So this happened this afternoon at home:
It turns out that the toilet flush handle wasn’t a single metal piece, but two metal pieces held together with a plastic core. It appears that the quality of toilet parts has really — ahem — gone down the toilet:
This qualified as a good enough reason to break the social distancing protocol and make a trip to Home Depot to buy a proper handle in the “rubbed bronze” style. There’s one reasonably close to my place, so I decided to combine the trip with today’s exercise and biked there.
In order to get the context of the next part of the story, you should know what I look like. Here’s a photo from today:
After Home Depot, I decided to make a quick stop at the local Latino grocery store to get some cans of beans. They have an amazing selection:
Many people were keeping their distance. One kid — maybe 13 or 14 years old — saw me and immediately pulled up the neck of his t-shirt over his nose and mouth, like so:
Really? I thought. I suppose that this could have been a “teachable moment,” where I would talk to him about racism and since he himself was Latino, about intersectionality. Instead, I decided just to meet him where he was.
I simply said:
“Unclench, ese. Soy Filipino.”
This got a laugh out of him, and he pulled the t-shirt off his nose and mouth and walked off.
Worth checking out
The global response to COVID-19 has made clear that the fear of contracting disease has an ugly cousin: xenophobia. As the coronavirus has spread from China to other countries, anti-Asian discrimination has followed closely behind, manifesting in plummeting sales at Chinese restaurants, near-deserted Chinatown districts and racist bullying against people perceived to be Chinese.
We asked our listeners whether they had experienced this kind of coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia firsthand. And judging by the volume of emails, comments and tweets we got in response, the harassment has been intense for Asian Americans across the country — regardless of ethnicity, location or age.
A common theme across our responses: Public transit has been really hostile. Roger Chiang, who works in San Francisco, recalled a white woman glaring at him on the train to work, covering her nose and mouth. When he told her in a joking tone that he didn’t have the coronavirus, she replied that she “wasn’t racist — she just didn’t want to get sick.”