Chloe Kim Opens Up About Her Experience With Anti-Asian Racism

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Fatima Araos

Chloe Kim may be a celebrated athlete and Olympic gold medalist but that does not make her immune to anti-Asian racism. The snowboarder, who was born in the US to Korean immigrants, won gold in the Women's Halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics when she was just 17 years old. Now, she’s revealing the downside of being a high-profile Asian-American.

In an interview with ESPN, Kim said she gets a lot of hate messages on Instagram. “Just because I am a professional athlete or won the Olympics doesn't exempt me from racism. I get hundreds of those kinds of messages monthly. I see maybe 30 a day.”

See the details below.

‘Go Back To China’

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The Korean-American said the cyberbullying started when she was just 13 years old, after she posted a picture of her silver medal from the 2014 X Games. “People belittled my accomplishment because I was Asian,” she recalled. “There were messages in my DMs telling me to go back to China and to stop taking medals away from the white American girls on the team. I was so proud of my accomplishment, but instead I was sobbing in bed next to my mom, asking her, ‘Why are people being so mean because I'm Asian?’”

Mental Health Issues

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The discrimination and hateful comments kept coming even after Kim, who’s now 21, became a world-famous Olympic gold medalist. She once posted a screenshot of an Instagram DM she received that said, “You dumb Asian b----. Kiss my ass.”

The snowboarding star admitted that all the hate has affected her mental health. “I get hundreds of these messages and it breaks my heart that people think this type of behavior is okay,” she added. “I feel really helpless and afraid at times. I'm really struggling.”

Fear For Safety

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The anti-Asian racism Kim experienced went beyond DMs, too. She’s been spat on, screamed at and stopped from getting on the elevator in her apartment building.

She also noted that things worsened during the pandemic and now she fears for her and her parents’ safety. “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,” she said.

‘Advocating For Diversity’

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The athlete is not only speaking out against anti-Asian hate but also doing her part in promoting diversity and inclusion. Early last year, she put up a media and commerce company called Togethxr along with fellow athletes Alex Morgan, Sue Bird and Simone Manuel, which aims to produce content that “shatters the often narrow depictions of women in media.”

“Growing up, I didn't have anyone in the Asian American community to look up to in my sport,” Kim told Shape. “It's cool that we're solving that problem and advocating for diversity so we can reach more young women like me.”