CNN reporter Amara Walker called out three people Friday including a police officer for three anti-Asian racist encounters.
Walker says the incidents happened all within the same hour at New Orleans International Airport.
“I’m shaking right now,” Walker said during an interview on CNN discussing what happened.
Walker says she can normally brush off such bigotry, but said when it happened three times in succession, she knew she had to speak up. She took to Twitter to share details.
“I hate that I have to say this. But I belong. We Asian Americans belong. I was born & raised in the U.S. I am as American as apple pie & I am as American as Korean barbecue. I am American. Please don’t question me about that fact. Ever.”
She said an “older man who was walking past me stopped, lowered his mask then said to me “Ni Hao. Ching Chong.” Ni hao means hello in Chinese. “Ching Chong” is a racial slur that has been used to mock us, Asian Americans for many decades. It brought me back to the days at my elementary school playground.”
Unfortunately it didn’t end there. She would later see the same man again in the TSA security line, explained to him why she considered what he said racist, but he denied knowing what she was talking about.
A little while later, as she sat with her producer waiting for her plane to board, a young man approached and asked her if she spoke English.
The racist would walk closer to her, almost nose to nose without a mask.
“Then he started to speak incoherently in what sounded like a fabricated Asian language,” Walker wrote. She also blurted out obscenities including racial slurs. She asked him to leave, as did her producer. Several passengers sitting nearby also demanded he leave while her producer went to get security.
Unfortunately having security there didn’t help.
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While I appreciate that Mrs Walker was shaken by the first incident (it’s incredible that anyone could behave in such a way as that man did) and I share her frustration and anger, on the other I utterly fail to see what could be racist about asking someone if he or she speaks English. Mrs Walker was in an internaitonal airport and, while I don’t question that she is every bit American, it is not necessarily obvious at first sight. She might as well have been a Korean citizen traveling in the USA and, as a consequence, asking her if she spoke English was not derogatory at all. The two incidents seem to me to be quite different.
The fact that you don’t understand shows your ignorance. No one has the right or a reason to walk up to a complete stranger and ask them if they speak English!!! Why would they?? What business is it of yours or anyone’s what language someone else speaks, just b/c you’re walking through an international airport??? You need to make some friends that were born outside of the US, then maybe you’d understand and would be more enlightened about WHY that is racist, ignorant and unnecessary.
Also, “Pal”, your comment suggests that b/c someone has Korean eyes that it’s assumed they might not speak English!! Where do you live, are there no Koreans there?? There are literally a few million Koreans in the US, the vast majority speak English, and many speak it with no accent at all and / or native fluency. I know b/c I’m an American that’s married to one. So, yeah, assuming that someone might not speak english b/c they have an Asian face is incredibly ignorant. Educate yourself.