Asian American war vet takes shirt off to show scars in powerful town hall speech against racism
An Asian-American elected official in Ohio lifted his shirt to reveal the scars he received while serving in the US military during a town hall meeting in which he discussed the discrimination he has faced due to his race.
Lee Wong, a member of the West Chester Board of Trustees, revealed his scars during a town hall meeting on Tuesday to drive home the point that his race does not make him any less of a “patriot”.
According to Fox 19 Now, Mr Wong came to the US in the 1960s, and served in the US military for 20 years.
During the meeting, Mr Wong, 69, began unbuttoning his shirt, and said he was going to show people “what questions of patriotism looks like”.
“Here is my proof,” he said, lifting his shirt to reveal long, dark scars running across the width of his chest.
“This is sustained through my service in the US military,” he said. “Now, is this patriot enough?”
He went on to describe his experiences with discrimination.
“I’m not ashamed to walk around anymore. Before, I was very inhibited. People looked at me strange, and they’d question my loyalty to this country. I don’t look ‘American enough,'” he said. “Now, last I read the US Constitution, we the people, we are all the same. We are equal. Not this ‘you are more superior, you are not.'”
His statements were made in the wake of a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.
He recalled several instances in his life where he was discriminated against because of his Asian heritage.
Mr Wong said at one point while studying in Chicago he was beaten because of his race.
“That put me to the hospital,” he told the news outlet. “That was my first experience.”
He also spoke of an incident in which a child mocked the shape of his eyes.
“Walk out grocery store. Father with a kid and little boy would go like this—” Mr Wong said, pulling his eyelids back “—to me. I just went, ‘hahaha, it’s just a kid.’ But there is more to that. He learned it from somebody.”
He said while campaigning that some voters would tell him he did not look American enough.
“When someone comes up and says that to me, it’s like a stab in my heart,” he said.
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