‘During my daughter’s daily Zoom meeting, her classmate said, ‘I don’t like Chinese people because they started this quarantine.’: Asian-American mom urges ‘we are not the virus’

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“Today was our first firsthand experience with Anti-Asian Racism related to Coronavirus.

During her daily Zoom meeting, one of my daughter’s classmates (2nd grade) offhandedly said, ‘I don’t like China or Chinese people because they started this quarantine.’ Her teacher diffused the situation as quickly and effectively as she could, but the damage was already done.

What made it worse is that this person was one of her friends.

I had two choices: let it gloss over or don’t pass up this teachable moment. Asians are often taught to stay silent and to not make waves, but I want to teach my daughters to stand up for what they believe in and speak up to things that are unjust.

We talked about how this made her feel, and what she hopes that this person learns from this. I urged her to write down her feelings and gave her the option to share them. She didn’t want to share it personally with the person or the class, but she didn’t mind sharing it to the public. I told her how there might be other people who are feeling the same way she is and that her words might give them courage to speak out. This is what her letter says:

When we did the zoom meeting, someone said that he doesn’t like China and Chinese people. This made me feel sad becuse I’m Chinese. I hope he will stop telling people that because it’s mean and wrong. It’s wrong because he doesn’t know what he is saying. No one knows how the virus started for sure. When you say that you don’t like Chinese people, you’re saying that you do not like me. I did not start this virus. Thank you for being my friend.

Please listen to my 7 year old. We are not the virus. Your children are listening to you and their words have consequences. Also, for anyone reading this, she thanks too for being her friend.”

Courtesy of Jenielle

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenielle of Little Gray Thread. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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