Hate incidents take many different forms, but boil down to being verbally or physically harassed because you are perceived as different. In the UK, ‘different’ is legally defined as in terms of an individual’s race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, or their disability.
Recorded hate crimes against East and Southeast Asians (ESEAs) in the United Kingdom sharply increased during the pandemic. Experiencing anti-ESEA hate is a terrifying, demeaning and isolating experience: but please know that you are not alone. There are many ways to get help in processing what has happened to you and organisations that want to support you.
1: Self Care
Your number one priority is you and your well-being. If you’ve been on the receiving end of anti-ESEA hate, it is perfectly normal to experience a range of physical, mental and emotional reactions that last anything from a day to months, to even longer. Remember: you have been through an incredibly stressful event. It’s okay to allow yourself time to recover. Do what you need to do to self care. However, if at any point, you feel unable to cope with your thoughts and physical reactions, please seek professional help.
Hackney Chinese Community Centre are holding free counselling in Cantonese and Mandarin, ESAS offer free group sessions for people experiencing racism trauma, and Vietnamese Mental Health Services offer culturally sensitive counselling services. If you’re looking for something mindful, Kind Red Packet has put together a database of ESEA led yoga and meditation classes.
In the US, the Asian Mental Health Collective has put together a directory for reduced fee therapy and mental health support and a state-specific resource directory.
If you are experiencing a serious crisis, immediately call a support line for help, or your local emergency services. Asian Mental Health Resources have a collection of international hotlines here.
2: Be Safe
If you are being threatened or harassed by someone, do everything you can to keep yourself safe. Get yourself to safety, walk away, find help if you can. You may feel as though you want to confront the person harassing you: make sure you assess the risk before you do so, as you do not want to escalate the situation. Here are some tips for conflict resolution: but we must stress, your safety is key.
3: Report It
Hate incidents are hugely under-reported, especially so in the ESEA community. It’s understandable why: it’s difficult and scary to talk about something awful that has happened to you, especially to a stranger.
It’s important to know that there may not be a prosecution if you report a hate crime. However, in reporting your experience, you are enabling authorities to map where hate crimes are happening, so they can identify geographical locations that need more protection and resources. Likewise, you’ll be enabling charities and activists to collate information so they can make strong advocacy cases for the ESEA community as a whole.
If you aren’t comfortable reporting to the police – that’s okay! There are many charities and organisations that you can also report to instead.
In the United Kingdom:
In the United States:
If you experience a hate incident in a professional setting like a place of work or at school, you can report it to HR or teachers. You will be protected by confidentiality laws, and these institutions have a duty of care to you.
4: Record It
If you are unsure about reporting, that’s okay. Take your own time to process what to do. In the meantime, keep a note of all incidents related to the event, including times, dates and details of what happened. Depending on the nature of the incident, keep any physical evidence you can, including notes, letters, texts or emails sent to you, take photographs of what you can. If there were witnesses and you feel able, try to get a statement, or contact details so they can be contacted later.
5: Strength In Solidarity
You are not alone. There are supportive communities and groups who understand what you are going through. Talking to others who have been through similar experiences and understand what it’s like to be targeted for your appearance can be healing. Online communities can provide a safe space for you to be listened to, with shared understanding and support. Here is a resource database of UK based communities, while in the United States, there are groups such as Subtle Asian Mental Health and Stop AAPI Hate.
6. Make A Difference
Channel what you’re feeling into a positive outlet and consider joining an anti-racism organisation. Being a part of a movement that’s campaigning against racism can help you feel empowered. If you do become involved in activism, do still keep checking in on your mental wellbeing and self care, as the work can be very emotionally demanding.
Here are some UK based ESEA-led organisations:
- End the Virus of Racism
- Racism Unmasked Edinburgh
- East and Southeast Asian Scotland (ESAS)
- Kanlungan: Empowering Filipino Migrants
- Chinese Welfare Trust
And for the United States:
- Stop AAPI Hate
- Chinese for Affirmative Action
- South Asian Americans Leading Together
- AAPI Women Lead
- Khmer Girls in Action
- Korean American Coalition
- National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
7. Be Kind To Yourself
Do not guilt yourself into thinking that you are not doing enough or blame yourself for what has happened. You are amazing.
Want to learn more?
This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.
Kim Richards is a content creator, Twitch streamer, producer, and scriptwriter. She’s part of High Rollers D&D, the 2nd biggest D&D show globally.
Kim is part of the team at End the Virus of Racism, a Intersectional campaign, tackling structural racism following tripled hate crime against East & Southeast Asian people during COVID. Learn more on their website: https://www.endthevirusofracism.com/