But I'm from Ohio, b*tch! ...A story on racism

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We all seem to struggle with the same things: finding the right career, ways to make more money, good friends, hardships of falling in love and hopes to live happily ever after.  But for some reason there is to be an added struggle when you are different. There's discrimination that lives in this World that will continue, whether it be race, religion, or gender.

Life is already tough as it is.  So, why do we bestow extra burdens on each other? With the inauguration of our new president, the divide is extremely prevalent. This blog post isn't to stir the pot, but to share a story of racism that I've encountered in my life.  Just like every obstacle you overcome, you become better for it.

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My parents immigrated from Laos almost 37 years ago due to issues brought upon by the Vietnam War. My mother and father left everything behind and hopped on a boat in hopes to provide us with a better future.  My oldest sister was only 2 years old and my mother was pregnant when they started the journey. My mom gave birth to my sister in a refugee camp in Manila, Philippines.  They had to stay there for a year before leaving because of restrictions set by the government.

Random fact: Laos was the most heavily bombed nation in history.

I tear up thinking about how much they sacrificed and how scared my parents were during this time.  Of all the places in the world, my family eventually made their way to Columbus, Ohio.

My parents tried to assimilate into American culture while trying to preserve our Laotian customs.  Growing up, my mother worked as a seamstress and my father worked as a machine operator.  My sisters and I would accompany them to doctor appointments and such.  We helped translate whenever they needed us.  They struggled to give us things that we wanted.  I lived off of hand me downs and learned to appreciate everything that was given to me.  I started working at age 16 and worked hard to get straight A's so that they didn't have to worry about paying for college.  Children of immigrant families can probably identify with this need to take care of their parents for the sacrifices they've made.

As a child, I would hear kids tell the stereotypical "ching chong" jokes and said that we ate "eww" dogs and cats (which I found hilarious when King of the Hill episode aired).

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But there's a specific event that happened to me as an adult that really disgusted me and causes me to question the future of mankind.

About a year ago in Chicago, I was in a freight elevator with 2 of my friends when an older Caucasian woman (maybe in her 60s or 70s) walked in.  Keep in mind, we were in our late 20s and dressed in jean shorts, Converses, and tanks because we were headed to a music festival.  We were young and successful (both are doctors) but all she saw was our skin color and race (Indian, Puerto Rican, and Asian).

She gave us all a disgusted look when she walked in.  She brushed up against my friend and shoved her out of the way to press the buttons. We all were shocked... She then walked over near me, flung her bag around and hit me with it.  I waited for her to say sorry but nope. Appalled I said, "well, excuse me."  She said, "you're excused, honey" then let out an evil chuckle.  After a few minutes, I couldn't hold my tongue anymore and said, "Wow, that was rude."  She continued to chuckle.  When it was time for her to get off the elevator, to kill her with kindness, I said "I really hope you have a nice day."  She turned and said,

"Honey, you need to go back to China!"

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I was so offended. I'm not even Chinese. I'm Laotian. And I had never even been to China before. The first thing out my mouth was, "But I'm from Ohio, b*tch!" LOL

I honestly didn't understand her need for hate. We did nothing to her and there was a ton of room in the elevator but she chose to physically and emotionally abuse us.  I don't understand how our existence offended her so much. All I know is that no matter, what you do and how well you live your life, there will always be people who will be against you.  You would think that by this day and age that things would have progressed. Does it really get better? Or do we just get used to it?

Funny thing is that I took her advice, and decided to visit China for the first time a few months ago. It was an amazing experience! Now, if someone told me to go back to China, I'll say, "Hell yes!"

Moral of the story is: we're all in the pursuit of happiness, please be kind to one another.

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