April 15, 2021
By Ben Fong-Torres
Friends, Strangers Respond to ‘The Year of the Rat’
When I posted my piece about why, as an older Asian American, I’m nervous just walking on the street these days, I expected a mixed reaction. Especially since I told about getting less than friendly stares from some Black people at a restaurant early in the pandemic, in February, 2020. But I was wrong. My article, published on Medium, AsianConnections.com, and my Facebook page, drew more than 100 comments on Facebook alone, from strangers and friends, including classmates from Oakland High, fellow staffers at SF State’s daily paper, where I was a reporter, then editor; fellow Rolling Stone and KSAN employees, broadcasters, and musical pals, including Naomi Eisenberg, singer-fiddler with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
(L) Photo Credit: Dianne Fong-Torres
Here’s a sample of the thoughtful, heartfelt, even emotional comments, just ever-so-slightly edited.
Cheryl Serame-Turk: Wow, Ben. Well said. As an Asian American myself, I always thought that my affiliations (glide memorial ensemble, Oakland music community, Silicon Valley tech community) would shield me from most “other” perceptions but this Covid situation is something else altogether.
I now tread carefully which I never have. No matter the age, walking, driving, biking while Asian right now can put you in danger. Never have experienced that in my life. I’m Filipino...