A second-grade student had her first encounter with anti-Asian racism during a Zoom meeting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The encounter was shared on April 21 by the 7-year-old student’s parents on the Facebook page Little Gray Thread.
According to the post, the second-grader was in her daily Zoom meeting when one of LittleGray’s classmates said, “I don’t like China or Chinese people because they started this quarantine.”
LittleGray’s teacher quickly and effectively diffused the situation. However, the damage was done by the classmate who happened to be her friend.
“I had two choices: let it gloss over or don’t pass up this teachable moment,” the post reads. “Asians are often taught to stay silent and to not make waves, but I want to teach my daughters to stand up for what they believe in and speak up to things that are unjust.”
LittleGray’s family talked to her about what happened and how it made her feel. They also urged her to write her feelings on paper:
“When we did the zoom meeting, someone said that he doesn’t like China and Chinese people. This made me feel sad because I’m Chinese. I hope he will stop telling people that because it’s mean and wrong. It’s wrong because he doesn’t know what he is saying. No one knows how the virus started for sure. When you say that you don’t like Chinese people, you’re saying that you do not like me. I did not start this virus. Thank you for being my friend.”
The girl’s parents gave her the option to share her writing, but she declined to share it with classmates. However, she agreed to let her parents post the message on social media.
“I told her how there might be other people who are feeling the same way she is and that her words might give them courage to speak out,” the post reads.
Many people praised the parents for how they handled the situation and were inspired by LittleGray’s message.
Images via Little Gray Thread