Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correctly spell Yanil’s name.
A Korean teen living in the Netherlands was kicked in the face after being mistaken as a Chinese national amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What happened: Yanil, 16, was confronted by a group of unknown racist individuals while hanging out with his friends at Lake Jagersplas on June 21.
- The incident started with a group of three boys hurling racial slurs at the teen, calling him “kankerchino” (cancerous ch*nk).
- Yanil confronted the group and told them he did nothing wrong, according to Dutch news site NH Nieuws.
- The group left but returned with seven more people and threatened the teen.
- They passed by Yanil’s group several times and at one point they took his friend’s phone thinking it was his. But he managed to get it back from the group.
- “It was clear that they were going after me and were calling me ‘coronachinees’ (corona Chinese),” Yanil said.
- Things escalated from verbal to physical assault after the group returned with 20 people.
- “I had to say ‘sorry baas’ (I’m sorry boss), but I didn’t want to do that,” Yanil said. “I only said ‘[I’m] sorry’ even though I didn’t know why. These boys slowly edged towards me and in the end I was kicked. Afterwards I kept quiet and calm, so that they’d leave.”
- The video, which has gone viral after being shared by multiple social media accounts, was captured by one of the attacking group’s members that made its way to Yanil.
- One of the members of the group can also be heard laughing in the background after Yanil was kicked.
Further details: The attack left a lasting impression on Yanil that made him fear for his own safety whenever he would go out of his home.
- “I want to show people that something like this can also happen in the Netherlands; racism is also a thing over here,” he said. “I am often insulted and usually I wouldn’t do anything, but I’ve had it up to here. Many Asians are discriminated against and people don’t notice.”
- Yanil’s mother, Sora, said she’s fed up after seeing the video of what happened to her son.
- “I know a lot of Asians and we are simply low-key and prefer to solve things ourselves in our community, but we are finally fed up with it,” she said.
- Sora also shared how she experienced racism growing up as an adopted South Korean and how people always referred to her as Chinese because they think “all Asians are Chinese” and “people think all Asians are the same.”
- Yanil’s older brother also posted the video on his Instagram account.
- The family is planning to report what happened to the police later this week with the support of Facebook group Asian Raisins, “a non-profit organization creating awareness for racism against Asians in the Netherlands but also providing assistance and support, such as filing a police claim, contacting schools, etc.”