By: John Eric Mendoza -INQUIRER.net / August 17, 2021
MANILA, Philippines — In the latest anti-Asian hate crime to plague the US following the COVID-19 pandemic, a Filipina nurse was racially harassed and attacked after distributing free masks on a subway in the city of New York.
Potri Ranka Manis, a nurse working in New York, said distributing face masks to subway passengers became a routine task in the city for her.
“Marami namang natutuwa sa mga binibigyan ko, (So many appreciate what I do) except for this recent incident,” Manis said over Teleradyo on Tuesday.
The assault, which happened on August 10, began when a couple, together with their child on the stroller, sat next to her. She gave them face masks, but the man grabbed them then threw them away while hurling racial slurs.
“Hinablot ‘yung envelope na may mask sa kamay ko at itinapon at sumigaw sigaw sa akin na (He snatched the envelope containing my mask, threw it away then shouted): ‘Mind your own business, chink! Get out of this train, you Chinese, go back home to your dirty country,’” she recalled.
Potri also said the man attempted to grab her bag, but it could not be done, and the woman began hurting her.
The man snatched her phone while she tried to call 911, she added.
“[Nag-Asian] hate crime na, [may] theft pa,” she noted.
Potri said that the attackers thought she was Chinese.
“Eh lahat naman monolithic ang tingin nila sa mga Asian eh at Chinese. Pag Asian ka, Chinese ka na. Ako nama’y mukhang Chinese,” she pointed out.
(They see Asians and Chinese as monolithic. If you are Asian, then you are Chinese. I simply look Chinese.)
In many instances, Filipinos were mistaken for Chinese, thus becoming targets of discrimination, according to Consul General Elmer Cato, of the Philippine Consulate in New York.
“Napagkakamalan lang tayong mga Chinese (we are just being mistaken for Chinese). Chinese, based on statistics, accounted for the most number of hate incidents US-wide,” Cato said.
Filipinos are the third nationality to be targeted by hate crime, after Chinese and Koreans, according to Cato.
Just in New York, 18 cases of hate crimes were reported against Filipinos, Cato said.
As a result of the incident, the Philippine Consulate of New York urged Filipino-Americans to be more vigilant.
“Always remain vigilant, especially when taking the subway in view of another incident of anti-Asian hate involving a member of the Filipino-American Community,” it said in an earlier statement over the weekend.
Violence ‘symptom’ of racism
A member of the Bangsamoro Parliament has condemned the assault on Potri, who belongs to the Maranao ethnic group.
“The rise of COVID-19 cases has fueled anti-Asian rhetoric and xenophobic attacks around the world,” Deputy Speaker Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong said in a statement over the weekend.
“This violence is a symptom of yet another disease called racism, and the pandemic has only made this deeply-rooted problem of hate and discrimination more apparent,” Adiong added.