Photo credit: Jess X Snow (

When you wake up and read that six women who look like you were murdered, your body goes into fight or flight. Your brain becomes a fog. Your stomach twists. Your heart palpitates. Your hands start shaking. You move into survival mode because the white men are hunting down Asian girls.

You try not to slip into panic while you go about your day, while your roommates make small talk about the cat’s latest antics and reorganizing the pantry. You get a text from an old co-worker, one of the only other Asians at your old white company. How are…

She was challenging me to a Whiteness Competition. We were at a country karaoke bar, the honky-tonk kind I’d only ever seen in Texas and couldn’t believe existed in the middle of Northern Virginia. It was my cousin’s birthday and this was where he wanted to celebrate it. The rest of my cousins and I acquiesced. I wonder how it must have looked, a small flock of brown-skinned Filipinos huddled around a table in the kind of place where cowboy hats go to die.

Covering the walls there were as many American flags as neon signs for Miller Lite and…

Mayari Sherina Ong

Lover of the extraordinary and ridiculous. Wordsmith and culture dissector. Ever-curious.

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