Now Playing Tracks

[tw: sexual assault] Dephanie Jao | Hunting for Asians

There are some things you expect to happen to other people — stuff you hear on the news and you think, “Man, that’s bizarre!”

It’s never supposed to happen to you.

On Sept. 28, when I saw two of my friends walking down Locust Walk, all I was expecting was an hour, perhaps two, when we could casually talk. We shared what was happening in our lives, our classes, our work. We were three Asian graduate students — two international, one American — sharing boring stories about our boring lives.

Then around 9:40 p.m., we found ourselves approached by a group of five people. There were three women and two men — all white. They introduced themselves, explaining that they were part of a Drexel sorority event. Some sort of relay. A scavenger hunt. In order to complete this event, they needed our help. The prize for completion was $300 and they wanted to win.

“We need to hook up with three Asians.”

For a moment the three of us looked blankly at each other. We were shocked, for one. Was this really happening? Had they just casually placed Asians as an item in a scavenger hunt?

“Are you guys drunk?” I asked. No, no, they said, eyes wide. Of course they weren’t drunk.

After that, things happened fast. Without asking for our permission, the group tried to separate my friends and me from each other. One woman had a camera. There was a flash. During this time we heard reassurances. Shouts. Don’t worry, we need to take pictures as proof, but it doesn’t have to be real. We aren’t going to post this anywhere.

One woman tried to instruct one of my friends to make poses. Put your hands across your chest. Turn this way. Smile. Another woman tried to pull the other friend away, but he resisted.

Suddenly, I found myself alone with somebody’s arm curled painfully around my neck, forcing me to face sideways. It took a second before I realized that the arm belonged to a man and while he forced my head closer to his, he slowly bent his head toward mine, mouth open, ready for a kiss. I could smell the beer on his breath.

That was when I realized. I flung my arms upwards, forcing his arm off me.

“No,” I said. “No, we’re not doing this. No.”

The group tried arguing with us for a bit. The man who had tried to kiss me even tried to grab another passing woman. But in the end, they finally left us alone.

Of all the possible things that could be said about what happened to us, one thing was certain: it should not have happened. Not just the fact that the group approached us, but the whole event itself. It was horribly dehumanizing. All of us felt like we had been treated like animals, like convenient pieces to be picked up as a part of a collection. Asians are not Pokémon to be collected.

Asians are stereotypically perceived to be less likely to fight back when faced with incidents of racism. That still doesn’t make it OK.

Even though what happened may not have been the result of racial hatred, it was still racism. Racism occurs whenever people are viewed as less than full persons because of their race. The group that night did not see us as people or as students — but as items who fit a convenient category on their scavenger hunt: three Asians.

It took us two days to gather enough courage to report the incident to the police.

Thinking back, I wonder: What would have happened if all of us had been international students? Would we have reported the incident?

There were many inconsistencies in the story the group told us that night. For one, why were there men at a sorority event? Which sorority, if there was indeed one, had created the event? Were they even from Drexel? Did they approach anyone else?

The perpetrators will probably never be caught. Though cameras caught parts of what happened, they only caught silhouettes. So where do we go from here? What will the Penn community do in response?

Dephanie’s a friend of my partner and has asked for help spreading this article around. So please reblog this everywhere! Universities are notorious for hushing this sort of thing up; the more people who know and speak up about it, the harder that is. Thanks!

blog comments powered by Disqus

708 notes

  1. aureocipolla reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  2. pkayyumi reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege and added:
    -pukes-
  3. liveanddiebythepen reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  4. susurrations reblogged this from spaceykate
  5. esinahs reblogged this from zuky
  6. princeofkawaii reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  7. youcould-bemysanity reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  8. 6s-emme reblogged this from ladywildcurls
  9. ladywildcurls reblogged this from missnatis
  10. missnatis reblogged this from brandx
  11. skyedenadel reblogged this from gwydionmisha
  12. gwydionmisha reblogged this from big-wired
  13. lemonpie42 reblogged this from justjasper
  14. stephanielikesyou reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  15. storyinsilence reblogged this from private-revolution
  16. catracism reblogged this from noxiousarcana
  17. noxiousarcana reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege and added:
    This is fucked up shit. Reblog.
  18. fortunatelight reblogged this from deliciouskaek
  19. hadooly-oh reblogged this from iwillbedeletingthisblog
  20. iwillbedeletingthisblog reblogged this from thinkspeakstress
  21. dancefloorpolitician reblogged this from kadalkavithaigal
  22. lezwitch reblogged this from kadalkavithaigal
  23. freshmouthgoddess reblogged this from kadalkavithaigal
  24. kadalkavithaigal reblogged this from jhameia
  25. heroin-e reblogged this from jhameia
  26. writtenbychance reblogged this from muslimrave
  27. sunflowerscript reblogged this from wellwhenigrew
  28. justkeyta reblogged this from private-revolution
  29. wellwhenigrew reblogged this from thisisasianprivilege
  30. librarysleeper reblogged this from fatflagrantfeminist
  31. notthisonetheotherblog reblogged this from fatflagrantfeminist
  32. drinkleninade reblogged this from muslimrave
We make Tumblr themes