September 19, 2009 Saturday 1:30am
I work as a bartender at a bubble tea shop in Chinatown. I usually take the closing shift and thus at times I donít get off work until around 1:30am. Today was one such day. There are usually very few cars on the road at this hour but it is one of my personal credos to observe the traffic light and not cross the street on a red light. More than anything, it keeps me alive. The green light flashed and I was about to finish crossing OíConnor (a street name) when a car on Somerset (also a street name) suddenly swerved into my direction and almost ran me over. Had I not taken a step backwards to evade the car I would have been hit. I was like ĎJesus,í and thought it was just reckless driving when the same driver made a u-turn around the intersection and stuck his face against the side window with a Ďtake thisí expression as he drove away. This is when I realized he did it on purpose. He was at least trying to scare me if not downright kill me on the spot. I managed to give him the finger and told him to fuck off, and I was quite satisfied that this word of profanity came out in time.
Although this is the most extreme of the kind Iíve experienced so far, the unfortunate thing is that I experience this kind of harassment at least several times a year. People have randomly sworn at me or hurled insults as they drove by. For the longest time I have not been able to cuss back because I could not come up with one quickly enough and by the time I thought of a phrase that correctly expressed my fury and malice they were long gone. Each instance of such incident slowly but surely built up in me. It made me on alert and ready to fire back at all times.
I came home and told my roommate about all this. She freaked out and said she feels sorry that I have to go through this kind of stuff on a regular basis and that she apologizes on behalf of all white people. She also speculated that I get yelled at often because they see Asians as easy targets.
I also do not think it is a far-fetched assumption to make: that the reason they randomly harass me like this is that I am Asian, a visible minority, and they are pitiful scumbags that look down upon people of other races with contempt. It just so happens that every one of those kind I encountered was white. Iíve never gotten harassed in the same fashion by people of other races. Sure, it does not prove anything and there might be something else about me that incite them to mess with me. But then, what else? I look no different from an average Asian man with normal build and average height. I dress casually. I walk with normal gaits. I wear glasses and usually have a knapsack on my back and a headphone around my neck but Iím pretty sure Iím not the only one. If I had any mental problems they wouldnít know it. I wish I did not have to make this kind of inference as I harbour no general hatred towards Caucasians. Easily two thirds of my friends are white. Many others who I regard with personal significance for various reasons are also white. However, I canít help but see this as cases of racial hatred, and I am quite tired of having to go through this kind of nonsense all the time when I am a Canadian, albeit naturalized, living in my own country. As for the scrawny long-faced white kid who almost ran me over, I hope he realizes what he did was a clear act of crime that would have landed him to jail if he got caught.