U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Star Dana Mathewson On Stopping Anti-Asian Hate During COVID-19
U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair athlete Dana Mathewson discussed the importance of ending anti-Asian hate during a recent interview.
Matthewson, who is half Chinese, said she hasn’t faced discrimination herself but worries about the growth of ant-Asian feelings during the pandemic.
“I’m a Chinese-American woman; I’m half Chinese, and that has always been something that I’m really proud of. It has never been something that has been my complete identity, of course, but it has shaped a big aspect of who I am and I’m very proud of that like I said. Experiencing any form of discrimination because of that has been something new to me. I’ve never had someone ask me ‘Did you go to China and bring this pandemic back to us?’ or [made] jokes about the fact that I must have eaten a bat and that’s why everyone here is experiencing this. I know that my family jokes like that. I’m very lucky that jokes are pretty much the length of what I’ve had to experience; I haven’t experienced outright hatred, but even jokes are hurtful,” she said
Though Mathewson has always been easy-going and the type of person to laugh at jokes, she believes that people should stop joking about the idea that Asian people caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m the type of person that goes along and laughs … but I think at the end of the day, jokes like that really aren’t okay because they really don’t come from a good place. I do still feel proud to represent my country; that’s something I’ll always be proud of. It’s an honor that not every person gets and it’s an identity that I am … proud to represent.”
Matthewson finds it sad that Asian people are being discriminated against, given that the United States is known for its diversity and mix of different cultures.
“It is sad that in a country that was built on all sorts of different cultures – Chinese or Asians being one of them – it’s sad that those people are … not being treated as equals,” she said. “We can kind of use this platform to represent and change those ideals.”