SAN JOSE INSIDE -- That’s not to say that younger Asian Americans have it easy on the streets. Jenny Shao is a Chinese American broadcast graduate student at San Francisco State and a city native with bad allergies. Within the past year, a man chased and assaulted her with an umbrella after he perceived that she was sniffling and decided she’d veered too close to him on Fourth Street without a mask. Another man shouted out a racial epithet to her on Market Street and yet another told to keep her distance on a BART platform as the individual – in a seeming non-sequitur — boasted about being a Trump supporter.
Shao gets upset about the attacks, but says she isn’t traumatized. If she sees that someone is about to antagonize her, she whips out her iPhone to document any potential confrontations. In the case of the racial epithet incident, she shouted at the man to repeat what he’d said on camera. Instead, he walked away. Even before to the pandemic, though, she learned self-defense after getting jumped at a BART station.