Photography by Alicia Mara
Talk about perfect timing. I just got back from my trip to Beijing, China and Hong Kong a few weeks ago. I was really inspired to get more personal with Levitate Style and share more details about myself. I’ve been posting about style and travel, but rarely going deeper on a personal level.
So…Let’s get personal. Let’s get real.
Exactly two weeks ago, Fox News aired a racist segment poking fun at Asians in Chinatown. “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?" “Tell me what’s not made in China?” “Do you know karate?” I finally got to watch the video a few days later. In that span of time, it was really refreshing to see my asian friends share their passionate opinions openly on Facebook and fighting back against this video. And then this happens...a white woman yelled ”Go Back to China!” to NYTimes editor Michael Luo in NYC. #ThisIs2016
As an Asian fashion blogger in the industry, I felt the responsibility to respond and be a voice in this matter. To use my platform, my blog, my influence the best way I know how and to reflect and tell my story. To reflect a positive light on Chinatown. To raise awareness on the type of racism and massively spread stereotypes we still face today. To break away from that and show the world otherwise. Be a voice for the voiceless. Speak up for those who can’t (in this case, the elderly that don’t speak English being interviewed about Trump). It hurts to think that had my immigrant parents been in that video, they would’ve had trouble speaking English and therefore be mocked, harassed, and embarrassed.
I am frustrated.
From a message I heard last week, frustration was explained as the feeling you get when your expectation isn’t met. I am frustrated because I did not expect this. I expect this type of racism to be a thing of the past especially for a global metropolitan city like New York City. This was blatantly racist, offensive, and distasteful. I expect better than this. I’ve traveled the world these past few years and I still believe NYC is the best city in the world. This city is my HOME. So yes…it’s a bit frustrating when this type of racism happens right in my own backyard. Right. At. HOME. I am frustrated because there are times when I feel like I don’t belong. I am frustrated because my people are being treated this way…at home. What I absolutely love about this city besides the obvious glamour and hustle is the diversity. I can easily go from one area to another and I’ll find authentic neighborhoods of different ethnicities. I have the world all cramped into one city. So how is this still a thing?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment!
Stay tuned for more of the Chinatown series! I’ll be sharing about my struggles growing up in NYC as a Chinese immigrant, the media stereotypes of Asians, and more.
Thank you for reading!
Leo Chan - Levitate Style