"This is societal programming that we can change."

Morgan Noll
Mar 18, 2021 @ 2:14 pm
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ashley park
Credit: Bruce Glikas, Getty Images

Emily in Paris star Ashley Park is speaking out after recent anti-Asian hate crimes. On Tuesday, March 16th, eight people were shot and killed at three Asian-owned massage parlors in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian and all but one were women. This shooting is now one of nearly 3,800 reported racist incidents targeted against Asian Americans since March 2020, according to a national report by the group Stop AAPI Hate. Following the Atlanta shooting yesterday, Park shared an emotional video of herself responding to the news and the alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year.

"3 deadly shootings targeting Asian Women in Atlanta yesterday," Park captioned the post. "I couldn't sleep. Some of these 5am ramblings are very personal, but I decided to share because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I hope this helps someone feel not so alone in all this muck. Allies, thank you and please watch til end, this is societal programming that we can change."

"I'm so tired of people not knowing what's going on and also tired of people not understanding where these acts of hate and violence towards Asians is coming from," she said in the video. Then, she went on to share a tweet from Pachinko author Min Jin Lee, explaining that she found herself "drowning in all of the reposts and articles from the entire year" and wanted to talk about the tweet to make it feel "more real."

Lee's tweet reads, "In less than 48 hours, we had a historic Asian Oscar moment with multiple firsts in 93 years—then a mass shooting targeting 3 Asian-owned businesses. This is how terrorism works—you're not allowed to feel safe, accepted, or valued. We can resist. Take up space. Make noise."

Park continued in the video, explaining her reactions to hearing news of hate crimes against Asian Americans. "I'm always wondering why? Like how did it come to this? Why is there that hate?" Park asked. "These things happen when people have rage and entitlement, and when they prey on the weak." 

The 29-year-old actress stopped herself when getting more emotional, saying, "I really don't want to cry right now, because I do not want to perpetuate the idea that Asian women are weak, because we're not." Then, she went back on that thought, asserting, "You know what? No. I can cry if I want because emotions are just as strong."

Park also shared a hand-written list of the named victims of the shooting: Julie Park, Delaina Ashley Yuan, Hyeon Jeong Park, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz.

ashley park
Credit: @ashleyparklady, Instagram

She went on in the video to say that she has hope for the younger generations. "I guess that's what every generation thinks, right?" she said. "That they are making a better world for the younger generation. I guess that's the whole point. So, I do hope that this younger generation lives in a world where they don't have to deal with this, or they at least have the tools and allies to deal with it better than I am dealing with it now."

Then, she explained that "racism starts at a very small level," sharing examples of acts of anti-Asian racism. "It starts with things that you say," she said. "It starts when someone calls a virus that shut down the whole world the 'Kung Flu virus.' It also starts when you roll your eyes or make fun of Asian waiters or Chinese food delivery people and the nail artist. I'm guilty of that, too."

Park also opened up about some of the microaggressions she's experienced firsthand. "The amount of times in my life that I've been asked where I'm from before what my name is…I'm okay but you don't understand—or you do understand—the undervaluing that does," she said. "Starting with children, when every Asian kid should be able to be good at math and to be able to play a classical instrument and not be bullied and shunned and told you are only good at that because you are Asian. That makes literally no sense." 

She reiterated her previous point, adding, "It starts with the stupid little jokes. Even with your close friend, it starts with saying, 'Oh this is a good time for you to be in that industry because ethnic is really in right now.'"

Park concluded the video by calling on others to recognize and resist anti-Asian hate when they see it. "I could go on and on and on and this is not about that," she said. "It's just this 21-year-old with a gun last night, he came from somewhere, and at some point, someone could have told him what he was feeling and thinking, and that hate was wrong. It starts at a really small level and I think we can do it."