read your story and think twice about anything they might say.

  22. Reply

    honey my heart

    March 17, 2011

    so sorry to hear about this. i remember reading it on twitter and was shocked by that. the full story is even worse. but glad you were able to handle it well.

  23. Reply

    Katie

    March 17, 2011

    Oh my goodness, this makes me so incredibly angry for you! I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that awful human being. And as for that girl's video?!?! When I saw it the other day I was sitting at home by myself but was still yelling through the computer screen at her idiocy. How can people be that way?!?!

  24. Reply

    MELISSA

    April 2, 2011

    omg i've experienced this so many times i've had jewish people, latin people an my own black people call me the n-word tell me to go back home, and i say hell we can take the same flight!! brush it off sweetie u guys r better than me b/c i would've went ghetto lol

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