This is a photo of me with one of my 11 cousins of Korean descent. I’m ten years older than Bob (not his real name, but I don’t want anyone messing with him) and I remember rocking him and his younger sister when they were babies and later enjoying seeing them at WWE events and family get-togethers. Until recently, I’ve never even considered them my Korean cousins; just my cousins. But this recently renewed hatred towards Asian Americans is just incredibly disheartening, and I think it’s on all of us who care to do what we can to try to bring light to the subject, and do our best to snuff out the ignorance and apathy upon which racial hatred and bigotry thrive.
In my career, I was fortunate to have wrestled or worked in 14 Asian countries and have sponsored children in Asia through Child Fund International since 1992. Some of the very warmest responses I have ever received have been in The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore – responses so amazing, with turnouts so large that on a few occasions, I had to ask what type of big event was going on to have lines so long…only to be told they were there to see me. I was always treated with the utmost respect by Japanese fans during my 14 tours of the country. One of the most gratifying experiences of my life was visiting China as a volunteer for Operation Smile, where I had the honor of carrying post-operative children and placing them into the waiting arms of their parents and grandparents. I did not speak their language – but the language of love and compassion is almost universal. What a shame that some people around the world choose not to speak it.
In asking my cousin Bob if he’d be ok with me posting our photo, he mentioned that he had personally not felt the Anti-Asian sentiment, but mentioned that a few men from his hometown had made his mother’s life very difficult. I felt my blood run cold as I remembered his mom, coming over from South Korea, when Bob was an infant, not speaking a word of English at the time – and how she was immediately swaddled in the warm arms of love and acceptance from every member of our extended family. We might not have understood her language, but we adored her – and still do. She has always been a beautiful soul with the kindest smile. I loved knowing that at every family cookout, in addition to the dogs and burgers, beans and slaw, there would be a plate of homemade kimchi for our curious tastebuds. The mere idea of anyone out there terrorizing her (that’s how my cousin termed it) for the color of her skin, or the country of her origin, bothers me deeply.
Let’s #StopAsianHate by exercising our ability to speak that universal language of love and tolerance. Hating Asian Americans for the color of their skin, and the country of their ancestry is cruel and dumb and makes us look ridiculous in the eyes of the world.
Besides, when you hate on Asians, you’re hating on my family.
This post was originally published on the author’s Facebook page and is republished here with permission from the author. It is republished on Medium.
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Photo courtesy of the author.