In March 2020, when New York City became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., I worked as a physician in a Covid-19 unit. As my fellow health care workers and I were working around the clock, we were shocked to hear that an Asian American doctor had been spat on her way to work. I remember shaking my head but thinking it had to be a one-off — until I was spat on twice over the next year.
The first time I was walking in Midtown Manhattan at night, not far from my family’s store. A man singled me out with a look of disdain, pulled down his mask, and spat on me. I was shocked. I ran home to wash myself and scrub off the stains on the bag I was carrying. The second time a man aimed at my feet as I was walking toward the subway. Both times, I was the only Asian person around.