“Riverdale” star Charles Melton is opening up about his own experiences being the target of anti-Asian hate crimes.
In a guest column for Variety, Melton revealed he was “compelled” to share his story.
Melton’s parents met when his father was stationed in Korea. After moving around a lot, Melton recalled early memories of people who would talk down to his mother.
“It demeaned her and in turn triggered something in me that I’ve long buried deep inside,” Melton wrote.
He shared how he would turn his back to his Korean heritage, adding, “Comments from friends about my house smelling funny because of my mother’s home-cooked Korean meals and kimchi caused me to carry shame. At school, I never learned about my Korean American history – or Asian American history at all. If you never learn about your own history, how can you really exist? Trying to fit in at school, I chased the American dream by being a star athlete, all the while suppressing my Asian identity. I remember even beating everyone to the punch by making Asian jokes before anyone else would.”
Melton said his mom “carried the burden on her shoulders, blaming herself.”
But the recent uprise in hate crimes towards Asian Americans has caused ” deep introspection.”
“I’ve willfully ignored the racism and microaggressions directed towards me and my people,” Melton said. “I will no longer remain silent about my lived experience. The hate crimes that have swept the country have forced me to realize how important the platform I have is and the responsibility that comes with it. Domestic terrorism and hate-driven violence have plagued our nation and continue to do so. What’s clear in all of this is the rampant violence against Asian people.”
Melton vowed to use his voice through “media and entertainment as advocacy.”
He concluded, “I want to tell inclusive, representative stories. I want to reconcile my identity and come to terms with who I am, despite the pain. I want to uplift the AAPI experience through storytelling, caring, understanding, and kindness that I can share with the world.”
ET Canada stands with the Asian community in working together to stop anti-Asian racism in Canada, the United States, and around the world to #StopAsianHate.
Canadians can stay informed by following community groups and leaders, including but not limited to: https://nextshark.com/, https://www.dearasianyouth.org/home, https://www.thepeahceproject.com/ and https://www.asianmhc.org/instagram-partners.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hate-crimes related to xenophobic attacks in Canada you can file a report at: https://www.elimin8hate.org/fileareport.