I confess that when I read “In the Land of the Free” by Sui Sin Far, I wept. The impossible predicament of red tape and the pervasive prejudice in those days reminded me of the prejudice and red tape that still exist today, more than 100 years later:

An elderly Thai immigrant dies after being shoved to the ground. A Filipino-American is slashed in the face with a box cutter. A Chinese woman is slapped and then set on fire. Eight people are killed in a shooting rampage across three Asian spas in one night.

All of these recent hate crimes have been committed since the rise of Covid-19. Innocent people who had nothing to do with Covid (and nothing to do with Wuhan, either!) have been murdered due to inflated fears and a lack of critical thinking.

A lack of critical thinking is one of my pet peeves. Go figure: I’m a college writing instructor. So I weep when I see such destructive evidence of people choosing to act without evidence. And I weep when I read stories like “In the Land of the Free,” which bring to life the lived experience of ostracism and racism, especially as it becomes embedded in the laws of our nation.

To immigrants like those who were recently shoved, slashed, slapped, set on fire, and shot for no reason other than their outward appearance, the “land of the free” has become a graveyard.