The status Chloe Kim attained in the United States hasn’t shielded her from one of society’s illnesses: racism.
The Olympic gold-medal winning snowboarder detailed her experiences with anti-Asian hate and racism Friday in an interview with ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk. Kim, a 20-year-old, first-generation Korean-American, revealed how the increase in hate and discrimination members of the Asian community in the U.S. have faced in the last year-plus leaves her fearful for her and her family’s safety.
“I think it got worse when COVID started,” Kim said. “I was trying to get in the elevator at my apartment one day and a woman was yelling at me and telling me no, you can’t get in here. Sometimes I feel like everyone hates me because I am Asian.”
Kim now is reluctant to leave her Los Angeles home alone.
“I never go anywhere by myself unless it’s for a quick appointment or I know the place is crowded,” she said. “I have Tasers, pepper spray, a knife. If I go outside to walk my dog or go to the grocery store, my fanny pack has all three of those in it and my hand never leaves my side.”
Kim has received hateful messages on social media for years. She shared a screen shot of one Wednesday night on her Instagram story and wrote about how they affect her.
“I get hundreds of these messages and it breaks my heart that people think this type of behavior is okay,” she wrote. “I feel really helpless and afraid at times,” she wrote. “I’m really struggling.”
Kim decided to speak publicly about her experiences in order to raise awareness of the anti-Asian hate and discrimination she and others are facing in the U.S. By overcoming her fear of speaking out about this issue, she’ll contribute to bringing about much-needed change.