Monday 23rd October 2017,

Japanese American

Ξ 2 comments

Bon Jovi Concert Hits Sour Note for Asian American Who Was Told “You Don’t Belong”

posted by Randall
Bon Jovi

Photo by Karina Brown

It’s the kind of comment so many Asian Americans and other people of color have heard.

Unfortunately, many have also received the same sort of dismissive reaction that Karina Brown received.

The Columbus, Ohio resident was celebrating her 45th birthday with a long time friend. It was the kind of thing Brown and Stacy Engle did often in their youth.  Engle’s father would take them all around the state to see their “favorite rocker.”

Just before Bon Jovi took his final bows,  Cincinnati.com reports another concert-goer turned to Brown and said “you don’t below in this country.”

Stunned, the daughter of an American veteran and Japanese immigrant was admittedly both shaken and disturbed.

“Here’s this woman standing next to me, “Brown said. “She looks like someone I would see at one of my kids’ PTA meetings, and the look she gave me, the contempt she had for me.

“It floored me, I just couldn’t believe it,” Brown said.

Karina Brown with her chilren

Karina Brown with her children

Cincinnati.com learned of this incident through the Documenting Hate project,  a joint project of New America Media and Pro-Publica. AsAmNews is one of hundreds of journalism ventures participating.

Brown told a few people about what happened. She was saddened when many responded that she was making too big of a deal out of the incident. Some tried to rationalize that the person who made the comment meant no ill-will.

Not one to enjoy attention on herself, Brown struggled before deciding what to do next.

She decided to report the incident to the Document Hate Project.

After Cincinnati.com reported on what happened, Brown’s friends and even some strangers have rallied behind her.

“Just read about you in Cincinnati Enquirer. Am glad you are speaking out. So sorry that it’s needed, but we live in strange times where hate is trumping love. We all need to speak out. God bless! wrote a friend.

“I can’t imagine such hatred,” wrote a stranger. “I know you only through the article and am enraged at your treatment. I’m so sorry.”
Brown hopes her story will inspire good in people.

“Thank you all so much,” Brown wrote on Facebook. “I deeply appreciate your kindness and support. My heartfelt request is that the next time you see a woman in a hijab that you smile at her. The next time you see a young black man you look at him in the eyes and say, “Hello.” The next time you see a family speaking Spanish at a store you offer to help them; and by all means don’t call a person an “illegal” or “terrorist.” It’s easy to support me…but we REALLY need to examine all our individual biases and support humanity more broadly. I just have to say this because my kids (our kids) are counting on our collective intellect, logical reasoning, & human kindness. #soapbox”

If you know of an incident of hate, report it here:


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ht/Sato Kazuya

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2 Comments

  1. RE: Bon Jovi concert Hits Sour Note for Asian American who was told “You Don’t Belong:” It is hard on Asian Americans. But honestly, Every culture has proprietorship issues. Pop Music is basically European-American, Urban Music is basically African-American etc. Caribbean Music (reggae) and Latino Music have contributed something to mainstream American Music. Asians have not contributed anything. In the sense, when we walk into concerts, we tend to forget that fact. I never thought how much other groups could see it as much as myself, but this is both a good and bad thing. I am pushing for a Japanese(Asian)-American Tribal Roots Music and Art Movement. We Asian-Americans need to create our own music. Google it. Nothing impressive but its honest and a start.

  2. RE: Bon Jovi Concert Hits sour Note for Asian American who was told “You Don’t Belong”:The larger question is should we be trying to break stereotypes? What is a stereotype? Isn’t the essence of a stereotype based on what we really are? We should be embracing stereotypes as a door leading to whom we really are as Asian Americans. Two realities we need to face are: the indigenous group (3 to 5 generations strong) and new arrivals. We need to find our indigenous American experience. I am not Chinese or Korean but am Okinawan (Japanese). I cannot be simply Asian. Hate speech is not always harmful, it can teach us about ourselves. We tend to feel too entitled by politically correct trends.

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