Covid19 & Racism: “I’ve never felt so unwelcome in my own country.” / Hyde Posthuma

Today was the first time in my life I was threatened to my face by a complete stranger for no apparent reason other than the fact that I’m Chinese.

I’ve read that threats and abuse towards Asians have spiked dramatically since Covid-19. Ordinary citizens who have been sneezed on, spat on, verbally attacked and physically assaulted for no reason other than the fact they were born ethnically Asian. Today I experienced being threatened myself. I was walking my dog Micah by myself and a girl who looked no older than 5 years old exclaimed “doggie!” and looked like she was coming over to pat him. I told her to stay away (politely) to which her mum told her “she probably has Corona, that’s why she told you to stay away”.

When I called her out for being rude and racist, the mother told me to “f**king shut the hell up” before threatening to “go get her dog – which is bigger than mine – to rape my dog”. She then went on to say she knew where I lived so I better not sleep, and when I told her she needed to stop being racist, she threatened to cross the road and to come and beat me up. All this in front of her 4 kids who looked like they were all under 10. Classy.

While I want to believe that ‘this could’ve happened to anybody’, I do wonder, had it been Reuben, my white, pakeha husband walking Micah, would this have happened to him? Even had he been walking with me; would it have happened? I am sceptical.
Though I don’t have solid stats, I can only say that he has never been threatened, or accused of having coronavirus while out by himself, and we have never been threatened while walking our dog together.

I wanted to write this because I want to have hope that one day racism will be eradicated from our society. This is the real disease people need to be cured of.

I have hope that human beings are intelligent enough to separate their insecurities and fears from the victimising and blaming of others.

I have hope that we can be humble enough to realign our thinking to one that shows compassion and understanding towards people different to us, not fear and animosity.

I hope that we can teach and correct those around us about the importance of acceptance when we see racist thinking and actions. Whether this be a throwaway comment your friend makes during a light-hearted conversation, or a blatant attack by a stranger.

And I really hope that we can learn NOT to clump an entire race together with generic stereotypes aimed to mock and degrade that certain race while passing it off as an ‘educated’ observation of ‘culture’.

The thing is, I believe we live in a fallen world and that everyone is sinful. I believe that the words which came out of that woman’s mouth didn’t just come out all of a sudden due to ‘Covid stress’, those words and thoughts, along with every other person who have abused someone due to their ethnicity, would’ve been lying dormant in the heart.
I believe that the pandemic of Covid-19 has just given people a sense of permission to say and act on the ugly prejudices of their hearts. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34).”

To my Asian brothers and sisters, I feel you. Be careful, stay alert, stand up for yourselves but don’t persecute your persecutors, we are stronger than that.

To my Pakeha brothers and sisters, even if you don’t understand this issue, even if you don’t understand why calling it the ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Kung Flu’ is wrong and unwise, now is the time to look out for your minority and especially Asian friends and family, I for one, have never felt so vulnerable in this place I call home.

But even now:
“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” – Psalm 91: 2 – 4

Hyde Posthuma is a dance teacher who loves Jesus. She is married to Reuben and they have Micah, their Shiba inu furbaby.

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3 thoughts on “Covid19 & Racism: “I’ve never felt so unwelcome in my own country.” / Hyde Posthuma

  1. Corinne Coulthard 09/04/2020 — 12:50 pm

    Stay strong, stay safe, my thoughts are with you x

    Like

  2. This kind of casual racism will end when stupidity does. Sounds like the woman was just having a bad day and was of the aggressive type. Did you notice/discern her ethnicity? It is not mentioned in the story and there seems to be a rather sweeping stereotypical generalisation or assumption in the ‘editorial’ about what ethnicity the abuser was. And by the way, in my (extensive) experience, east Asian people are no less prone to racial stereotyping than any other ethnicity. Just saying.

    Like

  3. i’m so sorry you went through this! i can’t believe the amount of racism and xenophobia circling this pandemic. and i’m sorry about the annoying pandering dude in the comments invalidating your experience.

    Like

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