PUBLIC HARASSMENT: BACK IN THE MID 90s

Back in the mid 90s, I walked into a restaurant with a friend located south of Ypsilanti, MI. I noticed several confederate flag license plates on the vehicles in the parking lot, but proceeded into the restaurant. While waiting to be seated, a white couple was in front of us. The man started raising his voice about saying he shouldn’t have to be in line with me. “The god-damned Japanese were ruining the auto industry and you shouldn’t be here.” His wife was embarrassed for the scene he was making but there was no warmth of empathy in her face as our eyes met. It took everything in me to keep my mouth shut and not escalate the situation. I was angry and scared. I looked around and didn’t see anyone who looked like me or like an ally. I made the decision to depart. Remembering this incident still creates a visceral response in my gut 25 years later.

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