8/27/12

Racism Can Make A Person "Fighting Mad"

        Racism can have pernicious and enduring harmful effects on its victims, many who may feel 'fighting mad,' but see no remedy. One exception, however, is Leo Fong. The story of his encounter with racism in Widener, Arkansas back in the 1930s, where his immigrant parents ran a grocery store illustrates how a resourceful person can make "lemons into lemonade." At age 7 on his first day of school where he was the only Asian, a group of students surrounded him at recess and made racial slurs. After he returned home, his father asked, “How was school?” Leo replied, “Great! Everybody likes me. They even sang to me.His puzzled father asked, “What did they sing?” Leo replied, “Ching-chong Chinaman.” 

 As Leo recalls: "... father turned red in the face and said, “They don’t like you. Don’t you know they are making fun of your racial heritage? Next day at recess, the playground teacher organized a softball game and I was designated to play first base. One of the kids hit a single and ended up on first base. He looked at me and remarked, “Chink!” Without hesitation I punched him in the nose, knocking him to the ground. The playground teacher grabbed me by the neck, spanked me and sent me to the office. I had to stand in the hall for two days while the other students taunted me. Unlike his cousins who dropped out of school because of racial intimidation, I chose to remain in school and fight."

Thus, began the career of Leo Fong who would go on to become first, a superb boxer, martial arts expert and sparring partner of Bruce Lee,  movie actor and director, and eventually a Methodist minister as he discusses with cable tv interviewer John Robert Cruz.
[Thanks to Ed Soon for information about Leo Fong who was 80 at the time of the video  and still actively teaching marital arts]

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me