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Pet Sins May 2002

White policeman laughs at Asian women who report harassment

I walked another Asian woman to the bus station on a winter evening. A drunk white man cornered us asking me to be "his wife". I told him politely that we did not wish to talk to him. However, he continued. I told him politely to go away. He started shouting, "If you cannot make it in this country, then get out of here!"

I was very angry -- implied in this statement was the idea that Asian women have no role in America except to serve white men sexually. An Asian woman who refuses to entertain a white man's sexual advances has no function in America and should leave.

He grabbed my hand. He was drunk and bent over and just positioned right for a knee smash in the face. But in that 1 second, all this stuff went through my head, "What if I beat him up? If we go to the cops, it is a white man's word against a woman of color's. I've heard of many cases in which white people got away with bullying non-whites but I haven't heard of any case of the cops supporting people of color who beat up whites, no matter how justified."

I pulled my hand away, grabbed the other woman and ran. While all this was happening, white men were walking by but none of them did anything to intervene. As we ran uphill, we met 2 other students from our dorm. They were both white and one of them was the liaison in charge of taking care of first year students. We told them what happened. The student liaison put on a pained sympathetic expression on her face and said, "Awww, that's too bad." The other one just stood there half grinning. She had a past record of making fun of non-Americans. Anyway we could do without the fake sympathy.

We went to the police station right away. The white police officer taking my statement laughed when I related the sexual remarks the white man made. I was shocked. I felt violated and cheapened. Whether he believed me or not isn't even the point. The point is violations of Asian women by whites are taken very lightly, like a joke.

The white officer said, "Oh, he's harmless. He already harassed 2 other people tonight." The officer then asked me if I wanted to press charges. I looked at him and thought of how he laughed my experience away. I felt the system was against me. I said no.

Asian college student
1993