‘Do I really belong to this country?’: Asian Restaurant-Owner Targeted By Racist Customers in Palm Desert

A restaurant owner in Palm Desert is opening up about an anti-Asian verbal attack she and her staff received from a group of female customers.

Stella Kim encountered the racist customers who came late Monday night to Musashi on Highway 111, one of the two restaurants she owned, reports KESQ.



Kim, who migrated to the United States from South Korea over 40 years ago, shared that they were asking the women to leave as they were staying 30 minutes past the establishment’s closing time.

According to Kim, the women started making fun of her English and became hateful toward her. 

“She picked on my English,” Kim was quoted as saying. “They were trying to imitate something – I said, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.'”

Nathan Lee, the server waiting on the group’s table, said the three ladies started yelling and threatening them.

“They started targeting our owner here, saying racial slurs, mimicking her language,” Lee said.

While Kim describes her family as incredibly strong, the incident made her question her safety living in the U.S.

“That night I was thinking, ‘Do I really belong to this country?’ ‘Am I safe?'” she shared.

Lee still feels thankful that they were not physically hurt compared to the other victims of Anti-Asian racial attacks in recent months. 

“I’ve seen other people have it way worse than me,” he said. “I’ve seen killings; I’ve seen beatings. We got off easy, to be honest.”

As for Kim’s daughter Rose Lee, who also works in the restaurant, verbal attacks “are just as hurtful and they really traumatize people.”

“If they could please not dehumanize us and see us as individuals who are contributing to the community – my mom has this restaurant and she is serving the people of this town,” the daughter noted.

Kim has thought about not speaking up in fear of retaliation  but decided to as she is only asking for respect, and for the Asian hate to end.

“We are all the same people,” Kim said. “Well, we look different, but we are all the same citizens of this country.”

Feature image via KESQ NewsChannel 3

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