People are all different
“Why fu**ing Asians here!” It was in the afternoon Downtown Vancouver. There was only silence between my friends and me. It was because of the nice gift that the homelessness gave us.
In October, 2017, my friends and I took a sky train bound for Downtown Vancouver. I was excited about going downtown because it was the first time going to a place other than Coquitlam. After we got off the sky train, the first word I said was “Wow!” There were numerous tall buildings, much more cars and way more people than Coquitlam’s. Not only was the city busy, but my heart beat busily too. We all wanted to look around, so we began walking on the street right away. However, our bellies fluctuated and shouted for some food. It was as no wonder, as we did not eat anything so far, from in the morning, and it was 2:00 in the afternoon. We decided to eat late brunch, therefore, we entered a sushi restaurant across the street.
The menu we chose were various kinds of Roll, Nigiri, and Udon. The dishes were expectedly great. The salmon pieces swam on my tongue, and the grains of rice ran around whole inside of my mouth. I smiled as looked around my friends. I could know that they were feeling same thing as mine. Ecstasy.
Our bellies did not cry anymore, so we started to restart walking on the street. Although the cold wind from the ocean passed by my cheeks, I was just excited. The noise of people talking, walking, and running sound of cars dived into my ears. It was the spirit of the city, I thought.
On my way, among a bunch of people, my friends and I found the old steam clock across the street. It was even famous in Korea, so I already knew what the steam clock was. I took me in a picture with the steam clock and took some photos of my friends too. Then, on the way, I ran into an old black homeless guy. He was like a hyena looking for food. We stared into each other’s eyes for a moment. Then, I was going to turn my eyes away, and he yelled, “Why fu**ing Asians are here!”
The sound fell on my ears like a bolt from the blue. My head creaked toward him. ‘Did he just say that to us?’ I faced his contemptuous gaze. There were 6 “Asians” including me in front of the old homeless guy. I was one hundred percent sure that he meant us. At that time, the one of my experiences passed into my head. At school in Canada, I was reading a sentence on a card in PE class. My pronunciation was terribly bad, and I had come to know that more clearly by a “White” boy, Mika’s saying: “What? What are you saying? I cannot understand at all!” After his shouting, nobody made sound. Only the White guy, Mika giggled with his friends. My stereotype about “White” people grew up quickly. It was the first moment I experienced racism directly after I came to Canada. I could not say anything to him at the time, because I was embarrassed although I do not know the reason why. After that happening, Mika’s indirect joke didn’t stop. Nevertheless, it was different now. I have learned that if I do not say anything, she/he will not change what they do to me. I spited out loudly: “Shut up! Sibalnoma (which means bastard in Korean)!” The old homeless guy and the all people on the street looked at me, as far as I can I feel, and I realized what I just did. My ears turned to red, my fist shacked. I could not say anything again. I regretted it.
The homeless guy laughed. Then, he called one of the cops who were across the street, dealing with the parking problem. ‘The cop will laugh at me. He will be racist to me just like the other Whites,’ I thought. The cob walked toward us and stopped in front of the old homeless guy, and asked, “Yes, is there anything you need?” I stared at the two guys talking. I felt there was an inextricable atmosphere I do not know how to explain. While the two guys were talking, I could not cut in. I was in panic. After they finished their conversation, the cop turned his neck toward me. I acted as I was not nervous at all, and I would have looked like that if I had not answered faster than the cop even asked me. “He said Why fucking Asian are herefirst.” The cop seemed disconcerted by my behavior. There was silence for 5 seconds, and he opened his mouth: “I apologize for his rudeness.”
The cop’s answer was a distinctly different reaction than I thought. ‘…He apologized?’ My eyes rolled toward his eyes. I was only then that I could see his face right. He was apologizing to me sincerely. I was only then that I could hear the sound right. Nobody laughed at my reaction to the homeless guy’s rudeness, as Mika and his friends did. I realized that I was also a racist. I always thought the people related to their races. The old homeless guy, Mika, and this cob. They were also a victim of my racist thoughts. Not all people are racist. My mouth and eyes drew curved line on my face. I smiled. I answered to the cop: “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry too.”
It was the moment when I realized the truth: I don’t have to be scared and negative all the time because the types of people, including me, are all different and various, the cop’s apologizing.