Fighting back

I am appalled but not surprised by the increase in hate crimes as against Asians. It has been percolating throughout the pandemic with racist terminology from many leaders and persons who are heard- we cannot point the finger to just one. The rationalization of why the shooter in Georgia did on March 17th, 2021, what he did, only pours hot burning vinegar on a festering wound.

And watching the attacked, injured and elderly Asian grandmother in San Francisco fight off and injure her attacker, just added to the despair.

But watching that attacked, injured and elderly grandmother stand there confused and unattended, while her attacker was receiving medical attention, again, caused a feeling of disbelief and anger.

That could have been any of our immigrant moms. It had been my mom.

It was 2005. I was at work in downtown Toronto and my mom called me on my office line from her home in Mississauga. She had locked herself in her bathroom. She explained that she had answered the door and a confused guy was swearing and cursing. Although her storm door was locked, he ripped it open and pushed in the main door before my mother could close it, injuring my mother. The guy was high on crystal meth, believing that he was in his house.

He was in his late teens while my mom was in her 60’s. High on drugs, his strength and lack of pain, was on another level.

My mom had rushed to the bathroom and locked it, and called the police. When she called me, I kept my mom on the line, and I called the police again. The feeling of helplessness that I felt was scream worthy.

I rushed to get home and ensure that my mother was safe. But my mother, like the Asian woman attacked in San Francisco, was a fighter. When she heard that the guy was leaving, she was concerned that he would get away before the police could apprehend him and that he would hurt someone else.

And so my 60 something mother grabbed an axe, rightly or wrongly, and chased after him. She was angry. And that’s how the police found her and the guy. With her chasing after him, yelling at him, to draw the attention of neighbours and the police. The guy was apprehended.

And my mother – she was cautioned about walking around with an axe.

By the time that I arrived at the house, the police were gone. No ambulance was sent to check on my mother and we were left with a door hanging off its hinges and left to deal with the clean up and the fall out, on our own. As strong as my mom was, the incident left my mother feeling very vulnerable and scared. My brother arrived shortly afterwards and we took care of my mom and the situation.

And this attack on the grandmother in San Francisco, really brought up this memory of my mother. There was no follow up regarding my mother and how she was doing after the incident. The concern was more about ensuring that the guy on crystal meth, received the help he needed and it was explained to my mom that he had no control over his actions, because he was on crystal meth.

Sound familiar – this rationalization? All of a sudden, my mother lost her role as victim and was casually tossed aside. And if race was not the factor for this different treatment, then I do not know what was.

My West Indian mother, was dismissed. Her white attacker was not.

It left a bad taste in our mouths. And so we were forced to move on. We installed a security system at my mother’s house. We checked on my mom, even more frequently. Because, we realized we were on our own. The system, was not going to assist us.

The incident was treated as if this were an everyday event and apparently, it is:

A white man high on crystal meth, broke into my West Indian mother’s house and hurt her.

An Asian grandmother in San Francisco was attacked on the streets, and her white attacker was treated, while she stood untreated on the street.

A white man shoots 8 women in Atlanta, all but one were women, the majority of Asian descent.

We need to do better. We need to be better.

People’s actions need to be held accountable and not excused.

We are tired of forgiving, or accepting the rationalizations, when the truth is obvious.

And if the truth is obvious, why is it only seen by us?


But that’s just one Diva’s view.

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