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ASK AMY: Hate crime terrorizes Asian-American victim

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Dear Amy: My wife and I are both retired Asian American professionals. A few months ago, a homeless man came up to my wife at a well-known outdoor market and spat hot coffee in her face.

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The person also harassed a Korean tourist and a Lao flower seller.

My wife called the police and they identified the man. He has a past and is mentally unstable. He has not been arrested despite having a record of public indecency and harassment.

My problem is that now my wife is afraid to go out in public without me. Other Asian women have been randomly attacked in our city.

He’s in a state where he worries about me when I run errands. Since we are just emerging from our COVID caves, I need to find a way to make her feel safe without arming her.

I’m also worried that if someone attacks us, I’ll actually hurt the mentally ill person and I’d be the one sent to jail.

– Anonymous

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Dear Anonymous: The history of hate crimes against Asian Americans is long and heartbreaking.

Quoting from a recent story published by PBS: “Across the U.S., there are 22.9 million Asian Americans and 1.6 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. American history is marked by anti-Asian exclusion, discrimination, and prejudice, especially during difficult economic times or other periods . in a time of great turmoil.”

A recent survey suggested that as many as 1 in 6 Asians have been the target of hate crimes, representing a dramatic increase in attacks during the pandemic.

I believe the answer—for your safety and your sense of well-being—lies in solidarity, activism, and empowerment.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, passed last year, aims to empower communities to combat anti-Asian hate crimes.

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Stop AAPI Hate ( has some helpful safety tips on its website.

The Asian Mental Health Collective has a database of therapists who might work with your wife (

I also recommend contacting your local community center to see if there are self-defense classes or other groups your wife could join to experience community and solidarity. See if a group of women could come to your house to visit, to make her feel safer and to encourage her to go in a group.

I also suggest that you do everything you can to show the police and through the media what steps they are taking to help your community.

Dear Amy: I am in a very uncomfortable situation and I want to handle it with grace, dignity and love. I can’t find the right words to express to people how I feel right now.

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I’ll try to explain. I’m dying of cancer. My family and closest friends know. But it’s also my birthday soon.

Everyone wants to celebrate these “milestone” birthdays with a party and gifts.

I’m happy to spend this time with the people I love and care about, and to share time with these loved ones, but the gifting part of this “celebration” makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I have four months to a year left (according to my doctor) and would much rather see this money put to good use after I die.

Is there anything I can say to express my gratitude at the thought of gifts without actually receiving them? How can I make sure they know what my wishes are without being or sounding ungrateful or just plain rude to these truly wonderful and thoughtful people in my life?

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– Thankful, but unnecessary

Dear Grateful: You already carry your burden with abundant grace through this expression of concern for the feelings of others. I admire this.

One way to get around the gift problem is to give guests a specific request and a small task: “Please do not bring material gifts to this celebration, but if you can, write a paragraph or two about a memory we shared. “

You can also ask people to donate to your favorite charity in your honor.

This will be much easier if you have a friend or family member to help you.

I wish you the best.

Dear Amy: I’ve been seeing the term “gaslight” everywhere lately. What’s going on?

– Confused

Dear Confused: “Gaslighting” refers to one person or entity forcing another person to question their own reality. In the context we most often see here, one partner convinces the other that their suspicions of cheating (for example) are the result of irrational jealousy.

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