Los Angeles, April 8 2021: In a bid to raise awareness about racism and discrimination, Asian-American athletes are sharing their own stories of racist abuse.
The past year has seen an increase in anti-Asian violence, after former Donald Trump repeatedly dubbed the COVID19 pandemic the “China virus”
Yul Moldauer, a gymnast of South Korean origin and Sakura Kokumai a karate exponent of Japanese heritage, detailed their experiences with racism. The former, who was adopted by a family in Colorado as a one-year-old, said he had dealt with racist jokes and stereotypes throughout his life, usually opting to “just push it away.”
In a recent brush with racism, he narrated an incident saying,”Last month I was driving and a lady cut me off,” he said. “And at the lights she pulled up and yelled at me ‘Go back to China’. “When I heard those words I laughed and shrugged at it,” Moldauer added. He said he doesn’t let such people take up space in his mind because there are so many other great Americans he is proud to represent.
Kokumai, 28, will be competing in the Olympics for the first time as karate makes its Olympic debut, delivered an emotionally loaded narrative. “I was training at the park and a man started to verbally harass me,” Kokumai said. “I was kind of shocked by it.”
After US Olympic snowboard champion Chloe Kim revealed she regularly receives racial abuse, the stories of Kokumai and Moldauer’s aim to draw attention to anti-Asian violence in the United States. They said its not an attempt to garner sympathy, rather an effort to build awareness.
According to Kokumai her experience was nothing compared to the level of violence others faced making national headlines. She added, “I want to raise awareness that this can happen to anybody. We need to be there for each other and protect each other.”
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