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Woman recounts story of traumatized Asian friend who mistook innocent exchange for racism

[Source]

A woman took to Reddit to share her experience with a friend who misread a moment at a Chinese restaurant as a racist attack.

What happened: Reddit user Mean-Proposal8, who identified herself as a 28-year-old Chinese woman, said it all started after her friend, Jess, 27, heard a boy ask his white father what the friends were eating at the restaurant. The father explained the many types of dishes to his son, but Jess, who is Chinese Japanese, purportedly mistook their exchange as racist.

Agitated, Jess allegedly approached the father-and-son duo and told them, “This isn’t a zoo, you know?” She then left the restaurant, prompting the Reddit user and another friend to apologize to the man and his son.

The aftermath: The Reddit user and the rest of their friends went on to comfort Jess, but she remained “adamant that the man was teaching his kid to be racist.” Jess then accused her friends of “invalidating” her when they tried to tell her that was not the case.

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In a final attempt at helping, the Redditor told Jess that maybe she “should go back to therapy.” Jess, in response, allegedly gave her “a dirty look” and called her a “sh*t friend” before leaving. Days later, Jess’s mother reached out to the Reddit user to let her know that Jess “felt really bad about what happened and wanted to apologize.” Additionally, Jess reportedly admitted to having a panic attack at the time.

Behind her reaction: The Reddit user, who took her story to the r/AmItheAssh*le subreddit on Jan. 19, revealed that Jess went to two years of therapy after falling victim to a racist attack at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The incident reportedly traumatized her "quite badly."

"A group of men approached and surrounded her at a train station, shouting racists comments at her," the Reddit user said. "If someone hadn’t intervened, she would have very likely been bashed or SAed."

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Reactions: Many Reddit users backed her advice for Jess. One commented, “Real friends call you out and try and help you, which is what you tried to do.”

“Encouraging your friend to go back to therapy is a right thing to do, although you have to be careful with the choice of words,” another noted.

What to do: There are some things one can do to help someone experiencing a panic attack. These include staying with the person, helping them breathe slowly, asking what they need and helping them focus.

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The Redditor, for her part, says she and her friends now realize that they should have noticed the signs that Jess was having a crisis.

"Upon reflection and talking with my friends, we realised that none of us saw the signs early enough during that dinner that she was in crisis," she noted. "We should have seen it when she started getting agitated inside the restaurant and perhaps taken her outside for a moment instead of dismissing her. None of us are really equipped to deal with someone in mental crisis and we are considering going to mental health first aid."

 

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