‘We are Americans’: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ sheds light on anti-Asian hate in latest Season 18 episode

  • The latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “Stronger Than Hate,” features a victim of an anti-Asian hate crime who is brought to the Grey Sloan Memorial hospital in need of surgery.

  • In the operating room, the series’ hospital staff share a conversation of the hardships they faced as Asian Americans, including the sense of being seen as “foreign.”

  • Nurse Bokhee, a long recurring character on the show with very few speaking roles, delivers a powerful statement in the scene: “We are Americans.”

Nearing the end of its 18th season, ABC’s long-running medical series “Grey’s Anatomy” has showcased virtually every ailment that’s ever required treatment. In the latest episode, a poignant scene references the harsh reality Asian Americans have faced since the onset of the pandemic: a surge in targeted hate and violence. 

Titled “Stronger Than Hate,” Episode 18 of the latest season features a victim of an anti-Asian hate crime who is brought to the Grey Sloan Memorial hospital in need of surgery. In the operating room, the series’ hospital staff discuss what it means to be Asian American. 

“When I was a kid, I used to stare at my face in the mirror wondering if I could use my mom’s makeup to make me look more American,” begins Dr. Michelle Lin, played by Lynn Chen. “Of course I understood it to mean, ‘more white.’” 

Dr. Nico Kim, played by Alex Landi, interjects, “You wanted to be like other kids,” to which Lin adds, “And my teachers, and people I saw in movies and on TV… I wanted to feel normal.”

Kim then asks, “Do you ever think we’ll ever stop being seen as foreign?”

“Well, being wrongly blamed for COVID did not help,” answers Lin, before going on to address the country’s long history of anti-Asian hate incidents. 

She continues, “Also, Watsonville Riots, Japanese American internment, Vincent Chin.”

Observing the back and forth between the two doctors, the show’s long-recurring character Nurse Bokhee looks to them both and says firmly, “We are Americans.”

“Your face is American,” she adds, in reference to Lin’s earlier point. 

Another doctor of Asian descent observes from the operating room’s gallery after hearing the news. She is seen holding back tears as she expresses a frustration many have felt since the rise in hate crime reports, particularly in public spaces: “No one called for help, no one intervened or even took a video.”

This isn’t the first time “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed light on racial injustices across communities. Last year, an episode titled “Sign O’ the Times” tackled the issues of police brutality while featuring victims who were injured from a Black Lives Matter protest.

This latest scene comes during AAPI Heritage Month, celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  


Featured Image via “Grey’s Anatomy”

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